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Monday, June 19, 2017

Paddy's Night Food Markets with Sydney food trucks

Burgers and chicken wings at Paddy's Night Food Markets at Flemington

Sydney's newest food truck jam? It's now happening every Saturday night at Paddy's Market Flemington. It's a clever use of the giant multi-storey car park that sits unused after dusk. The covered car park makes for one enormous food truck arena that offers both shelter from rain and plenty of parking. Win win!

Chef's Kitchen food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets on Saturday nights at Flemington
Chef's Kitchen food truck

The Paddy's Night Food Markets are still in soft launch mode, running through a series of different food trucks each week. The space is huuuge with about a dozen food trucks parked in a square around a casual dining area of pallet tables, chairs and stools.

Chef's Kitchen food truck menu at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Chef's Kitchen food truck menu

Crowds weren't too bad when we visited on the weekend but we expect queues to become a lot more hectic by the official launch on July 1.

Wholly Schnit food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Wholly Schnit food truck

In any case, it's worth doing a quick circuit to figure out what you want to eat for dinner.

Blumont Chicken food truck menu at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Blumont Chicken food truck menu

Retro Rosie food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Retro Rosie food truck 

Baby back ribs, smoked chicken thighs and pulled pork at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Baby back ribs, smoked chicken thighs and pulled pork

Smoked chicken thighs on the charcoal bbq at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Smoked chicken thighs on the barbie

Dirty Bird food truck menu at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Dirty Bird food truck menu

Shiso Fine food truck menu at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Shiso Fine food truck menu

Maverick Wings food truck menu at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Maverick Wings food truck menu

Maverick Wings food truck during service at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Maverick Wings food truck crew

Crispy chicken wings from Maverick Wings at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Maverick Wings: Multi-pack of 12 crispy chicken wings $24.95
with fresh lime and chilli; Frank's Red Hot buffalo; and garlic and parmesan 

We start with a twelve pack of crispy chicken wings from Maverick Wings. They're normally $21.95 but pay an extra three dollars and you can get three sauces instead of one. Sauce options vary from the mild glazed honey soy to the totally wild sounding salted caramel popcorn and Nutella chocolate (why?).

We can confirm that the Frank's Red Hot buffalo wings will set your tongue a-tingling, ideally matched with the creaminess of the garlic parmesan. We also ordered the fresh lime and chilli but presume this was garnished incorrectly as it was missing the usual coriander and red chilli.

Cajun potatoes from Blumont Chicken at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Blumont Chicken: Cajun potatoes $5
Baby chat potatoes tossed in signature Blumont Cajun spice

Cajun potatoes weren't quite what we expected, especially the tangy sauce in the tub. The potatoes themselves had a good golden colour to the edges, although they had lost their crunch some time ago.

Crispy rice battered chicken crack burger from Dirty Bird at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Dirty Bird: Crack burger $12
Crispy rice battered chicken

The Crack burger from Dirty Bird delivered with a hunk of juicy chicken encased in a batter that looked like it included rice bubbles. The dill mayo wasn't overpowering either.

Cheese and spinach gozleme at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Cheese and spinach gozleme $8

And just like every other food event in Sydney, there's always gozleme. We were surprised that the yeeros truck seemed to be doing a brisk business all night.

Meat menage burger with bacon and 14 hour smoked brisket from Chef's Kitchen at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Chef's Kitchen: Meaty menage $14
House made patty, bacon, cheese, 14 hour smoked brisket and special sauce

Dirty Bird: Roasted chicken gravy with silky potato mash $6

One of the big winners of the night was the meaty menage from Chef's Kitchen. It's a juicy burger with crispy bacon and a pile of 14-hour smoked brisket. It all worked brilliantly together, especially the smokiness of that juicy brisket.

At the back of the photo above you can see the roasted chicken gravy with potato mash from Dirty Bird. We ended up dipping our Cajun potatoes in that for carb-on-carb action.

