Tuesday, 31 March 2009

The Not-So-Wild West

I want to live here - in a secondhand furniture shop along Parramatta Road

We've lived in Sydney, New South Wales for five years now and are quite ashamed to say that we've not really travelled deep-west from the city.

Our annual road trips have taken us down south twice, up north once and down from the north (Brisbane) on a separate occasion, but we never explored the inland west. The furthest we've been was down Parramatta Road to go see some bands at the Annandale Hotel or to go scrounging for old things in secondhand shops.

I also want to live in a big house just so I can fit these old seats and organ from a demolished theare in the living room

Our city-dwelling Aussie pals often tell us that the west is "bogan" (also "westie", or "redneck" to those who don't speak Australian) land. They say that there's nothing to see there except suburban sprawl and filled us with fear and dread of the inhabitants.

On Sunday, after our regular (but unfruitful) hunt for the elusive chairs, we decided to drive further down Parramatta Road to Parramatta, a western suburb of Sydney. For "famous" food, of course.

Map from here

I don't know if it's just us Singaporeans but if we hear about good food, we'd go to great lengths just to taste it and we've recently been urged by someone to go try Temasek Restaurant's highly rated Singapore and Malaysian cuisine...you can take the girl away from the hawkers' stalls but you can't take the hawkers' stalls out of the girl...or something to that effect.

After trundling down the long, some parts badly-paved, road (we didn't use the faster highway because we wanted to take the "scenic" route), this was what greeted us as we turned into Parramatta, the suburb,...

...a mini CBD!

I was expecting narrow one-lane streets lined with low-rises! And rough and scary "natives". Our Aussie pals lied.
We easily found Temasek in a tiny alley way behind those tall buildings.
The boyfriend was very very happy with his Hainanese Chicken Rice. They've got the condiments right - dark sticky soy and a dollop of minced ginger in the tangy homemade chilli sauce. And the chicken was smooth and succulent and not too fatty.

My Prawn Laksa was alright. I've had better but it's hard to find proper Singapore-style laksa in Sydney where most places flog noodles in a lame curry broth as that thick coconut-y and dried shrimp-y dish so I wolfed it down.

I couldn't resist ordering the Kicap Manis Sotong (Sweet Soy Sauce Squid). I love the taste of the sweet Indonesian soy! And the squids didn't disappoint - deep-fried with a light salt-and-pepper batter and then stir-fried in that tasty sauce with bits of garlic, chili and eschalots. We had to take half of it home because the serving size of everything was so big and our stomachs weren't big enough to contain all.

The meal was sure worth the drive and we're already planning our next visit (we have to call in advance if we want to eat some of the very special '"specials") to slowly work our way down the menu. Nyum nyum.
Temasek Restaurant
The Roxy Arcade
71 George Street
Phone: (02) 9633 9926


E(ileen) said...

I still haven't made it to Temasek... damnit. And my boy grew up in the west, so it's really not that scary, okay.

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

Too bad I didn't get a photo of the menu - the waiter was so efficient that he grabbed them off us the moment our orders were placed. You'll be very tempted by it! You have to get your husband to take you.

Haha! I blame it on my Aussie pals for painting a distorted picture of the "west"! Parramatta was quite nice, really. We might venture further west next time.

A dreamer said...

the things you do for your food ay?
the Kicap Manis Sotong sounds really good. should go hunt some down in melbs.

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

I know you would would do the same too!

The Sotong is more an Indonesian dish than Singapore or Malaysian so if you know of a good Indonesian place, head there first. x

elle said...

Thanks for giving us a peek of "deep(er) west" Australia. I've never been, but hopefully someday. I think that it makes for a richer experience traveling the less famous towns/cities in addition to the "touristy" ones. I'll definitely keep this town and restaurant in mind; food looks delicious!

I can't wait until I finally get my own house and pepper it with mismatched (but hopefully still chic) furniture from a second hand store.

The Likkle Girl Who Wurves Pwetty Things said...

Hello Elle!
You're welcome! We hope to do a proper road trip one day that will take us truly deep-west past the border of New South Wales.

My grandma recently visited and she laughed at some of our furniture. She said she should have saved her old stuff for us. Haha! x