Vanessa Pike-Russell

On October 17th, 2006 I celebrated my 35th birthday. It was quite a milestone so I decided to spend my day enjoying Taronga Park Zoo's 90 cent entry for birthday boys and girls (part of their 90th birthday celebrations) and then at night made our way to the Night Noodle Markets in Sydney's Hyde Park. It was a magical experience for me, my first night market but certainly not my last.

If you missed it, there is good news - it is on again this year and, weather and health permitting, I will be there on my birthday to once again celebrate growing older with a party environment that is intoxicating. Thousands of people coming together to sample foods from all over the world, sample beers and wine and appreciate the wonderful City of Sydney. What more could a birthday girl ask for?

Here are some photos from last year's Good Food Month, Night Noodle Markets 06

Night Noodle Markets, Hyde Park


Seafood Skewers

Salt and Pepper Calimari

Yum Cha

My favourite of the night was the Japanese Okonomiyaki from Japancake

King Prawn Pancake (okonomiyaki)

King Prawn Pancake (okonomiyaki) with Oysters

Oysters au Naturale'

Yum Cha plate $18 @ Night Noodle Markets in Hyde Park, Sydney

Hyde Park North
Hyde Park, Sydney

Event dates:
Monday, 8 October 5 - 9pm
Tuesday, 9 October 5 - 9pm
Wednesday, 10 October 5 - 9pm
Thursday, 11 October 5 - 9pm
Friday, 12 October 5 - 9pm
Monday, 15 October 5 - 9pm
Tuesday, 16 October 5 - 9pm
Wednesday, 17 October 5 - 9pm
Thursday, 18 October 5 - 9pm
Friday, 19 October 5 - 9pm Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell

Almost a year ago I celebrated my birthday at the Night Food Markets of Hyde Park, Sydney. One of the many wine tasting tents included Brown Brothers, a wonderful Australian vineyard from King Valley in Milawa, North East Victoria.

With the Good Food Month of October soon approaching it reminded me of the amazing Brown Brothers Dolcetto & Syrah, a red wine sampled last year that changed my mind about red wine forever.

At first sip you realise this is no ordinary wine. It is light and fruity, oh so easy to drink. Sweet berry flavours with a "frizzante mouth feel" which could fool you into believing that it is a sparkling red wine.

"Dolcetto is an Italian grape variety that is little known or planted in Australia. The variety hails from the mountainous Piedmont region of north-west Italy. Translated literally, “Dolcetto” means “little sweet one”, although the Italians generally make dry red wines from the variety."

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell
Collegians Wollongong - Wednesday $5 steak, chips and salad meal

$5.50 scotch fillet steak with chips and sald

You just can't beat the prices of Collegians Wollongong. Every day of the week they have a special lunch meal ranging from three to six dollars ($3-$6). Menu includes Chicken Schnitzel with chips and salad ($3), Sausages and vegetables ($3), Rissoles and vegetables ($3), Roast Chicken with vegetables ($3), Fried Fish (with chips and salad)($3) and on Wednesday it is Steak, Chips and Salad for $5.50. Bargain!

As I waited in line to buy two steaks (medium rare, as usual) I spied a new menu item - Veal and Seafood Torino and decided to try it. One thing I learned was that if you order two meals they will hold the steak in the bay marie until the other meal is cooked. Not a good idea. Next time I will order them on separate dockets. By the time the Veal and Seafood Torino was cooked the steak had been sitting for too long and was cold when it reached the table. Philip was not a happy chap.

Collegians Wollongong's Veal and Seafood Torino
Collegians Wollongong's Veal and Seafood Torino ($21.90).

The sauce was similar to a marinara and was nice, if a little heavy for my tastes. The dish was garnished with Australian feta and green olives. To be honest I much prefer Danish feta, especially marinated. It has a much better taste and creamy texture than the Australian variety. The olives were too bitter for my liking. I have only recently acquired the taste for olives, as recently as Australia Day when I sampled some marinated olives at Five Island Brewery as part of an antipasto platter.

