Steamed Pork Spareribs in Black Bean Sauce


When I eat dim sum and go to yum cha, steamed pork spareribs with black bean sauce is certainly one of the dish that I always order. I always wonder how can they make it so tender and flavoursome. After research and trial and error. I’ve have came up with this ultimate recipe. Pork is similar to beef, it takes time to marinate and need lots of water for it to absorb in order to become tender if you are not braising it. Buying the meat fresh and cook on the same day is the best bet because it ensure it is fresh and tender. On the other hand, if you are freezing the meat, make sure you put another layer of wrapping over it to prevent freezer burnt. A freezer burnt meat will impact both taste and consistency of the meat.

Traditionally, whole black beans are used in this dish. However, they are hard to find and sometimes need to soak overnight. I’ve substituted with jarred Lee Kum Kee garlic black bean sauce which you can easily find in any Chinese grocery store.


1-1/2 lbs pork spare ribs (don’t get the long BBQ ribs, ask butcher to halved)  
2 cloves of garlic, chopped  
2 tbsp Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
3 tbsp water     
1 tsp chicken powder    
2 tsp of Lee Kam Kee garlic black bean sauce 
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp cooking oil 
1 tsp sesame oil 
2 tsp corn starch

few stalks of coriander, 1 red chilli & chopped spring onion for garnish

1) Cut the spareribs crosswise into 3-4 cm sections.

2) Combine all ingredients except oil, sesame oil and corn starch and mix evenly until all meat are coat with sauce. Set aside for 15 minutes.

3) Add in sesame oil then oil and mix well, lastly add corn starch little by little evenly and mix well with a spoon. Add 1 tbsp of water if you feel the meat is now too sticky and dry.

4) Transfer spareribs and sauce into a slightly shallow heatproof pan that will fit inside your wok. Cover with glad wrap and marinated in the fridge for 1-3 hours.

5) Set steaming rack inside of wok and fill with water almost up to the height of rack. Turn heat to high and when water is boiling, turn heat to medium-high and place pan with spareribs on top of the steaming rack in wok.

6) Steam on medium-high heat for 18-20 minutes until ribs are no longer pink and test with a toothpick to see juice run out is clear. Make sure that when you are steaming you don’t run out of water in the wok and adding additional water if required.

7) Garnish with coriander, spring onion and chilli and serve hot with jasmine rice.


The essential sauce, ignore the celery at the back =p


Best to marinate in the same dish as you are steaming so wash one thing less


Cover with glad wrap and marinated for 3 hours for best result  


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Malacca Straits Thai, Pitt Street food court

Food: 8/10
Atmosphere: 3/10
Service: 3/10
Value: 8/10

Average Price
Entrée: $2 – $7
Main: $10 – $15
Dessert: N/A
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: N/A
Cakeage: N/A

Ease of finding a car park: Extremely Hard
Ease of finding the restaurant: Hard
Brightness of restaurant: Bright
Noise Level: Noisy
Waiting time for foods: 5 mins – 10 mins
Booking time require: walk in
Child friendly/High Chair: No


This is a fast and busy food court which I often come in here just for the larp kai ( basil chilli mince chicken). Not a lot of places can do a good Larp Kai and the one in Malacca Straits Thai is certainly one of the best. My first favourite is still Chat Thai thou but with the restricted lunch hours and in days which I don’t have mood to line up for 1/2 an hour. I will just order a quick and yummy lunch here.

The entrance to the Woolworth food court is not easy to find, you can either enter via Pitt Street or go through the Metro Woolworth from George Street and this will lead you to a door which you pass through you will see the staircase to the food court. But be warn, this place is really packed and noisy, suggested to be there early so you can find a seat, however portion are generous and reasonable priced.


Basil chili chicken with egg and rice, $8.90

The larp kai is huge, full of flavours and fresh stir fry when order and not those take away sitting on a container waiting to be spoon. As you can see there is heaps of veges and the chicken mince are so tender and moist, I believe it is chicken thigh mince. Egg is extra $1.


Garlic and pepper chicken with rice, $7.50

The garlic and pepper chicken was tasty but not as nice without the chilli, after you tried something new you are always more determine to stick with your old favourite.


Conclusion: If you like authentic thai food and not fussy about the noisiness level and the food court ambience. Do come and have a try!


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303 Pitt Street, Sydney  
opening hrs: Mon – Friday 12:00 to 14:00  
Web: N/A

Getting There:

Parking: Pitt St 
By Train: Town Hall Station  
By Bus:


Map picture

Chatime brand new opening, Market City & Chatswood

Chatime just spread like crazy and so fast that I can’t even keep up with the posting, thanks to those who subscribe to my blog and receive update. Quick post here for my lovely readers. Chatime is doing another buy 1 get 1 Free promotion for the two new stores in Market City and Chatswood until Nov 21st. Grab one after work !! For drink recommendation please refer to this post.




