Favourite food from Mamak and discounts at Hawker Malaysian

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

This post is a mixed bag so in summary, here’s what you can expect:

  • My favourite food from Mamak
  • How to get a discount at Hawker
  • How to get free food at Hawker

If you wind back the clock a few months ago, I posted on  my visit to Hawker Malaysian. I love dining at both Hawker, and sister restaurant Mamak as they offer authentic Malaysian cuisine for reasonable prices. The Sydney Morning Herald seems to agree as it featured both restaurants in their 2017 Good Food Guide as Sydney’s Top 50 Cheap Eats. As a tribute to Mamak, I thought I’d share my favourite food from their menu.

Note: I’ve listed these by section of the menu (starter, main, dessert) with my dishes of choice pictured first.

The starters


Roti Canai – Pictured in the top right and served with two curry dips and spicy sambal sauce. Honourable mention to the four flat pieces of roti (roti telur) which essentially the same but cooked with an egg in the middle.


Grilled Chicken Satay – Served with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. We ordered the Beef Satay as well but the chicken was a lot better in my opinion.

The mains


Nasi Lemak – Fragrant coconut rice served with sambal, peanuts, crispy anchovies, cucumber and a hard boiled egg. You can have it as above or choose to add extra protein. I usually always add a piece of Fried Chicken, which leads me to my next choice:


Ayam goreng – Malaysian-style, crispy skinned fried chicken, marinated with herbs and spices.


Mee goreng – Spicy wok tossed hokkien noodles with eggs, prawns, fish cake slices and fresh bean sprouts.


Kari kambing – Spicy lamb curry slow cooked until tender.

The desserts


Ais kacang – A concoction of red beans, corn, grass jelly, rose-syrup and sweetened milk on a mountain of shaved ice.

Roti tisu – Paper-thin, extra crispy and served tall. Served with ice-cream.

Roti bom – An indulgent roti served thicker, richer and sweeter than the savoury original roti canai.

How to get a discount at Hawker

After dining at Mamak recently, I went to the counter, paid my bill and discovered something unexpectedly at the bottom of my receipt: A discount for 10% off at Hawker! Next time you dine there, don’t forget to keep your receipt. Redemption instructions below:


How to get free food at Hawker

Check out the post I wrote about how I managed to win a Feast for Two at Hawker.

Note: the June competition is currently running and closes at 12pm, Friday 17 June 2016.


Hawker, 345B-353 Sussex Street, Sydney. Ph: (02) 9264 9315

Mamak, Sydney (Chinatown, Chatswood) & Melbourne
15 Goulburn Street, Sydney NSW 2000. Ph: (02) 9211 1668
1-5 Railway St, Chatswood NSW 2067. Ph: (02) 9411 4411
366 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000. Ph: (03) 9670 3137




How to make beer – The Carlton United Breweries Brewhouse, Melbourne

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne

Having worked in a food manufacturing company for almost 10 years, I always jump at the chance to tour a factory. The process of how things are made, and automating to produce on a mass scale is really fascinating to me. So whenever I travel, a visit to the local brewery, winery or chocolate factory is usually on the cards.

A friend of mine who is a keen home brewer recently celebrated his birthday, and we took him to see how it’s done at Australia’s largest brewery, the Carlton and United Brewery in Abbotsford. The site has been brewing for over 100 years, producing more than 20 beers and up to 150,000 litres of beer per day! The annual output of the site is 420 million litres of beer each year, which amounts to 1.1 billion stubbies and a whole lot of happiness.

CUB is owned by parent company, the British/South African SABMiller, who is currently the second biggest brewer in Australia (approx 39% market share), and second largest brewer in the world.


Having been to a number of brewery tours across the world, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. It took me back to the basics of brewing, and was presented in a modern, entertaining way.

So how is beer made?

Beer is usually made up of four ingredients – barley, water, hops and yeast. Barley is considered “the grapes of beer”. Unlike grapes for wine or apples for cider however, there is almost no sugar in barley to help with the fermentation process when yeast is added. So the barley is soaked in water and then dried, allowing it to germinate. This process converts the starches in the barley seed into simple sugars, providing a food source for yeast. How fascinating! The barley is then roasted, which influences the final product – the darker the roast, the darker the beer.

A nine step process follows:

  1. Milling – crushing the malted barley into small pieces (grist).
  2. Mashing – mixing with hot water, forming a thin porridge like consistency (mash).
  3. Lautering – straining the mix, leaving the residual sweet malty liquid (wort).
  4. Kettling – boiling the wort, sometimes adding hops 20160409_134652e
  5. Whirlpool – stirring the liquid, removing the clumps of protein (trub) before cooling.
  6. Fermentation – adding live yeast culture. The yeast feeds off the fermentable sugars, turning them into alcohol and CO2.
  7. Maturation – allowing the flavours to develop in a cool environment
  8. Filtration – removing yeast and other solids. When the yeast is no longer effective after several fermentations, the yeast extract is sold to make products like Vegemite. Approximately 18 tonnes of yeast extract is produced each day at the CUB brewery.
  9. Pasteurisation – heating the beer to 60 degrees C and cooling it down to kill the bacteria. Bottled and canned beer are pasteurised after sealing, while kegged beers are pasteurised prior to kegging. Interesting to note to why keg beer can sometimes taste better than in a bottle or can – keg beer is usually pasteurised for a shorter period, and is usually fresher with a shorter time into market, both impacting the taste. Additionally, keg beer is usually served in a glass, which allow the aromas to be released from a wider surface area.

