A list of our faves after trying every stall in the Sussex Centre Food Court.
[LAST UPDATED AUGUST 2013]
Of the Chinatown foodcourts Eating World and Dixon House get most of the attention, but Sussex Centre is also highly recommended. And it's the cleanest of the three, which is a plus or a minus depending on your point of view. The windows at either end are great people watching spots, it's a bit more upbeat, and the loos are far less toxic than other foodcourts. If you asked us which was our favourite food court we'd say 'all of them'.
Here's a few of our Sussex Centre favourites...
Stewed Pork Leg from Yummy Thai - lovely slow cooked pork balanced with fresh veggies, pickled veggies and a googie egg. $10.90. Yummy Thai is Shawn's favourite spot in the Sussex Centre, we see lots of Thai folks eat here.
Boat Noodle Soup from Yummy Thai - beef (or pork) and mystery meatballs in a lovely, rich beefy soup with clear noodles, a Thai street food classic. $8.50.
Fish Set from Yummy Thai - a whole fried fish with rice and a small tom yum soup on the side, very well cooked and amazing value - $14.
Pork Chop Combination from Saigon Pho (Vietnamese) - lightly fried Vietnamese pork chop on rice with a variety of extras including pork meatloaf, grilled pork and shredded pork skin. Very filling. About $10.
Beef Cubes with Rice from Saigon Pho (Vietnamese) - barbecued marinated beef cubes. Squeeze the lemon into the side serve of pepper and salt and dip the beef cubes into to intensify the flavour. About $9.
Pho from Saigon Pho (Vietnamese) - the classic beef noodle soup that power a nation. Pho is the best legal hangover cure we can find. $8.80.
Anything from Ramen Ikkyu (Japanese) - this joint is flavour of the month at the time of writing. Folks who would normally never set foot in a Chinatown food court are lining up at Ramen Ikkyu. That's because it's bloody good. We like the lighter soups best, particularly the Tokyo ramen.
Laksa from Happy Chef (Chinese) - it may not be the best laksa in town but it's very popular, consistent and there when you need it. It's not too fiery so it's easy on the tum. About $10.
Fried Rice with Pork and Kimchi from Wooree BBQ (Korean)- a surprise hit for us. The rice is red, sweet and a little spicy from the pork bulgolgi. The kimchi gives it a nice tangy pickled touch. $9.50
Hotpot bibimbap from Worree BBQ (Korean) - beef, veggies and a goodie on rice cooked in a clay pot. It's healthy and delicious. The crispy rice bits at the bottom of the pot are divine. Normally we like cold bibimbap but the hotpot version is the winner here. $9.50.
Roast Pork Noodle Soup from Fung Shing Gourmet (Chinese) - your regular Chinese noodle soup but with gorgeous roast pork with crispy skin. Oh yeah.
Ginger and shallot chicken hotpot from Top Choice Sizzling Hotpot (Chinese) - Lovely fresh clean steamed chicken with a healthy dollop of ginger and shallots on top - $9.50. It's kinda healthy so mix it up with a lovely, oily sizzling hotplate.
Fillet Steak Chinese still from Top Choice Sizzling Hotpot - any of the sizzling hotplate dishes will be good. Fillet steak dishes are always a winner, tender slices of beef in a dark, sweet sauce. It's oily food by nature, but this is less oily than other hotplate joints we have tried. $9.50
Ikan sereh (lemongrass) pan fried fish with spicy sauce from Nasi House (Indonesian) - perfectly cooked with sort of a smoky barbecued flavour to the fish. The sauce is mild on the heat with a fresh tomato and lemongrass flavour. This is our favourite dish from this stall. $12.80.
Garlic chicken with tomato rice from Nasi House (Indonesian) - the chef is Indonesian (we think) but loves Japanese food, and this dish is a great Indo-Nihon mashup. Garlicky chicken deep fried in panko (Japanese bread crumbs), on top of rustic, subtle tomato flavoured rice, served with Japanese bulldog (sweet bbq) sauce. Served on a Japanese style salad with miso soup on the side. $9.50.
Sweet and Sour Pork from Ma's Kitchen (Chinese) - this stall is the best bet for your Aussie Chinese standards. The sweet'n'sour has some depth of flavour, nice crispy coating and some lovely wok smokiness. A guilty pleasure $8.80.
Shredded Duck Noodle with Mushrooom from Ma's Kitchen (Chinese) - Amazing light, soft noodles with twice cooked duck, what else do you need to know? $9.50.
Sizzling T-Bone Steak from Cafe de Relax (Hong Kong) - steak from a Chinese joint? Surprisingly it was a pretty good steak, big and tender, cooked on a flat plat (not a wok). The sauces are a bit sweet and gooey but fun. The dish remind us of an old fashioned RSL or pub counter meal, or the steak Shawn's mate's mum would cook in the electric frypan when he was a kid. $15.50.
50 Cent Barley Tea from Worree BBQ or Kitchen OEC - a generous cup of cold barley tea for only 50 cents, cheap and very refreshing. Two stalls serve it: Alison prefers the sweeter one at Kitchen OEC, Shawn prefers almost unsweetened version from Worree BBQ.
For something a bit different...
A few dishes we like that we don't see everywhere.
Winter melon and pork bone soup from North and South (Chinese) - a large bowl of plain, slightly porky broth with magic powers of rehydration. A plain dish that you need to be in the mood for. When the time is right it's wonderful. About $9.
Samgyetang (Korean style chicken with ginseng soup) from Wooree BBQ - a whole, small poached chicken in simple broth, apparently served in summer to replace nutrients lost from sweating. Another dish that you need to be in the mood for but perfect at the right time. $11.80. There's quite a few interesting soups at this joint, we'll be back for more.
Baked Portuguese Spaghetti from Cafe de Relax (Hong Kong) - We love strange Asian versions of Western food, this is one of the most wonderfully wacky we've come across. We can't necessarily recommend it, but dang it's fun. Pan fried Portugues style chicken in gooey, yellow sauce that tastes of coconut with a hint of curry. $10. Choose rice or spaghetti, we recommend spaghetti.
Double Steaks with rice or spaghetti from Cafe de Relax (Hong Kong) - this is like old fashioned RSL cooking, we secretly like it. Choose two steaks (beef, pork, chicken or fish), choose rice or spaghetti, choose your sauce (mushroom is safe but sweet), choose your complimentary beverage, choose a place to sit down, choose life.