Market City’s food court has long been known as one of the city’s best, with stalls plating up authentic Asian street food above Paddy’s Market at prices rarely seen outside of shopping centres. It recently had a huge overhaul and reopened last weekend, with many stalls moving from level three to a new casual dining area on level one. Old favourites Hakata Maru and Bo 7 Mon Thanh Tam have moved on, but there are a few notable newcomers.
Superchef BBQ has moved downstairs and will continue to deliver Hong Kong barbeque to Chinatown shoppers. A crowd favourite is the crispy-skinned roast duck, marinated in salt, sugar, ginger and aniseed along with a few secret ingredients owner Danny Soh is keeping close to his chest. It’s then dried overnight for the crispiest skin possible, roasted, and intentionally served without sauce.
“All the flavour is inside the duck, so we don’t need to add anything at the end,” says Soh. “It’s like cooking a great steak. It’s all about the precision of each step. It’s not hard, but you have to get the timing right.”
Honourable mentions go to the barbeque pork and beef brisket, served with rice, noodles or soup.
This is the third restaurant from owner and chef Taweerach Rojratanavichai, who cooks alongside Nopparuj Sitthiboriboon (ex sous chef at Mr.Wong). Rojratanavichai specialises in authentic Thai curries. His green curry comes loaded with rice noodles, poached chicken and sweet-sour pickles, topped with bean shoots and a soft-boiled egg. The rich green broth is packed with flavours of lemongrass and coriander and a powerful hit of chilli gives off a well-balanced heat. Rojratanavichai says the secret is in the curry paste, made daily in-house.
“Our curry dish is something that you cannot find anywhere else in Sydney,” he explains. “It’s about the heat of the chilli. I try to get closer to the level that Thai people have.”
Pauline Chi opened her first Golden Tower in 1988, and this is her eighth outpost. She’s been serving Malaysian-Chinese street food on level three for 20 years; her recipe for her much-loved fried pork chop hasn’t changed a bit.
“Since the day we opened, I’m the only one who marinates the pork chop, because I’m the only one who knows how to do it,” says Chi. “That’s why any time you come to my restaurant, you’ll always have the same taste.”
The pork is marinated, then dusted in a lightly spiced crumb and fried until it’s impossibly crisp. It’s served with rice and a fried egg. Chi’s crispy chicken has punters lining up, too, prepared in a similar fashion to a barbequed roast duck.
Kaedama Ramen Bar
The crew at Kaedama serves hakata-style ramen, also known as tonkatsu ramen, which refers to the pork bones used to make the broth. This is its 30th restaurant.
The broth is boiled for up to eight hours, “simmered with love and passion” explains general manager Daigo Kani. The result is a rich, cloudy stock to accompany al dente noodles, thin strips of char sui pork (extra pork will set you back $3, but it’s worth it) and a handful of fresh spring onion.
Diners can also ask for kae-dama and the staff will bring over an extra serving of noodles. Just be sure to save some soup.
Happy Chef Noodle Bar
This is the third Happy Chef restaurant for owners Judy and David Lee, who specialise in Chinese and Malaysian-inspired dishes. Noodle soups are the go-to here, the most notable being the combination laksa.
“We make it all fresh, everyday,” says Judy. “It’s important everything is super fresh, especially for the combination laksa. That’s what makes it very special.”
The key is the homemade broth, simmered for five hours then loaded with chilli, coconut milk and vermicelli noodles and topped with barbequed pork, fried tofu, squid, chicken, prawns, crab and bean sprouts. For a bigger chilli hit, ask for sour chilli pickles and fresh chilli on the side.
Lao Dong Beef Noodle
Lao Dong Beef Noodle first opened in Taiwan in 1950, and the recipe for its master stock has been in the business for three generations. While their signature beef noodle soups have won awards in Taiwan, this is the family’s first Australian venue.
The standout dish is the award-winning brisket and tendon with noodles in signature soup, made with a rich beef stock, slow cooked until the meat falls apart.
“There’s definitely a lot of beefiness to it,” Ho says, laughing. “But there’s also some nice soy flavours, and a lot of vegetables on the side to spice it up.” The soup is served with a Taiwanese white-flour noodle, cooked al dente.
Sushi Ko serves contemporary sushi and traditional hot Japanese dishes such as teriyaki, udon, bento boxes and yakisoba, as well as freshly made gyoza and curries.
85 Degrees Daily Cafe
Founded in a rural town district in Taiwan in 2003, 85 Degrees now has more than 330 venues, nine in Australia. Expect great coffee and Asian-inspired desserts, such as the coffee brûlée cake: a coffee sponge layered with vanilla brûlée mousse. There are also European and Japanese-style sweet and savoury pastries.
For any concerned fans, modern Chinese favourite The Eight will remain upstairs, and later this month The Taste of Cho and Central Cafe will re-open on level one.
Market City Level 1 Food Court
Level 1/9–13 Hay Street, Haymarket
Fri to Wed 10am–7pm