Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Sydney Night Noodle Markets 2016

Ah, another year, another Night Noodle Markets.
Gelato Messina: Matcha Do About Nothing

Despite the complaints of the long queues, high prices, gimmicky food, and lack of proper seating, Good Food Month's Night Noodle Markets (NNM) seems to maintain its popularity. The crowd is still massive - especially on weekends, and the queues are just as long, if not longer, and the food is just as gimmicky as ever.

You know what? It's still heaps fun.

The lines are long, but this year they seem to mover quicker thanks to the 'card-only' policy. It is, however, easier to lose track of your spending because you're just tapping your cards on every single stall.


Nuttie Donut stall

I did my research and only went to the ones I really wanted to try. For a better coverage, go to I'm Still Hungry thorough post of NNM 2016.

You really can't skip Hoy Pinoy. The smoke lingers up to St James' station, and it just gives you more reason to grab some of those perfectly charred skewers. Although the Inihaw Na Manok (chicken skewers) are juicy and smoky AF, Inihaw Na Baboy (pork skewers) with its succulent pork are winning still. I was told the chicken adobo fries is worth the try too.

Hoy Pinoy: Inihaw Na Manok (chicken skewers)

Bao Stop have been flooding Instagram with their 'Trifecta' - braised pork belly bao, fried chicken gua bao, and peking duck gua bao. The pork belly is definitely way better than the other parts of the triplets.

Bao Stop: Trifecta baos

The peking duck fries has also been very popular; crispy, shoestring fries topped with shredded peking duck, peking sauce, and spring onion. Tasty, but I would love more sauce for the rather bland fries.

Bao Stop: Peking duck fries

Talking about loaded fries, there sure are lots of loaded fries this year. From chichi fries (Poklol), peking duck fries (Bao Stop), lobster fries (House of Crabs), chicken adobo fries (Hoy Pinoy), chilli mayo fries (Mama Made), and crackling pork belly fries (Mr. Bao).

I admit I only bought this one for Instagram purposes: Octodog from Harajuku Gyoza. It's $9 worth of three fried sausages capped with corndog batter. Cute, but not scoring high on the flavour department.

Harajuku Gyoza: Octodog

Gelato Messina has to cover your dessert time. From the 'Very Very Good Lucky Fortune Bar', I pick Turron Not (fried banana & brown sugar gelato wrapped in filo pastry, ube cream, and kalamansi puree with coconut crunch) and Matcha Do About Nothing (milk chocolate and matcha gelato with white chocolate and pistachio crunch in green tea waffle cone).

Gelato Messina's stall

Gelato Messina: Matcha Do About Nothing & Turron Not

The best part about the Turron Not is the superb fried banana and delicious brown sugar gelato, although the Matcha Do About Nothing is still preferred because of its absolutely luscious milk chocolate gelato and the milk chocolate & pistachio top. The matcha flavour is slightly bitter but not disturbing at all.

Gelato Messina: Turron Not

Gelato Messina: milk chocolate gelato in Matcha Do About Nothing

They're only here for another week, so move quickly if you want to join the lines for the loaded fries.




Hyde Park, Sydney NSW 2000

Good Food Month 2016
Sydney Night Noodle Markets 2016

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Monday, 10 October 2016

Barossa Valley Wine & Food Tour, Adelaide SA

(Insert multiple wine emoji here)
Pour that wine

Because this post is about wine, wine, and more wine.

Before we start, an important disclaimer: I am not a huge wine drinker. And by that I mean that I have never really enjoyed drinking wine let alone being able to point the differences between the various types. I do love moscato, though.

You may ask, why did I go to a wine tour if I do not even enjoy wine? Well, the guy and I were already in Adelaide and we thought the tour would be interesting enough without being being the ultimate wine experts.

So I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I believe I would only be embarrassing myself if I tried to describe how each wine taste as I only took 1 sips of each that were offered.  

We went with an intimate 8 people with a guide tour (from Taste the Barossa) in a rainy, cold July day. We went to four great wineries; each with their own unique wine products and signatures.

