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Play with your food. That’s something we like to talk about at Table, and something we like to do ourselves at every turn. Sometimes that means in terms of what we’re cooking with and eating, and sometimes it means what we’re trying when we visit restaurants, cafes and the like.
It’s an ethos that stems from our family’s urban adventures, exploring the far-flung suburbs of Sydney back when we lived there. These adventures were the predecessor for Table Under a Tree and they are my model for travel. A way to experience a locality through food. We’d pick a suburb or a place, do loads of internet digging to learn about the best, most authentic food on offer, and then spend a day wandering and tasting as much as we could. There were always Tupperware containers involved, a way to maximise our small family’s capacity to try as much as possible and eat well for days afterwards. We veered toward the hole-in-the-wall over fancy, finding that unpretentious usually meant authentic and tasty. It was the most entertaining, approachable and enjoyable way to immerse ourselves in a place. It was real and it was always fun.
That same approach is what we try and replicate with our Farm Tours and Market Tours. We want to make it easy for people visiting Byron and the Hinterland to connect with a very authentic version of our region. Not an urban adventure, but a country adventure if you will, and its something I love doing.
But I still love a good urban adventure too! So when I was recently visiting in Sydney spruiking the joys of our region, I had to make the most of it. I reached out to the brilliant B-Kyu, a fantastic Sydney-based food blog that I’d followed for years (self-described as a Sydney food blog celebrating the world’s great culinary underbelly). Armed with their suggestions of some great options of places they’d come across in the years since we’d left Sydney, I headed off food-sploring.
I hit Indonesian, with a cracking good lunch at The Sambal. Kangkung cala, sambal teri kacang, tempe goreng and lumpia. Love the names, love the flavour even more. Good Indonesian food is underappreciated in my books.
I also loved Korean, sharing some dumplings and cold beer with a trusty sidekick. Any day I get to face-plant in kim chi is a good one and I can happily recommend Arisun if you’re in town.
Good hand-pulled Northern Chinese noodles may not be the most photogenic dish, but they are just sensational to eat. Biang Biang Noodles on Dixon Street is a cracker, and because we were feeling adventurous, the chilli pig’s ears were a great accompaniment.
And for a bit of fun, it was entertaining to get skewer-tastic at the incredibly kitsch In The 1980s. Chinese BBQ, mostly on skewers, featuring everything from chicken gristle to wagyu to mushroom. Enjoyable, but once was probably enough!
One that will go on high rotation for future Sydney visits will be a Mr Bing at Griddle King. A pancake-like construction with Chinese breadstick, egg, pickles, pork floss and chili-garlic bean sauce, this thing was insanely good. A bargain too.
And just to round out the Asian leaning adventure, breakfast my last day was a beautiful fresh bread roll with pastrami and salad from Luneburger!
Yep, I managed to pack in quite the adventure over the course of a few days! What I loved most about it was that it was real food, from real people at real places. I might not have been under a tree, but it felt like my family table.
PS. There was nothing new about this one, but I did manage to squeeze in a visit to Cow and The Moon Gelato. Gosh I love that place. A must-visit for anyone heading to Sydney.