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Monday, August 22, 2005

Dine & Dish #4: Be Rachael Ray for a Day

As a devoted fan of "cheap and cheerful", this month's Dine & Dish theme seemed right up my alley. Sam issued the Rachael Ray challenge - showcase the cuisine that your city has to offer on a budget of under US$40 in one day.

As most international visitors to Australia are gleefully aware, our pathetic exchange rate significantly increases the size of the bulge in your trousers. That means US$40 instantly converts to an impressive AU$53. What did you think I was talking about? =)

AU$53 is ridiculous money for any budding backpacker, so I instead stuck to a self-imposed budget of AU$40 / $US30.20. And it was dead easy. We're definitely spoilt for cheap eats in Sydney.

There were almost too many different options I could have pursued. A half-price Japanese degustation at Rise for only AU$35 / US$26.45. A breakfast of scrambled eggs by Bill Granger for AU$11.80 / US$8.90. A staggering Lebanese banquet from Rowda Ya Habibi for AU$25 / US$18.90.

But I figured that whenever I travel, I like to stick to one area of town during the course of the day. And if you are limited to one day somewhere, you want to stay close to the town's major attractions. And eat in places where you can stroll in wearing your sneakers and polar fleece without anyone batting an eyelid.

So welcome to AG's foodie's tour through inner city Sydney.
Click on the pics for a more detailed post on this month's visit.
Bon Appetit or, as we say Down Under, grub's up!

Every backpacker needs a hearty breakfast to mop up any excesses from the night before. Dig into the Big Breakfast from Una's on Broadway:
Bacon, sausages, eggs, rosti, toast and tomato AU$9.20 / US$6.95

Then it's a 15 minute stroll down the road to Sydney's buzzing fish markets. This is a foodie adventure in itself with an impressive display of Australia's enviable variety and freshness of fish, crustaceans and assorted molluscs. Once you've poked the trussed-up live mud crabs, admired the live lobster tanks and watched, entranced, by the speedy Gonzales oyster shucker, pick 'n' mix your own lunch from individual fishmongers.

Grilled dory fillets with salad and chips and can of soft drink from Peter's AU$9.90 / US$7.50

We also shared a tray of yellow fin tuna and Atlantic salmon sashimi from Claudio's between three people. Firm, tasty and achingly fresh sashimi cannot be beaten! Sashimi cost per person: AU$6 / US$4.50

Feed the gigantic pelicans, check out Sydney's Star City Casino and meander down to Darling Harbour and Chinatown. Grab a cocktail bun or a handful of Emperor's puffs if you need a sugar fix and then waddle down the road and hop on a bus for the two-minute trip to Surry Hills, home to one of Sydney's most eclectic and cosmopolitan mix of eateries.

Put a little spice into your evening with a banquet of flavours and textures from Maya Masala.
Share a starter of pani puri chaat;
Dig into an onion rawa paneer dosa;
And finish off with a sweet and syrupy Indian dessert.
AU$14.20 / US$10.75

Total cost for the day:
AU$39.30 / US$29.70

You can then make a casual meander north to walk off your dinner (or you could get the bus), ending up at Circular Quay--my favourite way to end the evening for any international visitor...

Strolling around Sydney's beautiful twinkling harbour by night, admiring the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Awww pretty. Licking a rapidly-melting ice cream cone is optional, but needless to say, certainly enhances the sensory experience =)

Contented sighs all 'round.

Check out all the international entries for Dine & Dish #4: Be Rachael Ray for a Day. The round-up will be published by this month's guest host Sam, coming soon to Becks&Posh.

Related GrabYourFork posts:
Breakfast at Una's on Broadway
Lunch at Sydney's Fish Markets
Dinner at Maya Masala
10 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Anonymous on 8/22/2005 09:42:00 pm


  • At 8/22/2005 11:34 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi AG, I'm so envious! For $40 in Britain I could buy a kebab, a beer and some deep-fried haggis for dessert. I hope you appreciate just how good you have it down there! *Drool*...

  • At 8/23/2005 9:09 am, Blogger boo_licious said…

    AG, that is a lovely tour of Sydney. I feel like I flew there for a day and had so much good food that I am waddling back to Malaysia now to work it all off.

  • At 8/23/2005 11:05 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hi AG, it's my first time visiting your blog, but I'm ready to move to Sydney from San Francisco after reading that post. It was a bit of a challenge for me to stay under $40 for 3 meals, but $30?? So, how difficult is it to find work there;)

  • At 8/23/2005 3:29 pm, Blogger Chubby Hubby said…

    I would have made a bee-line first thing in the morning to Bills! Can't get enough of the breakfasts there. Great post.

  • At 8/24/2005 3:37 pm, Blogger deborah said…

    Mmmm. Great job AG! I like the sound of your lunch. I am thinking I might have a seafood lunch on my next growers market day!

  • At 8/26/2005 8:00 am, Blogger Joycelyn said…

    hi ag, i would kill for a plate of bills' divine scrambled eggs now...the next time i make it to sydney, i will make it a point to do my homework by dropping by here first - it's the insider scoop par excellence! cheers,j

  • At 8/26/2005 1:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Coochy-Coo Sweetheart
    this is Rachy-poos coming at you from the U. S of A.
    You've totally sold me on the idea of visiting Sydney with my show.
    Perhaps you would be my guide?
    Give my producer a call, won't you?


    G'day mate


  • At 8/30/2005 12:37 am, Blogger Sam said…

    Hey Augustus-G
    Sorry it took me so long - but the round up has finally been posted. Phew, that was hard work. 33 entries and thank YOU for being one of them!

    sam x

  • At 8/30/2005 4:20 am, Blogger Civic Center said…

    I love your city and I loved eating and drinking there. Though the snotty rich people's restaurants were arriving in Bondi Beach back in 2002 when we were visiting, there were still lots of great places to eat for regular folks.

    One of my favorites was ThaiNesia up in the gay area of town. Delicious.

    Thanks for the nostalgia.

  • At 8/30/2005 8:42 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    long time no comment, ag! here i am again (though i always make a daily visit ;) )

    thanks so much for coming out to play so faithfully in the dine and dish party! and to think...you did it for $30! incredible. see you at the next delicious dishing session!


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