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The next 25 things every Sydney food lover should try: Part 2

Part one of our Sydney must eats was a surprising success. We thought it was fair to release a part two of the series and turn it into a top 50 list. Once again, this list is based on dishes and places which we have tried recently.We live in the South West of Sydney so you might find a few references to places in Cabramatta and Canley Heights to name a few. Either way, it just goes to show how diverse the food options are in Sydney and that you can try amazing dishes no matter where you are in Sydney.

Check out Part one as well.

1. Sun’s Fried Chicken with Soy Sauce from Arisun, Haymarket

Fried chicken which is piping hot, crunchy and deliciously addictive. Imagine smashing a bucket of this freshly soy flavoured fried chicken in an outdoor courtyard while knocking back soju and ice cold beers.

2. Hong Kong style Typhoon crab from Superdish, Cabramatta

The new kid on the block in Cabramatta whips up a crab dish which is not commonly seen on Sydney Chinese restaurant menus. I had my first experience of this crab in Hong Kong which is called Typhoon shelter style crab. Whilst it is missing the copious amounts of deep fried garlic, this dish has become a favourite of mine in a restaurant which is predominantly dominated by Vietnamese restaurants in its area. Plenty of black bean, chili, garlic and spring onions in this version.

3. Better than Sex (BTS) from House, Surry Hills

This restaurant is worth coming to just for this dessert. I wish I had a picture, but take my word for it, this dessert is a man-sert, dessert for men. Two thick slices of toasted brioche is covered with a sweet and sticky palm sugar syrup and topped with a massive dollop of  pandan ice cream. The mix of hot and cold and crunch is to die for.

4. Chocolate Forest from Sepia, Sydney

Not only is this dessert innovative and creative in its aesthetics, its got the bloody good taste to back it up. The “Chocolate Forest” contains Soft Chocolate, Lavender Cream, Sour Cherry Sorbet and Licorice. With the dessert menu constantly changing, this one seems to have stood the test of time. Perhaps an indication of its greatness?

5. Chicken Roll from Kim Thanh Hot Bread, Cabramatta

Gone are the days of the $1.50 pork roll, but the variety of meats in a Vietnamese bread roll has evolved over the years. The chicken roll at Kim Thanh has two things going its way; 1. crispy fried onion oil and 2. Tender marinated roast chicken. I wouldn’t say you should travel from Mudgee to Cabramatta just to try it, but if you happen to be in area and craving for a chicken roll this version would have to be on your priority list.

6. Woodfired Sulfolk Lamb and Woodfired Suckling Pig from Porteno, Surry Hills

Porteno was a surprise favourite of mine last year. Reason being, I was often disappointed with a few of the hyped up new restaurants which Sydney was blessed with. I’ve been back a few times with friends and the must order meat dishes each time are the lamb and suckling pig. Why? Good cuts of meat which are cooked perfectly over hot charcoal. Meat which is tender, juicy and pink in the middle and served with perfectly matched condiments (chimichurri).

7. Crispy Fried Brussel Sprouts with Lentils and Mint from Porteno, Surry Hills

Porteno might look like a meat lovers haven but fear not, the crispy brussel sprouts are a show stopper even for the most devote carnivores out there.

8. Charcoal grilled beef w/ rice noodles and herbs/salads (thit bo nuong) from Hoi Au, Canley Heights

Hoi Au has been around for years and has its fair share of regular return customers. One of their signature dishes is their beef which is grilled on a charcoal ceramic bbq at your table. The beef is marinated and once cooked, is eaten as a wrap with Vietnamese rice paper rolls and fresh herbs and salads. Its an all hands on affair, with wraps being dipped in pungent fish sauce and the sounds of various languages being spoken by patrons in the background.  

9. Grilled corn on the cob, parmesan, lime from Ms G’s, Potts Point

Having just returned from New York, I can see the influence for this dish. When seeing this on the menu, you wouldn’t usually give it a second look. But we received a tip off that this was a must order dish, which I agree with. I’m not sure what it is, but this corn has a unique flavour which is quite addictive. Its beyond the combination of parmesan and lime, it might be a type of seasoning they use. Either way, you can’t leave Ms G’s without ordering this.

