The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Perth eats II: Cafe and Casual Dining

Perhaps I ought to be a bit less trigger-happy with my dSLR so that I don't have so many photos to wade through. At least you'll get to enjoy many food shots. This post focuses on what I ate at cafe and casual setting during our recent trip to Perth.

Cafe Villa, Leederville

Had breakfast with a friend at Cafe Villa, which claims to serve "The best breakfast in town". Not sure how true that is, as I am a breakfast-at-home kinda person. I ordered the Villa's famous turkish eggs which had scrambled eggs with feta cheese and baby spinach on toasted turkish bread (AU$17.50). It was yummy, but I'm not used to eating so much egg in one sitting (at least three eggs were used), and the feta cheese made the meal all the more richer which made it more difficult to eat towards the end. But I finished everything, despite this being my second breakfast for the day (I'd had a light breakfast earlier on in the morning)!

Hawker's Cuisine, Northbridge

We've eaten here several times, and I'm sure I've blogged about this place before, but I can't be bothered locating the post. This restaurant is in the tiny area known as Chinatown in Northbridge, next to Billy Lee's and behind the Old Shanghai foodcourt. It serves Malaysian and Singaporean dishes, and perhaps its most well-known dish is the Marmite Chicken (but I don't think it's the restaurant's best dish).

Service in this place leaves a lot to be desired but at least the food is good. We arrived after their opening time of 5pm, but the staff were still eating their dinner so our request to eat indoors were denied many times. We were so tempted to leave, but we'd already placed our orders and decided to keep persisting with our request to dine indoors (we didn't want the baby to be food for the mosquitoes). By the time staff had finished their meal, it was more than 45 minutes after the restaurant's opening time. Sure, I understand that they need to eat, but there were plenty of tables we could have sat at while maintaining privacy for the staff to eat their meal in peace. The customers also should not have to suffer the staff's mismanagement of time.

Anyway, we ordered several dishes, including Rainbow Tofu (AU$23), Hotplate Japanese Tofu, Marmite Chicken and Nam Yee Spare Ribs (pork with fermented red bean curd). The Rainbow Tofu dish was really good, where the soft homemade tofu is the feature and the seafood pieces are the accompaniment. The Hotplate Japanese Tofu is always a crowd-pleaser, albeit a bit of a misnomer as egg tofu is not really "tofu" as it does not contain any soy, and you can't find egg tofu in this form (cylindrical-shaped tube) in Japan. I thought the Marmite Chicken was rather mediocre and couldn't detect any Marmite flavour in the dish. I also couldn't taste any fermented bean curd in the Nam Yee Spare Ribs. Perhaps the flavours are supposed to be really mild because Marmite and fermented bean curd are strong tasting and require somewhat of an acquired taste, but then what is the point of using those ingredients if you can't taste the flavour? Both dishes were deep fried, and I'm not a big fan of deep fried food, so that may explain my sentiments for these dishes.

Rainbow Tofu and Hotplate Japanese Tofu:

Marmite Chicken and Nam Yee Spare Ribs:

Dae Jang Kum Korean, Northbridge

The food at this place on Francis Street is good and unpretentious. You can't go wrong with DIY yakiniku-style Korean BBQ because you cook the meat to your own liking (if you're not my older sister who tends to overcook meat). This was the last dinner we had with my whole family (including my sisters and nephew from Sydney) a few hours before our flight back to Tokyo. I don't know the specific names of the dishes because we didn't place the order (we were running late doing last minute packing so my brother ordered first).

(By the way, the name of this restaurant refers to the Korean series which got even Rob hooked on (Rob's quite picky with what he watches, disregarding chick flicks, romance and dramas, except for this one!). This show features a LOT of Korean food, and is great for learning about the Korean cuisine.)

Spicy rice with chicken; and Korean seafood pancake (pajeon), which is always a favourite with everyone:

Banchan (side dishes) which included beansprouts, kimchi and some gelatinous thing with soy sauce; and meat!


  1. Food in Perth
    Reading through your post is reminding me of what I have to look forward to when going back to Perth! I will try Dae Jang Kum when I am there. By the way, the gelatinous stuff is called Muk (pronounced 'mook') - I love the combination of the strong, salty sauce and the smooth jelly texture. Enjoy some Korean in K-town for me :)
    Ellen x

  2. Dae Jang Kum
    Sounds great. A colleague has recommended it as well (hence googling it and finding your review).
    btw we have a 1 yr old son (Zeth), so know exactly what you mean about not getting much sleep :) I'm lucky to sleep more, as he's not so interested in my boobs :)
    Gary Storm

  3. Re: Food in Perth
    Great, thanks El for adding a name to that dish :)

  4. Re: Dae Jang Kum
    Hi Gary, thanks for reading my blog. I hope you like DJK if you do go there.
    Re: babies and no sleep - at times I'm envious of my husband who seems to be able to sleep through the baby's fussing. I'm already a light sleeper to begin with, and having a baby brings me to the brink of having a sleep disorder :P