Sydney food truck dinner at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Dinner

Light bulb drinks at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Bulb drinks $7

Free arcade games at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Free arcade games

Anyone who remembers teenage years spent at Timezone will weep at the free arcade games set up in the middle.

Free arcade games for young and old at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Arcade games for young and old

Relive your youth with Pacman and Space Invaders.

Free Sega Rally arcade games at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Sega Rally

They even have Sega Rally!

Me Meli food truck serving loukoumades Greek honey donuts at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Me Meli food truck serving loukoumades Greek honey donuts

We line up for dessert at Me Meli, a food truck that translates in Greek to "with honey".

Loukoumades Greek honey donuts with Nutella by Me Meli food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Loukoumades Greek honey donut cone with Nutella $10

Here they make loukoumades, a traditional Greek donut.

Me Meli food truck frying loukoumades Greek honey donuts at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Frying the loukoumades Greek honey donuts 

On the side of the truck you can watch the batter dropped into hot oil and fried, a process that takes several minutes and lots of stirring so they don't stick.

Loukoumades Greek honey donuts fresh out of the fryer by Me Meli at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Golden loukoumades fresh out of the fryer

Loukoumades Greek honey donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar from Me Meli at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Loukoumades Greek donuts rolled in cinnamon sugar

Loukoumades Greek donuts are traditionally served with honey and walnuts but here you can also get them rolled in cinnamon sugar...

Loukoumades Greek honey donuts with Nutella, crushed hazelnuts and strawberry by Me Meli food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Loukoumades Greek honey donuts with Nutella, crushed hazelnuts and strawberry

or drenched in Nutella and crushed hazelnuts.

Loukoumades Greek honey donuts with walnuts, honey and cinnamon by Me Meli food truck at Paddy's Night Food Markets
Loukoumades Greek honey donuts with walnuts, honey and cinnamon $15

We go classic. We've had loukoumades at festivals before but these are particularly impressive, with a super crunchy shell to each one. There's a generous amount of honey too, as well as a liberal shower of crushed walnuts.

Me Meli food truck serving loukoumades Greek honey donuts at Paddy's Night Food Markets

The Paddy's Night Food Markets officially launch on July 1, 2017 but you can still sneak in a pre-launch visit next Saturday June 24 when the Knafeh food truck joins the line-up for the night.

Grab Your Fork visited the Paddy's Night Food Markets anonymously and unannounced and paid for all food featured. If a blog post is an invite, it will always be clearly marked as such.  



Paddy's Night Food Markets
250-318 Parramatta Road, Flemington, Sydney
Every Saturday night - check their Facebook page for times
Jun 24: 6.30pm-11pm
Jul 1:  5pm-10pm

Enter from Centenary Drive via the toll booth (Sydney Flower Market entrance)
Park in the multi-storey Western car park


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/19/2017 02:42:00 am


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Medan Ciak, Surry Hills

Medan dishes from North Sumatra at Medan Ciak in Surry Hills

Surry Hills might be the last place you’d expect to find cheap and homestyle Indonesian food but that's exactly where Medan Ciak has opened. It’s a new favourite with Indonesian students and ex-pats - queues out the door are not uncommon, especially on weekends. There’s a reason for the frisson of excitement. Unlike most Indonesian restaurants across Sydney that focus on Javanese cuisine, here you’ll find the food of Medan, the North Sumatran capital known for its distinct mix of indigenous Batak, Malay and Chinese flavours.

Medan bbq pork at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills

Expect lots of pork - Batak people are predominantly Christian rather than Muslim faith - including regular cameos by Chinese lap cheong sausage. You’ll find it scattered in the nasi goreng fried rice and the cah kwe tiau – fried flat rice noodles with barbecue pork, prawns, fish cake and egg that mirrors Malaysian char kway teow.