The tour took us through segments of each step of the process, and we were guided through the factory and the bottling area to see how it was all done. Even though it was on a Saturday, the bottling plant was running, and it was hynotising watching the bottles get washed, dried, filled, capped, labelled and packed. No photos were allowed, so you just have to take my word for it 🙂

The rubber hit the road at the end of the tour – the tasting. There were 11 beers on tap, which showcased the range under the Carlton United Breweries portfolio umbrella. Carlton Dry, Carlton Black, Great Northern, Victoria Bitter, Crown Lager, Pure Blonde, Strongbow Apple Cider, Melbourne Bitter, Peroni and my personal favourites, Fat Yak and Carlton Draught unpasteurised (tasted like a craft beer!).



Overall it was a fun day out with the boys, and I liked it enough that I would go again. Worth a visit for anyone interested in beer or looking for a different Melbourne tourist experience.

Carlton Brewhouse
24 Thompson St, Abbotsford, Melbourne 3067
Open Mon–Fri (9am – 4pm) and weekends (10:30am–4pm)
Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne


Restaurant Lee Ho Fook, Modern Chinese in Melbourne

Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne

Lee Ho Fook is one of those restaurants that I heard about, but never really got around to making a booking. Having burst onto the Melbourne restaurant scene in 2013, it moved from Smith St in Collingwood, to a laneway in the foodie quarter of Melbourne’s CBD.

If you’re interested in unraveling what is “Lee Ho Fook”, watch this Youtube video. It’s the late, great Rock’n’Roll cult legend Warren Zevon, playing Werewolves of London, the 1978 song which he is best known for. Listen out for the reference to Lee Ho Fook, which inspired the name of this Melbourne restaurant.

Lee Ho Fook serves new-age Chinese food, spearheaded by Chef Victor Liong, his first venture after working under the talented Dan Hong (Mr Wong) and the legendary Mark Best (Marque). He has gone into partnership with Peter Bartholomew, a well known restaurateur who co-owns successful eateries such as the MoVida restaurants and Pei Modern.

The choices on the menu were abundant and sounded drool worthy, although the pricing was starting to creep into high-end territory. Chongqing Style Chicken Crackling ($8), Spicy Wagyu Beef Tartare ($20), and Char Siu Glazed Pork Jowl ($65). We gravitated towards the seemingly more economical 10 Course Banquet ($68pp, min 4). For me, I just love banquets and being able to taste as many dishes as possible, so I was as happy as a pig in mud.

As we only had the table for an allocated 2 hours, the food came out relatively quickly and regularly.

1. Tea Egg Avruga and Dill

I’m a sucker for a nicely cooked egg, and this was a well thought out start to the night. The boiled eggs are cured in a soy and smoky black tea, then served with faux caviar (Avruga), dill and herb oil. Yum!


2. Black Fungi and Aged Black Vinegar

This dish can sound and look disgusting to the non-Asian palate, so if you’ve never tried Black Fungi, Lee Ho Fook is the place to pop your fungi cherry! I can attest to how delicious this dish is and will even say that if you don’t like it here, you probably won’t like it at all. I was impressed at how much flavour was packed into the fungi. The black vinegar creates a well rounded, balanced dish. This was my top 3 favourite dish of the night.


3. Sichuan Style Bang Bang Chicken, Black Vinegar Rice Sheets and Peanuts

Bang Bang Chicken is a well known Sichuanese dish sold by street vendors, aptly named after the sound from pounding the chicken into shreds. The cooked chicken is usually served cold and drizzled with a spicy sauce.


4. “Chinizza” Fried Pizza – Shallot Pancake Style and Buffalo Mozzarella

This is a play on a “Chinese Pizza” or “Chinizza”.


5. Crispy Eggplant Spiced Red Vinegar

This dish was stunning. Easily the best dish of the night, and one that I would classify as a “Must Eat Dish in Melbourne”. The eggplant was super crunchy, incredibly flavourful while being quite soft and creamy in the middle. Dan Hong has published a Gourmet Traveller recipe that Victor created while at Mr Wong here. I’m definitely going to try make this at home!


6. Steamed Cone Bay Barramundi Ginger and Shallot Sauce

The fish was nicely cooked, but it was the sauce that made this dish shine! I basically drowned my rice with this sauce. I need to buy a bottle of this…


7. Steamed Gailan, House Oyster Sauce and Crispy Garlic Oil


8. Lee Ho Fook Sweet and Sour Pork


9. Xinjiang Style Lamb Shoulder Stir-Fry Fragrant Chillis and Baby Cos Lettuce


10. Jasmine Tea Infused Custard Burnt Caramel

A light and simple finish to the meal. The texture was silky, the caramel wasn’t overpowering, and the dish wasn’t overly sweet.


