The proper way to prepare teh tarik is by pouring the strong milky tea at great height from one metal cup into another, a thunderous waterfall that creates a foaming bubble of froth. It's a traditional method not always practised in Sydney restaurants, and so I'm mesmerised as we watch the spectacular tea pouring process in action at Aseana Food Village.
Aseana Food Villages sits away from the main hub of Randwick, occupying the ground floor of a corner building. The menu is a mix of south east Asian cuisine, with a particular emphasis on Malaysian and Burmese cuisine.
Teh tarik $3.80
We start off with drinks first, the teh tarik arriving with an impressive head of froth.
I've indulged my inner child instead, ordering the Milo Godzilla, a giant mug of cold Milo topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and liberally sprinkled with Milo powder. It's the super-sized version of the Milo Dinosaur, and must contain close to half a litre of milk.
Burmese tea leaf salad $7.50
I'd been drawn here primarily because of the Burmese offerings, and we make no hesitation in ordering the tea leaf salad, a dish not commonly found outside of Burma. The salad is a complex mix of pickled tea leaves, tomatoes, coriander, garlic, cabbage and chilli, an intriguing combination of sweet, salty, spicy, sour and bitter. Its rarity outside the country is due to the difficulty in obtaining its primary ingredient, pickled tea leaves.
Fruit rojak is also hard to come by in Sydney, and I could not get enough of this addictive salad. Beneath the pile of sweet and salty belacan shrimp sauce encrusted with peanuts, you'll find a mishmash of cucumber, pineapple, bean sprouts and fried youtiao Chinese donut fritters. Usually eaten as a snack using toothpicks, half the fun is not knowing what you're eating, until you've bitten through the layer of tangy brown sauce.
Mohinga is informally known as the national dish of Burma, eaten at street side stalls throughout the day but most often as breakfast. Our bowl of mohinga came with a side dish of chilli flakes but we found the soup incredibly spicy already. The broth is made using chickpea flour, garlic, onions, lemongrass, fish sauce and ginger. Buried beneath the thick and hearty soup we found chunks of fish, slices of fish cake, a boiled egg and ribbons of rice noodles.
A jumble of fish, eggplant, tomato, red onion and capsicum greeted us in the bowl of assam fish, a tangy broth made from tamarind, pineapple and spices that was oddly refreshing in the heat of summer.
Lee's stewed duck $15
Lee's stewed duck was a popular dish at our table, perhaps because it was one of the few dishes without chilli. The duck is stewed whole and then served as fine slices doused with a sweet soy sauce. The meat was exceptionally tender, although I personally found the duck flavour disappointingly mild and the sauce a little too sweet.
Sambal kangkong $10.80
Sambal kangkong, on the other hand, had plenty of kick, strands of morning glory or water spinach stir-fried with belacan shrimp paste and a mouth-tingling amount of chilli.
Malaysian beef rendang $8.90
Our final main was the beef rendang, the meat slow-cooked so it fell apart easily at the touch of a fork.
Aseana sunrise $4.50
For dessert we order the prettily named Aseana sunrise, a cold pumpkin pudding made with coconut milk. The pumpkin flavour isn't as overwhelming as we'd initially anticipated, almost tasting like mango.
My favourite dessert is the muar chee, glutinous rice balls rolled in a mixture of peanuts and sugar. Crunchy and sweet, soft and chewy, we polish it all off, bar licking the plate clean. Ok, I admit it, we did lick the plate clean.
A great suburban find worth investigating.
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1/31/2011 02:21:00 a.m.