The sight seeing tours was also made really enjoyable with glorious views of the wineries, although the vines were mostly dormant in winter. Each winemaker either has their own vineyards or get their grapes from the wine/grape farmers. Each vineyards, despite looking very similar, may grow different types of grapes specifically grown for specific types of wine.

Vineyards. Pretty vineyards.

It was pretty overwhelming to listen about the variables and points that a winemaker needs to consider before start producing the wines. Where the vineyard is located, for example, will determine which kind of grapes are best to be planted. The season also play a big role, e.g. cold season means better times for white wine. Whether the grapes need to be hand-picked or machine-picked, the price will differ significantly in the end.

The weather can also be a bitch to these wine producers, as slight change of the wind or temperature can totally change the whole flavour of the wine. They also have to consider the market - the wines that are being popular right now, or if they can make one type of wine shine through and hence increase the sales.

It's so complicated. Not only they have to think about the mother nature, they also have to keep up with the social trends of wine.


Yaldara Wines (1847 Wines)

 If there is one thing exceptionally unique to this winery, it is their grandeur building of Chateau Yaldara. The 'Yaldara' name itself means sparkling, and they offer Barossan experience with hand-drafted wines and artisan food.

Chateau Yaldara.

The trends these days are the sparkling red wines. They have slightly heavier taste than the white counterparts, but the fizz makes them very interesting.

Wines for tasting from Yaldara Wines. Sparkling petit verdot, rose, and sauvignon blanc were on the list.

Glasses of wine tasting.

30 year old Yaldara Tawny. Matured wine with smooth and sweet notes, easy on the palate, but you may have to drink this responsibly as it has 21% alcohol.

Their underground wine room was impressive to say the least; full of vintage wines and liquors, barrels and old wine bottles.

Vintage wines and liquors.

Old wine bottle rack.

Peter Lehmann Winery

Built for over three decades, Peter Lehmann is a respected and very well-known name in the wine industry. Some ups & downs of wine making has been seen and survived by the company, and legacy of the man lives through the beautiful winery and the surrounding vineyards.

It was our second stop and we were warmly welcomed in the brick house with a warm fireplace and a few bottles of wine sitting politely on the wine tasting table.

Peter Lehmann wine tasting. Peter Lehmann's favourite shiraz inspired by the music he loves, 8 Songs, was among the tasting. Along were Stonewell shiraz, cabernet souvignon, and The Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz.

Black Queen Sparkling Shiraz. Favourite of the group.

It was lunch time and included in the tour is Peter Lehmann's Weighbridge Platter.

Lunch of Wighbridge Platter.

The big plate for 2 includes Linke Meatwurst (German sausage), Lachsschincken (German style smoked meat), beetroot relish & dill cucumber, Kurianda pear chutney, kalamata olives, local almonds, crusty bread, matured cheddar cheese, Barossa Valley Cheese Company's 'Baby Bert', and hand made Lavosh.

I was secretly hoping for a warm soup for lunch, but this platter was surprisingly much more satisfying than I thought it would be, especially with the flavoursome cured meat, tasty chutney, and creamy camembert cheese.

The Black Queen sparkling shiraz is totally recommended for this platter.

Weighbridge Platter.

After lunch we were treated with hot coffees and teas, and we also had time to witness the beauty of the vineyards nearby.


Peter Lehmann's vineyards.

Langmeil Winery

Home to the oldest shiraz vineyard in the world, this one is not to miss. The vineyard is big and gorgeous, and not to mention the giant wine barrels warehouse. Their little house is warm and welcoming to tourists and wine admirers.

Langmeil vineyard.


Wine barrels.

Langmeil winery wine tasting. We get to choose from their list of wine. Mataro, Three Gardens (Mataro, Shiraz, Grenache), riesling, and chardonnay were enjoyed by the group.

As for their wines, I personally recommended their 20 year shiraz tawny that has very rich and sweet taste, almost fruity. Perfect for a sip or two after a meal.

Langmeil's vintage collection.

Murray Street Vineyards

Apart from the breathtaking view of the hamlet of Greenock, Murray Street Vineyards was probably the most elegant winery we visited that day. The design and surroundings are more on the modern side, but don't get me wrong, they still do their wines very seriously.

We tasted their wines in the intimate cellar door with wine barrels and a huge table. So pretty.