Medan cah kew tiau fried flat rice noodles from Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Medan cah kew tiau $13
Fried flat rice noodles

Nasi babi panggang bbq pork and roast pork rice from Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Sio bak pui (nasi babi panggang) $14
BBQ and roast pork rice

Whatever you do, make sure you order the barbecue pork and roast pork rice. It’s a porcine feast of sweet marinated pork, barbecued so the edges are caramelised, and chunks of juicy roast pork topped with a tile of bubbled crackling. It’s not far removed from what you'd find at a Chinese bbq shop, except here you get cucumber slices, a soy sauce egg and plenty of sweet soy drizzled over the top.

Longtong sayur rice cake with vegetable curry at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Lontong sayur $13
Rice cake with vegetable curry

Lontong sayur is another house specialty, a spicy coconut milk soup loaded with carrots, beans, boiled egg and green jackfruit. Curried beef and fried chicken pieces bolster the protein content. Lontong compressed rice cakes at the bottom of the bowl are ideal for soaking up all that soupy goodness.

Nasi padang Indonesian combination rice at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Nasi padang $12
Indonesian combination rice

Still can’t decide? The nasi padang combination rice provides a little scoop of almost everything from the bain marie. That means a mound of rice surrounded by beef rendang, fried chicken, vegetable curry, boiled egg with sambal chilli and cooked cassava leaves.

Cooked cassava leaves at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Cooked cassava leaves

Prices are deliriously cheap for this end of town, with nothing over $14. Even a can of Coke will only set you back two bucks. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for the weekend specials – there are new dishes every week.

Cheap Surry Hills food at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Lunch for cheap in the city

Cheap Surry Hills lunch at Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills
Bain marie efficiency

Entrance to Medan Ciak Indonesian restaurant in Surry Hills


Medan Ciak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Medan Ciak
Shop 3, 460 Elizabeth Street, Surry Hills, Sydney
Tel: +61 (0)403 363 326

Opening hours
Tuesday to Thursday 11am-3.30pm
Friday to Sunday 11am-3pm and 5pm-9pm

This article first appeared in Time Out Sydney. Read this article online or read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews.


Related Grab Your Fork posts
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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/13/2017 01:37:00 am


Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Yakitori Jin, Haberfield

Asparagus wrapped in bacon at Yakitori Jin in Haberfield Sydney

Sydney's newest yakitori joint has just opened in Little Italy. You read that right. And judging by the dinner crowds midweek, Haberfield locals can't get enough of it. Yakitori Jin is heaving when we visit on a Wednesday night, crowded with couples, families and Japanese ex-pats.

Dining room inside Yakitori Jin in Haberfield Sydney
Dining room inside Yakitori Jin

The decor is just part of the charm, from the traditional noren curtain hanging at the entrance to the long and narrow counter that runs the length of the open kitchen. Tiny tables cling to the edge of one wall. Expect Tokyo levels of personal space here, as well as a rousing "irrashaimase" welcome when you first enter the room.

You're best off dining here in groups of two or three. There's only one large table at the very front that seats six. Solo diners are guaranteed a view of all the action by pulling up a seat at the bar.

Edible map of a chicken at Yakitori Jin in Haberfield Sydney
Pictorial guide to eating a chicken 

The emphasis here is on yakitori or grilled (yaki) chicken (tori). And we're not just talking chicken fillets but every part of the chicken, offal included. A helpful pictorial guide on the wall will help you locate exactly which part of the chicken you're eating.

Cabbage salad with hijiki black seaweed at Yakitori Jin in Haberfield Sydney
Complimentary fresh cabbage marinated in shio konbu and sesame oil with hijiki black seaweed

A complimentary salad of fresh cabbage with hijiki black seaweed is served to all patrons. This isn't just any slapdash salad but a crunch of crisp cabbage layered with deeply satisfying notes of umami.

