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28 Black Acai

So this is probably my first street freebie/handout received in the Pyrmont area. Not notoriously known for this type of promotions unlike Town Hall and Wynyard Station (foot traffic central).

Sold in black and gold, the marketing team understands this symbolises prestige and I think it can only be bought at 7/11.  Apparently every can has at least 4% of the Acai Berry Extract and they use 28 berries per liter. It was all on the can and in the little booklet that was tied to the can. Great lil' promotion.

I normally don't go out of my way to buy energy drinks unless I'm uncontrollably sleepy at work but I'm really loving the refreshing tastes of the Acai Berries. I think mixed this with some Vodka and we got ourselves a winner! Hmmm and it is a Friday... What a great way to stay energetic, "healthy" and uncontrollably loud...

Crunchie Ice Cream

So standing in the ice-cream aisle deciding what ice-cream fulfil our after dinner cravings.. I think my fiancée won this round and we settled for something honeycomby....
I'm not a big Honeycomb fan.. so that eliminates my passion for snacks like Crunchie and Violet Crumble. My fiancée on the other hand seems to only seek out those snacks containing the things I hate. Wonder if she secretly does so just so I don't finish it all....I wouldn't blame her.

Just like the Snickers one, it's all individually wrapped to mimick the look of the candy bar. 
After my first bite, all I can say is Wow! I'm actually loving this ice-cream. I think the fact the honeycomb center isn't crunchy like the candy bar but very smooth and sweet really allows me to become a secret honeycomb converter. 

I don't think you'll see me reaching the Crunchie bars at the confectionery aisle... but I'll definitely be keeping an eye on its ice-creamy counterpart.

Lamb Souvlaki @ The Grill

I was instantly drawn to this place when I found out they make souvlakis.... 
Situated under Imax, this little venue gets its fair share of visitors and for a good reason. They serve mini burgers and souvlaki paired up with a chips and drink combo. Nothing original except that their souvlaki is pretty dang good. 

The service is moderately fast dependant on the number of orders as they usually only have two works manning the whole store. 
I love souvlaki and have been known to long for a trip to Melbourne just to satisfy my souvlaki cravings. Sydney's closest substitute are kebabs and yeeros... which just doesn't compare.
I would say this is better than most kebabs in Sydney but you get a tiny snack size serving for your $8 investment. 

Everything about just tastes freshly made from the bread to the soft and juicy lamb. Plenty of sauce... so much so you can't eat and walk with this unless you love oily sauce stains on your clothes and shoes. I actually ruined on pair of my shoes when the oil landed directly on the suede section. I learnt my lesson this time and actually sat down in a nearby food court. 

That's the only downfall of this place, its such a great location with great views... but you can't enjoy your meal by the water because of all those seagulls. Normally they place all your meal in a brown paper bag to take away.. but in hindersight, I'm glad they didn't. I think the seagulls have developed an association with brown bags and food... damn you Maccas. 

Wonka Triple Chocolate Whipple

Wow! A new range released for Wonka. Four exciting new flavours and this is what I got my paws on...
Wonka's new range is more about being creative and gimmicky but don't really offer us anything new and original taste wise.

The chocolate is very rich and super sweet, but I don't mind it like that. Especially when it dissolves into a thick melted puddle in your mouth. The most amazing part of the chocolate is the raised 3D shapes on the chocolate and that's where it all lies. Depending on which piece you got, you will either get a Choc Fudge, Choc Sauce or Choc Cookie piece-as if you're consuming different sections of the pipe in the chocolate making process.
If you're just after a snack with more trick than treat, this range definitely delivers-like a block of chocolate with a fairy tale written on chocolate pieces.

Beef Yeeros @ The Yeeros Shop

A quick Google search found me this treasure. I'm not normally snacking around Marrickville but if I'm in the area, I'm a frequent visitor of the Yeeros Shop.
Have you ever had a kebab and was wondering whey they skimp out on the meat and sauce. Then this is your place. Meat pieces are chunky.. none of that thinly sliced stuff you get elsewhere in Sydney. The service is very friendly here, despite being busy, and that's a rare trait I can appreciate. The yeeros are packed with so much meat inside you cant even close the wrap. Don't even know if you can offically call this a yeeros as it's just meat attempting to stay enclosed in an undersized pita bread. Even though I'm a full-fledged carnivore, I thought that there was way too much meat. ( I had enough from my roll to make a small meat platter) 
The garlic and chilli sauce combo is always my go-to sauce when it comes to this. Not only great to ware off vampires but it works nicely to break the meatiness. You might feel like they've forgotten the salad but it's there amongst the cow.

