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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

All-you-can-eat crab at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's, Haymarket Sydney

Crab fried rice at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney

All-you-can-eat crab for less than forty bucks. You read that right. Where? It's on at Yok Sod Thai, the eatery housed within the ground floor bar at Mr B's on the corner of Pitt and Goulburn Streets.

All-you-can-eat crab festival menu at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab menu


The crab festival, which runs only during crab season, features ten dishes starring blue swimmer crab. Order them a la carte (most are $19.90 each) or arrive hungry and hand over $39.90 for all-you-can-eat. You know what we did.

Bring your own gloves for the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Pro-level - bring your own gloves

It's my first time at this crab fest. For three of my fellow diners, this was not their first rodeo, which is why the G-Man offered to bring everyone a set of disposable gloves...

Um. GENIUS. Do not underestimate this vital step. This is hella messy eating without the niceties of finger bowls or wet wipes. They will provide you with nut crackers and serviettes.

Gloves mean that we attack the crab with wild abandon. Wear dark clothing. Crab shells, crab flesh and sauce will end up in your lap, all over your shirt and in your hair. But maybe that was just me.

Steamed crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Steamed crab 

Your table will have 90 minutes in which to order as much as you can eat. Be warned that staff will inspect your dishes at the end to make sure you've sufficiently eaten the crab ordered. If you haven't, you're liable to pay a wastage fee. Your ordering end time will be marked on your table.

The best value dish is the steamed crab. That's two whole blue swimmer crabs with a dish of chilli sauce for dipping. This is the most expensive dish to order a la carte at $25.90. Every other dish features just one crab and is $19.90.

Crab omelette at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab omelette

The crab omelette is the only dish where the crab picking has been done for you. This was so popular, we end up ordering two omelettes.

Raw crab salad at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Raw crab salad

Does the idea of raw crab freak you out? It shouldn't. Like any dish, there's nothing to hide behind when food is served raw. I find the raw crab has the plumpest flesh of all the dishes. It is also incredibly sweet.

If you love raw scampi, this will be right up your alley. The raw crab salad was my favourite dish of the night.

Som tum crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Som tum crab 

You can also order som tum crab, raw crab served with a fiery papaya salad. We weren't asked what chilli level we wanted but staff must've presumed "fire of a thousand suns". Try and ask for mild or otherwise enjoy the hallucinations.

Crab curry sauce at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab curry sauce

You'll want to go in a minimum group size of four people so you can try a variety of dishes. The crab curry sauce is sweeter than you'd probably expect, but terrifically fragrant with fresh curry leaves. 

Black pepper crab at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Stir fried crab in black pepper sauce

The black pepper crab featured a whole heap of green capsicums in the photo so we're pleased to find it arrive vegetable-free. We're focussed purely on value-for-money here. The black pepper sauce is a little on the oily side but I'll confess I'm not usually a fan of black pepper crab anyway.

Crab tom yum creamy at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab tom yum creamy

Crab tom yum creamy comes with a rich coconut broth that's reminiscent of tom kha gai. There are no noodles in this dish, unlike the crab tom yum.

Crab tom yum noodle at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab tom yum noodle

If that crab tom yum noodle reminds you of Do Dee Paidang, that's because Yok Sod is its sister restaurant. Here it's a massive serving. Staff suggest it's designed for four people to share.

Fresh rice noodle in the crab tom yum soup at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Fresh rice noodle in the crab tom yum soup

The soup is that familiar addictive combination of spicy, sour, sweet and salty, filled with a huddle of chewy fresh noodles, deep fried wonton wrappers for crunch and a whole crab just waiting to be eaten.

We demolish the bowl with such speed that our table of five debates loudly before we agree to order another one. Even the waitress raises one eyebrow at our appetite. That tom yum soup is laced with crack.

Crab fried rice at the all-you-can-eat crab festival at Yok Sod Thai at Mr B's in Haymarket Sydney
Crab fried rice

The surprise of the night? The crab fried rice. I'll admit I tried to stop this order happening. Too many carbs. It's just rice. How good could it be?

