Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Adventures in Chinatown

During my recent escape to Sydney for the launch of the Kidspot Top 50 Bloggers Campaign, I found myself with a few hours of free time.

All to myself.

To be honest, the freedom was all too much for a while there. Well, a few minutes anyway.

My head spun with the possibilities.

Should I sleep? Shop? Have a bubble bath? Go out for lunch? Play tourist?

In the end I decided to do all the above, except for the sleeping part. (That came later).

My hotel, the Breakfree on George is a hidden gem, right in the heart of Sydney. Chinatown, Darling Harbour, transport, the Entertainment Centre, and shops are on its doorstep, but at a decent price. It's not fancy, but it's clean, safe and spacious; and the location is ace! I'd definitely stay there again.

When I first travelled to Asia, many years ago, I felt instantly like I'd come home. Maybe I lived there in a previous life, if you believe in that kind of thing.

So I was instantly comfortable in Chinatown, though I wished I had Food and Travel Blogger Extraordinaire Lorraine from Not Quite Nigella to guide me through some of the restaurants and their selections.

I'd spent a few minutes with my nose pressed up against the window of this restaurant the day before, drooling, watching dozens of happy patrons enjoying yum cha. I was saving myself for the Kidspot/New Ford Territory launch though, so reluctantly walked on by ...

So the next day, I deliberately skipped breakfast so I could sample it myself.
The only problem? You really need more than one person for yum cha, so you can taste test more goodies. My tummy filled up way too quickly.

Nice supermarket opposite the hotel

I got a laugh out of this one. Years ago, when I lived in London, I worked at a magazine with an office near Covent Garden. To my pride, even my bank's home branch was Covent Garden, and I worked out at the then-trendy Sanctuary Gym in my lunch hours. Oh those were happy times for a young Aussie, who grew up dreaming of London. 

Anyway, back to Sydney ... 

Heehee, seen in a Chinatown Food Court

I really wanted to get some souvenirs from this cute little corner shop. But a movie crew was the in the way. (Apparently a Hong Kong popstar was the star, so there was a huge crowd!).

Luckily, the crowd had cleared by the time I came back. The Oriental Joint is a great shop for gifts and trinkets, and just like in Asia, the lovely lady serving me gave a special price just for me. Aren't I lucky?

I wanted to check with The Master, but unfortunately, he wasn't in. Pity, I thought he would have known I was coming...) 

I agonised over dinner, because there was so much choice. Finally I chose a bowl of duck soup with noodles from a food court place that promised 'Sydney's Best Duck.' All for the princely price of $8.30.

Tummy full, it was back to enjoy the crisp sheets in the bed that I had all to myself. All to myself, do you hear me? It was the best sleep I'd had in ages.

Readers, what are the best kept secrets of your home/favourite city?


Ms_MotorbikeNut said...

Glad you had fun sweetie, I love Chinese food as well. There is nothing like taken of from home & sleeping some where else even if its just for the night.

(((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

Scuzzi said...

OHHH that duck looks good,unfortunately Lawrengs Lueng put me right off fortune tellers the other night ( http://www.abc.net.au/iview/#/view/781241 )

Veggie Mama said...

aw Chinatown... I always end up buying too many cute chopsticks :)

Mum on the Run said...

Ooooh. Yum cha. I will not be satisfied until I get me some yum cha very soon.
What a brilliant day.

PinkPatentMaryJanes said...

Oh you've got me salivating - thank goodness I'm having chinese for dinner before watching Bridesmaids tonight.

Sounds like such an awesome experience, gotta love Chinatown and all it has to offer.

Thea said...

Oh, I never know the secrets! lol
Your escape looked fabulous. :)

Cathy said...

Don't know that I know any secrets either...but your little getaway sounds like it was wonderful and above all, relaxing!

Unknown said...

Hi from your latest follower. It is good to see other Aussie bloggers. Will definitely coming by and keeping up to date. Be sure to check out me out at www.acceptandembraceautism.blogspot.com Sarah

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Bronnie darling, I promise next time it is a date! ;) I'm so excited to see your Sydney stories!

Jenn Brigole said...

I just had to stop for some a minute and stare at that duck noodle soup. I haven't had anything with a full beak served up to me before (that is a beak, right?). I ate "balut" a few times but that was different. I would have to experience this. Soon! lol

Jodie Ansted said...

Well, I live in Sydney and it's been AGES since I've been to Chinatown! It's so colourful and like being in another country....China no doubt. ;)