Australia & NZ 2011 (27 March)

Our time in Canberra was coming to an end. My morning was not different from the others: a banana, a gym workout, and the same breakfast (with microwaved eggs instead of soft-boiled because the fancy electric stove wasn’t working).

A final morning session was the end of the course. Most people went for lunch, but I wasn’t that hungry. Instead, I bought cashews, macadamias, and 2 apples, and ate them with some almonds I had left. We returned to Sydney by bus.

It was great to be back home, even when it was just for one night. I re-packed my suitcase for the rest of the trip, took a shower, and left with Alvaro to get some dinner before heading to the Buddhist centre. Out of the restaurants in the area that were still open, we reckoned our best choice was Happy Chef.

Happy Chef is an Asian restaurant (I know the term is broad, but they don’t do a single cuisine) that has a very well-earned reputation in the area. We knew that it was good and good value for the money, but somehow we hadn’t eaten there before. A photo menu displayed (old-fashioned fast food-style) reveals a wide variety of choices from soups to stir-fries, noodles and rice, each of each with different meat/tofu options.

Happy Chef

Alvaro chose the fried rice with chicken and I the tofu & vegetable laksa. The lady who took my order advised me that they used chicken broth, which is definitely a good thing to advise to vegetarian/vegan customers.

I enjoyed the laksa a lot. It came with thin noodles and bean sprouts in the bottom, plus bok choy, cabbage, snow peas and fried tofu. The broth was very tasty and with the right amount of spiciness (for me, Alvaro found it too hot). I wasn’t a big fan of the texture of the tofu, I found it a bit too spongy and chewy, but other than that, the soup was perfect.

Happy Chef - Tofu & vegetable laksa

Tofu & vegetable laksa ($10.80)

The fried rice was very good, too. In the beginning Alvaro was tempted to put some soy sauce on it (a Peruvian habit, I suppose) but he realised it had the right amount of seasoning. I enjoyed a few forkfuls, which didn’t feel greasy at all.

Happy Chef - Fried rice with chicken

Fried rice with chicken ($10.80)

I was pretty stuffed but Alvaro had space for ice cream. Gelatomassi is right next door so it was hard for me to refuse. Oddly, he chose the mango sorbet, which he qualified as “amazing”. I tried a tiny bit that tasted like pure fruit. Reminded me of Peruvian fruit ice pops. Good stuff.

We headed to the Buddhist centre where a bunch of people were already having drinks. I had a beer and a glass of wine, followed by some grapes, nuts and cheese. We watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, not exactly a film to relax and chill out, but a good movie anyway. Then we went back home to sleep for a few hours before the flight to New Zealand.

Happy Chef
266 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9550 3423

Gelatomassi
262 King Street
Newtown NSW 2042
(02) 9516 0655
http://www.gelatomassi.com.au

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