The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry | A Sydney Food Blog

A Q&A with Good Food Under $30 editor Angie Schiavone (and book giveaway)

March 16th, 2013  |  Published in Latest  |  21 Comments


The Good Food Under $30 guide (which used to be called Everyday Eats) came out this week. As editor, have you noticed any trends in the last year – besides Sydney’s neverending/indestructible interest in Mexican food?

Mexican has been popular, yes, but more generally Latin American food is king. There are some great new Peruvian places – Misky Cravings in Fairfield, El Amigo in Glebe – and some where the food is best described as ‘Latin’ (Panama House in Bondi, we’re looking at you!)

I think at the end of the day, we’re all looking to try something fun, fresh and different – so along with this new wave of more authentic Latin American eats, we also get very excited about any restaurant serving a cuisine we’ve never tried before. This year the book includes Jamaican, Ethiopian, Filipino, Czech, Fijian-Indian, Cambodian – and lots of more regional fare from specific parts of China and Thailand.


Tell us about some of the new discoveries you made while editing the book this year.

I became a mum just before starting work on the book this year, so I discovered a lot about eating out with a baby in tow! It’s gone from hoping he’ll stay asleep while we eat, to hoping he’ll stay happy and entertained while we eat, to making sure we order at least one thing he’ll be able to eat. His favourites are bread and sticky rice.

But I’m assuming you were more interested in new restaurants? The number of great new eats in Bondi is so big it almost seems unfair – isn’t the beach enough of a win? There’s also been a bit of a boom in Fairfield, including the addition of Green Peppercorn, the Thai/Lao restaurant that won our award for ‘Best New Restaurant’.

You’ll have to grab a copy of the guide to find out more – it has 550-plus new reviews and more than 100 entries that haven’t been previously reviewed by the guide.

Din Tai Fung Dumpling Bar, Westfield Sydney

There are some great award categories in the book – Best Sweet Spot, Biggest Bargain, Best Breakfast. What are some categories you wish there was room for in Good Food Under $30?

I wish I could name runners-up for some categories. I could have written a whole manifesto on ‘Best Dumpling’ – which encompasses so much; Din Tai Fung won this award, but its xiao long bao (not semantically dumplings, but really, they’re dumplings) are done better than anyone else in Sydney.

But if you’re after buns – New Shanghai is the business. And the new Shanghai Memory (offspring of the stalwart Shanghai Night) does the best fish dumplings. And don’t get me started on Polish pierogi!

Youeni Foodstore, Surry Hills

You’ve moved postcodes since editing the book last year. Have you discovered great new places as a result? And are there any wonderfully over-represented suburbs people should keep an eye out for?We’re based in the Hills district temporarily and there are a few great options in the ‘hood. Our current favourite is the new Youeni Foodstore at Castle Hill, but we also love The Baron, just down the road. At Baulkham Hills, there’s a great little Thai joint, Aroy Thai, just a few doors down from Durban Dish – which, as far as we know, is the only place doing South African food in Sydney, and a brand new café called Sol.Cafe, serving up solid cafe fare with South American and Middle Eastern twists. We haven’t been here long, so the list is still growing!

The go-to suburbs for cheap eating: Fairfield, Cabramatta, Haymarket, Bondi, Redfern.

Churburger, Surry Hills

And what are some last-minute contenders you wish had made it in? At the top of my list is Chur Burger! I know you covered it on your blog, Lee Tran [thanks! -LTL]. It opened after we went to press, but we’ve tried to make up for it by featuring one of its “awesome” burgers on the cover of the ‘Under $30’ issue of Good Food in the SMH (note: ‘chur’ is kiwi slang for awesome – and by all reports, these burgers are just that!) Santa Barbara at Potts Point looks like loads of fun, too. It’s on the list for next time!

For updates on Good Food Under $30, follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Good Food Under $30 guide is out now (and was fun to contribute to). Thanks to Fairfax Books, we have five copies of the publication to give away, valued at $10 each. For your chance to win, leave a comment with your favourite place to grab a meal under $30 (include your email, so I can contact you if you end up scoring a book). I’ll pick the winners after the competition closes Sunday March 31 (12:00 AEST). Good luck!



  1. Jo says:

    I can never got wrong with Oiden.A good bowl of rice, topped with a range of delicious choices; I could grab a drink (or two); some dessert and it would all be under $30. Satisfaction right there. And the food always tastes good!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Lee! My fave place to grab a meal under $30 is at Charcoal Kingdom in Rockdale, which looks like any neighbourhood chook joint but happens to be run by a perfectionist in serving fowl, an ex-colleague of Dave Pegrum (Tetsuya, Forbes and Burton, Bronte Rd Bistro). My usual order – whole charcoal chook, chips, leb bread and garlic dip for less than $30… Don’t forget the pickles!
    Thank you for this opportunity to win an amazing prize. Cheers, Katrina
    lklopez4 @ gmail . com

  3. I’ve only been there once but I found it BBB – bueno, bonito y barato (good, pretty and cheap): Yiamas Greek Taverna in St Peters. Another good one is Pho 88 in Newtown, and our default on lazy weekend evenings: The Erko pub in Erskineville.