Cellar door tasting spot.


2012 Benno Shiraz Mataro - combination from their shiraz & mataro vineyards


All in all, it was an absolutely great day. I learned a lot about wines and grapes, and I know more about the types of wines, although I can't really say I can start blind tasting wine and figuring out what they are.

Definitely a tour a wine lover has to go.

More pretty vineyards.

Drink responsibly.



Yaldara Wines (1847 Wines)

Hermann Thumm Dr
Lyndoch SA 5351

Phone: (08) 8524 0200
Web: 1847 Wines & Yaldara Wines

Peter Lehmann Winery

Para Rd
Tanunda SA 5352

Phone: (08) 8565 9500
Web: Peter Lehmann

Langmeil Winery

Cnr Langmeil Rd & Para Rd
Tanunda SA 5232

Phone: (08) 8563 2595
Web: Langmeil Winery

Murray Street Vineyards

Murray St
Greenock SA 5360

Phone: (08) 8562 8373
Web: Murray Street Vineyards

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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Bella Shack, Bella Vista

Things are getting saucy.
Burgers from Bella Shack

Ditch the cutlery, ladies and gentlemen. Use those hands and keep serviettes handy because the burgers from Bella Shack are a hands-on affair.

Burger waves are currently rocking Sydney, and I cannot be happier. Gimme those soft milk buns with the juicy, succulent pink patty, with those crispy bacon rashers, and the melty cheese. A pickle or two wouldn't hurt either.

Bella Shack parked at the outdoor area of Bella Vista Hotel, the timber-coloured truck pumping out awesome-looking burgers to keen hands of customers. They have a few items on the menu, but it is the specials that you need to keep an eye on - they change weekly. Every burger is served with sea salt & rosemary chips and a drink, which explains the slightly higher price tag.

Bella Shack truck


On a sunny day, the outdoor seating is a perfect spot to absorb both sunshine and delicious calories from the hefty, fat burgers.

Outdoor seating


Before talking about the burgers, can we just discuss the fries? They are absolutely impeccable. You know how sometimes even in a great cup of fries you always find a dense, stale one that does not seem to fit in that cup? There is no such thing here. Every baton of the fries is glorious; crunchy edges, and super soft, pillowy innards. And they are perfectly seasoned with the sea salt & bits of rosemary.

Between the two of us, we can only try two items. So we went to one from each category: the meat and the poultry.

The Bella Boy has everything you could ever ask for from the burger god: house-ground beef patty, smoked bacon, double American cheese, Bella secret sauce, Westmont pickles, Spanish onion, tomato & lettuce on a toasted Japanese milk bun.

Honestly don't know how to describe this beaut. There are a lot of things going on, but they just work so well. The patty cooked to perfection, the smoky, crispy bacon, the cheese, fenced by the creamy, tasty sauce. The milk bun is incredible too - very soft yet yielding a few crispy edges.

The Bella Boy

The special of the week is The Big Matt'r. Combination of Japanese milk bun sandwiching cornflake fried chicken, maple bacon, house jalapenos, havarti cheese, maple aioli, and guacamole. The chicken is magnificent - very crispy batter with juicy chicken, somehow-buttery cheese that is super melty, and of course, the sweet bacon. I wish it has more jalapenos, though. Avocado fans may protest that the guac flavour is barely there, but I have no problem with that at all.

The Big Matt'r

The serving size is pretty massive for me, but if you're not full after devouring the burgers, they got desserts like salted caramel slice ($8), maple & candied bacon ($8), and dark chocolate, cherry, coconut ($8). Or you also have the option of upgrading your meal for $5.

The area is probably not too familiar for some, after all, Bella Vista is no Surry Hills, but believe me it will be worth the trip.

Bring on more burgers!


Currency: $1 = IDR 9,500

Rating: 4/5 (Recommended)
Amazing burgers with slightly higher price, great ambiance and seating, service is pretty quick although there is no table service.



13-15 Lexington Drive
Bella Vista, NSW 2153

Facebook page: Bella Shack

Opening hours:
Fridays & Saturdays: 11 AM - 3.30 PM
Sundays: 11.30 AM - 9 PM

Bella Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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