Friday, August 18, 2006

How to Speak Australian 3 / How to Eat Australian

arvo = afternoon
tick and bash = check off
sweet as / good on you = nice!
brekkie = breakfast
ta = thanks
yum cha = dim sum
my oath = I swear
fair dinkum = real-deal or true blue (although this is a more hokey stereotypical phrase that no one really uses)

People also say I reckon here, which transports me to the American South for a split second.

An important part of being in Oz is eating the local fare. Still have not eaten kangaroo or crocodile meat, but I have been told that roo is often fed to pets. Meat pies are great; a local fave in Sydney is Harry's Cafe de Wheels. The best option is the Tiger, which is a pie with mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy on top. It is not the neatest thing to eat, particularly sitting on a block beside the wharf. Of course, my dad being contrary, ordered the Hot Dog de Wheels and proceeded to drop the frank on the birdshit-covered ground. I almost retched when he picked it up (after much swearing), sanitized it, and kept eating.

There is some great fish, including varieties such as barramundi and jewfish, but good shellfish such as mud crab and lobster are over double the price of what you would pay in the US. Took my parents to Aqua on Monday night, which overlooks the North Sydney Olympic Pool (not the 2000 one) as well as the harbor; this pricey but quality resto mostly has fish on the menu. Chinese restaurants are the cheapest place to eat them - Mum and I had mud crab with ginger and shallots at Red Chili in Chinatown, along with their famous chicken with chilis.

As mentionedd previously, I have been generally not impressed with the sushi here. Sydney has some great Chinese restaurants, although apparently Melbourne claims best yum cha. I recommend going with friends for yum cha - I went to Zilver by myself, and ended up stuck behind a supporting beam so it was hard to flag down the dim sum carts. Plus it's hard to order a lot of things for one person since the portions end up being larger than what one would eat sharing with others. There are also wonderful Malaysian (took J to Malaya to celebrate his new gig), Thai (Thainatown and Sailors Thai are both fab), and Spanish joints.

My faves so far (in no particular order):

  • Harry's Cafe de Wheels - cheap eats, esp after partying in Kings Cross
  • Thainatown - good, cheap Thai
  • Fish Face - great seafood
  • Pasteur - not much to look at and surly service but great cheap Vietnamese, esp the pho
Last, but definitely not least, is the wine. Australia only exports 20% of its wine, and most of it is not too expensive at the local bottle shop. However, that could change, since grape crops have been very good and there is a saturation of the market. Unlike NYC, it is very common to BYO bottles of wine to a restaurant for a small fee. A few varieties are grown here which I've never heard of, such as semillon. While here I've drank exclusively Aussie and New Zealand wines. Unfortunately I cannot bring much home to share with friends - grrrrrrrr.... Will try to look into where to buy the better ones and write back later.