Chatswood Nights Roaming Gnomes

From today, the 6th May until 29th May, you can find a unique event to experience in Chatswood. For ‘Chatswood Nights Roaming Gnomes‘, you’ll find 12 large scale inflatable Gnomes and an animated projection each night from 6pm on the concourse façade featuring the Gnomes travelling around the world.

Tinternational food trails can be followed. As part of this, I reviewed vegetarian and Thai dishes in Chatswood. I hope you can visit the event and travel the food trails for yourself.

Here’s my Thai trail:

1. Green Curry at Khao Pla

Visit Khao Pla for a Thai favourite – the green curry. As I was here at lunch time, they serve it a little smaller and with rice which is great, so you can try other dishes from their offerings. It’s a dish known around the world for its rich green colour and fragrant aromatics, it is also palate pleasing. The colour comes from the green chillies used to make the paste and the aromatics from the other herbs and spices such as lemongrass, galangal, garlic, shallots and more. I’m warned about the chilli, but I found it had the perfect kick to it. The green curry at Khao Pla was nice and creamy, made with chicken thigh fillet, Thai eggplant, wild ginger, kaffir lime leaf, chilli and Thai basil. It is the perfect size for a lunch special.

7/370-374 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

2. Thai Iced Coffee and Sweet Sticky Rice at DoDeePaidang

At the top of Chatswood, I wanted to visit DodeePaidang for a popular Thai dessert. Before the dish comes out. I order a Thai iced coffee, and whilst it’s night and the drink does have caffeine, it’s a good reminder of my Thai travels, having a coffee early morning, strolling the markets or whilst going to view a Muay Thai fight at night. Served with ice, it is made the traditional way with condensed milk; sweet, strong and creamy.

A popular dessert in Thailand is sweet sticky rice and you’ll find this practically in every town, village, city and with pretty much every street vendor on a white styrofoam tray. The sweet sticky glutinous rice is served with fresh sliced mango and coconut milk. I had planned to order this at Dodee Paidang but unfortunately, they were out of Mango, its popularity evident, so I opted for the Durian. If you’ve been to Thailand, you’ll know this fruit is a delicacy but it’s also a very strong smelling and an interesting tasting fruit that is very polarising. People love it or hate it, but it’s certainly worth a try if you’re feeling adventurous. Whilst not as aesthetically pleasing, it is made with practically the same recipe, yet durian replaces the mango. Try popping into DodeePaidang for one of these or another of their desserts like the banana fritters.

Westfield Chatswood, Shop 330/331, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood

3. Pad Thai at Nahm Jim

A visit to Nahm Jim, located in Westfield, I see the set up and decor, reflective of a typical street food style vendor like you’ll see on the bustling streets of Bangkok. A favourite street eat in Bangkok is the Pad Thai and this dish from Nahm Jim, will certainly conjure happy memories of a visit to Bangkok and watching vendors prepare it fresh in a wok before your eyes. The Pad Thai is always a favourite. It is a strir fry rice noodle dish that is simply delicious. The silky noodles have a slight redness in colour from being wok tossed in their special seasoning, this dish has subtle flavours sweet and spicy, a generous squeeze of lemon juice provides a sour element. Some peanut crumb and bean sprouts add a crunchy texture. You can order it with chicken, prawn or just as vegetable, which has a good amount of diced tofu too. This is a great start to the Thai food journey in Chatswood.

Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood

4. Deep Fried Barramundi at Thai Naan

The next stop on this food adventure takes me back to the island beaches of Thailand. In Chatswood, the experience was at Thai Naan, an upmarket Thai restaurant with friendly staff who offer welcoming hospitality, like you receive in islands of Thailand. I enjoy some seafood dishes that use fresh ingredients, an always enjoyable part of Thai cuisine.

One of these, the betel leaf, native to South East Asia is cultivated for use chewing or cooking and you can often find this leaf used in many Thai dishes. I have a dish at Thai Naan that makes for a great little entree or nibble. It’s a popular street food dish in Thailand, designed to be eaten in a single bite, the betel leaf is served with crispy shredded coconut and a chargrilled prawn, topped with a roasted cashew. A delicious little morsel that is perfect to whet your appetite.

I also order the whole Barramundi, which is deep fried, resulting in the fish having a crispy skin that contrasts well with the delicate moist flesh. I ordered this a few times when travelling to the Thai islands like Koh Samui and Phi Phi. Here, it is topped with a mix of sautéed onions and capsicum. The sauce is sweet and sour, it has a good hit of spicy chilli and garlic, all of the main elements and flavours that Thai cuisine is known for. I do love this dish and it is perfect with a glass of crisp white wine or an ice-cold beer. 

