Food guru Lyn­dey Mi­lan finds temp­ta­tion and in­spi­ra­tion in Camp­sie, writes Re­nata Gortan

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - NEWS - re­nata.gortan@news.com.au Twit­ter @Re­nataGor­tan

It’s not of­ten that Lyn­dey Mi­lan gets stumped. The cook­book au­thor and TV pre­sen­ter has been teach­ing Aus­tralians about food for 30 years, but the sight of guji choy in Camp­sie mo­men­tar­ily has her bam­boo­zled.

Best Week­end is on a food tour with Mi­lan to sam­ple the sub­urb’s flavours and draw in­spi­ra­tion ahead of her ap­pear­ance at the Camp­sie Food Fes­ti­val (camp­siefood­fes­ti­val.com.au) next week.

And it’s while brows­ing the fresh herbs at Hui Chung Chi­nese Herbs and Food Cen­tre that Mi­lan finds the guji choy and ad­mits she’s never seen it be­fore.

Owner Huenhi Dong tells us they’re goji berry leaves.

“You use them in soup,” Dong says. “They’re much bet­ter boiled rather than stirfried, and they’re very good with pork.”

The but­ter­flied spare ribs at Dae Jang Kum are also a rev­e­la­tion for Mi­lan.

“I’ve never seen that tech­nique be­fore of cut­ting it out — I just love the knife skills,” she says.

“It usu­ally needs long, slow cooking to break down the con­nec­tive tis­sue, but what’s fas­ci­nat­ing with this is it doesn’t need it; you can cook it very, very quickly.”

Nose-to-tail eat­ing is some­thing Asian cul­tures have been do­ing for decades, and the king­fish cheek at Ishiyama is a hit with Mi­lan. “It’s a part of the fish that peo­ple usu­ally dis­card, but it’s a del­i­cacy,” she says. “I love that th­ese cuisines have the phi­los­o­phy of us­ing all the an­i­mal.”

As we visit Camp­sie food haunts, Mi­lan hints at what she will serve up in her own cooking demon­stra­tions at the fes­ti­val next week­end: “I don’t just want to repli­cate what’s here, I want to use those in­flu­ences in an Aus­tralian style,” she says.

“I think I’ll be in­clined to do fast, easy recipes us­ing the flavours that I see here.”


5/2 An­glo Rd, Camp­sie, 9789 4855 This unas­sum­ing fam­ily busi­ness has been serv­ing buns the size of your fist for 13 years. Although there are a few ta­bles in­side, those in the know line up at the win­dow for take­away buns — large $1.50, small 70c.

The tra­di­tional Shang­hai buns aren’t what you’d get at yum

cha. For one thing, they are su­per­sized and it’s a steamed pork and soy sauce fill­ing rather than BBQ.

Owner Alan Ling says they sell thou­sands a day, mostly to lo­cals on week­days, and to peo­ple who have trav­elled for them at week­ends.

The pil­lowy dough is made from noo­dle flour, wa­ter and yeast and a choice of fill­ings, in­clud­ing the tra­di­tional pork, plus chicken and veg­e­tar­ian.

Sur­pris­ingly, the veg­e­tar­ian buns are the most popular.

“We make about 500 a day and sell out by noon,” Ling says. “It’s a bok choy and mush­room fill­ing. We’d make more but we can’t get enough veg­eta­bles for them. We go through 20 dozen bunches of bok choy a day.”


Beamish St, Camp­sie, 9789 3031 Camp­sie may once have been known for its Korean restau­rants, but that’s slowly chang­ing. There are now nine Ja­panese restau­rants along the main drag and this is the lat­est.

Tokyo-born chef Koji Ishiyama opened up his epony­mous restau­rant nine months ago, af­ter stints at other restau­rants, in­clud­ing Iiza at New­town.

If you’re not im­pressed by the sushi and sashimi plate, and we dare you to not be, you’ll def­i­nitely be im­pressed to know that Ishiyama carved the two-tier serv­ing plat­ter him­self — along with the sign above the kitchen, plus the pine wood ta­bles.

“If I need a ca­reer change I can be a car­pen­ter,” he says.

But judg­ing from the del­i­cacy of the king­fish cheek and the sil­ver cod saikyo yaki bento, let’s hope he sticks to a life in the kitchen.


115-117 Clis­sold Pde, Camp­sie, 8033 3436 The first thing you no­tice when you walk into this Korean bar­be­cue restau­rant is the lack of smoke. That’s due to the state-of-the-art ex­trac­tion sys­tem, which whips it away quick-smart, says owner John Jo.

The third restau­rant in the chain — there are oth­ers at East­wood and in the CBD — is six months old and goes through 350kg of meat a week. Which makes sense when you con­sider the all-you-can eat buf­fet and BBQ is only $32 for din­ner and $15 for lunch.

A down­side of such low prices is that peo­ple have a ten­dency to pile more than they can eat on their plates.

But the restau­rant has fixed that prob­lem.

“We have a $20 wastage fee,” Jo says. “We didn’t have that at first, but then peo­ple would leave three ki­los of meat on a ta­ble un­touched.”

There are 40 dishes on of­fer, cook-your-own and a la carte, in­clud­ing Chi­nese and Korean dishes such as gal­bi­jjin (braised spare ribs in soy and daikon), braised pork belly and teriyaki chicken.

Mi­lan is im­pressed with the marinated beef spare ribs and pork ribs, which are but­ter­flied so they eas­ily cook in a few min­utes, and Jo gen­er­ously shares the recipe. “The mari­nade is a mix of honey, soy sauce, veg­eta­bles and fruit — onion, pump­kin, ap­ple, pear, and ki­wifruit, which nat­u­rally ten­derises the meat.”


282 Beamish St, Camp­sie, 9718 8302 When Al­bee Thu opened her Malaysian restau­rant seven years ago, she sim­ply wanted to make the food she loved loved. Two years ago, she opened a sec­ond restau­rant in Kings­ford, so it’s safe to say she’s not the only one who loves the Chi­nese/Malay flavours of her home­land.

“I came to Australia when I was 23 and I love cooking so I opened a restau­rant here be­cause it was close to my home,” she says. “When we first opened, I was wor­ried be­cause there weren’t many Malay restau­rants, but now it’s very busy.”

Half her cus­tomers are Malaysian and she even has a group from Mel­bourne who pop in on their an­nual trip to see fam­ily in Syd­ney.

“The most popular dishes are the satay, char yuan yang, char keuy teow and curry puffs,” she says.

Busy trade at King Of Buns (above); bar­be­cue at Dae Jang Hum (right); bento box at Ishiyama (be­low).

Lyn­dey Mi­lan and guji choy, or goji berry leaves, at Huenhi Dong’s store (main); chef Koji Ishiyama at Ishiyama (above); chicken curry puffs at Al­bee’s Kitchen.

Pic­tures: John Fotiadis

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