My happiest moment when revisiting this place was the chips. My first bite into it flashed me back to when I was a kid and use to get the fish and chips in the newspaper. So oily, so good! Though now thinking back... how sanitary was it to place food in newspaper. Plus that's the size of a small plate, so you know the servings are generous. 
Though overall quality-wise, you're not getting something as fresh. But for what it is, I'm more than happy to use this to tie me over 'til I can get my Stalactite souvlaki fix.

Snowy River Sausage Roll

So when you're on a budget and you want a cheap snack... head to Coles and grab yourself a frozen sausage roll.... or not....
To make the process easy, tiny holes are all over the packaging allowing you to just whack it in the microwave without even removing the packaging. 
Wow... I knew sausage rolls were bad for you but look at what happen after nuking it for 2 minutes...
What's the taste verdict? I can only taste oily pastry. I see the "meat" (possibly a combination of shoe and roadkill) but all you can taste is a thick oily and highly salted pastry. I want my dollar back.. I'll need it to pay for the heart attack induced from eating this.

The Natural Confectionery Co. Smoothie Chews

So lately the local supermarkets have been having a sale frenzy on lollies and I'm always happy to appease them by adding some as backup in my pantry. 
I love the fact it's very chewy and the flavour is long lasting. Downside is that you get a sore jaw after a few pieces. Maybe that's a good thing for the waistline. 

The flavours it comes in are: Apple and Raspberry, Mixed Berry, Strawberry and Banana, and Mango and Passionfruit. They all sound pretty nice and safe. The lolly is constructed with one flavour wrapping around the other flavour and easily distinguished by the different colours.
No flavour really stood out to be but I guess it would be a great drawer filler incase you feel that need for a sugar hit.
The marketing department even attempted to entertain us by placing questions on each of the wrapper (more personal than trivia).
Questions include:
What's your nickname at school or work?
What new chew flavour would you like to create?
What's your all time favourite TV Show?

I guess it would be great if you run out of questions to ask on that awkward first date....

Sausage Croissant @ Breadtop

During my long lunch walks I noticed that the Breadtop @ Town Hall had a new addition. A sausage croissant... Welcome!
I've always admitted that there's something about croissants that appeal to me... despite not really ever eating one that was fantastic... still yet to venture to La Renaissance.

The pastry is oily and flaky which provided a crispy and crunchy bite. The sausage and cheese is very average. I think with a more flavoured and seasoned sausage and better slice of cheese, this hot dog reinvention would have been a wiener...
Another thing that caught my eye was an oval shaped egg tart... umm what? That's just not right. I had to buy it.. at least in hope that to justify it's unconventional shape, it would have been an amazing delight. 

The egg custard is creamy and just sweet enough but the pastry is very biscuit like but still quite soft. Personally I prefer buttery and flaky.. that crumbles on each bite forcing you to finishing it within a few bites or bear the risk of dropping everything. This egg tart has nothing on the ones in Hon Kong nor even my local Flemington egg tart provider.

Shame... I was almost certain that the sausage croissant was going be a gem....

Chicken and Spring Vegetable Pie @ Central Depot Bakery

So Central Depot Bakery often gets listed as one of the top 3 bakeries to get a pie. I'm a definite pie lover, so much so that I would  tolerate a low quality pie and excuse it just because it's a pie.  
I personally love the pies up in the Blue Mountains... enough for me to endure a bush walk just so I feel deserving to stop off afterwards and pack in those calories. Maybe I can convince myself to drive up just for a pie for the blog... anyone interested?
This pie is hearty and chunky and probably would have been warmer if I didn't have to venture so far to find a seat where I wouldn't be attacked by seagulls. There's one thing you can guarantee that they won't let you down on and that's the pastry. Excellent as always. The veges tasted fresh and made it feel very healthy. I personally don't like veges in my pies. The pieces of chicken was a bit rough for my liking but the sauce was decent enough to make it bearable. To be honest, it was probably a bad idea to attempt to tackle this pie after a pasta lunch but what's done is done. 

