Sunday, 26 June 2011

Din Tai Fung, Sydney (26th June 2011)

Jono leaves for San Francisco today for work and I won't be seeing him for the next 5 weeks till I fly over to meet up at the end of July! Have been feeling somewhat sad the last couple of days knowing my baby will be away for so long (this would be the longest time he is gone) and even though we can easily keep in touch with today's modern technology (phone, email, Skype etc.), it just doesn't feel the same not having him around physically. But I'm excited for him because he gets to work at the Google HQ, an opportunity most of us IT folk can only dream of. Working in Silicon Valley, home to some of the world's largest technology corporations - how awesome is that? I'm jealous but very happy for him :) I hope the next 5 weeks will fly by quickly and I'll get to see him in person soon. Looking forward to my 2-week holiday in San Francisco and the surrounding areas - about time for a break from work!

Was up at 6am to get ready and have breakfast before accompanying Jono to the airport. Ken was really sweet to get up as well and made us mushroom and cheese omelettes - thanks Ken! The taxi came to pick us up at 7.30am and we arrived at the airport about 15 minutes later to join a long queue of passengers checking in to their Air New Zealand flights. I'm unsure if the queue was because everyone was trying to get on Air New Zealand flights since most other airlines have cancelled their flights due to the volcanic ash cloud but it was a ridiculously long wait, leaving Jono only 45 minutes to go through customs and rush off to his gate. Lots of kisses and hugs as we bid farewell (no, I did not cry this time, really) - have a safe flight and let me know when you arrive at San Fran! Will miss my baby dearly :(

Took a taxi home and was out again with Ken around 10.30am to World Square Shopping Centre where  he purchased a cheap prepaid mobile and SIM card from the Optus store. Having an Australian mobile number now would make it very handy to get in touch with him (his NZ mobile phone and number didn't work here) and also with his job hunt. We had some time to spare before meeting Su Wei for lunch so went to check out the Asian supermarket, Miracle Supermarkets. We were rather like kids, in all our Asianness, highly excited to see products we grew up eating and are familiar with in the supermarket. You can even purchase fresh vegetables and meat, as well as baked buns and other Asian pastries in store. "Oh, look, they have those soft shell crab things - let's get some on the way home," piped Ken as we walked past the cooked food area. Hmm, baby crabs marinated in a chill sauce...I wonder what it would taste like...

Headed upstairs to Din Tai Fung restaurant where we were meeting Su Wei for lunch around 11.30am. Su Wei was running late so Ken and I got in the queue for a table. I really wanted to check out this restaurant because the guys at Google keeps raving about the place whenever I'm out with them. Su Wei's heard the same from her friends and since we both have not been there, we decided to give it a go just to see what all the hype was about. Din Tai Fung is a world renowned Taiwanese restaurant that specialises in 'xiao long bao', aka soup dumplings. The restaurant name rings a bell and I think my rellies had taken me to the Malaysian branch on one of my visits to Kuala Lumpur several years ago...

We were given a numbered buzzer and an order sheet to fill in while we waited to be buzzed. It was rather strange that we had to pre-order our food without seeing an actual menu (no coloured pictures of dishes as reference). Oh well, I guess we have to try our luck. Definitely getting the 'xiao long bao'...tick...what about dan dan noodles or rice dishes...The three of us quickly skimmed the list and filled up the form before handing it together with the buzzer to the maitre'd and followed her to our table. The restaurant was very busy but unfortunately they do not accept bookings so you have to queue for a table. Surprisingly, the service was quite prompt and soon our table was filled with an assortment of food: 'xiao long bao', shrimp & pork 'shao mai' (similar to the soup dumpling except there's an extra shrimp on the top, making the dumpling look like the shape of a sea anemone), Shanghainese style Drunken Chicken (chicken drumstick deboned and marinated in a blend of Chinese rice wine), pork bun, Dan Dan Noodles (noodles in sesame paste sauce), Crumbed Chicken served with fried medium grain rice (Taiwanese style rice), and Steamed Taro Dumpling and Steamed Mini Taro Buns for a sweet finish. Both Su Wei and I also had their Lychee Mint Juice which was a smoothie in a vile green colour topped with a fresh lychee - sweet but refreshing :) Cost us $81.90 total which was rather expensive. The food and service was good though I'm not sure it's that amazing as hyped out to be...



Din Tai Fung Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Ken was keen to know where the local fresh produce market was and Su Wei brought us to Sydney's Paddy's Market in Haymarket where fresh produce was sold from Wednesday to Sunday from 9am till 5pm. I did not know there was a fresh produce market here - I had always thought it was a place that sold Australian souvenirs! There were so many stalls selling vegetables and fruits, and the price was much cheaper than what we usually get from the supermarket plus there was plenty of variety too (they even have durians for sale!). Ken and I only picked up a few items for dinner as we weren't prepared for a big shop. Hmm, I'll probably have to invest in a vegetable trolley so I can come here on my own on Sunday mornings while Jono's at work and easily carry the purchase home.

Ken and I walked Su Wei to Central Station and said our goodbyes then headed back to World Square Shopping Centre to Coles to pick up a few more items for dinner and bought a small container of the baby crabs (cost $3.50) from the Asian supermarket before taking the train home. The rest of the day was spent chilling out indoors snacking on the baby crabs (crunchy mini crabs in a tangy sweet chilli marinade) and working on our laptops. Photo of the baby crabs:



Feels like crunching on scorpions when I chew on the mini pincers (not that I've had scorpions before)...


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