Cheap eats

We go on a Chatswood chase for the best

Time Out (Sydney) - - Inside -

CHATSWOOD IS THE land of many malls, and as a hub for Syd­ney’s Chi­nese com­mu­nity this North Shore out­post is also home to an en­vi­able en­clave of bar­be­cue kitchens, dumpling houses and lunchtime bolt­holes. Eat­ing cheap may seem like an easy premise, but find­ing the top spots can be over­whelm­ing so we’ve done the leg­work for you. Here’s our top ten or­ders from the vast Chatswood buf­fet.

1 PBS Chicken Or­der the: Fried chicken with rice, $9.90

In the cor­ner of the stark, neon-lit Lemon Grove food court is this Korean fast food joint. While the bibim­bap and kim­chi pan­cakes are tempt­ing, you need to or­der the fried chicken. The spe­cial is $9.90 and comes with a hearty serv­ing of black and white rice, salad, potato noo­dles and kong­na­mul (sesame sea­soned mung bean salad). On the sauce front, our pick is the sweet and spicy, but you can get hot spicy, soy or honey but­ter mus­tard too. They change the oil here ev­ery day, mak­ing for a clean tast­ing, ex­tra crisp fried bat­ter, and they use a mix of bone­less dark and white meat. àShop 13, Lemon Grove Shop­ping Cen­tre, 427-441 Vic­to­ria Ave, Chatswood 2067. 02 8057 8966. Fri-Wed 11am-8pm; Thu 11am-9pm.

2 Phood Or­der the: Beef pho, $13.80

On any given night you’ll find Phood packed out with fam­i­lies gath­er­ing around the wooden ta­bles shar­ing fried pork cut­lets, grilled lemon­grass chicken and bar­ra­mundi fish cakes. When you walk into the Archer Street restau­rant the first thing that hits you is the aro­matic scent of pho com­ing from the kitchen – star anise, citrus and co­rian­der min­gle in the air. It tastes as good as it smells. à72- 76 Archer St, Chatswood 2067. 02 9884 9688. Daily 11am-9.30pm.

3 Royal Stacks Or­der the: The King, $14.80

This Mel­bur­nian burger joint has found a wel­com­ing home in Chatswood. The King’s juicy meat patty is topped by a puck of deep fried mac’n’cheese. It’s a tall or­der to get your mouth around, but a mighty tasty chal­lenge. The se­cret burger sauce is like a Big Mac sauce, with hits of mus­tard, onion and zippy pickle through it; the meat is cooked just past pink (which is a rar­ity for any shop­ping cen­tre burger) and toma­toes are fresh and juicy. àShop 357, West­field Chatswood, 1 An­der­son St, Chatswood 2067. 02 9419 2354. roy­al­stacks.com.au. Sun-Wed 11.30am-9pm; Thu-Sat 11.30am-10pm.

4 Fu­jiyama Noo­dle Bar Or­der the: Chicken katsu curry with rice, $4.90

This has to be one of the best value meals in Chatswood, with a small serve cost­ing less than a fiver. If your hunger is huge, no wor­ries – you can up­grade to a large, or dou­ble up your crisp katsu. But if you re­ally want to roll away try the spe­cial (or bet­ter yet share with a mate or two). A long wide plat­ter of rice, four palm-sized pieces of sliced chicken katsu, and what looks like a litre of curry sauce come with bright red pick­led radish, shred­ded cab­bage, mayo, sweet teriyaki sauce and some bonus fried katsu prawns – and it’s only $20. àLvl 2, Mandarin Cen­tre, 61-65 Al­bert Ave, Chatswood 2067. 02 9904 8260. Daily 11am-9pm.

5 Bao Dao Or­der the: Baodoa pork sauce with rice, $7.50

Make a bee­line for this busy Tai­wanese kitchen on An­der­son Street. Their ver­sion of lu rou fan (which lit­er­ally trans­lates to stewed meat rice) sees scraps of braised pork gen­tly sweet­ened by Chi­nese five spice – it’s al­most like a Tai­wanese ragù. It comes with sour, pick­led Chi­nese greens and a soy-sea­soned hard boiled egg. If you want even more bang for your buck pop out­side and see if their street stall is set up, where you can get a take­away bowl for just $6.50. àShop 8, 376 Vic­to­ria Ave, Chatswood 2067. 02 9419 6290. www.bao­dao.com.au. Sun-Wed 11am-9pm; Thu-Sat 11am-9.30pm.