Now thinking back.. maybe I should have just tried a more meaty option.. knowing how carnivorous I am...

Nice Buns

After noticing a friends Facebook post, I knew that there was a place in Sydney where you can safely utter out nice buns without risking a drink in the face.
Welcome to Nice Buns where the service is top notch and the stand is humble. No need for anything showy when you have the food to do the talking for you. We ordered one of each and it took less than five minutes to serve and they looked fantastic. It was a better deal to get two for $10 than one for $5.50 so the Asian in me overrides any healthy instincts.
First off I sank my teeth into the Belly Bun. The pork belly was soft and well cooked. I liked the fact among all my friends there didn't seem to be a bad cut of pork belly unlike Ippudo where you can get a dry piece and the luck of the draw factor can ruin your experience. The flavour was also delicious and I felt at home with the Sriracha sauce as the familiar kicker. 

My only gripe is the same as celebrity chef Manu... where's the sauce? It felt like something was missing. The serving size is very decent and because of this the bun is slightly thicker and at the end of the day it would have been nicer with more sauce to cater for the larger portion. 
My second victim was the Chicky Bun. The chicken was so juicy and soft that you could have mistaken it for fish. It's very rare to find chicken cooked in this format and still retain such a tender texture. It was a awesome combination with the juxtaposition of the crunch from the double fried batter and the pickled carrot with seaweed complimented nicely. Yet again... just needs a bit more sauce. 
Overall the experience was a positive one and no doubt a place like this paired with their upbeat attitude, this will go far. Give it a try!

To top it off, the day was nice and sunny which allowed us to venture the markets looking for hidden non-food-related treasures.

Tic Tac Snack Campur Mix

This has been sitting my drawer at work for weeks now. I bought it as an impulse reaction to its cheap price but to be honest it looks quite unappealing and I suspect it to be nothing more than another dud snack.
This Indonesian snack has proudly defaced its packaging mentioning they are the official sponsors of Real Madrid. 

What is it? It's a combination of tapioca flour balls and corn pieces. A slightly salty and sweet combination of powders and different crunchy textures actually made it very interesting. Very moreish.
The only downside is that the seasoning is quite plentiful which means it can get really messy. So its not ideal for eating at your desk at work while you're trying to code. 

Another point was the crunch is quite loud. I manage to polish the whole packet in one seating and the infernal crunching was driving my neighbouring workmate mad. 

Pure Durian Cake

So this was my attempt to bring the Durian flavour to work and slowly introduce the fruit to my workmates. I really didn't want to go extreme with it as the smell could send all my workmates packing.
The packaging claims it has 88% Durian and 12% Sugar... but it tasted like 100% $hit. 

It's enough to make me type OMG! WTF was that.

The after taste was even worse. It tasted like I just threw up and I needed to more than just water to wash it out. 
I managed a bite and a half before binning this $1 investment. This was not a Durian experience, and it definitely ain't no cake I want for my birthday.

Jaffle Craving Chaos

It was a Saturday.. the weather was great.. my stomach was hungry after a gruelling tennis game... and all I felt like was Jaffles. A reminder of my childhood... me sporting a bowl haircut rushing down to the kitchen to smell the melting of cheese. My mum use to make it simple: ham, cheese and gherkins... and I loved it. It was most important to eat the triangles from heaven hot.. otherwise you lose the full experience.

For those who don't know.. Jaffles is just two slices of bread, with whatever filling you like, pressed together by a Jaffle maker. It turns the two slices of bread into two triangle pieces sealing in all your contents... despite sometimes letting the cheese ooze out of the corners.

We recently got given a sample of cheeses from my fiancées family and I was excited to melt those golden slices. After that.. it all just went downhill...

