Friday, July 31, 2009

85° C

What's so special with 85 degrees Celcius? 85° C is the ideal temperature to drink coffee. Under this temperature you can taste the enchanting flavour and aroma to its fullest. That's the idea from this cafe called 85° C which claims to provide the best coffee, cake and bakery in town. Orginated in Taiwan and now has several stores in Sydney including one on George street across the World Square complex that I pass by quite often.

Love cake? I do! If I had to choose my 3 favorite flavours, I'd say Cheese cake, Tiramisu and Black forest. That's why I usually couldn't stand myself when come across mouth-watering cakes on display. This time I picked Strawberry Tiramisu, US Cheese cake and Hokaido cheese. Being positioned as premium cakes, they are priced around $4-$5 for a small slice while you can get for a bit lower price somewhere else.
This cafe also sells coffee, bakery and mochi as well, if you do love cake, this cafe is worth a shot.

Hokaido cheese

Strawberry tiramisu

US Cheese cake
Thursday, July 30, 2009

Japan City

Japan city is a franchise retail selling a huge range of Japan-related product from giftware to small furniture, from ocha (green tea) to Japanese remedies and from noren to yukata. Noren is a traditional Japanese fabric divider, hung between room or in doorways while yukata is a casual summer kimono, girls wearing yukata are common sight at Natsu matsuri (summer fesvital) in Japan.

Back to Japan City, there are several stores accross the city and those in The Galleries Victoria and World Square shopping centre are the ones I usually browse around for window shopping or when I just want to satisfy my eyes with some cute Japanese crafts and homewares. There are only a few things I ever bought from this store but last week we got a beautiful dinner set from friends as a present and yes they got it from Japan City, these friends do know my 'taste' and passion.

Here is the Aoi Hana (literally means blue flower) Dinner set comes with a set of chopstiks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cupcakes on Pitt

'Cupcakes on Pitt', a cupcake shop on Pitt street Sydney's CBD is quite famous for Sydneysiders. They sell adorable mini cupcakes with a range of tempting flavour like Lemon meringue, strawberry, vanilla sundae, tiramisu, black forest and the list still goes on. The fantastic display of their cute mini cupcakes would pull the crowd, including me. I was very tempted to try some of their great flavor including my favorite Tiramisu, but with $2 for a mini cupcake I'd say: you pay for the decoration only.

Tiramisu cupcake

Strawberry cupcake

Vanilla sundae cupcake

Cookies & cream cupcake

With the impressive presentation they managed to develope at least 2 more shops in Chatswood and Paramatta and started selling the cupcakes online.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Aburi Salmon

Last weekend I just wanted to have something new for a change, by 'something new' I meant a new Japanese restaurant or at least the one I've never tried before. Actually, except Tetsuya I've tried most of authentic Japanese eateries in town especially the ones that score at least 7 out of 10 on the review page. So we're just wandering around the city and ended up scrolling down the menu at Takeru Japanese restaurant in Sussex street. It wasn't a disappointment but it's just an average one for me, average taste with average price and average service, umm..what else? average fusion and average dessert too. Not bad though but nothing special either.

My aburi salmon (lightly grilled salmon) served in a bowl of rice with some vegies and mayo and wasabi as dipping.

Aburi Salmon bowl

First time tried Unagi chahan (eel fried rice) topped with sesame and dried seaweed, I couldnt find a single bit of unagi meat on my rice, so where did the unagi go?

Unagi Chahan (Eel fried rice)

The Omurice (omelet rice) sauce tastes more like a spaghetti for me even (again) not bad though.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Prawn Mayo

There has been a competition by one of the famous potato chips brands in Australia, called 'Do us a flavour' by Smiths potato chips. Simple, just come up with a great flavour for their new product and if you win you'll pocket $30,000 plus 1% of future sales of your flavour.
I was thinking of submitting one flavour idea, not expecting that I'd win but just want to do it for fun. I just need an original flavour idea and a creative image to go with it. This morning I just remember that tomorrow will be the deadline for submitting the idea so this is what I ended up with: Prawn Mayo. It's lightly salted fried prawn dipped in Japanese mayonaise. Not merely because I still have prawn in my freezer and love Japanese mayonaise for the dipping, but I do love this prawn mayonaise, sometimes I just boil the prawn with some lemons and then dip it in the mayo. For me it's a great dish for dinner but will it go smooth for a potato chips? who knows.. :)

(My Prawn mayo)
Friday, July 17, 2009

Tsukune Udon

The city has been freezing over the past few days, no wonder it's the coolest month of the year in southern hemisphere. Most people choose to stay warm at home with the heater on but I'd rather go out and find a yummy food to warm up my body .. ha!

It's a special winter menu from my favorite casual dining in the city, Kura. A simple yet yummy Tsukune Udon, served with raw egg, seaweed, sweet potato and chicken meat balls in a bowl of hot tasty soup is just perfect for a chiling day.

(Udon, a traditional Japanese thick noodle)
Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Still in the mood of bento, after my previous post about Kyaraben now it's Ekiben, bento (lunch box) sold at railway stations or on trains in Japan. I still remember how delicious my teriyaki bento was on the Nozomi express headed to Osaka after one-day trip of Tokyo on a chilling Chritsmas day more than one and half year ago. Long time ago when flight was still quite expensive and people prefer using train for inter city trip, passengers and tourist were perfect target for Ekiben. Famous as an affordable boxed meal, ekiben are often made from local delicacies and many train station have been famous for their special and tasty ekiben.

