A Little Bit of Everything on Day 3 of Sydney

We managed to cram a lot of things into day 3. We started off at the Sydney Fish Market. Raw oysters and salmon sashimi for breakfast? Yes, please! After about a 20 minute walk from Darling Harbour to the Pyrmont district, we were at the fish market. The fish market itself is pretty small with 8 or 9 stalls. The most famous is Doyles, but it was closed by the time we got there which was around 11am.

Sydney Fish Market

After pacing the isles back and forth, we finally decided on a dozen Sydney Rock Oysters, 4 chili prawns and one fried soft shell crab from Nicholas Seafood. We also grabbed a small container of tuna and salmon sashimi from the stall next door (can’t remember the name) and a liter of orange juice from the stall in the back (highly recommend). Then we feasted, first starting with the oysters. These oysters were much different than the sweet ones from the Bay Area. They were much creamier with a slightly bitter after taste. Still tasty, but I would prefer Hog Island Oysters over these. The salmon sashimi was extremely fresh and had the texture of butter, while the tuna was slightly mushy. I’m assuming tuna isn’t something they import every day. The prawns were the filler of the meal. These big guys were stir-fried in Thai sweet chili sauce with shells and all. Really tasty, but we were pretty full at this point. Last but not least was the soft shelled crab. We did some research prior to visiting the fish market and all of the blogs warned us to stay away from the fried foods. About every stand in this market sold fried seafood, assuming that they used day old fish. But, the crab looked so delicious with its little jalapeno on top that we couldn’t resist. After the first few bites, I understood the warning. The soft shell crab was so battered and deep fried, oil kept collecting in my mouth with each bite. We quickly washed down the oil with our very fresh orange juice and moved on to our next destination.

Manly Beach

We headed over to Circular Quay to take the Sydney Ferry to Manly Beach ($14 round trip). The ferry ride is about 30 minutes and you’ll get great views of the Harbour and the ocean. There is also a Sydney Fast Ferry that can take you there in 18 minutes, but we opted for the former. The beach was beautiful and completely packed with locals and tourists. We only spent about an hour here because I had to work a bit (yes, this was a work trip for me). There’s a 5 minute walk from the ferry station to the beach and all along the way are cute little tourist shops selling Ugg boots and t-shirts with “Manly” on them. It was a little funny to see Ugg boots all around Sydney (even the convenience stores!) in 70-80 degree weather. On our way back to the ferry, we stopped at Copenhagen for some ice cream. I got the passion fruit and K got honeycomb. Honeycomb ice cream is bomb. I “secretly” wanted to eat all of K’s ice cream in addition to mine. Notice how I mentioned secretly with quotation marks?

Sydney Aquarium (Darling Harbour)

So, I checked into work at the convention center for a few hours and realized that we still had time to stop by the aquarium in Darling Harbour since it closes at 8pm. With an hour to spare, we purchased 2 tickets and headed inside. At first, I was a little underwhelmed. The exhibits looked temporary and like they needed a deep cleaning. Seahorses here, jelly fish there, frogs over there. Been there, done that. Then, we came across a giant room with a giant pool in the center. What’s this? After a closer look into the water, I noticed the silhouettes of sting rays, manta rays and… a shark fin? The room was called the Shark HQ. We hung out at the top for a while to take pictures of the predatory sea animals then realized that we could go under the tank! There are 2 tunnels that go through the shark tank – tunnel 1 had some sharks and the sting rays, tunnel 2 has the much bigger, scarier version of everything in tunnel 1. They had 7-8 foot great white sharks! SO cool. The best part was that it didn’t force you to move down the tunnel with one of those people movers like at the SF Aquarium in Pier 39. K and I spent most of our time in here trying to take silly pictures of us and the sharks. The last section was another large pool with fish in front of you, on top of you and under you. I think this aquarium did a great job of capturing what it’s like under water without really being underwater. I saw schools of fish floating around, a leopard shark, and other fish native to Australia. The aquarium’s most famous fish, the sawsharks, were in this tank too. They actually looked kind of lazy, but the description says that it kills its prey by slashing its snout (which is covered in teeth) back and forth until they can eat. Pretty scary guys…

Dinner at Yee King (Chinatown)

For dinner, K and I headed to Chinatown and ate homemade noodles at Yee King. We wanted to eat at Chinese Noodle Restaurant which is famous for their handmade noodles, but they didn’t take card. One thing you’ll notice in Australia is most places do not take credit cards. Debit cards are a new thing for them, so that’s accepted everywhere. Credit cards, on the other hand, are not widely accepted and if they are, the vendor will most likely charge you a credit fee. Okay, back to Yee King. K and I ordered the Dan Dan Noodles and a plate of pumpkin coated with a salty egg batter. The dan dan noodles were soupy and coated in loads of dry chili flakes. Their homemade noodles had a great texture – chewy, firm. And, it had that great handmade noodle look to them. The pumpkin wasn’t very good. The batter was a little too thick than what we’re used to and tasted like old oil. This dish is much better in SF.