It was my fault really... I should have defrosted the bread. As I place the two pieces of bread in the machine and pressed down... the handle snapped and the plastic dug a nice five cent coin deepness out of my thumb. Leaving my unfinished Jaffle... I spent the next 90 minutes applying pressure to stop the endless bleeding.
The brand of the Jaffle maker for those who were looking to avoid this death trap. I've heard Breville makes a better and long lasting one.. I might need to invest once I get over this fear of pressing.
The indentation feels funny under the band-aid but at least it'll be a nice reminder for me to be more careful.

Crackles Classic @ Mr Crackles

This post has been long overdue. Ever since I sunk my teeth into the Crackles Classic there was no turning back...
Despite not being in the best location on Oxford Street, this place get its fair share of pork lovers at all types of hours. 

What I can't get enough of is their Crackles Classic: Crisp skinned slow roast 5 spiced pork belly served with Vietnamese salad in a roll.

What we have here is a reinterpretation of the pork roll. You'll get the two sides: the die hard Cabra pork roll lovers that feel this isn't the same, how can you replace the old school classic with this, and then you'll have the converted (like me) who grew up with the pork roll before it was Westernized, and then be blown away at how great it can taste in this format. 
The pork is melt in you mouth good....
The crackling is crunchy enough but not deadly sharp to cause injury while trying to eat it....
The salad compliments it so well and really breaks down all the meatiness....

The size... well open your mouth wide... or be prepared for some spillage.

You can even top it off some Ghost Chili sauce... (which was very mild considering it was suppose to be Ghost Chilies)
If you're just up for something "lighter" then you can just get a cup of crackling... though this was a fantastic idea.. I think the crackling on its own is way too much.. too salty, too oily and just too much of the same thing. After eating it we all felt parched...

So if you still don't believe me on how great this must-try place is... Google those reviews... you'll see so many tourist calling this place The-Must-Visit in Sydney... and I tend to agree. 

Leche Flan

It's been so have you been? What? You want me to eat you!?
In the Philippines, this is a delicious and creamy dessert is nationally called as leche flan (from the Spanish origin flan de leche, which literally means ‘milk flan’). The Philippine leche flan is much heavier version than crème caramel.

This is one of the most requested dessert especially during celebrations such as town fiestas and parties. Also I've noticed that among the desserts served on the table, this one is usually the quickest to vanish before your eyes.

The traditional recipe calls only for egg yolks, condensed milk, evaporated milk and sugar while steaming is the classical method of cooking it.

I can barely remember the last time I enjoyed this. The first time was at an old job where my manager brought it in for me to try. From then on, I was hooked. I recall my first time in Philippines meeting my fiancee's family and I told them my favourite food was leche flan. To my shock every morning for my stay they would have one ready to serve me for breakfast. If you've ever eaten this, you know that eating this everyday is asking for a heart attack.

I found this box of Leche Flan mix in my pantry. I purchased it at a supermarket on my last trip to the Philippines. It has been a super lazy Saturday so what better way to top off the night.
After a quick read of the instructions, a trip to the shops for evaporated milk and we were good to go. 

So we started off by pouring the packet syrup into a buttered dish. We made two as we didn't one just one super thick flan. You then mix up a cup of evaporated milk and the leche flan mix. 
After steaming it for 25 minutes, we eagerly watched it rest until cool and impatiently waited an hour for it the chill in the fridge for an hour.
Yum! Time to serve and taste!

The caramel tasted quite nice for something from a packet. The consistency was not as sweet and smooth as the real thing. Apparently it tastes like the flan that has been overcooked and was more cake-like. It was definitely more dense.
Though to be fair, it's a packet mix and overall it's not bad for what it was. Shame, I thought I found a cheat way that was simple and delicious.

Coles Cool Coconut

My mini mission of finding generic brand goods that can replace or surpass well-known brands. Today we have a Bounty challenger!
I love Bounty. From the colour of their wrapping to the beautiful taste of the chocolate and coconut combination. 

I'm surprising to find Cole's interpretation is quite good. The name is quite lame, Cool Coconut, almost like they're trying too hard with alliteration. I think this product can stand proud amongst its generic brothers and sisters.

I'm also not a fan of green packaging. This should be reserved for mint flavours only. 

The coconut center isnt very sweet but the slightly hard coconut shell has enough sweetness to save its reputation.
I'd definitely recommend a try and at a always low price of $2.25 for 12 pieces, why wouldn't you. 

