Hallo, hallo and I am back!
Since I had been MIA here for quite some time I know I have to resurface with a bang. So without further ado, I introduce you to my Cheap Eats Series which was conceptualized out of the desire to find food in Sydney that not only tastes good but is so affordable you'll find time and energy to look for them! This was also done to erase the wrong notion associated with Sydney that everything here is so expensive.
To tell you the truth, there are a lot of things that you can do and eat here that are either free or low-cost just as long as you know where to look.
The first restaurant that would officially open this series is Ayam Goreng 99. As I was browsing for possible candidates in the internet, this Indonesian restaurant screamed right at me from the plethora of restaurants I was considering to go to first due to the reason that I have never been to Indonesia and it would be nice to have a go of their cuisine.
Second is because you can never go wrong with a popular restaurant near the university as it tells you two things: the food is cheap and the meals are filling enough for growing boys and girls who are in need of some serious nourishment.
I had no clue where to go to and what to do when I arrived outside the restaurant. I actually spent a rather long time standing outside and looking at the menu whilst I was observing the system. When I still could not understand it, I went inside and asked a waitress to guide me on the process.
She pointed at the clip board plastered on the side of the refrigerator with a sheet of paper that has scribbles on it. Turned out I should list my name there, go back outside and wait for my name to be called.
I also asked for a pen, paper and menu so that I can already write down my order as the paper will act act as an order slip.
Ten minutes had passed and seeing that those who arrived after me have already been called I went back inside and checked my name in the paper. To my utter dismay they already crossed my name out! I did not even hear my name being called! Strange.
I lobbied my concern to the waitress who was so accommodating by the way and told me that she was really sorry about what happened. She even offered to sit me with the other diners if I was in a hurry. I told her that I can wait and asked her if I'll be coming up next. She said yes, they will prioritize me.
Anyway, while I was waiting, I was debating over whether to get the Grilled Marinated chicken or the Deep-fried one. Though my initial instinct told me to get the deep-fried, I veered away from it since I can always eat deep-fried chicken but rarely eat charcoal-grilled ones. They do offer it in thigh or breast.
As for me I went with the juicy thigh. I think this is a no-brainer and I still cannot understand why on earth would anyone choose breast over thigh!
And to make my meal a bit more special, I got the coconut steamed rice with the fried onions on top. Perfect!
After they called me in and seated me at the table near the door, I gave them my order slip (aka the stapled sheets of paper) and waited for my meal to come.
I was actually waiting in anticipation for it as I was imagining it to taste like that of the Philippines' Chicken Inasal, which is chicken marinated in a mixture of lime, pepper, annatto oil (which we fondly call atsuete to give it a much defined color and aroma) and some other nice things that goes in it.
So when the food came in, I was so happy to see that it looked like our Chicken Inasal! Same orange-reddish and charred appearance maybe but the taste was so unique! I was happy to discover that it tasted a lot different from what I was accustomed to eat. It was smoky and sweet but it is the kind of sweetness that I like as it is subdued and light but is tad sweeter than that of our Inasal. I also topped it with their house sauce that is sweet but salty which added more layer to the flavors. Let us not forget the rich but very mild flavored coconut rice, too!
The meal was so aromatic that the smell of the food lingered inside my mouth up to my nostrils!
I finished the meal full and satisfied to the core! More than that, I bet you would not be able to guess that I had only paid exactly AUD 10 for the meal. The chicken was just $6.50 a piece while the coconut rice is just priced at $3.50. If you are working with a tighter budget, I suggest that you can go with the normal steamed rice for just $2.00 a cup instead!