Top 5 Winter Eats in Sydney (And Where to Find Them)


by Cyrene Cabantog

Send a messenger to Winterfell: winter isn’t coming, it’s here and we’re all freezing. Defrosting your toes in the throes of the Starks’ favourite season is a feat without a heater and three pairs of socks, but we’ve found our favourite winter warmers to keep the cold at bay. Are they worth braving the chill for? We think so.

Laksa

Laksa1
At this time of year, a bowl of something hot and slurpable always sounds like a good idea, but the heat and spice from a laksa clears the sinuses and warms the depths of our cold, hungry hearts like no other. There’s nothing subtle about it, but the bright orange, coconut-enriched broth and slippery noodles are soothing all the same. The best places pound their own spice paste, and often have lines long enough to make your disposition even chillier, but good things come to those who wait in the land of laksa, so hold out for a piping hot bowl of spicy sunshine to thaw out your frostbitten mood.

Honourable mention/s: Ipoh on York, Petaling Street Malaysian and Temasek are all noted favourites, but Malay-Chinese is the oft-repeated, undisputed king of Sydney laksa.
Do as we do: Malay-Chinese is not the place to lounge away your lunch break; order your noodles, slurp away, and go forth to spice-fuelled productivity. Preferably with chicken and king prawn.

Slow-Cooked

Credit: William Meppem

Be still, our shivering hearts, this is the realm of the braised and the slow-cooked, the tough cut turned tender, served atop a cushion of velvety mashed potato or soft bread. Whether it’s smoked, a stew, or a curry, what we’re all after is meat so soft it’s practically spoonable, and loads of flavour in that comfortingly thick sauce, soaked up by something fluffy and starchy (bonus points for added butter in said starch).

Unfortunately, coming home to something that’s slowly been simmering the entire day away is a fleeting, albeit recurring dream for most of us who arrive weary from work and half-frozen, so we’ve burnt our tongues and gotten ourselves an extra layer of body insulation for you to make getting that slow-cooked something a whole lot faster.

Honourable mention/s: The smoked lamb belly at LP Quality Meats, Chairman Mao’s red-braised pork belly, and the double lamb shanks at the Shakespeare Hotel will all fit the bill of slow-cooked, spoonable and delicious.
Do as we do: Head to the Shakespeare to warm yourself with an after-work drink, and let those lamb shanks bolster you for the chilly ride home.

Hot Pot

Image credit: Tumblr

Image credit: Tumblr

For the uninitiated, hot pot is an ambiguous term; plenty of food comes from a pot that, indeed, is hot. What we refer to is known by multiple, boiling hot guises:  shabu shabu, Korean hotpot, sukiyaki, or steamboat. Sadly, no water-based transport is involved, but think a portable burner, a big pot of soup (usually separated into spicy and non-spicy), a slew of raw vegetables, proteins and noodles, and some dipping sauces. Raw things are cooked in the hot soupy things, and cooked things are either a) lost in the pot, b) stolen by the person sitting across from you, or c) greedily devoured by you before anyone’s chopsticks can say otherwise.

Many a friendship have been tested over the burner of the hot pot; despite the challenge, this is not a meal to have by yourself. It’s an entirely communal eating experience, so if sharing isn’t your thing, hot pot might teach you a thing or two.

Honourable mention/s: Red Chilli Sichuan Restaurants are dotted across Sydney, with and without chilli, of course, Shancheng Hotpot King is an oldie but a goodie, and Seoul Ria and Madang do the Koreans proud. Spicy Sichuan is where you’ll find offal-ly different hotpot ingredients… Lamb brains, anyone? (Sorry, Mary.)
Do as we do: One crucial ingredient that you’ll have to bring yourself — your friends, and if you don’t have any, hot pot is as good a reason as any to go find some.

Pies

Image credit: The Pie Tin

Image credit: The Pie Tin

Forget the crown of the Seven Kingdoms — golden pastry crowns are the best kind. Beneath those flaky layers are fillings untold of deliciousness and warmth, and nothing is quite as comforting as a pie. Ubiquitous meat pies will always seem to reign supreme, but we wouldn’t brave the cold for any old showground pie — and neither should you.

Honourable mention/s: The Butcher’s Block has a classic beef and red wine pie worth visiting the North Shore for, while Black Star has a lamb shank pie almost as famous as their watermelon cake, and Le Pub’s beef bourguignon pie comes with a giant quenelle of buttery smooth Paris mash, but the Pie Tin’s spicy Nepalese lamb is a winner by stealth.
Do as we do: Le Pub is the perfect underground hub of warmth to escape the chilly winter air, and the beef bourguignon pie is one of the classics that they kept with their menu overhaul, so get on in and be thankful it’s still there.

Sticky Date Pudding

Source: Art of Baking

Say what you like about Sydney’s burgeoning dessert scene, there are all manner of equally zany and tasty treats out there, but in this kind of weather, we’re happy to dispense with the foams and the gels, and bury our spoons into warm, soft pudding, soaked in caramel sauce and served with cream or custard (we don’t object to both).

What a good sticky date pudding can’t cure are few and far between, and there’s no dessert on either side of the bridge that will leave you feeling quite like you’ve been given a buttery, spongy hug, no matter how much popping candy they want to throw on.

Honourable mention/s: The Little Snail in Pyrmont does a solid (but very soft, we promise), heart-warming, tingle-inducing  pud, as does Jones the Grocer, and Micky’s.
Do as we do: Unassuming decor and lovely staff at Micky’s make their homemade pudding even better, so drop in with a friend for a sweet afternoon treat.

If you enjoyed Top 5 Winter Eats in Sydney (And Where to Find Them), you’ll love our other Top 5‘s:

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top-5-gyros-sydney-promo_panels_t5_640x100
top-5-fried-chicken-sydney-promo_panels_t5_640x100

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