Snickers Hazelnut

I love limited edition snacks... its the collector aka hoarder instincts in me that makes me add items like this into my shopping basket. That being said.. it is a Snickers... and something tells me this can't be a bad thing.
Wow! Just when I thought the original Snickers, of which my drawer at work holds plenty, could not be topped and would remain one of my favourite secret loves. This hazelnut challenger throws a right hook and knocks the original to the canvas.

Tagline: A pile of hazelnuts, chewy caramel and a slab of nougat, covered in chocolate.

I love the taste of hazelnut replacing the original peanuts. It adds character, almost like a completely new and creative candy bar. Even after 15 minutes, I still could taste the linger of hazelnut in my mouth.
I guess they can still hold true to their values of Snicker really satisfies.. again!

Eggnog Cookies

Eggnog cookies. Yes please!
I don't know why but from the packaging I was expecting some sort of an egg-shaped biscuit with oozing eggnog flavoured cream inside.

Instead its a egg tasting crunchy bite that's sweet and pleasant. It's fluffy and flavoursome but yet not overpowering. Tastes like a well made biscuit.

The snack is made in the Philippines but can be bought at your local Asian grocer.

I'm a big fan of bitesize snacks. Not only do I feel like a giant eating them, but bite size means no crumbs on all your clothes, desk and keyboard.
Great snack to enjoy if you don't like all those biscuits with cream and chocolate. Personally I have a sweet tooth and this just isn't sweet enough for me. 

Charlie & Co Burgers Truffle and Parmesan Fries

Despite their name, the burgers here are reviewed to be quite poor for the dollar invested but their hidden secret has to be their Truffle and Parmesan Fries.
I don't think the photos do it justice. The fries are drenched in truffle oil and well seasoned with parmesan. The cheesy and oily combo can give you that heart attack you didn't request but it felt almost worth taking the risk. I definitely appreciated that I didn't need any sauce whatsoever because it was already so full of flavour.

After eating it, you'll notice your fingers are covered in oil and you feel slightly more unfit than when you sat down. I guess that's the price you pay for a good snack.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling Gems

So Din Tai Fung's First ever in Australia Dumpling Gems has arrived. 

This seemed to have originated from a restaurant called Paradise Dynasty in Singapore. Which I'm happy to hear as I'll be heading over the Singapore soon and can't wait to hunt this place down.
So the price tag for this is pretty hefty at $7.80 to $8.80 for 4 small dumplings. Obviously the multiple colours and flavour variety is the gimmick here and I handed over my money like a sucker.

The Din Tai Fung at the Star only has one flavour a day hence it makes it very hard to try them all at once but get your hungry bellies to World Square and battle the lines and you'll be rewarded with all 7 sensations.

The flavours consist of Seafood Diamond, Citirine Cheese, Ruby Bolognaise, Topaz Corn, Emerald Green, Onxy BBQ and Sapphire Garlic. What flavour is Emerald Green?? 
The flavour for sale today was Citirine Cheese. With their already great Xiao Long Bao as its base, they merely added a nice cheese center to it.

I like how the cheese pulled out of my dumplings like I was enjoying a great pizza. It was even more beautiful smothered in the chilli oils provided. 
Super excited about heading over to Singapore now to try these at a better price and possibly better quality!

Whittakers Peanut Butter

Big claim from my fiancee's brother: "It's better than Reese's Peanut Butter Cups!"
This made me very curious as to how amazing this is. I mean have you had a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup?? It's super sweet chocolate with a peanut butter goodness on the inside.

I personally have a long relationships with Whittakers. Their mini coconut slabs have been curing my sweet tooth craving for years. To find out they have moved into the big chocolate block format and releasing new flavours is quite exciting.

The chocolate is beautiful, the peanut butter tastes like melted peanut butter from a jar. The combination is magnificent... but even without tasting it I could have told you that. The soft melting peanut butter makes it more savoury than sweet but still ever so scrumptious and definitely no complaints here.
I'm not sure I'd give up Reese's and replace it with this permanently. All I know is if the price finally drops on these blocks of chocolates... I'll definitely be in line to stock up my pantry.

Update: I can't seem to see them at Coles anymore. Are they already discontinued?