Jan 4, 2016

Staycation Busyness.

It's another one of those 'glad I beat the rain home and I have a tumble drier days' in Sydney today.

Only nothing can rain on my parade at the moment because I've just started my annual leave.  A week or so behind everyone else but I don't care.  I'm off the grid and loving it sick.

Even though I'm starting my holidays with the news that it now costs one dollar to past a standard letter in Australia and George Street in the city has now been officially shut to all traffic.  I took this photo from opposite the QVB around lunchtime today and it looked calmer than I thought it would what with many people just returning to work today and it also being the school holidays.  I'm a bit disappointed to see that the pop up stalls and outdoor seating that were set up at Christmas have now disappeared.  I suspect it's got something to do with the major construction work that needs to take place but still...

I went to Hawker on Sussex Street with mum for an early lunch today.

Specialising in the Malaysian street food I grew up eating (both on visits back home with my parents and also lovingly cooked at home in Perth), it was already busy just before noon.

The decor is a little different to your traditional hawkers eatery with a semi industrial finish to the concrete floor and exposed ceiling elements and large, vivid still lifes of hawkers in action over their gas stoves.

The noisy and smoking (in a good way with that scent of char from well seasoned woks) runs down one side of the restaurant.  The open plan allowing patrons to hear and see their meals being prepared.

We were here for only two dishes.

A plate of char kway teow ($13) to share and a serve each of popiah ($8 for a plate of 2).  The CKT was perfect. Sprightly thinly cut noodles, lots of vegetables and perfectly charred sausages and prawns.  It's definitely the best version of the dish I've eaten in Australia.

Popiah are notoriously difficult to find at restaurants in Australia, even in Sydney where everything culinary is usually possible.  They don't have a shelf life and have to be made to order and served immediately.  The Hawker version is fresh and has a good ratio of vegetables and seasoning.  They're not as filled to overflowing as they often are back home at the hawkers stalls but they are still a worthy interpretation for a CBD eatery and I'll definitely be back for more the next time I get a popiah craving.

What the sample didn't tell me was that each bun had a centre of Belgian dark chocolate about a centimetre thick.

There are so many new places to discover along the Chinatown end of George Street these days.  I stopped off at The Dough Collective after lunch to find something for Toddler SSG's afternoon tea.  I think he'll be happy with one of these chocolate surprise buns.  The thoughtful sample box told me that the buns have the mellow bittersweet taste of good dark chocolate with a soft, dense and chewy texture.  There are enough buns in the bag I bought for all of us to have them for afternoon tea, actually.  That worked out well.

The Dough Collective features a unique combination of the fanciful baked goods I love about Chinatown bakeries as well as some more 'mainstream artisan bakery' style loaves.

There's a barista and selection of iced cakes at the front counter.

And some beautiful wooden trays and stainless steel tongs in lieu of the plastic equipment you find  at some of the older school bakeries in the area.

Regent Place proved to be a hidden gem on what was previously a pretty run of the mill row of retail outlets near the cinema.  I won't lie.  The Daiso signage over the escalator is what lured me to cross the road.

And the yellow dot on the footpath made sure I walked on down.

True to form, I was unable to leave Daiso empty handed.  Where else can one find steel wool these days?  Or rainbow coloured six packs of freezer containers?  Or the rest of the prize pool for a birthday treasure hunt and lucky dip?

The rest of Regent Place adds to the growing body of evidence that the Sydney CBD is getting groovy.

The eateries of the complex each have their unique decor and the low lighting and walls of greenery interspersed with warehouse style details manages to give each floor a kind of lane way and back alley feel.  In the nicest possible way and without any disrespect to Melbourne, home of The Lane Way.

I had a couple of Myer gift cards burning a hole in my purse.

So I cashed them in for a couple of bottles of Kiehl's shower gels.  I love Kiehl's unique take on well liked fragrances.  Their scents are never overwhelming or sickly sweet while the formulation of their body cleansers work well on my skin.

Uniqlo, it's my clothing equivalent of Daiso.  Their Relaco 3/4 pants are my favourite pyjama bottoms.  They were half price today, $9.90 a pair.

I'm not sure how well this is going to work on the day, but I'm organizing a treasure hunt for Toddler SSG's birthday party this coming weekend.  Fingers crossed the weather improves by then and also that the idea of hunting for presents doesn't get old too quickly for the three year olds invited.  With both girls and boys attending, I've resorted to some gender stereotyping in my prize and wrapping choices.  The gift bags are from the Big W Party Store and cost $2.80 for a packet of ten.  The Disney scrunchies were from Daiso (as were quite a few of the other bits of treasure I've stashed for the day).

The blue bags contain cars and trains while the green contain things like sticker pads, bath pens and bottles of bubble mixture.

That was the easy part, now I've got to tidy the house and work out how to make the decorations last at the curious hands of Toddler SSG.  The decorating is probably going to be a crack of dawn on the day job.  Preferably after I go down the road for coffee.

Stay tuned for more staycation posting!


  1. Not gonna lie, a little jealous of your time off, haha! I go back to work tomorrow and already I'm dreading the inbox that will await me!

    Enjoy your well-deserved time off! :)

    Away From The Blue Blog

  2. Enjoy your staycation.glad your mum is with you. I had popiah in Penang- I am more a fan of Loh bah. But love a CKT as well xx


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