Market city store, just visited yesterday. The queue wasn’t that long


Matcha Green tea and TieGuanyin Green tea with grass jelly


Forgot to tell you Easyway was doing the same promotion Buy 1 get 1 free but with an extra sponge cake. But guess who wins? =p


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Salt and Pepper Squid & Scallop




Salt and pepper dish is always something I craved for when dining in a Chinese restaurant. The home made version is not as good but still can be a temporary solution for my craving. The delicious and simple recipe is lightly coated in sea salt and pepper and then pan fried to perfection. Perfect for a hot summer’s meal served with a fresh garden salad. You can also use pre-cut calamari or any seafood you like. My recipe below also teaches how to make a salt and pepper mix which you can store up to 2 years.


Ingredients (Salt & Pepper Mix):

1 cup salt  
30g or 7 tbsp of five spice powder (can get from green valley spice)  
1 tsp white pepper 
2 tsp Szechuan pepper 
(can get from green valley spice)  

1) Heat a wok or flat pan over low heat and add in all the ingredients.

2) Cook over very low heat, stirring continuously for 5 minutes to avoid the dry ingredients from burning 

3) When done, transfer to plate lined with a paper towel and allow to cool (the paper towel will help you transfer the mix to a container by simply shaping it into a funnel for pouring). When cool, transfer to a dry, airtight jar. This will keep well for 2 – 3 years without losing it’s aroma.



Cook slowly in a very low heat, make sure you open all your window as the strong aroma will make you sneeze!


Cool down completely before transfering to container


Ingredients (Salt & Pepper Squid):

10 scallops 
1 calamari tube  
1 egg 
corn flour to coat      
around 3 tbsp oil


1 tsp of salt and pepper mixture (refer above) 
1 tbsp dried onion flakes (available from Asian groceries)
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1 tsp chicken powder
1 tbsp of spring onion and coriander, chopped

1) Heat up oil in a wok or a deep frying pan.

2) Coat scallop and calamari pieces in egg wash then coat in the corn flour. Shake off excess then drop gently into the oil. Take care not to overcrowd the pan and reduce the temperature too much.

3) When golden brown, transfer from oil to a plate with plenty of paper towels to soak up the excess oil.

4) Using another wok, heat up a small amount of oil and fry the garlic and fried onion pieces (only a small amount is needed as the fried seafood will be oily enough).

5) Toss in all the remaining seasoning ingredients and stir fry to mix.

6) When mixed through, add in the fried seafood and mix well to coat.

7) Garnish with fresh shallots and coriander and serve immediately.



I add little bit black pepper to the seafood for marinate, but this is optional


Put your egg wash and cornflour in the order above so you can work systemically without thinking



you don’t need too much oil just enough for a shallow pan fry


This is important step for people who is worry about their waistline

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Hurricane’s Grill & Bar Top Ryde Opening December


top-ryde hurricane

Just a quick post here, for the Hurricane’s Grill fans, guess what? I have received an email from the management team the wait is finally over! Hurricane’s Gril Top Ryde is officially open for dinner as of tonight 2nd February 2011.

It will be open for lunch (from 3rd February) and dinner 7 days a week
Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00
Dinner: 17:30 – late.
Please note that they do not take reservation via email. For reservations or booking queries you can contact 02 9130 7101 between 10 am to 6 pm.

A while ago, plenty of advertisement on career website as the new restaurant are still trying to recruit a Restaurant Manager and floor and bar staff. The new Top Ryde shopping centre is located on the corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road, Ryde, is at the centre of it all. With options at every point of the compass, public transport at the doorstep, and access to over 2,000 undercover car parking spaces I think you should come and visit the restaurant soon!


top-ryde hurricane 2


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Corner Devlin Street and Blaxland Road, Ryde 
opening hrs: Mon – Wed, Fri – Sati: 09:00 to 18:00, Thurs 9:00 to 21:00, Sun 10:00 to 17:00 

Getting There:

Parking: Top Ryde City shopping centre own underground parking
By Train: No train station near by 
By Bus:


Map picture

Jamie Oliver Roast Chicken




I’ve always wanted to try roasting a whole chicken, I bought roast chicken from Coles many times but not knowing what exactly they put in and the buttery flavour was so rich. I started to feel scare about how much fat I am consuming from eating the chicken bought outside. Ever since I’ve falling in love with all the “throw-in-the-oven recipe” I said to myself, hmmm let’s try roasting a whole chicken myself. Searching my best friend Mr. Google for an hour or so, here is the perfect recipe that I found – Jamie Oliver’s Roast Chicken.

With Christmas coming real soon, I am sure this will be a big hit recipe. Instead of frozen turkey which is abominably expensive, choosing a whole chicken instead can be a fantastic idea. I halved the original recipe because my serving size is for two. If you have more people you can choose a bigger chicken and double the ingredients portions.


1 whole chicken (1kg or under) 
1 whole lemon, peel rind off then cut in quarter wedges  
1/3 block of butter softened (leave out from fridge before start cooking)
500g small potatoes     
2 bunches of fresh herbs, I choose thyme and rosemary   
1 tsp of salt and few twist of black crack pepper 
3 rashers of bacon, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1) Preheat oven to 220C.