This news from Mainichi announced "Ekiben of the Year" awards, a ranking of the most popular ekiben by Tokyo-based stores between April 2008 and February 2009.

Ekiben of the Year (1st place): Gyuniku bento, a box of rice and sukiyaki for 1,050 yen from Asakusa Imahan.

(Photo courtessy of Tetsudo Kaikan Co.)

Ekiben of the Year (2nd place): Hirekatsu to tamago no poketto sando, a box of pork fillet cutlet with egg sandwiches for 470 yen from Tonkatsu Maisen.

(Photo courtessy of Tetsudo Kaikan Co.)

Ekiben of the Year (3rd place): Kaisendon, a bowl of rice topped with seafood for 1,200 yen from Tsukiji Takewaka

(Photo courtessy of Tetsudo Kaikan Co.)

To read more about Ekiben of the Year you can click on Mainichi news
Sunday, July 12, 2009


Kyaraben is a style of arranging and decorating bento (lunch box) and in Japan bento is much more than just a boxed meal. It's very common in Japan that housewifes often spend considerable time decorating their children's lunch box. The lunch box normally comprises rice, fish/meat, pickled or cooked vegetables as side dishes. The bento decorated to look like people, animal, or cute comic's characters. Originally the idea of decorating bento is to make the food much more appealing for the kids so that they would be happy to bring and eat their bento at school. But now making a fancy and attractive bento has become a part of Japanese culture which is famous for its creativity. In Japan, they even have a national contest for making an attractive bento where kyaraben artists will show off their creativity and the winner would get an opportunity to become a famous speaker in some seminars.

Here are some great works of Kyaraben artist I got from the net

Cute bento!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Ramen robot

Only in Japan..

"Momozono Robot Ramen," a ramen shop in the city of Minami, Yamanashi prefecture is gaining popularity not only for its delicious ramen noodles, but for its robotic chef.

Ramen robot with Yoshihira Uchida, the owner shop (Photo courtesy of Mainichi News)

The ramen-making robot was built by 60-year-old shop owner Yoshihira Uchida, who spent about 20 million yen on its construction. Customers can place their orders on a computer in the shop, customizing various aspects such as the levels of soy sauce, salt, and richness of the soup. Uchida says there are 40 million different flavor permutations.

The noodles themselves are cooked by a human, with the robot creating a perfectly blended soup which is then delivered to the human chef via a conveyor belt, who adds the noodles and toppings. The whole process takes only about two minutes, a minute shorter than instant cup noodles. Prices of ramen per bowl are 500 yen for regular size and 300 yen for small size.

Uchida, a huge noodle lover, opened a soba noodle shop 10 years ago. He later started to make ramen -- which received mixed comments from friends, with some saying the taste was strong, and others too weak. In the end, Uchida hit upon the idea of creating a robot that can allow customers to choose the flavor they want. He is now aiming at automating the addition of noodles and toppings, and shrinking the robot itself. He is also planning to open his second ramen shop in Kofu possibly by the end of this year.

Source: Mainichi news

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ayam Goreng Tulang Lunak

Ayam goreng tulang lunak (Soft-bone fried chicken) is a deep fried chicken with edible crispy bones. I tend to make a fuss about eating fried chicken when it comes to washing my hand but neither toilet or hand washer available in the restaurant, so this soft-bone cuisine is a fuss free since I can easyly use spoon and fork to eat the whole chicken with all the bones, and surely there will be no left-over bones for a big eater.

This morning I made my way to this Indonesian restaurant located in Jones street, Ultimo-Sydney. They serve a range of Indonesian food from Gado-gado (vegetables with peanut dressing) to 'cah kangkung' (stir fried water cres) but the one caught my intention was this Soft-bone fried chicken, so I ordered a special set comprises soft-bone fried chicken, rice, 'sambal' (Indonesian chili sauce), and 'sayur asem' (sour dish or tamarind dish), a popular Indonesian vegetable soup which is a perfect compliment for fried chicken.

Soft-bone fried chicken

And yes I did eat the whole chicken with all the bones, yum... :) It's not merely because I am a big eater but some says that bone is a great source of calcium and iron which is important for our body, or is it just an excuse?

ATL Maranatha has moved to: 61 Todman avenue Kensington (corner of Todman ave and Baker st)
Thursday, July 2, 2009


Oishinbo is a long-running cooking manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The word 'Oishinbo' comes from Oishii (delicious) and Kuishinbo (a word for someone who loves to eat). The series depicts the adventures of a foodie journalist Shiro Yamaoka and his partner Yuko Kurita. The story begins when the journalist Shiro Yamaka assigned by his editor to visit some Japanese chefs in order to find the 'ultimate menu'. It's revealed that actually Shiro Yamaoka is the son of Kaibara Yuzan, the director of The Gourmet Club, who has been his long standing rival. The series was selling 1.2 million copies per volume with the total of more than 100 million volumes as of January 2009. The series was adapted as a 136 episodes anime TV series.( source: Wikipedia)

(picture from: Amazon)

You can find this manga on Kinokuniya's shelf or online shop like Amazon for about $12 per volume.

Here is the anime trailer: