Here is the food post we’ve all been waiting for ;) There’s just something about food that’s more exciting than anything else. Oh, and random fact- I had Yum Cha three times in the 6 days I was in Sydney and also another three times in the following 2 weeks after I came back. Talk about overload…
I forgot to include the T2 Brew Bar that I saw in QVB in my last post (Sydney Part I here and Part II here). What a cool concept! They create different tea concoctions to sell, or you can request a special mix of your own. It’s a more affordable way for those wanting those mixed teas but don’t want to buy all the different flavours. There were testers of course as with usual T2 shops, and the one I sampled was called The 2 o’clock rush- Monk Pear + Crème Brulee + Strawberries & Cream + Turkish Apple & Cinnamon. It was deliciousness in a cup and a wonderful refresher after all that shopping.
It’s sold for $5 a bottle. However, I’ve been raised by an extremely typical, stingy Asian parent so I shamelessly refilled my sample cup once more instead of buying a bottle >_> Okay, I do feel slightly ashamed now that I’m typing this out for everyone to judge me.
On the second to last day of my holiday, I headed to CBD again but this time with my cousin and her friends for some catch-up time. We headed to Pitt Street Mall which is Australia’s busiest and most cosmopolitan shopping precinct. Whilst QVB is extremely gorgeous and beautiful, the shopping there is quite limited since it’s mainly high end stores. Pitt Street Mall has everything so you’re more likely to buy more and window-shop less here.
There’s Top Shop, Zara, Michael Kors, you name it. I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about Top Shop and could see why. I found it very “fashion blogger style” which is something everyone wants to achieve so it would appeal to most people. I’m an oddball so I tend to dislike things that everyone likes for some reason! Quality is better than that of Glassons and Dotti but still not worth the price in my eyes :/
Also situated in Pitt Street Mall is the infamous Ladurée, nicknamed the Chanel of all macarons. With it’s trademark pastel colours and gold embellishments, it’s hard not to squeal girlishly at the pretty macarons on display.
I had already been forewarned by a friend that Ladurée Sydney was extremely disappointing and average. Apparently the macarons are made in France and then frozen and flown over to Sydney where they defrost it to sell. How very environmentally friendly. The vast amount of fuel needed to fly these macarons is a big contributor to the extravagant prices so it’s probably best for your taste buds, your wallet, and the Earth if you hold off on these and wait for when you get travel to France. However, my friends had asked me to buy these for them so I bought a few boxes of 6 ($30.00 each) to bring back for them. I did try one to see if the price was worth it but it was indeed quite average and disappointing.
After we had finished browsing Pitt Street Mall, we headed for The Star (mainly) for Adriano Zumbo. I’m not exactly sure how to get there as my cousin led the way, but you go through QVB or Town Hall Station, and past Darling Harbour. It’s quite a walk, about 15-20 minutes maybe? This place is rather high end too. There’s a casino, fine dining restaurants, and your usual high end brand names. We headed straight for Adriano Zumbo’s patisserie shop where we were hoping to indulge in the dessert train (a sushi train but with desserts), but unfortunately it turned out that the train no longer exists.
Disappointed, we decided to refuel with savoury items instead and headed to the “food court” if you can call it that. Din Tai Fung stood out to me the most as I vaguely recalled the name from somewhere so we ordered Vegetarian Wontons in spicy sauce, Wonton Noodles, and a Liu Sha Bao.
The wontons were unlike any wontons I had ever had, the wrapper was so soft and translucent, it was almost like a har gau wrapper instead of your usual wonton wrappers. The sauce was indeed very spicy (and oily) with pleasant burning sensation in your mouth. I did initially order the Xiao Long Bao (Dragon dumplings) as well because something was nagging me at the back of my head to try them here, but I concluded that we already had dumplings so I should go for the Liu Sha Bao as I had been craving them so badly after seeing Mira post up photos of them on zomato.
If there’s a current food trend in Asia, it would be the Liu Sha Bao- salted duck egg lava custard buns. Poke it and the custard inside just flows out- it is simply foodporn at it’s finest. The one from Din Tai Fung wasn’t to my liking however, I found the custard to be too rich and creamy- I could almost taste butter and fat in my mouth.
I belatedly remembered when I got home that Din Tai Fung is famous for being described as the world’s tastiest dumplings. I should have stuck to the Xiao Long Bao!! According to the website:
“Din Tai Fung has a signature point of difference – every dumpling pastry is delicately hand made to measure between precisely 4.8 and 5.2 grams at conception, with an exact 6cm diameter, before being stuffed to weigh between 20.8 and 21.2 grams. All this and the promise that the food can be made fresh in front of your eyes, steamed in exactly three minutes and on your table in seconds. Such scientific precision and quality control is what makes Din Tai Fung stand out from the rest.”
*mentally banging my head against a rock for missing out on such a great opportunity that was right in front of my eyes.*
Nevertheless, we headed back to Adriano Zumbo after our very late lunch / very early dinner at the awkward eating time of 4:30pm . I had promised my sister I’d bring her back the best macarons I could find in Sydney, and these Zumbarons did not disappoint!
They were much more reasonably priced than Ladurée, it’s $15 a box of 6 macarons. If there’s one thing I love about zumbarons, it’s how there is so much flavour infused into them. If you’ve seen Masterchef Australia, you can see how he infuses the actual product to bring out maximum flavour. (Example: he infused whole hamburgers into cream to make a hamburger flavoured macaron). The flavours I got were Toasted Marshmallow, Salted Butter Caramel on Toast, Passionfruit & Lemon, Salted Butter Popcorn, Fingerbun, and Berry Brulée. It was so hard resisting the temptation to sneak a bite of them first before delivering them to my sister!
My sister ate half of the Toasted Marshmallow macaron in the morning before she left for work and left the other half for me, with a note saying “OMG!!! AMAZING!!!” in caps locks. After suffering the disappointment of Ladurée, I doubtfully bit into the macaron, and then began jumping up and down in excitement. So much flavour!! It was gloriously Toasted Marshmallow-y!
The texture of the macaron itself was good, but still not as amazing as the first time I had a macaron which was in L.A (before the macaron trend had hit off in NZ). I can’t remember the name of the one in L.A, but the macaron was so delicate and soft, it crumbled in my hands when I picked it up. You had to be extremely cautious and hope it would get to your mouth before it slipped through your fingers and plonked onto the floor.
I’ve read that the texture of zumbarons vary with each flavour but I’m not sure if that’s true or if it’s just because they were not as fresh as we gradually demolished the box throughout the next few days.
I’m already dreaming of devouring these little heaven-sent treats again. It was a wonderful, reminiscent reminder of the beautiful days I had in Sydney.