[Updated August 2013]
We tried to come up with a 'top 5' but it ended in tears, there's just too many to choose from. So here's a list of our all time favourites in no particular order...
- Chinatown's food courts are Sydney's most overlooked treasures. We've been to every stall and continually revisit favourites and sniff out new ones. The choice can be overwhelming so check out some of our favourite dishes at: Dixon House, Eating World, Sussex Centre and Market City.
- For Japanese ramen our faves are Ramen Zundo in the city (World Square), Ryo's Noodles in North Sydney/Crows Nest, Gumshara in Chinatown, and Zenya Noodle Bar in Eastwood.
- Albee's Kitchen in Campsie is our fave for Malaysian, or Mamak if we're after roti, Alice's Makan in the city for ice kacang and sweeties.
- Taj Indian Restaurant and Sweets ~ Harris Park (Parramatta) - this joint popped our vegetarian Indian cherry, we love it to bits. For similar goodness closer to the city, Maya in Surry Hills is good though not with the same magic.
- Kura Japanese Dining - a tiny corner joint in Chinatown serving Japanese everyday eats, cooked by Japanese folks and served with traditional chirpy Japanese singsong flourish. Love it. We are yet to try upstairs.
- Singapore Shiok! ~ Eating World Chinatown - A simple hawker stall in Chinatown's Eating World food court does big bold Malaysian \ Singaporean street food classics, give it a whirl instead of lining up like sheep at Mamak, it's about 20 metres away from the end of the queue :-)
- Every Lebanese Bakery in Arncliffe - super fresh, super cheap Lebanese pizza whipped up by tops ladies.
- Alison digs the congee at Super Bowl in the Chinatown Dixon Street mall, sitting outside with fried bread and xo pippies. Mr Shawn prefers the congee and surreal other-worldly late night atmosphere of Golden Century. He also likes watching the fish.
- Pondok Buyung ~ Anzac Parade, Kensington - Nasi Padang, as close as you can get to eating in Sumatra, run by lovely Indonesian mammas. Love it. Also check out Warung Ita in Lakemba for more goodness from Padang.
- $4 Boat Noodle Soup at Chon Siam ~ Campbell Street Chinatown/City - Chon Siam does an amazingly tasty and true $4 boat noodle soup. Lot's of Thai folks frequent this tiny little place, 'nuff said.
- Faheem's Fast Food ~ Enmore Road, Enmore - Amazing naan bread to soak up amazing Pakistani curries, a legend amongst Enmore\Newtown locals, Pakistan expats and taxi drivers.
- Every Vietnamese Joint in Marrickville - Like most Marrickville regulars we have favourite dishes in each of the great little hole in the wall Vietnamese joints, we find it is simply impossible to pick a favourite. I'm sure some folks would say the same thing about Cabrammatta, we're just too far away to get there often. We've eaten here too many times to remember.
- All the Turkish grill joints in Auburn - Auburn is our favourite cultural melting pot, it has a great vibe on a weekend afternoon. Follow the smoke and crowds to any of the Turkish grill joints such as Sofra, New Star Kebab and Gozde Cafe - follow it up with amazing Turkish desserts at Mado Cafe. Sultan's Table in Enmore is excellent if you're the inner west.
- Jonga Jip - there's a ton of Korean joints in Eastwood but we keep on going back to Jonga Jip. Works out super cheap with a group of four people or so.
Classic joints in the city for visitors
Some of Sydney's best budget feeding holes around the city, beware, you may have to queue.
- Mamak - excellent Malaysian street food classics, most likely the best roti in town. Fun busy and cheap - www.mamak.com.au
- Chat Thai - want to eat where Thai folks eat? Head to Thainatown! Chat Thai has been going for twenty years and is superb and cheap. We like to go late at night when the queue is down and the dessert action is in full swing.
www.chatthai.com.au. There's lots more great Thai joints along Campbell and Pitt Streets if Chat Thai is full.
- Laksa for lunch at Hunter Street Malaysian - many folks suggest this joint does the best laksa in town. It is super packed and buzzing at lunchtime, a real hoot if you're in the mood for it. It can get packed but tables turn over quick.
- Menya Mappen - this tiny little joint is a big piece of Japan, it's super popular and super cheap. If you're on a budget and want a quick lunch this place is awesome.
- Pasteur Vietnamese - a wonderful classic old style Vietnamese joint that's being going over twenty years, normally you would only find a treasure like this in the burbs. Great pho.
Want to go somewhere with a broad menu and try some stuff you don't see everywhere? Our favourite joints for menu adventures are:
- Yee King Noodles ~ Sussex Street Chinatown ~ this is the place to find something unique and utterly delicious, skip the dumplings and salt'n'pepper stuff and explore the menu for new favourites. Try the Deep Fried Pork Ribs with Shallots - it's misleadingly named, and utterly, utterly delicious. Shawn is obssessed with this place.
- Petaling Street ~ George Street, Haymarket - perhaps not the penultimate Malaysian joint in town but the menu is big and great to explore, and the quality is consistent.
After something a bit different?
- Rumah Makan Immanuel in Ultimo for amazing Indonesian soft boned chicken.
- Malacca Straits in Broadway\Ultimo for BYO Singapore chili crab, it's fun buying your own crab and Chef Tan is a master.
- Chin Yip Coffee Lounge - wacky Hong Kong cafe food and eighties decor upstairs in Dixon House. We love it!
- Kung Fu Ramen - tacky name but amazing noodles, freshly hand pulled in front of your eyes to order, the beef skewars are also very popular.
- Ashfield Cafe - a classic old Aussie hamburger joint on the inside, a great Malaysian street food joint inside.
- Fiesta Filipino - feast Philippines style in Blacktown.
- El Jannah - Granville - Lebanese charcoal chicken with uber garlic sauce.
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