Head chef Akihito Marui on the yakitori grill at Yakitori Jin in Haberfield Sydney
Head chef Akihito Marui on the yakitori grill

Head chef and co-owner, Osaka-born Akihito Marui, is the yakitori jin or yakitori man. He's on both yakitori grills all night, ordered directly from Higashiosaka in Japan. It's a mesmerising performance watching him move his fingers across a keyboard of skewers like a concert pianist.

Chicken skin skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Chicken skin skewers

The menu is broadly broken up into snacks, skewers and larger dishes containing rice and noodles. It's heartening to see there's been no "dumbing down" of the menu - these are dishes you'd find in any yakitori bar in Osaka. Even the kids menu is a simple offering of yakitori don, a bowl of rice with grilled chicken.

Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon

Chicken thigh and breast with leek on skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Chicken thigh and breast with leek

Skewers include various chicken cuts, chicken innards, vegetables and a smattering of beef, pork and seafoood.

Dipping chicken skewers into tare yakitori sauce at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Dipping the chicken and leek skewers into tare yakitori sauce

For each chicken skewer you order, you'll have to decide whether you want it cooked with salt (shio) or yakitori sauce (tare). The tare skewers are cooked over charcoal, dunked in a metal vat of syrupy glaze and then returned to the coals for caramelisation.

Dashimaki tamago omelette at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Dashimaki tamago omelette with grated white radish $14

Start with dashimaki, a more savoury version of the tamagoyaki seen at sushi bars. The rolled omelette includes dashi stock, making for a wetter omelette. Watching the chef make these to order - an exercise in patience as each layer is cooked and rolled together - is like watching a ballet performance.

Grated mountain yam cooking on charcoal at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Grated mountain yam cooking over charcoal

If you're seeking gastronomic kicks, skip the salmon tataki with foie gras and truffle oil and order the grated mountain yam instead. This starchy tuber is notorious yet revered for its slimy stickiness, and is a treat not often found outside of Japan.

Tororo yaki grated mountain yam with cuttlefish and raw egg yolk at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tororo yaki $17
Grated mountain yam with cuttlefish legs, egg yolk and mayonnaise

Here it's cooked in a stone pot over charcoal with cuttlefish legs, garnished with a raw quail egg yolk, squiggles of mayonnaise and thin shreds of seaweed. The taste is entirely reminiscent of a takoyaki octopus ball. If you leave it a little before tucking in, you'll hit the jackpot of a crunchy layer at the bottom.

Momo yakitori chicken thigh skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Momo chicken thigh yakitori skewers $5 each

Go hard on the chicken skewers. It's what a yakitori bar is all about. On the side you can nurse a frosty mug of Asahi Super Dry (on tap) or journey your way through a drinks menu of sakes, shochu, whiskies and umeshu plum wines.

Momo negi shio chicken thigh with salted garlic sauce and shallot at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Momo negi shio $6
Chicken thigh with salted garlic sauce and shallot

Chicken thigh skewers are expectedly juicy. The negi shio version includes salted garlic sauce and a smattering of thinly chopped shallots.

Mune chicken breast skewers with salt at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Mune chicken breast skewers with salt $5 each

Sunazuri chicken gizzards at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Sunazuri chicken gizzards $4 each

We go to town on the chicken innards menu. Chicken gizzards are one of my favourites, exhibiting that much loved bouncy crunch.

Harami chicken outside skirt skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Harami chicken outside skirt $4 each

Harami is the outside skirt, a flavoursome cut that comes from the diaphragm muscle of the chicken.

Kimo chicken liver skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Kimo chicken livers $4 each

And the chicken livers are cooked perfectly, like mini parcels of pate on a stick.

Tsunagi chicken arteries with yakitori sauce at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tsunagi chicken arteries with yakitori sauce $4 each

While chicken arteries might sound intimidating at first, just do it. It's delicious.

Skewers of tsunagi chicken arteries with salt at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tsunagi chicken arteries with salt $4 each

Try it with yakitori sauce and salt for double the fun.

