The soles of our shoes have thinned in the last eight days as we walked across the city of Sydney. On any given day, our feet meet at least three miles of Sydney soil and pavement and our calves feel the tension of walking up and down stairs, across bridges, and over sandy beaches. We have walked from Central Terminal to Circular Quay four times, around Darling Harbor three times, and across the Harbour Bridge once.
The line moves quickly past giant glass windows that frame two cooks rapidly spinning balls of dough into tissue-thin discs. The cooks then fold the discs over savory or sweet fillings on a skillet into plate-sized rotis. The beginners start with the flaky roti canai, made without any filling, served with a spicy sambal, a paste of chiles, anchovies, and spices, and two rich curries. Our nasi lemak with vegetarian curry mixed the crunch of cucumbers and peanuts with soft curry, hard-boiled eggs, and rice.
Other delicious cheap Sydney restaurants:
Sydney Fish Market: At lunch, the Sydney Fish Market fills with tourists and businessmen looking for fresh seafood grilled, stuffed, sauteed, and turned into sashimi. Grab items from the variety of vendors and sit outside by the harbor and watch the boats go by. Patrick tried gemfish, a type of fish found exclusively in Australia, perfectly seasoned shrimp, and a seafood curry in a half-shell. For vegetarians, there is a vegetable market that sells fresh yogurt with fruit, a deli that sells marinated artichokes and cheeses, and a bakery with cheap fresh bread. Details: Sydney Fish Market. 2 Blackwattle Bay St, Pyrmont.
Chat Thai: I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this restaurant because two of the six entrees we ordered here were nearly inedible. Avoid the Chat Thai. 20 Campbell St. Haymarket.bamboo salad, unless your mouth prefers to be on fire and the bland lad na consisting of vegetables and noodles in a soy-based sauce. On the other hand, Patrick and our friend Ben pronounced the steak skewers, beef massaman curry, and the suki with consomme, successes. For dessert, I devoured sliced ripe mangos on top of coconut infused sticky rice. Drinking the pale green loot shong felt like sucking down alien brains because green gelatinous pandan dumplings and slices of jackfruit flowed through a coconut milk infusion. Mmmm . . . . alien brains. $38 AUD/two people. Details:
Dining Tips for Americans:
- We were told that Australians don’t tip because waiters and waitresses are paid a living wage. We round up to the nearest dollar or give a few dollars as a tip if the waiter was particularly good.
- Australian "entrees" equal American "appetizers"; Australian "main dishes" equal American "entrees."
- Restaurants tend to close early on weekdays; many close by 9:30. In addition, many restaurants in the Central Business District close on the weekends.
- Sydney fresh produce markets open on the weekends but the Sydney Fish Market is open every day until 4:00 p.m.