Happy Lunar New Year 2017 – Lazat Malaysian Restaurant, Sunshine

Lazat Malaysian Restaurant
495 Ballarat Rd, Sunshine

Happy lunar new year to all those that celebrate the season! Melbourne’s lunar new year festivities seem to get bigger and brighter each year. Coming from a Filipino background I never really celebrated the occassion until I met my hubby. He is half Filipino, half Malaysian Chinese and every year we celebrate with his dad’s side of the family. An abundance of food and a clean house, red pockets for all the kids and greetings and hopes of prosperity in the new year.

This year the in laws were on holiday overseas so with little experience on how to prepare the traditional new year’s dishes, the hubby and I searched for a place that served yee sang. Yee sang or yusheng, also known as the Prosperity Toss, is a salad that consists of raw fish, crunchy noodles, strips of veggies and assorted condiments and sauces. We have fond memories of our first ever taste of the dish in Malaysia. It’s not even so much the flavour but the sharing of the meal that we get excited about. Everyone gathers around the table and tosses the noodles and veggies high into the air as happy new year greetings are shared.

We headed to Lazat Malaysian Restaurant in Sunshine and devoured a few dishes for lunch:

– Steamed fish of the day with ginger and onion
– Seafood fried crispy noodles
– Yee sang salad with crunchy wontonpieces, veggies, sauces and condiments and salmon
– cendol for dessert

I loveeee the cendol dessert! The first time I had it was in a market in KL when we visited the hubby’s family during our honeymoon. Cendol is a popular dessert enjoyed in south east Asia consisting of coconut milk, green rice flour jellies, pandan leaves juice, shaved ice and palm sugar.

When the dessert came out these three smashed it in no time, We should’ve bought another one!Lazat have a little courtyard out the back with outdoor seating and the kids spent quite a while just standing in front of the waterfall fountains and watching the fish swimming around.

Ka Pies – home of Australia’s Best Pie 2016

 

Ka Pies – Hampshire road, Sunshine

The other week we were craving the scrumptious pies from Pieland in Phillip Island where we met a lovely Polish couple. Kris and Halina’s homemade pies warmed up our trip to the Island and had us wanting to make the two hour road trip back there just to get our hands on their pies including their “Hunter’s Stew – Bigos” pie.

Being a weekday mid afternoon we decided against driving to the other side of town and chose to see if there was anything more local worth trying. A quick message to our foodie friend Kenny asking for suggestions of good pie places in Melbourne’s west led us to Ka Pies.

Amongst the array of cuisines along Hampshire road that take you all around the world from the tastes of Asia to Africa, Doug and Adrian’s Ka Pies brings a taste of New Zealand to the masses with their Hangi Pie (smoked pork, potato, kumara in gravy)! They also have classic meat pie flavours such as steak and mushroom, steak and cheese as well as their 2016 award winning vegan option their Thai Vegetable Curry pie as judged by the Bakers Association of Australia.

  We arrived just before they were closing and got ourselves just under a dozen pies for around $5 as we just bought whatever was left (we didn’t get to try their Thai curry pie)! Their service was super friendly and helpful and we satisfied our meat pie craving…for now. Tasty pies with light, soft pastry. Well worth trying out!

 We’re still dreaming about those pies from Pieland so we’ll really need to make our way down their soon.

Back for more…this time it’s bun reiu – Co Do, Sunshine 

   When last Co Do (see post here) we bumped into a friend as we were leaving and she recommended we try the bun rieu so last month we did just that!

We ate at Co Do on a Saturday afternoon around 1pm and we were lucky we didn’t have to wait for a table. We were seated straight away near the window which enabled Mr D to car-watch while we waited for our meals, which didn’t take long at all to arrive.

We ordered:
– vegetarian spring rolls

– a bowl of bun rieu

 – a bowl of banh canh pork soup

Ambience:
Compared to some of the other cheap eats along Hampshire road in Sunshine, Co Do is fitted out with dark, rich colours making it feel just a little more special.

Service:
Fast and abrupt

The Details:
You can find street parking nearby and if you’ve never been to Co Do before their BBH (bun bo hue) is their specialty. The menu is extensive with lots of variety from soups to rice dishes to pancakes.

I liked the flavour of the bun rieu – it reminded me of a Filipino noodle dish called palabok. It had all the same flavors as palabok except the bun rieu was in a soup form! It had a lot of filling and even Mr D liked it!

