After the chaotic Boxing Day, Charles and I were determined to go crazy on train and ferry rides, exploring the small and unknown suburbs around Sydney. It was already the third day since we got our weekly “My Multi” ticket, which offers unlimited ride on buses, trains and ferries, but we hadn’t really gotten our money’s worth so far. The depressing weather and the lure of the year end sales (that’s me only, I think) had gotten in the way. As usual, we didn’t have any fixed plan or itinerary so when Charles showed me the Rail and Ferry Map and had asked me where I wanted to go, I simply picked out places I couldn’t pronounce (at least properly).
The day was a bit chilly again, unusual for summer here but that didn’t stop us pursuing our planned jaunt around the city. Victoria’s Basement did though. We thought there was no rush so we dropped by first at Victoria’s Basement (a kitchenware haven) and other shops near our place and before we knew it, our day was almost over. It was already 5 in the afternoon when we left our place so we decided to postpone our suburb-hopping trip and go to Sydney’s China Town instead.
We took the train to Central Station and walked from here to China Town. The familiar Chinese lanterns, colorful archways and the distinct Oriental architecture brought back memories of our recent visit here and our adventures in Hong Kong’s side streets and night markets. We weren’t able to see much of Sydney Chinatown the first time I went here because we spent our time looking for a noodle house that Charles’ friend recommended (which we didn’t find in the end) and then we left right away to check out Darling Harbour.
Sydney’s China Town is centered on Dixon Street which is home to many restaurants and an eclectic mix of Asian grocery stores where you can find exotic foods like abalone, shark’s fin and all sorts of aphrodisiacs, medicinal herbs, clothing, homewares and even pirated DVD’s. Just across its southern end is Market City, which houses Sydney’s largest Asian supermarket, an array of clothing shops, and the famous Paddy’s Market (Sydney’s largest market) which was unfortunately closed when we were there.
Dumplings and noodles are hand-made
Hungry and tired of walking we decided to find again this place called Chinese Noodle Restaurant which turned out to be just a few minutes’ walk from Market City. Luckily, we didn’t have to wait long before we were squeezed in with other patrons by the lady who seemed to be in a hurry to get us in and out of the restaurant. I guess when your place is that popular and busy, you don’t want your customers to linger. (Hmmm, maybe that is why they didn’t serve us our 3rd pot of tea which was complimentary by the way). I had been planning to just sit there and drink until our 5th pot.
The cream puff of Emperor’s Garden Bakery is so popular there are always people waiting in line to sample this dessert.
True enough, come dinner time, the customers waiting outside had started to pile up even though there is another almost identical noodle house across it . But I’m glad we found this place because the dumplings are really fresh and the filling is juicy and tasty and even the simple French beans topped with dried shrimp was so good. I regretted not ordering noodles though (considering it’s a noodle house after all) and opting for the usual rice and viand entrée. Their noodles are fresh and hand-made which I only noticed after passing by its kitchen on the way out. Perhaps, it is another reason to go back when we crave again for cheap but delicious Chinese food.