Sydney's best multicultural breakfasts
Pollack soup with kimchi and rice from Alrose restaurant in Strathfield. Photo: Steven Siewert
If travel broadens the mind and breakfast is the most important meal of the day, then a multicultural breakfast crawl must be good for you.
Luckily, Sydney has no shortage of options, from bowls of steaming Vietnamese pho to a Middle Eastern sweet cous cous with cardamom milk.
Here's a guide to some of Good Food's favourite places . Jump on the comments and let us know your go-to spot for an international brekkie fix.
The chorizo shakshuka at Enmore's Shenkin Kitchen. Photo: Brianne Makin
A cure-all-ills bowl of congee is the way to go in China – white rice boiled until it breaks down into a glossy porridge. The dish varies in consistency and flavour, depending on which part of China you're in, but it's a uniformly heart-warming start to the day. Try it at Chatswood's 375 Congee and Noodle House – there are some 10 versions to choose from here – with raw eggs cracked over the top and fried bread sticks for dunking.
Soupy starts to the day are the way to go in other parts of the world too. In Vietnam there's pho bo – beef noodle soup (the broth warms you, while the noodles give an energy-boosting carb hit). Sydneysiders are spoilt for good pho spots: head to Bankstown for a big bowl at either Pho Pasteur or An Restaurant. Cabramatta, a few suburbs over, also has a plethora of pho joints, but head to the Cambodian-Chinese Dong Son instead with the hoard of tradies who tuck into pre-work bowls of hearty Phnom Penh noodle soup.
Strathfield is the go if you're keen to try Korea's alleged hangover cure breakfast of pollack soup – a thin broth with rehydrated pieces of dried cod, a side of rice and of course, kimchi – Korea's all-day, every day tastebud kick-starter of spicy fermented cabbage. Try it at Alrose.
A breakfast tagine from Kazbah in Balmain. Photo: Quentin Jones
375 Congee and Noodle House: 375 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood 9884 8233
Pho Pasteur: 295 Chapel Road, Bankstown 9790 2900
An Restaurant: 27 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown 9796 7826
Dong Son 44 Park Road, Cabramatta 9724 4551
Alrose 7-9 Churchill Avenue, Strathfield 9764 1117
MIDDLE EASTERN BREAKFASTS
The recently revamped Greenacre branch of the growing chain of Al Aseel Lebanese restaurants has an extensive breakfast menu. Try foul and tahini – broad beans and chickpeas cooked with lemon and garlic, topped with tahini and olive oil.
Kazbah on Darling at Balmain has been the go-to for brekkie with an Arabian twist for years. (There are Kazbahs at Top Ryde and Darling Harbour, too, and the breakfast tagine with lamb or roast pumpkin is a hit at all three venues.)
Just down the road, Efendy's Meze Bar serves up an epic Sunday-only Turkish breakfast banquet that ranges from freshly baked pide to spicy sujuk, to Turkish delight.
Meze Me at Rouse Hill has a similar spin on breakfast as Kazbah – offered weekends only, with brekkie tagines and sweet cous cous with cardamom milk and rhubarb compote on the menu.
Al Aseel: 173 Waterloo Road, Greenacre 9758 6744
Kazbah: Balmain, Darling Harbour and Top Ryde 9555 7067
Efendy's Meze Bar: 79 Elliott Street, Balmain 9810 5466, breakfast Sunday only
Meze Me: 16 Bellcast Road, Rouse Hill 8824 4999, breakfast weekends only
Almond Bar: 379 Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst 9380 5318, breakfast first Sunday of the month only
Cafe Mint: 579 Crown Street, Surry Hills 9319 0848
Italians are famous for feasting, but breakfast tends to stop at caffe latte and some kind of sweet treat. Head to Caffe Sicilia at Surry Hills to get a feel for it, and try their irresistible bombolini (Italian doughnuts).
The French go for a similar morning spread – a croissant and cafe au lait, perhaps – which you can sample at Rozelle's La Grande Bouffe and its sister restaurant, Bistro Meme at Gladesville. You can get more substantial French breakfasts at both spots, too. Croque madame, s'il vous plait?
Meanwhile, the Macedonian owner at Balmain's Balkan Bake (whose father was the original owner at Rockdale stalwart, Balkan Oven) has mastered the burek – thin, flaky pastry filled, perhaps, with spinach and cheese – but also serves up traditional sweet treats and Double Roasters coffee.
Caffe Sicilia: 628 Crown Street, Surry Hills 9699 8787
La Grande Bouffe: Shops 1-2, 758 Darling Street, Rozelle 9818 4333
Bistro Meme: 3/7 Cowell Street, Gladesville 9879 0486
Balkan Bake: 297 Darling Street, Balmain 9555 7565
GLOBE-TROTTING CAFE MENUS
Most of the Middle Eastern and European venues offer egg dishes, too, but if you're in an eggy mood, make a beeline for Shenkin Kitchen at Enmore for exceptional shakshuka. The originally Tunisian dish is becoming a cafe staple – a terracotta dish with eggs poached in tomato sauce topped with fresh coriander, and Shenkin does it well, as does Redfern's Kepos Street Kitchen.
Shakshuka is just one of a raft of more exotic brekkie dishes gracing Sydney cafe menus. Camperdown's Runcible Spoon does "Thai-style" fried eggs with jasmine rice, tomato, coriander and nam jim; pork belly is an optional extra.
The Rag Land at Redfern whips up Malaysia's favourite nasi lemak as a weekend special, and Panama House at Bondi does brilliant Latin American breakfasts including huevos rancheros with poached egg, corn tortilla, spiced black beans, avocado, tomato salsa and chipotle-laced hollandaise.
Shenkin Kitchen: 129 Enmore Road, Enmore 9519 7163
Kepos Street Kitchen: 96 Kepos Street, Redfern, 9319 3919
Runcible Spoon: 27 Barr Street, Camperdown 9519 2727
The Rag Land: 129 Raglan Street, Redfern-Waterloo border, no phone
Panama House: 251 Bondi Road, Bondi 9365 0839
Angie Schiavone is the editor of The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food U$30 guide.