Eddie Pensier writes:
A recent business trip to Sydney brought some fantastic culinary experiences and some regrettable architectural ones. I made a pilgrimage to the Central Park shopping centre in Chippendale to visit (among other things) Daiso, that marvelously kooky Japanese version of a dollar shop.
Central Park is a Very Important Building in Sydney. It has won all manner of awards for its cutting-edge design, “sustainability”, and “green living” features.
The Central Park food hall contains one of my favorite Sydney food vendors: a Taiwanese fried-chicken stall called ShihLin. For not a great deal of money, one may purchase a deep-fried chicken breast, doused with a pleasingly assertive chili-pepper seasoning salt, sliced into strips with a pair of office scissors, and served to you in a paper bag with bamboo skewers serving as makeshift forks. It was so tasty I couldn’t even operate the focus on my phone properly.
I wolfed this down in Central Park’s eerily empty food court while the PA system played Rhythm Del Mundo’s salsa cover of Bohemian Rhapsody. Worth a listen if you’ve never heard it.
One level down from the food court is the biggest failure of a bench that the world has ever seen.
It seats only two people in intense discomfort, five feet away from each other, and facing in opposite directions. If this were an Atlantic article, there would be some tortured metaphor about a disconnected society and the isolated ennui of modern relationships in this spot, but I don’t get paid enough to make that sort of bullshit up.
Back to the food. Central Park also has a Din Tai Fun, that Mecca of dumplings. Noodles too, but mostly dumplings. I of course downed my customary order of xiaolongbao, the skins delicate as usual, the soup savory and plentiful, and the pork centers with just the right proprtion of meat to fat and vegetables kept to a bare minimum. The noodles were plain, soaked with a pleasantly salty brown sauce and a handful of chopped green onions.
A few blocks down from Central Park is the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney, famous as Australia’s first Frank Gehry. And hopefully not its last: after all, who can look at this magnificence and not
projectile vomit hunger for more?
Doesn’t this just scream SYDNEY to you?
Doesn’t it just shriek UNIVERSITY? Don’t you become hungry for knowledge at the sight of this inspiring edifice?
It didn’t take long after losing my appetite to Gehry, to get it back at Passionflower, famous for their buttery-smooth, Asian-flavored ice creams. This particular assortment was black sesame, coconut and Thai milk tea, but the pandan, chocolate and green-tea varieties are pretty special too.
And just because no pseudo-photojournalistic treatment of Sydney’s Haymarket/Ultimo/Chippendale area would be complete without a flower-covered, clownfaced, hula-hooping Chinese drag queen on stilts, here you go.