230 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

5. Tua Bap Goong at Chat Thai

Continuing the beach adventure in Chatswood was at Chat Thai, a magical place with outstanding food. I’m here for a refreshment, and the coconut juice, full of electrolytes, quenches my thirst. This is typical of a drink consumed while sunbaking on the beach on one of the many islands of Thailand. Whilst having a drink, I also opt for a little snack. The Tua Bap Goong are tasty glutinous dumpling made from coconut rice, filled with minced prawn, coated with desiccated coconut and served with a coconut sauce. These dumplings are an interesting taste adventure, both sweet and savoury. The use of coconut and prawn provide the sense of an exotic beach holiday. These are often also consumed in Thailand as a dessert, so you may opt to have them at the end of your food trail like me.

Chatswood Place, Shop 12, 260 Victoria Ave, Chatswood

I hope you have enjoyed this little food trail in Chatswood, find some new favourites and also get a taste of something new. This can get you inspired for your own food journey.

Here’s my Vegetarian trail:

1. Vegetarian dumplings at Din Tai Fung

Din Tai Fung is well known for having the tastiest dumplings around. One might know their signature Xiao Long Bao (or pork broth dumplings) famed across the world for their precision and taste. But, did you know Din Tai Fung is also a place to find wonderful vegetarian food? Whether it be vegetarian spring rolls, vegetarian fritter bao or even a truffle mushroom fried rice, their menu is one that a vegetarian diner will enjoy.

It’s vegetarian dumplings, arranged with 6 carefully crafted crescent shaped dumplings, are filled with a lovely mix of bean curd, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and glass noodles, served in a bamboo steamer. I also ordered a serve of the spicy dumplings, with the vegetarian dumplings sitting in a tangy spicy broth. Don’t worry, it’s not too hot, it is a good blend of chilli oil and soy.

Shop 3/1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

2. Taro soy bean drink at Bean Code

Grab yourself a bubble tea at Bean Code, head out to a park and enjoy your drink whilst you watch the little brown sugar pearls swish around and rise up and down the straw. Whilst you can certainly find bubble tea and juice shops aplenty in Chatswood, at Bean Code, they make theirs with organic soy milk – perfect for the vegetarian diners. 

If you’re looking for more treats, they do soy mochi waffles, made from soy milk, eggs, and mochi flour as well as a special soybean pudding made in-store. 

We ordered a taro soy bean drink and added brown sugar pearls. The unique subtle flavour of the taro (made from the starchy root vegetable) is sweet and nutty, and combined with soy milk makes for a creamy tasty and refreshing drink.

K405/1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

3. Vegetarian samosa at Preet

At Preet in Chatswood Chase’s food court, I ordered the ever-popular vegetarian samosa – a deep fried parcel of potatoes, onions, peas and spices, generally made in a triangular shape. They are perfect to dip in the raita, or a chutney and you can’t forget a vegetable pakora. These have been popular in India for generations. You’ll often find samosa on the streets of India, and as they are the perfect snack.

345 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

4. Vegetarian ramen at Ramen Zundo

There is nothing quite like the warm feeling that a good soup broth can provide on a wet dreary day, or on any day really, and a Ramen is a perfect choice. Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup commonly made with a pork broth, pork chashu toppings and wheat style noodles. At Ramen Zundo you’ll find an amazing vegetarian Ramen along with an extensive vegan and vegetarian menu. It was a transformative experience, especially the vegetarian ramen made with a superb silky umami filled vegetarian broth made with soy. There is also a miso option. It’s ramen has a traditional nori sheet, adding another level of flavour to the dish, as do the seasoned bamboo shoots, providing good texture to the dish. The bean sprouts that top the noodles, provide the crunch and freshness to the ramen. It’s finished off with a large piece of agedashi tofu on top. The soft silken tofu cube is lightly battered, providing a delicious element to the soup. I also ordered a side of edamame and cabbage salad for further added freshness. This was a nourishing meal, full of complex flavours and will be sure to take you on a wonderful flavour journey.

R11 260 Victoria Avenue NSW 2067

5. Israeli breakfast at Shuk

Israel is another one of those countries that draws people from near and far for a spiritual journey. It’s a mecca and epicentre for migration and has such seen influence from many nations over the years with a huge variety of foods offered in marketplaces and restaurants. Shuk, meaning market, has been inspired by this history and visiting the cafe in Chatswood will awaken you to a vast array of vegetarian options.

One of Israel’s most famous breakfasts is served at Shuk and is a must-order dish. The Israeli breakfast is a huge platter of slices of toast, complete with small dishes of dips and spreads to add to your toast such as butter, jam, hummus, tahini, avocado and your choice of eggs; scrambled or fried. You’ll also be served some olives and a pot of granola, fruit and yoghurt. It’s a great dish to share with a friend, or you can order some pastries such as I did; the mini potato boureka and mini rogelach (cinnamon and chocolate) along with a coffee or tea.

Shop R03/260 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

Hopefully you’ll enjoy the great range of vegetarian options available in Chatswood.

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