2) Wash the chicken inside out and pat dry with some paper towels. Peel the rind off the lemon and chop it into fine bits. Add the rind and chopped bacon into the softened butter together with the chopped garlic. The butter should be soft so it is squishy but not melted to a liquid.

3) Picked some leafs from the fresh herbs and add in to the butter mixture together with the salt and pepper.

4) Carefully, with the chicken cavity facing you, peel the skin of the chicken away from the flesh without tearing it. You should feel a pocket form between the skin and the flesh. Using your hands, pick up some of the butter mixture and stuff it into the pocket you just created. Repeat on the other side.

5) Slice the lemon wedges and remaining herbs into the chicken cavity. You can tie the legs together at this point, or just leave them.

6) Place the chicken in the hot oven with the potato underneath and leave it for 25 minutes.

7) After 25 minutes, remove the chicken from the oven. You will notice that the butter has melted into the tray and the skin is starting to brown. With a pair of tongs or chopsticks, lift the chicken and quickly toss the potatoes in the butter. Then, place the chicken back onto the potatoes and return to oven for another 20 mins or so depending on the size of the chicken.

8 )  To test the chicken is done, stick a tester or knife into the drumstick or breast area of the chicken and see the juice that runs out is clear, if its red, leave it for a while longer.

9) When its done, remove and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.


Mr. chicken, here I come…



Massage ingredient for rubbing the baby


Carefully tear off the skin above the cavity, creating a pocket and massage the chicken all over with the butter mixture using your fingers



Sprinkle few of the herbs piece with the potato and ready to be bake in the oven


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Charlie & Co Burgers, Westfield Sydney 

Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 5/10
Service: 6/10
Value: 7/10

Average Price
Entrée: $8 – $10
Main: $15 – $20
Dessert: N/A
Degustation: N/A
Corkage: N/A
Cakeage: N/A

Ease of finding a car park: Extremely Hard
Ease of finding the restaurant: Easy
Brightness of restaurant: Bright
Noise Level: Noisy
Waiting time for foods: 20 mins – 25 mins
Booking time require: walk in
Child friendly/High Chair: No


The A$1.2 billion Sydney Westfield finally opened last week located under Sydney Tower between Pitt Street Mall, Castlereagh Street and Market Street. I have joined the crowd to try the latest creation of Justin North – Charlie & Co. One of the Sydney highest profile chef whom is also owner of Becasse, Etch, Plan B and Le Grand Café. Burgers are no longer a fast food thing, Justin North has designed a menu that maintains the integrity of premium, fresh produce, all locally sourced to create a flavoursome and juicy burger like no other. In saying that, I will be comparing the burgers with Grill’d because it is still my no. 1 favourite burger place.


I must say, it was an expensive lunch. Five of us bought a total of four burgers and three chips to share, total bill of $86.


Burgers are all delicately made with the finest ingredients, looking from the glass window I can clearly see the ingredients they put in. from tomato salsa to lettuce and the mayo and buns. They operate like a Subway and systematically pass the burger to the person to the right for the next step.



The Wagyu & Co. Burger – Wagyu Burger with beetroot relish, pickled gherkin and aged cheddar on a toasted brioche bun, $16

The Wagyu Burger was clearly the most popular burger. At first glance, the portion seems lean but the big flavours make up for size. The meat patty was just right, not overly lean or fat. It comes with the aged cheddar nicely melted on top, with the mayo oozing out on the first bite was just amazing.



The Rustic Chorizo Classic – Pork burger infused with smoked paprika, chorizo and fennel, with soft peppers and fried egg on a toasted brioche bun, $16

I opted for the Chorizo classic, I really like the original idea of a pork burger combining chorizo and egg. It was just gigantic and I could only ate half. Inside was a thick pork patty with two chorizo and a fried egg. The fried egg was a little bit over cooked and the meat was too lean for me. But bags and bags of flavours coming from the paprika and grilled capsicum was just awesome.


The Laden Malayan Chicken Burger – Infused with cumin, coriander, chilli, galangal, shrimp paste and satay sauce on a sesame bun, $15

I didn’t get to taste the Malayan Chicken but my friend said it was beautiful.


Herb Fries, $7

The fries was not as good as the Grill’d because I think it was a bit overly fried and some of them are quite chewy and hard.


Parmesan and truffle fries, $8

The truffle fries was beautiful although I don’t know the little white stuff on top is truffle or mainly parmesan.


Conclusion: Overall, I think it was a good try. The burger here are slightly smaller compare to Grill’d but for a higher price. The bread are soft but not toasted. This is also another thing which I don’t like about. But in terms of flavours I think they nailed it. I also don’t have the bloated and oily feeling after the meal, which was a good sign. But keep in mind you will be dining at a food court environment but paying a higher price.


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Corner of Pitt Street Mall and Market Street, Sydney  
opening hrs: Mon – Wed, Friday – Sat: 9:30 to 18:30, Thurs: 9:30 to 21:00, Sun: 10:00 to 18:00  

Getting There:

Parking: Kent St  
By Train: Town Hall Station  
By Bus:


Map picture

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