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Published January 21st 2017
Sweet and sour delights
Hiding parallel to Kensington St in Chippendale is Spice Alley, an open-air hawker market featuring four diners serving up Asian street food. Various laneways between historic houses lead to this back alley and, if I hadn't read about it, I wouldn't have known it was there amongst a range of other restaurants and bars.
Once found, you'll discover pretty outdoor courtyards of tables and chairs, plants, wall art and strings of lanterns hanging overhead that glow come night time. There's also the resident tuk-tuk, a familiar site in Asia, adding to the atmosphere.
The diners calling Spice Alley home bring cuisines from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Thailand. Alex Lee Kitchen provides the taste of Singapore with authentic flavoursome dishes that include a light and flaky roti with chicken rice, crispy pork belly, sweet & sour fish, satay skewers, and laksa. At Old Jim Kee's, Malaysian food stands tall with people raving about the Penang Char Koay Teow (stir-fried flat rice noodle, chilli, prawns of decent amounts, Chinese sausage) and its Sambal sauce. Other items on the menu include Nasi Goreng, Salt & Pepper Chicken Wings, Curry Puffs and Deep Fried Tofu.
Cantonese food is available at the Hong Kong Diner with Beef Brisket Noodles, Prawn and Chive Dumplings, BBQ Pork buns, Wonton soup and various spring rolls. Down at Bang Luck is Thai street food which my husband and I decided to try. I went with the Pulled Duck Pancakes ($10) of which there were three open savoury bases topped with duck and a slaw of cabbage, carrot, cucumber and pineapple sticks glazed with hoisin and honey dressing. Whilst the flavours were sweet and tasty, it lacked in the amount of duck.
My husband had the Fried Chicken Ribs ($9) which were quite spicy, having been tossed in a sticky sweet sour tamarind. A chilli sauce on the side made them even hotter but nonetheless, they disappeared off the plate.
Prices are very reasonable here with nothing over $15 at any of the four diners. It's important to note this is a card payment area only (Eftpos or credit card). There is no cash taken although you can swap your cash over for a Kopi-Tiam card to use at any of the diners.
Open daily from 11am-10pm, Spice Alley is definitely worth a try. We found it hard to decide what to choose before we went with the Thai as all menus looked interesting. If you want a taste from all four diners, then you could mix and match buying smaller items from each establishment.
Drinks and juices are available at a separate counter along with Bar Chinois down one end for something stronger whilst dessert lovers can find sweet delights at the Koi Dessert Bar at the other end of the alley.
All in all, it's an appealing area with a range of choices and flavours.