Whew, that was a long day. The next few days, I had to work, so K will be posting about his adventures.

Free admissions to 19th annual SF Giants FanFest


Come meet past and present players at the 19th annual SF Giants FanFest at AT&T Park on Feb 6th from 10am to 3pm. There will be dugout and clubhouse tours and autograph booths. Admissions is free!

Where: AT&T Park, San Francisco, CA

When: Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Admissions: Free

Click here for more info.

Avoiding The Lines At Disneyland


I LOVE going to Disneyland, but I hate waiting in lines. You could be standing in line for 2 hours for a 2 minute ride.

So for my last trip to Disneyland, I did some research on the theme park. I already knew about Fastpasses, but what else can I do? This is what I found:

  1. Go during the off season
  2. I like going in October. Lines are usually 30 minutes long as opposed to 2 hours during the summer.

  3. Plan your game plan ahead of time.
  4. Check out a map of the theme park and plan what rides you want to hit up first. You can view a map of Disneyland here.

  5. Get there early
  6. Download the MoustWait Disneyland iPhone app
  7. If you have an iPhone, there are a couple apps that tell you how long the wait is at each ride. How this works is it’s updated by fellow MouseWait app users. The app is free and it’s usually pretty accurate. I’m not sure if other phones have this app yet.

  8. Grab a Fastpasses for your favorite rides
  9. Fastpasses are tickets that hold your place in line. You’re able to do what ever you want and come back in line during the time stated on your ticket. They’re free and they’re offered at most of the popular rides. Make sure you grab a pass for your favorite ride (mine is Space Mountain) first thing in the morning because the passes will run out towards the end of the day. When I grabbed my ticket around 9am, I couldn’t be admitted into the ride until 2:30pm. Also, a good thing to know is if you’ve missed your allotted time slot for a ride, cast members are pretty lenient and will let you in.

  10. Grab more Fastpasses throughout the day
  11. Did you know you can grab a new pass every 2 hours even though you haven’t used your previous tickets? Well, you can. Let’s say you get your first pass at 9am that admits you into the ride at 3pm. You are able to grab another pass at 11am and another at 1pm.

    California Adventure’s Fastpass network works the same way and it’s completely independent from Disneyland’s network. So, you are also able to hold passes for both parks at the same time.

    There are other “special” Fastpasses you can randomly receive from Disneyland. Learn more about them here.

Alrighty, I hope you find this information useful!

Blue Bayou – Disneyland, CA

Blue Bayou Creme BruleeRated: ♣♣♣

In Oct 2009, I was able to get into the 2nd most exclusive restaurant in Disneyland, CA (first being club 33). About a month prior to my trip to Disneyland, I called ahead to make a reservation at the Blue Bayou. It was my 3rd attempt to eat at the restaurant and I finally got in!

The scene:

The restaurant is situated within the Pirates of the Caribbean ride in New Orleans town. The dim lighting, the sound of the crickets, and the white tablecloths makes the Blue Bayou an idea restaurant for a date. I wouldn’t say so much of a family restaurant since the scene is pretty quiet. The main seating area is stationed in a patio-like area with a view of the PotC ride. I requested for a table by the water so we’d have a better view.

The food:

Maybe it’s because everyone talked the restaurant up, but I found Blue Bayou to be subpar. Each main course comes out in the $30-$40 range; a little overpriced for mediocre food. I had the Jambalaya and K got the Five-Pepper Roasted New York steak.

Gumbo – Entrees come with a choice of gumbo or salad. Get the gumbo, it was literally the best part about the meal. It’s thick and creamy and the dirty rice on top is super tasty.

Jambalaya – There were loads of chunky tomatoes and onions in the jambalaya. The onions were a little undercooked so they were still crunchy when I bit into it. I’m not a fan of either, so the dish was almost inedible for me.

5 Pepper Roasted New York Steak – K’s steak which was ordered “medium-rare,” came out medium-well. He had to saw the steak with the knife to cut bite-size pieces. The potatoes au gratin were tasty, but the steak was too tough to eat.

Crème Brulee – For dessert we had the crème brulee. Okay, I take what I said about the gumbo back. The crème brulee was the best part of the meal. It was smooth and creamy, the sugar wasn’t over burnt at all, and it was topped with shaved chocolate and fresh fruit. How can you go wrong with that?

CultureBite’s Most Interesting Architecture

Interesting Building Stockholm

I admit I am not as well traveled as most, but I have intentions to be a world traveler in the coming years. Here’s a fun post of interesting buildings I’ve seen in my travels. These buildings are mostly in Scandinavia and Asia.

Check out the photos after the jump.

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