Happy Chef's laksa gets mentioned all the time in those lazy Sydney Morning Herald 'best of' list articles. And Luke Mangan gives it the thumbs up (it says so on the signage), so it's got to be good, right?
We sniff out the food under and around Tokyo Station, try some Japanese Italian, get jiggy at a Japanese synthpunk gig, and wash it all down with a killer ramen. And we discuss our favourite aspect of traditional Japanese culture: the Softbank dog.
We've always reckoned that opening a Malaysian street food joint in King Street Newtown would be a dang smart move. Finally somebody's done it, yay! [CLOSED JULY 2012 - SHAME, THIS PLACE ALMOST WORKED BUT NOT QUITE...]
If there was a technical term for the study of noodle soup it may be the bad Greek translation minestraology. We decide to take a degree in the fine arts of soba, udon and other slippery numbers to find out more.
Daylight savings is here and our beer-ological clocks kick in. Yikes. What is it about an extra hour of daylight that turns us into alchoes-in-training? We don't know. But we do know that DY Sizzling Hot Pot has the same magical beer-soaking properties as the kebab.
After nearly 18 hours in transit we hit the streets of Tokyo. This is the very first hour of a ten day street food holiday, our third eating trip to Japan, our second visit to Tokyo, and we're near peeing our pants with excitement.
We're thrilled to see Pinangsia Noodle House open in Quay Street on the southern edge of Chinatown/Haymarket. This means we no longer have to waddle all the way over to Pinangsia in Kingsford for our fix of bakmi goreng, Indonesian chicken noodles.
Sadly Pinangsia has closed - sniff sniff - but they are opening up again in Kingsford - joy!
The downside is the wonderful Silk Road has closed down, but thank Allah there's another Silk Road around the corner in ThomasStreet.
The name 'Pingangsia' is inspired by the Jalan Pinangsia Raya Chinese area of Jakarta. Hence the food is Indonesian Chinese, or Chinese Indonesian, or just plain yum.
Green Sands - apple and lime flavoured shandy, this is one of our favourites when we're on the road in Southeast Asia. It tastes a bit like beer but there's nothing beer-like in the ingredients, and no alcohol.
Bakso goreng - $1.50. A big ball of deep fried manufactured meat, yum.
Bakmi goreng ala Jakarta - fried thick yellow egg noodles - $8.50. Sweet and oily, a bit hardcore for us but countered nicely by the sweet, lightly pickled vegetables.
Bakmi ayam - chicken and mushroom with thick egg noodles - $7.50 + an extra topping of roast pork for $1. Shawn's favourite. The noodles have a chicken-y, buttery flavour - unique and delicious.
Ayam goreng bumbu bali - $7.50. Fried chicken coated with thick, sweet, coconut-y sauce.
[BACK AGAIN MAY 2013]
We can't visit without trying the bakso goreng, a fried ball of mystery meat - $1.80. Great in a junk-foody kind of way.
#1 on the menu - bakmi ayam - the classic dish of chicken flavoured noodles, chicken and mushroom - $7.50. Such a great value lunch, fills the tum without overdoing it. As much as we like this dish it still doesn't quite have the magic that their Kingsford store does.
Bihun ayam rebus - $7.50. The same yummy chicken and mushroom mixture but served on plain, thin, boiled noodles. Nice but the bakmi ayam remains our favourite.
Pinangsia Noodle House Menu
Pinangsia Noodle House is at QG 13 Prince Centre - 8 Quay Street Haymarket / Chinatown - bordering Central.
This end of town has become quite a goldmine for Indonesian food fiends, there's a good handful of joints that are all excellent value and all a little different: Pinangsia, Cafe Joy, ATL Maranatha and Lestari Resto. Plus there's the excellent Pondok Satay 888 in Eating World and the (Shawn's food court favourite) Pondok Selera in Dixon House Food Court and Eating World. And Rumah Makan Immanuel not far away in Ultimo... And if too much Indo is barely enough, there's about three outlets of Shalom within walking distance...
Quay Street has become cheap eats central. Next to Pinangsia is the ridiculously cheap Daily Noodle Fast Food, a few doors down is Indo student classic Cafe Joy , and the always-packed Satang Thai up near George Street. If you've got $8 and a hole in your stomach, head to Quay Street.