10. Beef char kway teow from Dong Son, Cabramatta


There are two things that make a good char kway teow. One is the ‘wok breath’ where there is a smokey aroma and taste and two is thick, but not too thick beef gravy like sauce. Dong Son is a Cambodian-Chinese restaurant in Cabramatta which has been around for more than 20 years. This is comfort food at its finest.

11. Tonkatsu Pork Loin Set with all-natural Otway pork from Miso, World Square

For a while I thought that the best Tonkatsu could only be found in Tokyo. One of the best ones I had was in Ginza, where they used only a specific free range pork. At Miso, they do something similar by sourcing their pork from Otway. The breading is amazingly crisp without being oily, the porky center is thick while remaining moist. My serving manages to withstand the test of time, and by the end of the meal the last piece has lost none of its crunch. Served in a set it’s a huge meal, complete with Miso Soup, beans, mashed potatoes, mini salad and rice.

12. Steak au poivre from Grasshopper Bar, Temperance Lane Sydney CBD

This is one of the few dishes which consistently stays on the special boards, and with good reason. Probably one of the best dollar for dollar steak dishes in Sydney. At $33 a pop you also get what I call a bone marrow hash brown, not it’s real name, but its close to what is really is.

13. Smoked eel parfait with white soy, kombu and seaweed from Bentley Restaurant & Bar, Surry Hills

A smooth and silky parfait with a distinct smoked eel taste. This dish is an amazing combination of visuals, texture and flavour.

14. Fried ice cream from Holy Basil, Canley Heights

Their signature dish of pan fried filo wrapped fried ice cream with homemade caramel sauce and shredded coconut/muesli has people lining up out the door even on week nights. Its popularity has people waiting in line even for a take away version.

15. Shrimp paste fried rice from Bangkok Thai Cuisiness, Cabramatta (BKK International Fast Food Centre)

The price has risen over the years but it still remains a favourite ‘franchise’ dish for the Cabramatta faithful. A plate of shrimp paste flavoured fried rice with with trimmings such as lap choung, prawns, Chinese bbq pork, shredded fried egg, onion, coriander and sour mango. It’s a mix and match affair and the result is a little bit of crunch, saltiness, sweetness and sourness.

16. Risotto Agli Spinaci Con Burrata from Otto Ristorante, Woolloloomoo

17. Rockmelon Gelato from Giotto Gelato in Smithfield.

Hidden away in a suburban shopping strip in Smithfield is multi award winner Giotto Gelato. You won’t find the elaborate flavours of Gelato Messina here, instead, you’ll find a rockmelon flavoured gelato which will make the trip to Smithfield worthwhile. While you’re here, why not make a trip to Fairfield or Cabramatta?

18. Korean fried chicken from Strathfield Recreation Club, Strathfield

Similar to Arisun, the KFC here is moist and delicately crunchy. Hidden away on the fringe of the Strathfield strip of Korean restaurants is a club bistro serving up one of Sydney’s best KFC. If you are game, try the chilli version.

19. Quince glaze duck with pancetta, fig, radicchio and pickled muscat grape from Orto Trading, Surry Hills

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the head turners. The servings of Duck are gloriously fatty with the skin torched to caramelised perfection. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the richness of the meat, but the accompanying fig and grapes are a mild sweetness that help to cut through the meat. The crisp pancetta is easily one of my favourite components of the dish, teeth shatteringly crunchy with a hit of salt it has me hunting down each and every piece on the board.

20. 68% Alto Beni Zokoko Chocolate Cadeau and Salted Black Cumin Caramel from Becasse

Becasse has undergone a dramatic transformation, and for good reason. The name of this dessert is a bit of a handful (68% Alto Beni Zokoko Chocolate Cadeau and Salted Black Cumin Caramel) but you’ll be wishing you had more than a few handfuls of this dessert as it is divine.

21. Gaytime goes nuts from Universal Restaurant, Darlinghurst.

There’s a swing of the spoon before a decisive, ‘Crack!’, and I’ve broken through the shell to reach the brilliantly smooth honeycomb ice-cream hidden within. The salted hazelnut caramels tumble-down onto the plate only to be scooped up with a spoonful of the sinfully rich caramel parfait. Like the sound of that? So do we.