How wrong was I. The fried rice is seriously amazing, with just the right amount of fluffiness and seasoning. I declared I'd only have one spoonful for tasting purposes. Then I had three. Or four.

End result? We finished 13 dishes between five people. And I don't even want to think about my cholesterol levels.

The Yok Sod crab festival menu is available Monday to Friday from 4pm for walk-ins only. Arrive early as the crab tends to run out by 7pm. The festival will finish with the end of crab season which is expected to be April 30, 2018.


Yok Sod - Mr B's Hotel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yok Sod Thai
Ground floor, Mr B's Hotel
396 Pitt Street, Haymarket, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8080 7777

Opening hours
Daily 11.30am-1.30am


Related Grab Your Fork posts
Do Dee Paidang, Haymarket

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/17/2018 02:15:00 am


Monday, April 09, 2018

Boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo, Lidcombe

Boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney

No cutlery. No plates. Just one long table piled with food. This, my friends, is a boodle fight. It’s how the Filipino military used to eat in an army mess hall, soldiers standing shoulder-to-shoulder battling to eat their fill before the food ran out. Eating together wasn’t just about efficiency – it also represented equality and camaraderie for all troops.

Today’s boodle fights have evolved into more of a communal feast for family and friends, while still acknowledging its traditional origins. So hand-to-mouth combat sounds like your kinda thing? Sizzling Fillo has ten different banquets to choose from, including special lovers’ feasts for two. Sexy times. For a less intimate meal, it’s worth rounding up at least three of your mates who won’t freak out about eating with their fingers. And yes, they have a vegan feast too. Nobody misses out here.

Garlic rice for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Serving the garlic rice on banana leaves

Pre-book at least three days in advance and when you rock up, you’ll find your table covered in banana leaves. The dining room is a happy hubbub of Filipino families and friends, with most ordering from the a la carte menu.

On your signal, staff will start bringing out your food, piling it up on or around fragrant garlic rice planted straight onto your banana leaf-lined table.

Sizzling steak during our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Sizzling steak

You’ll get everything from steamed crabs to sizzling steak to fried baby milkfish depending on the banquet you’ve ordered. Veggies are always included.

Fried milkfish with salted egg for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Fried milkfish with salted egg

Sizzling sisig for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Sizzling sisig

Sizzling sisig is a Filo specialty worth trying, a hot plate of shredded meat from the pigs head and liver mixed through with egg yolk.

Stirring the egg yolk into sizzling sisig for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Stirring the egg yolk into the sizzling sisig pigs head with liver


Crispy pata deep fried pig trotters for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Plating the crispy pata deep fried pig trotters

But the undoubted star of the show is the crispy pata, deep fried pork trotters that you tear apart and dip into vinegar and soy. If there’s going to be a fight, it’ll be over the hunks of crunchy crackling.

Eating crispy pata deep fried pig trotters for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
You know you want it

Relapse to childhood and get down and dirty with your fingers. It might feel weird at first but you’ll be ripping apart that milkfish like a seasoned Survivor contestant in no time.

Eating with fingeres during our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
The best kind of finger food

Finish up with deep fried banana fritters, leche flan crème caramel or halo halo, mixed fruits topped with ice cream. The sago’t gulaman doubles as dessert too, a brown sugar drink served icy cold with tapioca pearls and cubes of agar agar jelly.

Sago't gulaman for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Sago't gulaman

Our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Boodle fight

Fried milkfish with salted egg and garlic rice for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Fried milkfish with salted egg and garlic rice

Crispy pata deep fried pork trotter for our boodle fight at Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney
Crispy pata deep fried pork trotter

Sizzling Fillo in Lidcombe Sydney


Sizzling Fillo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sizzling Fillo
36 Railway Street, Lidcombe, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9649 7939

Opening hours
Tuesday to Friday 5.30pm-9pm
Saturday to Sunday 11.30am-3.30pm and 4.30pm-9pm

This article first appeared in Time Out Sydney. Read this article online or read more of my Time Out Sydney reviews.
3 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 4/09/2018 12:47:00 am


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet, Market City Chinatown, Sydney

Hot and sour rice noodle with pork mince at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney

Spicy. Initially confusing. And then jaw droppingly addictive. I could be talking about the Chinese dating show If You Are The One or host Meng Fei's new noodle house that's just opened in Chinatown's Market City. There are more parallels between the two than you'd think.

Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet is Mr Meng's second venture in Australia, following on from his Melbourne opening mid- last year. It's part of an international stable of noodle houses (some franchised) that started in Nanjing in 2014.

Sydney's version is slick and efficient, and one of the first outlets to open in the former level 3 foodcourt of Market City, now rebranded 1909 Dining Precinct and set to host a number of casual dine-in restaurants.

Mung bean jelly in chilli sauce at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Bean jelly in chilli sauce $5.80

You'll have to order and pay at the counter but staff will bring your meals to your marked table. It means that random add-ons like another drink or dessert will require another trip to the register but it does avoid the whole bill-splitting nightmare at the end of the night for large groups.

Unlike the sounds of the Melbourne menu, there are no chilli indicators to warn diners about the relative heat of each dish. Suffice to say, be prepared for tongue tingling numbness from a whack of Sichuan peppers in every dish. In a good way. If you're really heat averse, order a soy bean milk as an emergency extinguisher.

Bean jelly in chilli sauce is an ideal place to start. The mung bean noodles are cool to the throat, bathed in a chilli sauce that is equal parts sour, salty, spicy and sweet.

Mung bean jelly in chilli sauce at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Mung bean jelly noodles

There's only a faint hit of tongue-numbing Sichuan pepper here, but it's a great primer for what's to come.

Steamed chicken in chilli sauce at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Steamed chicken in chilli sauce $8.80

Steamed chicken in chilli sauce will set your mouth on fire if you find the right piece. The chicken itself is tender, cooked and served on the bone for maximum flavour.

Chongqing spicy noodle with stewed beef at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Chongqing spicy noodle with stewed beef $14.80

The main attraction here is the mighty Chongqing noodle, thin round wheat noodles served in a fiery broth laced with soy sauce, sesame oil, black vinegar and red pepper oil. You can stick with the plain version for $10.80 or choose variations of toppings that run from $12.80 to $14.80.

Chongqing spicy noodle with stewed beef at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Stewed beef with noodles

Chongqing spicy noodles with stewed beef is a classic, yielding soft simmered hunks of protein against those springy chewy noodles. 

Chongqing spicy noodle with pork intestines at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Chongqing spicy noodle with pork intestines $14.80

If you want to level up, I highly recommend the version with pork intestines. Don't be afraid. The intestines have been rinsed well and have been cooked to an expert softness. They also offer a chicken giblet and chicken heart offering - I'm getting that next time.

Chongqing spicy noodle with pork intestines at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Pork intestine with noodles

Hot and sour rice noodle with pork mince at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Hot and sour rice noodle with pork mince $11.80

Hot and sour rice noodles was one of my highlight dishes. These noodles are noticeably thicker and chewier, with a more glutinous density. You'll have to dig around for the pork mince which tends to sink to the bottom of the bowl. This dish felt like one of the spicier offerings too.

Dan dan noodles at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Dan dan noodle $13.80

Dan dan noodle is another winner, dry noodles covered in a saucy pork mince with peanuts, shallots and vegetables.

Mixing the dan dan noodles at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Mixing the noodles with the pork mince

You'll have to get in there to mix it all together. There's a good, but not over-the-top, hit of chilli and Sichuan pepper in this one as well.

Sichuan style dumplings at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Sichuan style dumpling $12.80 for 10

Still hungry? The appetisers menu has plenty of temptations. Sichuan style dumplings are elegantly silky packages, the thin skins wrapped around seasoned pork mince. There's already a generous dousing of black vinegar and chilli, but if you need more, you can use the supplied table condiments as reinforcement.

