Are you coming to Sydney?

Sydney Local Guide - Edition 12

Let’s venture out of Sydney CBD and explore 5 lesser-known suburbs.

Happy March! If you do celebrate it, we also hope you’re enjoying Easter 🙂

A change has happened. Previous editions were called “Sydney Weekly Wrap” – now they will be called “Sydney Local Guide”. 

The purpose and format of these articles will be the same, to share about the culture and destinations of Australia’s 2nd most populous city.

Got a question about life in Sydney? Interested for us to plan your Sydney itinerary? Message us on Instagram or send us an e-mail.

Shanghainese and Northern Chinese cuisine in Ashfield

Ashfield is around 25 minutes by public transport west from Town Hall train station. It’s neither close nor far from Sydney CBD. It’s an area worth leisurely spending half a day in with the family, enjoying Chinese food and routine shopping

The suburb doesn’t buzz with activity, but does have a steady hum with its open lay-out, mum n’ pop stores, and concentration of Chinese shops. Get your fix of noodles and dumplings at “New Shanghai Ashfield“, or enjoy wok-fried seafood at “Eaton Ashfield“. 

Ashfield Mall reliably houses a K-Mart, ALDI, Coles, EB Games, Specsavers and other well-known retail brands. A family could stroll around after a hearty Chinese meal and get the week’s shopping done. 

Shanghainese cuisine doing what it does best – noodles and dumplings!

Korean Barbecue and Cantonese Siu Mei in Eastwood

Eastwood is an interesting suburb with a strong community village vibe. It is one of the biggest Asian-populated areas in Sydney. 

On one side of Eastwood train station, there is Korea town. “Jin Joo Grill“, “Butcher’s Buffet“, and “Dae Jang Kum” are K-BBQ restaurants well known to locals.  “10000LAB” is a cafe serving a variety of buns, cakes, and cute latte drinks.

On the other side of Eastwood train station, there is a melting pot of Chinese dining and grocery-shopping options. For classic Cantonese “siu mei” (BBQ meats), check-out “Canton Cafe” or “BBQ One Eastwood“. For Chinese food, check-out “Taste of Shanghai” or “Mr Stonepot“. 

A good meeting spot for families is at the water fountain on Rowe St Pedestrian Mall. With cafes lining either side and Eastwood Arcade (established in 1964) in the centre, it’s a pleasant area to chill.

Eastwood is one of Sydney’s biggest Koreatowns. Enjoy soju and chicken with friends.

Cafes, pubs, and relaxed greenery in Erskineville

Erskineville, in Sydney’s inner-west, is popular with young professionals who enjoy the short commute to Sydney’s CBD. The suburb has a strong residential charm, with Victorian-style terraces and workers’ cottages contributing to the feeling of being in a city-adjacent village.

Though not to the point of neighbouring Newtown, Erskineville has its hipster influence and creative culture. The community is close and the hospitality is welcoming. Pubs like “The Erko Hotel” and “Roses of Australia” welcome locals by their names, and cafes like “Shenkin” and “Fleetwood Macchiato” serve delicious breakfasts. 

If you like lawn-bowling and relaxed conversation, “Erskineville Bowling Club” is a place to enjoy time with mates.

Sharon Kwan Kitchen is a Malaysian food truck that caters for Erskineville Bowling Club (usually on Mondays).

A family-friendly town centre featuring Westfield Hornsby

Hornsby is one of the biggest suburbs in Sydney’s upper North Shore and has a population of more than 23,000 people. It is around a 50-minute train ride to Sydney’s CBD. Those who live here might not feel that it’s necessary to travel the distance when the town centre caters for pretty much all lifestyle needs. 

The large water clock structure designed by Victor Cusack marks the pedestrian mall, which features Westfield Hornsby shopping centre, Event Cinemas, Hornsby Shire Library, and comfy, independent cafes like “Brewhaha“. 

We love the outdoor dining and the international cuisines available, especially in the walkway right outside the Ground level of Westfield. If you’re craving yumcha and dimsum, “Joyful House” has been a local institution for years. If you’re looking for a relaxed, modern Australian restaurant then “Blu Eatery” has great service.

Cantonese food at Joyful House, located right outside Westfield Hornsby.

Cafe hopping and Japanese food in Neutral Bay

Neutral Bay is a small, affluent suburb in Sydney’s lower North Shore (“lower” means that it’s closer to the CBD). Along Military Road, there is a tantalising number of cafes and restaurants. We enjoy the hospitality and relaxed vibe at cafes like “At Neutral“.

Neutral Bay has a notably high population of Japanese people; accompanied with a delectable number of ramen, izakaya and sushi restaurants. “Izakaya Samurai“,  “Manpuku”, and “Jicca Dining” are Japanese eateries rated well by locals.

After a brunch, or a beer at the historic Oaks Hotel, we’d recommend visiting Kurraba Point. This bay, which is now its own suburb, has sparkling views over Sydney Harbour. Kurraba Point is also a ferry stop from which you can alight after a short cruise from Sydney CBD. This proximity to business districts like Barangaroo makes Neutral Bay particularly popular for white-collar young professionals to live in.

The ferry is a scenic way to travel – see Sydney Harbour  on your way from Sydney CBD to Neutral Bay.

Are you coming to Sydney?

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I’m Garry Ho, founder of Koalamate.
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