Click to add a blog post for Co do on Zomato

Feasting at La Morenita – Sunshine

The Urban Ma at La Morenita

 

La Morenita – 67 Berkshire Road, Sunshine 03 9311 2911

Normally open for breakfast and lunch, Maria and Marco welcomed 25 of us for dinner into their Latin American bakery for a hearty Consider The Sauce (CTS) Feast hosted by Kenny. For those of you who are not familiar with the CTS Feasts, Kenny brings together his love for food and supporting local small business by organising dinner at various restaurants at a set price for a set number of people. At these friendly and hospitable events, you indulge in authentic meals and gain more of an insight into the world of these small business owners. The CTS Feasts get filled up pretty quickly so just to give you a heads up the next one is on June 17th (see here for more info and to book you place!)

We had never ventured onto the industrial Berkshire Road in search for a meal before. Driving along this road quite a few times I never noticed this row of shops so it was my first time at this Latin eatery. We met some lovely CTS readers who had come to the feast from as far as Heathmont, Hawthorn and Ivanhoe!

 

IMG_4931

The Urban MA CTS Feast

Maria and Marco sure looked after us and our bellies with the following line up!:

1) hallullas and pebre (Chilean bread and chilli dipping sauce)
2) sandwiches de miga (we had the ham and cheese variety without crust – sooooo tasty and soft to eat; they reminded me of the sandwiches we eat at the Filipino Dawn masses during Christmas time!)
3) Fried cheese empanada
4) Oven-baked beef empanada
5) Oven-baked chicken empanada
6) Churrasco (a beef sandwich/burger with beef strips, tomato, avocado and creamy mayo, YUM!)
7) Choripan (chorizos in a long bun with onions and black pudding was also served on the side)
8) custard Berlin doughnuts
9) 1000 layer cake (so good I even took some home to have with coffee the next morning!)
10) Oh and can’t forget the interesting fizzy soda drinks where one flavour tasted like the banana lollies I used to get in party bags when I was around 5! 🙂


IMG_4929IMG_4923

Maria informed us that all the bread and pastries were all made on the premises by herself and Mario and I just can’t stop thinking about the 1000 layer cake held together with caramel sauce…ok, I might just go back there some time this week for some sweet goodness! With blackboard menus on the walls and a variety of packaged goods available for purchase as well as fresh baked bread, La Morenita serves up full-flavoured Latin American food with a smile. Can’t wait to come back and try the other sandwiches and desserts!

La Morenita Latin Cuisine on Urbanspoon

IMG_4947The Urban Ma at CTS FeastIMG_4945

La Morenita menusLa Morenita behind the scenes

Hit with Pho Fever!


2014 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
Sunshine Pho Fever – 10th-13th March, 2014
Sunshine Business Association

It was a sold out event last year and luckily this year Kenny (Consider The Sauce) reminded me to get my pho fever on! Sunshine Pho Fever was again part of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival and this year we joined other guests on a walking degustation tour of the Vietnamese eateries that boast the drinks and soups Sushine is renowned for.

From the placemats with interesting facts printed on them to the goodie bags we were given at the end of our evening, it was a very organised event in which the hosts and restaurant owners’ love for this district’s cuisine was evident and contagious. We were charmed by Simon and Phong who hosted the two separate groups that night – they did a fabulous job showing us around.

Pho fever was a great night out where I learnt all about the origins of pho, how it is cooked, met the people behind the scenes and also met other interesting diners. Networking and pho – I’ll be back next year pho sure! (Sorry I had to do that!).

So without further ado below were the 4 stops that those of us in Group 2 enjoyed last week!:

Cafe #1:
Sao Cafe 3/308 Hampshire Road, Sunshine (9312-0546)
To start the evening off we were welcomed with a red carpet and our choice of refreshing drinks. Wes and I enjoyed ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced coffee) and taro with some pearls. Mmmm yum.

Cafe #2:
Pho Hien Saigon 3/284 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (311-9532)
We love this place! Being a regular weekend lunchtime favourite, something new we experienced was a meeting restaurant owner Cung and hearing about how his workers and himself prepare their delicious pho and the hours it takes to get it right. Cung explained that his pho is in the making from 9am to 9pm each day . In the evening they take out the ingredients and let the soup rest overnight. It is then ready to serve the next day after Cung himself comes in the morning to season it with his secret mix of spices and herbs.