6 Tim’s BBQ Or­der the: Two meat with rice, $11

You’ll be drawn to this tiny shopfront by the glis­ten­ing ducks hang­ing in the win­dow. In­side, you’ll hear cus­tomers hag­gling over the loud thuds of the meat cleaver hack­ing up whole bar­be­cued ducks. The two meat and rice op­tion means you can choose from roast duck, sea­soned roast duck, pork belly or pork sausage. The char sui is ten­der, how­ever the fat isn’t quite ren­dered down enough to make it crisp. The duck is the sure­fire bel­ter here – it’s ul­tra-unc­tu­ous with auburn skin sea­soned so it’s salty and crisp. Bones and car­ti­lage are left in, mak­ing it a messy mis­sion, but the succulent meat is a re­ward well worth the greasy fin­gers. You can also get whole ducks, roast pork and sausage by the kilo. à21 Spring St, Chatswood 2067. 02 9411 2060. Daily 9am-5pm.

7 Ma­mak Or­der the: Roti canai, $7.50

The North Shore it­er­a­tion is just as good as its city sis­ter, and usu­ally with­out the queues. Roti canai here is a must – tear away bite-sized bits of the fluffy piles of pas­try and al­ter­nate dunk­ing it be­tween the three cur­ries. Start with the gen­tle, nutty hum in the lentil curry, then step up to the fiery, fishy sam­bal be­fore round­ing it out with a rich, red chicken curry. àShop P9, 1-5 Rail­way St, Chatswood 2067. 02 9411 4411. www.ma­mak.com.au. Mon-Thu, Sun 11.30am-2.30pm & 5.30-9.30pm; Fri, Sat 11.30am-2.30pm & 5.30-10.30pm.

8 Chum Tang Or­der the: Be­tel leaf beef, $15

You know that mo­ment af­ter you eat a spicy thing, when it man­ages to get even spicier? Your lips tin­gle, your nose is sniff­ing and you’re reach­ing for an­other fu­tile sip of wa­ter. And yet, it’s so good you go in for an­other bite al­most im­me­di­ately. That’s the level of heat this North­ern Thai joint is pack­ing. A feisty beef stir fry has dozens of di­ag­o­nal slices of chilli, wilted be­tel leaf, mini green baubles of pea egg­plant and glossy chilli oil through it. It’s re­donku­lously hot, but worth it. àShop P4, The District, Podium Lvl, Chatswood In­ter­change, 436 Vic­to­ria Ave, Chatswood 2067. 02 9419 2872. Daily 11am-10pm.

9 Lamb and Cumin Or­der the: Lamb skew­ers, $8

The name­sake of this venue is a hot item for good rea­son. Lamb is skew­ered and grilled over white hot char­coal un­til the caps of fat are ren­dered down like slices of but­ter in be­tween the meat. Meat ranges from crisp to juicy and comes dusted with cumin (both seeds and grounded), a gen­tle hum of chilli and sesame seeds. Add in rice for $2.50, or flat breads to make a meal out of it, or eat straight off the stick when you’re on the go. àHawker Ln, Lvl 2, West­field Chatswood, 1 An­der­son St, Chatswood 2067. 02 9884 9888. Daily 10am-10pm.

10 Saigon Rolls Or­der the: Pork crack­ling roll, $7.50

Oddly enough, Chatswood has been with­out a great banh mi spot for years now. Saigon Rolls have ar­rived to erad­i­cate this prob­lem. Get the pork with crack­ling for loud, crunchy crack­les, sweet pick­led car­rots and leanto-fatty strips of pork. Ask for ex­tra chilli for ex­tra kick (it’s not su­per spicy). Not so hun­gry? Go for the mini, which is only $5.30, or go bread­less with the sum­mer noo­dle bowl. àKiosk 5, Chatswood In­ter­change, 436 Vic­to­ria Ave, Chatswood 2067. 02 9410 0988. Mon-Fri 7.30am-3pm; Sat 10am-2.30pm.

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