  4. MiN says:

    Bibim to Mix near Kings Cross is a new discovery! their bibimpap is just the right mix of rice and toppings


  5. Heiress Emma says:

    Without a doubt my favourite meal for less than $30 is a bowl of tonkotsu ramen and some gyoza at Ryo’s Noodles in Crow’s Nest. Super delicious and just like being in Japan.

  6. I’ll get the ball rolling-My vote would go to Ai and Josh’s ‘Milk Bar’, Regent Street Redfern (which I know has already been covered on this blog). Cheap, cheap but delicious basic burgers ($5), reasonably priced build your own burgers, amazing chicken wings and the BEST milkshakes I’ve ever tasted. Toasted coconut that’s infused all the way through the chocolate Bounty milkshake and Caramel Miso (which turns out to be an irresistible and frothy salted caramel flavour) are my picks to date, but there are so many choices on the menu.
    Arcade games as tables, malteser or cherry pie and the friendliest service to top it off.

  7. Anonymous says:

    An oldie but a goodie…I keep returning to Chat Thai, can’t go past a mouth watering Massaman beef curry and rice..washed down with a Strawberry blend…cheap, cheerful & yum!

  8. Vacanze pizza in Waverley. Our favourite Friday night pizza

  9. ladyjacqs says:

    You can’t beat $3 taco Tuesday at The Norfolk. For under $30 you can even get a couple of drinks!!

  10. annie says:

    I love Circa in Parramatta. They do amazing food and drinks, and their staff is amazing as well. The decor is stunning. Never been disappointed every time I’ve gone!

  11. Mitch says:

    I am still a repeat visitor to Big Bite on Pitt St. For lunch their $10 sandwiches are hard to beat for content, variety and freshness.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My favourite is a Japanese bento box at Takeru Japanese Restaurant on Sussex. They do a mean lunch special for only $13.90 and from 12pm to 5pm! That’s a long lunch 🙂 And oh so yummy and filling too!


  13. Eva says:

    I’ve heard too much about the ‘Best Hainan Chicken Rice’ debate, I know the best place is definitely Malacca Straits on Broadway and it will always be my Malaysian go-to joint! Amazing.

  14. Shakshuka w/ coriander tahini and crunchy sourdough, followed by Churros w/ salted caramel comes in at just under $30 at Kepos St Kitchen. Utter bliss. I’m back home in Northern NSW and I’m still dreaming of this particular combination lol.

  15. Love GFU$30 this year.. so many great places beyond the usual suspect. Great to meet you at the launch (again) too 😉

  16. Sandra says:

    My favourite “Under $30” is Chinese Noodle House, for their delicious dumplings, hand-made noodles and very garlicky cucumber salad! Comforting, delicious and very cheap 🙂

  17. leetranlam says:

    Thanks everyone for all the comments and suggestions, they’re such a great round-up of pocket-friendly places to eat.
    Thanks @thang, it was good to see you, too! The book is looking great this year, too.
    And there’s still a bit of time left for anyone who would like to enter the comp (please do)!

  18. Matt says:

    $1 dogs at the Soda Factory on a Tuesday night.


  19. Anonymous says:

    The Chinese Dumpling and Noodle House at 323 Anzac Pde Kingsford: Super-delicious crunchy salt and chilli chicken, dreamy vegetable and tofu steamed dumplings, and a silken tofu and fish dish with ginger and green onions that this avowed hater of tofu is still daydreaming about. Gorgeous

  20. Alyssa says:

    Hello Lee 🙂 My favourite place to grab a meal under $30 is this tiny Korean noodle place tucked in right next to Strathfield Station. It’s only dish of Kalgooksoo (Korean “knife noodles”) is a hot refreshing broth filled with handmade noodles and pipis. $10 also gets you some fiery kimchi and soy pickled chillis, this is what I crave when im feeling tired and sick.

  21. Samantha says:

    Since my trip to Poland last year, Polish cuisine has become my ultimate comfort food, especially a big plate of pierogi, lightly pan-fried, with a big dollop of sour cream.

    Had a bad day at work? Pierogi. Fight with the boyfriend? Pierogi. Spilt red wine on my favourite silk blouse? Pierogi.

    ALCHEMY Polish Cafe in Surry Hills helps me get through these tough times. They serve up traditional Polish food as well as other cuisines for the not-so-adventurous.

    I can always count on Alchemy Cafe to get my pierogi fix with a serve of barszcz (traditional beetroot soup served with mini ravioli. YUM!) for under $30. =)

Your Comments



Hi, I'm Lee Tran Lam. When not blogging with my mouth full, I'm usually writing, presenting Local Fidelity on FBi radio, making zines, producing podcasts or continually breaking promises about how I really am gonna get through my book pile one day.

All the good pictures on this blog are by photography ace (and patient boyfriend), Will Reichelt, (all the dodgy ones can be credited to me)!

The lovely banner is by friend and ultra-talented illustrator Grace Lee.

This site redesign was made possible by the next-level generosity and expertise of Daniel Boud, whose code-tinkering ways are only outranked by his seriously inspired way with a camera.

You can read more about my co-conspirators here.

This is a blog I do for pure fun and zero influence – there's no sponsorship, sneaky advertorial or advertising. I pay for all the food mentioned, 'cos it seems the ethical thing to do.


This is a blog about eating and drinking in Sydney, Australia (with the odd cross-border or off-topic detour). BYO appetite.

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.