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Lebanese

Hawa Charcoal Chicken

I was first introduced to the world of Lebanese-styled charcoal chicken by El Jannah, which is considered by many to be the best chicken shop in Sydney. But the world of charcoal chicken in Sydney is a large one, and today I decide to go a block down the road from El Jannah to Hawa Charcoal Chicken – another magnate on the Sydney chook scene. Like all good charcoal chicken places, you can smell Hawa before you see it, but only just. This place is so enormous it takes up about half a dozen store fronts, the seating area set up like a shopping centre food court. Except instead of a bunch of different stores, it is Lebanese-styled charcoal chicken…

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Jimmy’s Falafel

Until I moved to Sydney, I was never keen on falafel. In Melbourne, they were more often than not an afterthought, thrown onto the side of the obligatory vegetarian platter. Even at restaurants that specialised in falafel, they were never quite as delicious as the ones I’ve become used to in Sydney. These days however, the thought of a bit of fried chickpea gets me rather excited. So when news emerged of Jimmy’s Falafel, where the chef apparently spent 3 months perfecting his special falafel mix (which unusually, is a combination of fava beans and chickpeas, rather than one or the other), I was there and ready to be delighted.

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Al Yasmin

It’s been literally yonks since I’ve had a good Middle Eastern meal, and as I’m only a few weeks away from moving out of Sydney’s southern suburbs – one of the best locations for no-frills Lebanese food in the city – I was keen to use that time to check out some of the more popular restaurants in the area. And if you prowl a little around the internet, you’ll see that Al Yasmin is a name that comes up frequently on the best-of lists. Having expected a cramped, fluorescent-lit space, the reality came as a pleasant surprise. Not only is the space brightly lit, clean, and spacious, it even had some rather pretty paintings of desert scenes hung along…

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SaltVine

Call me naïve, but when I first moved to Sydney, I was astounded by how much everything cost. Having grown up in Melbourne, where things already don’t exactly come cheap, I scoffed at everyone who lamented at the cost of living in Sydney. After all, how much worse than Melbourne can it really be? As it turns out, quite a bit. Not only was rent mind-bogglingly expensive, the food was also markedly dearer. What started as a joke between Chris and I that one Sydney dollar is worth one-and-a-half Melbourne dollars became woefully true – we did indeed find that if we multiplied the cost of what we think a meal should be in Melbourne by 1.5, we ended up…

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Jasmin Lebanese Restaurant

When it comes to food, the premise of ‘the more authentically ethnic, the better’ has never yet led me astray. Frankly, nothing excites me more than walking into a suburb and seeing a bunch of family-run, hole-in-the-wall ethnic eateries. So when I got out of the car in Lakemba and saw all the grocers and bakeries selling food I had never even heard of, I knew that I was in for some seriously good food at Jasmin Lebanese Restaurant.

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El Jannah

In Melbourne, charcoal chicken is something you get when the fish and chip shop next door is closed. In Sydney however, it seems to be so much more. Instead of second-rate takeaway, charcoal chicken is serious business. Like other cheap ethnic eats – such as banh mi and dumplings – everyone seems to have their opinion on where to get the best version, and the most popular places have what can only be described as cult followings. But no matter who you ask, the name El Jannah is bound to pop up in the list of favourites.

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