Cung explained that his uncle originally from the south of Vietnam, now living in California gave him a recipe for pho except Cung felt it had too strong a taste and aroma so after trying pho from different places he tweaked it to his taste, and ours! – I finished my chicken pho even though I thought I should’ve been pacing myself for the rest of the night. It was too good not to! Pho Hien opened 7 years ago and recently expanded its floorspace to accommodate their adoring patrons.

We had the chance to sit next to Kenny and Lauren (Footscray Food Blog) and it was great seeing the different “routines” people have when seasoning and eating their pho (I’ll have to write that up in another blogpost if you’re interested).
If in Sunshine or if you just want to try somewhere new you must try Pho Hien Saigon’s pho, combination rice vermicelli, crispy fried chicken and rice, pork and broken rice and their amazing avocado smoothie!! – ok basically everything they serve here is drool-worthy 🙂

Pho Vien

Cafe #3:
Thuan An 253 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-1119)
Next up the beautiful Julie welcomed us with a candlelit table and the ingredients of her pho displayed along the table runner – star anise, cumin, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cardamon, and rock sugar. Julie explained that their pho broth takes 18 hours to cook and that it is compatible to suit the tastes of those people from both the north and south of Vietnam. Julie informed our group that the spices must be put in at the right time or it will make the soup too light or too dark in colour.

I opted for the combination pho this time which included strips of tripe, sliced beef, meatballs, tendons and brisket. It had a strong flavour and I liked the different textures however I was quite full from my chicken pho that I couldn’t finish it no matter how hard I tried! Or maybe I was just too excited to get into the kitchen and check out their 240 litre pots of broth. The kitchen staff were very friendly and happy to have us in their space.

Our fellow table folk this time were the lovely Tracey (SBA’s new marketing manager and Malcolm from the Academy of Design). We got to chatting about everything from pho, arts, youth, council and area development. Keep an eye out for big things happening in the area! 😉

Cafe #4:
Nhi Nuong 2 Sisters, 255 Hampshire rd, Sunshine (9311-6522)

We were welcomed, fed and serenaded by the talented sisters Yen and Elizabeth at our last stop on our Pho Fever adventure – Nhi Nuong. It was a colourfully decorated cafe and I was glad to see fresh fruits, crunchy spring rolls and beef in betel leaves. I was so full I doubt I could have finished a third bowl of pho – again props to the organisers for taking on feedback from last year’s event!

The first thing we were asked to do was to smell and taste the tea and guess what it was made of. The tea on our tables was warm and fragrant and had a calming effect. We were informed that it had pandan in it and could not be brought in stores – it is specially made in a country town in Vietnam and imported to the restaurant for $80/kg! The betel leaves that enveloped the scrumptiously marinated beef was $45/kg and came from Queensland where the weather produced good quality leaves. We were also served tall glasses of refreshing sugar cane juice flavoured with cumquat and with a guitar and beautiful singing voices, we listened to a traditional Vietnamese children’s song about a child having sugar cane whilst waiting for her mother to finish her grocery shopping. What a night!

If you’re after a night of good food, great company and passionate cafe owners committed to serving you, then Sunshine’s annual Pho Fever is a must visit in Melbourne.

In the meantime if you want to experience more of the area’s food and talent – this weekend is the first year of MaDE in Brimbank (Music And Dance Event). This Sunday March 23rd from 12pm-8pm, come and grab some lunch or dinner from local stalls or an array of food trucks. While you eat, you will be entertained by talent from locals and also XFactor guests and the twins from My Kitchen Rules! For more info check out: Brimbank’s MaDE.

Pho Hien Saigon

If you’re in the mood for some hot, tasty pho, then look no further than Hampshire Road in Sunshine – Pho Vien Saigon. Another eatery that we frequent for fast, affordable service and meals. Start off with the prawn rolls with tangy dip and then move onto pho and combination rice vermicelli. At first I thought that I wouldn’t have enough sauce for the rice vermicelli dish but after mixing my bowl full of pork, spring rolls and fresh herbs and noodles, the sauce coats the dish nicely. Make sure you try their avocado smoothie..YUMMO!

Pho Hien Saigon on Urbanspoon