Overall, it was a solid, flavourful meal at Lee Ho Fook. Chef Victor and the team have a great menu, which is backed up by good execution. I appreciated that the dishes weren’t too oily, which I can sometimes feel after eating cheap Chinese food. The bill comes out on the steeper side of things, but for those wanting to eat delicious, quality Chinese food, Lee Ho Fook is certainly a good choice to stop for lunch or dinner.

Lee Ho Fook
11-15 Duckboard Place, Melbourne 3000
Open for Lunch Tues–Fri (12pm – 2:30pm) and Dinner Tues–Sat (6pm–11.00pm)
Written by Brandon (@brandothepig), Melbourne

Processed Meat increases cancer risk. WHO study and our plan

Written by Brian (@brhinos), Sydney

Months after the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a study on the link between red meat/processed meat and cancer, I’m still thinking about the results. At the time, the headlines went wild linking the consumption of red meat and processed meat to an increased cancer risk and even going as far as saying, it was as bad as smoking cigarettes.

Then I thought about what my diet has been like since the study was released. I spent just over a week in Melbourne at the end of last month and if I use that period as an example, here is a very small sample size of what I ate:

One of the best burgers I ate in Melbourne happened be a Wagyu Beef burger from a modest eatery called Common Galaxia. A highlight of the dish? Smokey bacon!

Then came old favourites. Renowned Pan Fried Buns from New Shanghai and Famous Dim Sims from a place that’s been trading for more than half a century, South Melbourne Market Dim Sims.

But it wasn’t all eating out. There were BBQs…


Home cooked meals you may have heard of:

Brando’s (Super New Years) Epic Chicken Parma


Brando’s Sui Mai


And more barbeques (expertly cooked by @mrfoodtrail)


That’s a lot of red meat and processed meat. With this in mind, I compared this to my biggest take aways from the study.

(Note: Where applicable, I’ve included extended blocks of text from the study which contextualizes content. It’s funny how some papers make a few careful edits to completely change the meaning of the original intent.)

Red Meat

“Eating red meat has not yet been established as a cause of cancer.”

“High-temperature cooking methods (eg. BBQ) generate compounds that may contribute to carcinogenic risk, but their role is not yet fully understood.”

Phew. That didn’t seem too bad. I continue reading:

Processed Meat

“…eating processed meat causes colorectal cancer”.

“Processed meat has been classified in the same category as causes of cancer such as tobacco smoking and asbestos (IARC Group 1, carcinogenic to humans), but this does NOT mean that they are all equally dangerous. The IARC classifications describe the strength of the scientific evidence about an agent being a cause of cancer, rather than assessing the level of risk.”

“…studies estimated that every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18%.”

“…about 34 000 cancer deaths per year worldwide are attributable to diets high in processed meat.” (Contrasted against 1 million to tobacco smoking, 600,000 to alcohol consumption)

In short, processed meat is not good for you. That’s no surprise but this news is very serious and all I kept thinking about was how this affected the close and precious relationship I have with bacon. Just the thought of thought of bacon activates my sensory system and my mouth begins to salivate as I type this. I can smell the aromas wafting in the air, the fat browning as the surrounding oil bubbles away and the crispy crunch followed by the joyous salty flavour that only bacon can provide.


Just look at this delicious bacon jam Brando made

Then, as soon as I was considering taking drastic action to manage my bacon consumption, I stumbled upon this article stating:

“The World Health Organisation has retracted a study that revealed a connection between bowel cancer and bacon after an alert staff member discovered that the doctor presenting the results was actually two pigs dressed up in a long white lab coat.”

“The presentation he gave was certainly impressive with lots of graphs and pie charts,” said Dr Hermione Trotter, head of ontological research at WHO. “No-one questioned his credentials because he had a stethoscope around his neck. We were on the verge of recommending a world wide ban on bacon and sausages when one of our secretaries noticed something out of the ordinary.”

Light hearted, of course but it reminded me of one thing. To have a sense of humour with everything. Rather than enforcing cold turkey regiments, we need to enjoy life too. Then, upon further research, I found a more feasible solution. The Cancer Council puts it elegantly:

“Despite the concerns about meat and cancer, Cancer Council recognises that lean red meat is an important contributor to dietary iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and protein in the Australian diet. Cancer Council recommends:

  • Moderate consumption of unprocessed lean red meat. A moderate amount of meat is 65–100 g of cooked red meat, 3–4 times a week;
  • Limiting or avoiding processed meats such as sausages, frankfurts, salami, bacon and ham, which are high in fat and salt;
  • Limiting consumption of burnt or charred meat; and
  • Choosing lean cuts of meat and chicken, and eating more fish and plenty of plant based foods such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals.”

I’m no doctor but as a foodie and recovering glutton, I’m going to be realistic with my reaction to this study. As strongly as the study may compel me to steer clear of processed meat, I know it’ll be virtually impossible for me to cut processed meat (especially bacon!) from my diet. So I guess I’m just going to try to take the Cancer Council’s advice on this one.