22. Free range organic charcoal grilled chicken from Hoi Au, Canley Heights

This is the second time time that Hoi Au has featured in this list, and for good reason. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights they cook an amazing charcoal chicken outside the restaurant. Marinated chicken is wrapped in banana leaf and is then grilled over hot charcoal. It is served with sticky rice draped with shallot oil and a side of house made chilli sauce. Shame I don’t have a picture because it is amazeballs.

23.Truffle Moussaka from Xanthi, Westfields Sydney CBD

This dish is can turn anyone into a vegetarian. Layers of potato, mushroom, eggplant and black truffle result in an aromatic array of flavours. A crisp and fresh salad on the side cuts through the richness.

24.Coffee from Klink Espresso, Sydney CBD

Finding good coffee in the CBD for office workers and alike is like finding the right shoe size during a stocktake sale, nearly impossible. Klink however has bucked this trend, serving amazing coffee from Golden Cobra beans. Tucked inside the Gaffa Art Gallery, their minimalist approach is paying dividends as I believe it is the best cup of coffee you can find within the Sydney CBD.

25.What do you think should be number 25?

I’m stumped. I could have added anything here but I noticed that the last time we did this list we received alot of suggestions from readers which were excellent. I’d be keen to see what you guys think are must try dishes in the current food landscape in Sydney.

Once again, this is a list based on dishes we’ve eaten and restaurants and cafes we’ve been to. The Sydney food scene is gaining momentum and I’m sure that I’ll have no problems making another Top 25 or 50 list in the near future.


  1. Great list, especially the man-ssert! LOL

    As for number 25, how about the wonderful double cheeseburger at the Abercrombie? It’s only $10 on Thursdays too! Or even their Deep-fried Golden Gaytime would be on my list. :-)

  2. Some really excellent and diverse choices amongst the list. Love your work.

    BTW, the BTS@House features heavily in our little Sydney foodspotting troupe: some gorgeous pictures here (about 13 sightings so far):

    One that would definitely be on my list would be the white chocolate panna cotta with candied mandarin at Sopra. It’s absolutely to die for and one of the best desserts I’ve had for a long long time. If you’ve not had it, then I think it might be a contender for the 25th spot:

  3. Another fabulous round up Howard. I absolutely love the steak at Grasshopper and I def can’t live without Arisun. But the desserts are bang on. Chocolate Forest omg. BTS OMG. Gaytime Goes Nuts? I’d push old ladies to the gutter for one.

    As for my Number 25(s), the steak tartare at Grasshopper Bar, oven baked Peking pork in foil from Mr Chow’s and the white chicken at BBQ One in Eastwood, which I admit, tastes more awesome than most hainan chickens in Sydney. I always get containers of it and make my own Hainan Chicken rice at home to go with it.

  4. People say I’m crazy when I tell them that the brussel sprouts at Porteno are amazing. Glad I’m not the only one that finds them worthy of a mention :)

  5. I am a food lover, this looks great! i am starving now with number 25! I can almost smell and taste it. I will try these when I visit again Sydney.


  6. … don’t forget the bone marrow ramen from Gumshara, Eating World – BEST RAMEN! – unless you’ve covered that in previous posts… Great list!

  7. I never realised I was missing out on sooo much, have only been to two places on your list, if everywhere else is as good as those two will have to get through the rest of the places on your list…

  8. gobsmack'd says

    Amazing list, Howard. Much as I am sure #10 tastes fantastic, I don’t think it can be called ‘char kway teow’. It seems very much like beef hor-fun to me. No char kway teow ever comes with gravy! To find beef in a char kway teow order would be extraordinary enough, let alone gravy. Beef hor-fun is an HK originated dish, whereas charkwayteow is Sporean/Malaysian. Our Cambodian friends at Dong Son is stretching its clients’ imagination somewhat!
    The duck at Orto is indeed to die for … must go back soon!

    • Hey Gob, you are right. The literal translation from teo chew to English is “beef kway teow” rather than “char kway teow”.

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