Cold beef, beef tongue and beef tripe at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Beef tongue and beef tripe $7.80

The beef tongue and beef tripe is offaly good too. Your tongue may be on fire by this point but that tripe is so soft and tender, you'll be going back for more.

Deep fried crispy pork at Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney
Deep fried crispy pork $7.80

And because they'd run out of the brown sugar rice cakes (noooooo) we end up having the deep fried crispy pork for dessert instead (hello). The seasoning around these pork strips is super addictive but be warned that about a third of these pork strips will be pure fat. Just fat. Battered and deep-fried. Farewell arteries.

Seeking an adventure with thrills and spills? If you are the one, you'll find it right here.

If You Are The One Meng Fei overlooking Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Market City Chinatown Sydney


Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet - 1909 Dining Precinct Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet
Market City
Level 3 (1909 Dining Precinct), Shop T3
9-13 Hay Street, Haymarket Chinatown, Sydney


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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/28/2018 02:12:00 am


Monday, March 19, 2018

Passata Day

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Passata Day. It's the Italian family tradition I've envied ever since reading Looking for Alibrandi. Who didn't dream of a romanticised day of canning with the extended family? And then it happened. Tomato pulp galore on a scorching hot day. Never give up hope, guys. Passata Day dreams can come true! How did it all go down? Read on!

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Organic Roma tomatoes 

We started with a pick-up of 50 kilos of organic Roma tomatoes from Sift Produce.

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Blanching the tomatoes

A couple of hours and several food shop detours later, we were back at Casa del Pig Flyin aka Passata HQ. After giving the tomatoes a quick wash, we blanched them in hot water to soften the skins.

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Blanched tomatoes ready for juicing

The blanched tomatoes were transferred to a bucket, ready for pressing through the passata machine kindly lent by Racy Staci.

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Pushing the tomatoes through the passata machine

There was a frisson of excitement when we first turned the machine on. Add the tomatoes to the funnel and press, not dissimilar to an electric juicer.

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Passata machine success!

The tomatoes are pulverised and forced through a tunnel with fine holes.

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Tomato pulp

The sieve allows the tomato juice and pulp to pass through, cascading into our waiting bucket.

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Tomato skins

The tomato skins continue on, exiting the end of the tunnel. We run the skins through the machine several times to get every last bit of tomato juice out.

It's an extraordinary efficient process, thanks to the electric motor.

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Reducing the passata to a thicker sauce

Most Italian families would bottle their passata straight out of the machine, but because we didn't have enough bottles we thickened the sauce, reducing it by 70%. This process took the longest - over an hour - mostly because we had to do this in batches due to limited stockpots.

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Passata production completed

Et voila! Our thickened pasta was finally transferred to glass jars, ready for canning. Once the jars have been immersed in boiling water and heated through, they should be shelf stable for at least a year, presuming they last that long!

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Roma tomatoes with fresh mozzarella

We made passata from 45kg of tomatoes, reserving the best 5kg for eating. Pig Flyin whipped up a tomato-themed dinner for the passata crew, starting with Roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fennel tops from the garden and a good dousing of extra virgin olive oil.

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Crumbed and fried quail

Two quails were dipped in panko crumbs and deep fried until golden. PFQ - Pigflyin fried quail!

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Cavatelli with our passata sauce

Our passata sauce was served with cavatelli. It had such a bright and intense tomato flavour.

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Tomato salad with sweet onions and home grown cucumber

More Romas were served as part of a rustic salad, tumbled through with sweet onions and home grown cucumber and fennel tops.

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Home grown tromboncino zucchini with chilli passata

A tromboncino zucchini - the first of their crop - was harvested from the garden and simmered in passata. A background hit of chilli made this such a tasty vegetarian dish.

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Sirloin on the bone cooked directly on charcoal

And then were was this beauty, a sirloin on the bone from Feather and Bone cooked directly on charcoal. The meat was extraordinarily tender, especially against that caramelised char.

I'm hoping Passata Day will be a new tradition. I cannot wait for next year's!

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/19/2018 01:00:00 am



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