Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tropicana Singapore Laksa Cafe - Kingsford, Sydney.

Disclaimer: The following two paragraphs contain a life story and a rant. Feel free to scroll down to the picture if you wish to hear about this eatery! Otherwise, read on....

I'm in my penultimate year at UNSW and have only in the past year since starting my degree ventured out into the abundance and variety of cuisines offered on the strip of restaurants just outside along Anzac Parade. Unfortunately for me, if I had only been less lazy and more open-minded in my earlier years, I would have the discovered the affordability and student-focused dining offered in this area and saved myself the torture of eating the watery laksa, the heart-clogging kebab, the microwaved pasta, the canteen-style pies, the so-called 'deli' sandwiches, the questionable battered fish and soggy chips. I must admit I'm being quite cynical, but this is because you only begin to realise the true picture and clarity of my descriptions after you've become a 'convert'.

almost_vegetarian and I would readily jump and voice our objections to any conversations in hearing distance if any place inside of UNSW were to be suggested for eating by a bystander. We should get paid for this free preaching and advertisement. Since last year, him and I have ventured and tried a variety of places within walking distance such as Red Hat Noodle, The New Dong Dong, Ratu Sari, Ayam Goreng, Shalom, Sushi Tengoku, Ayam Goreng 99, Oportos (yes not even fast food can be turned down) and the list goes on ... so since starting this blog, I've made it a mission (to the best of my ability - depending on whether I bring my camera ) to blog every single restaurant we eat at to give our readers a general overview of the Anzac Parade strip.

The first eatery to grace our reviews is Tropicana, a family run singaporean-orientated restaurant that is only a few minutes walk from the main exit (right opposite the BP!). Although I often make wrong assumptions, from my most recent observations and past, it appears the owner would be the middle-aged lady who can always be seen working inside the place. She's full of energy and you can see her passion for her food and running the place by the way she warmly greets her customers like a mother welcoming her children in for some home-cooking...

Until recently, I didn't understand why there were powerpoints located at every table, but the reason soon presented itself (or rather I made my own reasons up.) To recharge laptops... and I shamelessly took advantage of the it just me, or has anybody noticed the almost contagious spread of laptops on-campus? From my scrappy calculations, in my own faculty where a laptop can either be very useful or a complete burden to carry around (if it's out of battery and not a single powerpoint is free), it appears that one out of three students will have a laptop. Furthermore, just as a quirky fact, at least 40% of laptops in a lecture are Macbooks. Why is this quirky? Most of the people buy it for image, not functionality. It's "pretty" as one of my friends (who shall go unnamed) defended when I asked why the choice of laptop was made. Get off the bandwagon please.

Is it the time since I last posted, the reason for my essay length rant? Or is it the addictive nature of blogging that has possessed me to write the way I do? I don't know.

Chicken Laksa. I haven't been to the cities that do world famous laksa so I wouldn't be able to set a benchmark for quality. But if I had to narrow it down to places in Sydney there would be a few to offer comparison. The laksa (regardless of beef, seafood, roast pork) at Tropicana is the best you can find in Kingsford, I daresay, the best you can find in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. It's as good as the laksa at: May's Malaysian (Mandarin Centre, Chatswood), Malay/Chinese (Hunter St, Sydney CBD) and Makan@Alice's (Thornleigh, Sydney). The laksa at Tropicana is generously served with just the right level of spiciness. The stock is not overpowering and complements the mix of noodles. It's good - I can't say anything to discredit the consistent quality that I'm served every time I've come here.

almost_vegetarian has ordered the chicken curry rice. This is his first post - so please be gentle: As D said, this place is the bomb sub $10. Usually the Laksa is the go here but I decided to be more adventurous and had the chicken curry. D hasn't mentioned it but everything is precooked and all the ingredients are layered together before serving. This is both good and bad. The good lies in that its presented like a piece of art work put together with loving care, as opposed to being thrown 3 feet out of a hot wok; and the bad well, it didn't come out of a hot wok.

Onto the food. The curry was thick and tasty, but not overbearing as some places tend to be, but they're a little misery with it (probably because its their own gourmet recipe and they don't want to trigger the 'ingredient-discovery-O-metre-threshold' -poor joke). The ingredients were fresh and standard-fare at this price point. But again, since the ingredients weren't cooked with the sauce, the flavours were not all soaked through making the vegetables and meat a somewhat bland in taste as opposed to the sauce. A well thought out dish overall, yet one longs for the oily goodness of a burly chinaman and his Wok as one walks up to the counter and asks "more please".


Tropicana now has released some premade sauces for beef rendang, singaporean crab, hainan chicken sauce, sambal oelek and even it's laksa the price varies between $5.20 to $6.20 per jar depending on which one it is.

I'm wasn't cool enough to tip - maybe next time.

Tropicana Singapore Laksa Cafe
243 Anzac Parade
Kingsford, Sydney.
Ph: 9662 8896

Opening Hours:
Lunch: 11am - 3pm
Dinner: 5pm - 9pm


FFichiban said...

The New Dong Dong has a cool name so I want to try that place haha and since you are bold enough to compare this place to Malay/Chinese I shall have to try it out ehhh

chocolatesuze said...

you dont tip? in general? or just at that place?

D said...

Heya chocolatesuze, I got shouted by almost_vegetarian :D

I generally do tip though!

Mel said...

you should try the hainan chicken at tropicana - it's fantastic! and you can choose how you want your chicken cooked - steamed, soy sauce, bbq or fried!