Sydney sizzles and I ain’t just talking about the summertime; welcome to Chinatown!
When it comes to clicking your chopsticks together, Sydney’s Chinatown has it all figured out. Its food scene is bursting with flavour and producing more sure-fire hits than any wok would. A stroll down its main drag, Haymarket Street can be overwhelming to the max too as it is in sensory overload with the number of good eats and smells that pour out of it.
Really, I don’t blame you for wanting to be on the ultimate eating crusade in this part of town; in fact, I encourage it. Not only is food on the cheap but its food that of legendary status to Sydneysiders. To make life easier for you to satisfy your Asian fix, check out my list of cheap eats that are famed with Sydney locals.
Mamak really knows how to take you to the streets of Malaysia with its authentic mixed Malay and Indian dishes.
It is hard not to walk past this Goulburn Street institution and drool as its shopfront kitchen features roti masters kneading authentic breads right before your very eyes. If street food made with flavour ka-pow is more your jam, then consult with its traditional menu. Star dishes include chicken satays, lamb curry and its’ generous serving of Mee goreng noodles – all with a no-frills price tag.
Experience a trip to Malaysia without having to pay an airfare – just make sure you check in early!
Mamak, 15 Goulburn Street, Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Besides being the home of cheap souvenirs and miscellaneous goods you didn’t know you needed (clothes, accessories and all in between), Paddy’s Market is home to Sydney’s best inner city mecca for fresh produce and oriental food.
This place is brimming with Asian fruits and vegetables at rock bottom prices so make sure you wheel in the trolley bag. Upstairs, there is a food court if you are really wanting to make a day of it.
If you come at the end of the day, you will most likely be able to grab yourself a shopping bag of goods for loose change as vendors aspire to clear their stores to make way for the next batch of fresh produce that awaits.
Paddy’s Market, Market City, Cnr Hay St & Thomas St, Sydney 2000
Want to discover Sydney at night? Check out its kitsch late night bars
Chinese Noodle Restaurant
There is nothing grandiose about this place yet this hole-in-the-wall eatery just off Chinatown almost deserves iconic status in Sydney. Nevermind its spec-tack-ular questionable décor of tapestries and fake grapevines draping its walls and ceilings,Chinese Noodle Restaurant’s food is on point to make your interior happy.
Its onsite handmade noodles and dumplings behold the authentic flavours of North West China. From delectable pork and chive dumplings to special braised eggplant and peking pork pancakes to dine for without the hefty price tag. Its roughly AUD $7 for a half serve of dumplings (6) or go the full hog for roughly $12.
Its seating capacity is limited indoors (around 30 on mixed seats and stools) however a relatively new outdoor area has been built due to dumpling demand. Food is served up when its ready but if you have to endure a wait outside, you may be entertained by the resident violinist that plays to a waiting (and ever hungry) crowd on occasion.
Chinese Noodle Restaurant, Shop 7, 8 Quay St, Haymarket 2000
Besides being an ever so tasty establishment for yum cha, Emperor’s Garden is the cream of the crop when it comes to its small balls of hot sweet cream puffs!
It is hard to miss this place on your walk through Chinatown as its small canteen-like window, most often than not, has a queue outside it wanting to snoop in on its balls of happiness at 35c a pop.
Emperor’s Garden, 96-100 Hay St, Haymarket 2000
Although technically not in Sydney’s Chinatown, China Lane is deserving of a mention. After all, its in a laneway with bird cages hovering over (empty of course). A bit on the pricey side, this stunning eatery boasts lip-smacking modern Asian cuisine tapas that you can even order in half serves – so pretty much encouraging you to order everything on the menu!
My hot recommendation is the caramelised pork belly in XO sauce – by far the star-dish on the menu and the reason why this remains my favourite inner-city restaurant.
China Lane, 2 Angel Pl, Sydney 2000