Collegians (Rugby Football Club)Wollongong
3A Charlotte St
Wollongong, NSW 2500, Australia
+61 2 4229 7711 Tweet This
Vanessa Pike-Russell

I was in the mood for Yum Cha so we headed down to a favourite restaurant of ours - Oriental Expression on Keira Street, Wollongong. Our first visit was on Valentines Day, for their set banquet menu and second on Chinese New Year, both very memorable experiences. Today would be no different. We were escorted to our table and given the Yum Cha menu. Meals ranged between $3.50 for 3 pieces to $9 for a large serve.

After looking the menu over we settled on
  • Thai Duck Spring Rolls (3 pieces for $3.50)
  • Crab and Spinach Dim Sim (3 pieces for $4.20)
  • Scallop and vegetable Dim Sim (3 pieces for $4.20)
  • Prawn Meat Dumpling (3 pieces for $4.20)
  • Beef Satay Sticks (3 pieces for $5.50)
  • Salted Chili Pork Chop (large serve for $5.50)
  • Egg Custard Bun (3 pieces for $4.20)

All meals were shared three ways, perfect since most of the dishes had three pieces.

Oriental Expression: The best iced tea I have ever tasted and it was only $1!!!

After ordering our yum cha banquet I saw the 'Super Value" Iced Bubble Green tea for $1 extra with any purchased meal and thought 'why not!' I love green tea but until now had not liked iced green tea which is usually sold in a can and contains preservatives. As I watched our waiter put ice, green tea, syrup and bubbled water together I began to get excited. When I tasted it I was in heaven. It has a very fresh taste and reminds me of the flavour of green tea icecream. It was sweet but not sickly, refreshing and very easy to drink. I will definitely order it again.

Our first course was the Thai Duck Spring Rolls which were very tasty. The duck meat flavour was subtle but definitely discernible. A very nice start to the meal.
Oriental Expression - Thai Duck Spring Rolls

Next was the Crab and Spinach Dim Sim (or dim sum in the USA).
The flavours of crab and spinach blended well with crab flavour subtle
but unmistakable. All dim sims were served in a bamboo dish with a layer
of leaves.

Oriental Expression - yum cha - crab and spinach dim sim

We were looking forward to the scallop and vegetable dim sims.
You could really taste the scallop within the dim sim casing.
The flavour was amazing and left me wanting more

Oriental Expression - yum cha - scallop and vegetable

Followed by a most delicious prawn meat dumpling.

Oriental Expression - yum cha - scallop and vegetable dim sim, prawnmeat dumpling

Here they are together on the one plate to show size
Oriental Expression - yum cha - crab and spinach, prawn dumpling, scallop and vegetable

Next was the beef satay sticks . I have to say that I have never experienced anything quite like it. The meat was fried rather than grilled and had a lovely texture to it which was complemented by the tasty satay (peanut sauce).

The Salted Chili Pork Chop course was very tasty. We were just in the middle of saying that the chilli wasn't very hot when I swallowed a chilli seed and had a burst of heat in my mouth very different to t he gentle warmth of the rest of the meal.

Oriental Expression - beef satay and pork chop

Oriental Expression - egg custard bun

Oriental Expression - salt chilli pork chop

Around this time I was very close to being full but there was room for dessert of egg custard bun. Make sure that you remove the paper layer or you will be eating it. It was nice but a little too doughy for my tastes. Stan liked his, and ate Philip's as well!

Oriental Expression - egg custard bun
Oriental Expression - egg custard bun

An amazing meal shared by three very pleased patrons. It was our first yum cha at Oriental Expression but it won't be our last! Our bill came to $47 including three beers, two green teas and the meals. Very reasonable prices and great service with a smile. What more could you ask for?

Oriental Expression
157 Keira Street Wollongong NSW 2500
(02) 4227 4222 Fax: (02) 4227 4772
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 8.30am to late
Sunday 8.30 - 5.00pm
Licensed/BYO: Both

Send Page Tweet This

Google Map

View Illawarra Food Reviews in a larger map

Upcoming events

Declare your love of Illawarra Food