Cooking chicken skin over charcoal at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Chicken skin on the charcoal grill

They'd run out of chicken butts (tails) by the time we ordered, but there was plenty of chicken skin to go around.

Kawa chicken skin skewers at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Kawa chicken skin skewers $5 each

Squeeze over a little lemon and relish the supreme fattiness coupled with glorious charred bits on the edges.

Tebasaki grilled chicken wings at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tebasaki grilled chicken wing $5 each

And let's not forget the humble chicken wing. Sure you could order fried chicken (karaage) but the smokiness imparted to a charcoal grilled chicken wing is truly something else.

Grilling quail eggs and asparagus wrapped in bacon at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Asparagus wrapped in bacon on the grill alongside skewers of quail eggs

Fat loves charcoal which is why these asparagus spears wrapped up in blankets of bacon look so snug.

Charcoal barbecue asparagus wrapped in bacon at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Flames licking the skewers on the charcoal barbecue

Asparagus wrapped in pork at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Asparagus and pork $7

That fresh snap of asparagus coupled with rendered bacon is worth the price tag.

Wagyu beef (9+) kushiyaki skewer at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Wagyu beef (9+) kushiyaki $10

The wagyu beef skewer is at the baller end of town too, but each mouthful is a guaranteed 9+ grade of juicy marbling.

Grilled okra at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Grilled okra $4

Vegetable skewers include the humble toasting of bright green okra over coals...

Grilled eggplant skewer at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Grilled eggplant $4

and half moons of eggplant anointed with miso.

Shiitake mushroom stuffed with chicken at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Shiitake mushroom with chicken filling $7 each

The shiitake mushroom skewers are another highlight, each mushroom cap stuffed with seasoned chicken mince.

Adding a glaze to yaki onigiri rice balls at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Adding a glaze to onigiri rice balls 

Onigiri rice balls are a lunchtime staple in Japan but chuck one on the charcoal barbie and you've got yourself a whole new level of tastiness.

Yaki onigiri grilled rice ball at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Yaki onigiri grilled rice ball with rich chicken soup and meatballs $11

The yaki onigiri grilled rice ball isn't as smoky as others I've had elsewhere but there's an impressive level of golden brown toastiness to the surface. It's a little on the dry side too but that may be because it's served with a housemade chicken soup dotted with floating mini meatballs.

Tsukune meat ball with soft boiled egg at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tsukune meat ball with soft boiled egg $8.50

And the tsukune is a must-order. The seasoned chicken meat ball comes with a soft boiled egg. Burst the yolk and dunk your skewer into that buttery burst of sunshine.

Blowtorching cheese on tsukune meat balls at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Blowtorching cheese on tsukune meat balls

Want to level up? Get the tsukune meat ball with cheese.

If you get a seat in front of the yakitori grill like I did, you can watch Chef Marui wage a ferocious battle against fast dripping slices of melting cheese.

Tsukune meat ball with melted cheese at Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney
Tsukune meat ball with cheese $8.50

Sweet grilled chicken mince encased in molten cheese is as deliriously good as it sounds. A puddle of teriyaki sauce at the bottom will have you relishing that push-pull territory of sweet and savoury.

A little slice of Osaka in Sydney's inner west? No wonder inner westies have embraced it with fervour.

Noren curtain entrance to Yakitori Jin Japanese restaurant in Haberfield Sydney


Yakitori Jin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

Yakitori Jin
101 Ramsay Street, Haberfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8057 2780

Opening hours
Lunch Saturday and Sunday 12pm-2.30pm (yakitori not available)
Dinner Tuesday to Saturday 5pm-10pm, Sunday 5pm-9.30pm

Booking by SMS is preferred
Dinner is in two sittings: 5pm-7pm or 7.15pm-9.15pm
Fully licensed. BYO wine only.


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Japanese yakitori - Chaco Bar, Darlinghurst

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 6/07/2017 12:44:00 am



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