Sweets for a sweet future - Chatswood Dessert Trail
One of the best ways to celebrate Lunar New Year is by eating dessert. Not only is it a delicious move, it’s a symbolic activity that means your future is bound to be sweet and happy. In Chatswood, there are countless ways to do this, and these flavours will transport you right across the world. In this multicultural suburb, you can enjoy Hong Kong egg waffles, Thai coconut crepes, Filipino crème caramel, Vietnamese affogato, giant wafers sweetened with Colombian arequipe, Malaysian shaved ice splashed with a rainbow of fruity, rich flavours and much more. It's easy to create your own dessert trail to try these sweets. The featured locations are just a few minutes’ walk from Chatswood station, so you’re only footsteps away from Japanese pancakes stuffed with ice-cream, kaya-rich roti and fried banana spring rolls.
1. Khao Pla
Shop 7, 370-374 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
Smoked coconut sorbet is enticing on its own, but at Khao Pla, it’s served with fried roti that’s showered with toasted coconut. The golden flatbread’s caramel-rich filling is lavishly flavoured with grilled banana and Nutella. Also on the dessert menu at this acclaimed eatery? Black sticky rice loaded with Thai milk tea ice-cream, splashed with dark sugarcane sauce and sprinkled with jasmine tapioca, coconut jelly, jackfruit and salted egg yolk. You can also sink your spoon into roselle sorbet with popping pearls, coconut meringue and lime curd.
2. Amah by Ho Jiak
Kiosk 1 & 2, The District, Podium Level, Chatswood Interchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
Amah by Ho Jiak is a culinary love letter to chef Hun Loong’s Malaysian grandmother. The menu is powered by his memories of his late Amah’s cooking, while the food court-style setting might evoke the buzz of hawker stalls found in her homeland. Here, you’ll find ais kacang, the mountainous shaved ice dessert that brings cool relief to diners at coffee shops, roadside stalls and other eateries throughout Malaysia. At Amah by Ho Jiak, the ice is brightened with rose and honeydew melon flavours and the syrupy, coffee-like richness of gula melaka, and packed with palm seeds, grass jelly and peanuts. For desserts rich in coconut and palm sugar, try the black sticky rice or the ais cendol (pandan noodles with shaved ice).
102/9 Railway St, Chatswood
On the streets of the Philippines, you might hear vendors as they yell and spruik the taho they’re selling. They’ll scoop out soy pudding from the vat they’re carrying and fill a cup with sago pearl toppings and dark, sugary syrup from their other buckets. You’ll find this vegan dessert at Pamana, as well as other classic Filipino sweets: turon (fried banana spring rolls), halo halo (a colourful mix of shaved ice, jelly, fruit and ice-cream), leche flan (Filipino crème caramel, also available in a cake that’s striped with ube, a bright purple yam) and brazo de Mercedes (a creamy, custard-filled meringue roll).
4. La Latina
82 Archer St, Chatswood
At this Latin canteen, you can order obleas: massive frisbee-sized wafer biscuits, sweetened with arequipe (the Colombian version of dulce de leche). There are also
caramelly sweet plaintains that are slathered with guava and cheese, custardy three-milk cake, arroz con leche (rice pudding) and ice-cream flavoured with South American tropical fruits, such as lulo, soursop and lulo. Thirsty? Try a Colombian hot chocolate with a creamy hit of cheese, or Latin American soft drinks such as Maltin Polar from Venezuela, Guarana from Brazil or Inca Kola from Peru.
5. TôMì’s Kitchen
Shop 5, The Concourse, 409 Victoria Avenue Chatswood
If you have memories of eating big crumbed balls of deep-fried ice-cream as a kid, TôMì’s Kitchen updates the classic dessert for your adult tastebuds. Here, the vanilla ice-cream is wrapped in a generous triangle of filo pastry, stylishly plated with a jumble of toasted coconut shreds, almond slivers and dried fruit, then finished with a rich pool of caramel sauce. You can also order banana fritters with coconut sago, there’s affogato remixed with Vietnamese coffee, plus ice-cream in scoop-worthy Asian flavours such as azuki beans, taro, lychee, black sesame and pandan.
6. Celsius Dessert Bar
Kiosk 4, Chatswood Bus Interchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
This bus-station kiosk might be small in size, but it offers a big range of sweet-tooth-enticing items. You can request Hong Kong egg waffles, hot off the grill, and flavoured with green tea, black sesame or chocolate. There are ‘dragon breath’ sweets: colourful rice balls given a blast of liquid nitrogen. Dip one in your mouth and it looks like you’re coolly puffing smoke like the mythical monster. Gelato is also theatrically prepared in the same way, and tastes like Turkish delight, chocolate and Ovaltine, or salted caramel. There are sweet potato, black sesame, taro and white chocolate ‘sky’ lattes to sip on, or date and longan tea if that appeals to you.
7. Fujimi Dorayaki
Level 2, Westfield Chatswood, 1 Anderson St, Chatswood
Dorayaki is a Japanese dessert that’s been around for centuries, but their modern format can be traced to a confectionery shop called Usagiya in Tokyo, which reinvented it as a pancake-style sandwich in 1914. The popular cartoon cat, Doraemon, also has revived interest in this snack, as he famously has a weakness for this sweet. At this shopping centre kiosk, there are many Doraemon figurines on display to inspire you to eat just like him. Fujimi Dorayaki offers the classic red bean flavour with mochi as well as other creative fillings, like Tim Tam, caramel pudding, black tea pearls, cream cheese Oreo and banana Nutella. Cool off with an ice-cream sandwich dorayaki, like the chunky peanut butter flavour that’s stuffed with a scoop of mango ice-cream.
8. Amie Coffee
Shop 6, 409 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood
At this sleek café, you can order a single-origin coffee with hints of plum and lychee from Ethiopia or sip a Kenyan brew that tastes of dark chocolate and blackcurrant. You can also supercharge your caffeine hit with a pillowy, grilled marshmallow. There are also lychee sodas, matcha lattes and hot chocolates if they’re more your style. You can also feel good about picking up a flaky pain au chocolat, plain or almond croissant with your order – they’re made by The Bread & Butter Project, which trains refugees to become bakers.
9. Chat Thai
Shop 12, Chatswood Place, 260 Victoria Ave Chatswood
There’s a rainbow-bright selection of Thai desserts at the Chatswood outpost of this beloved Sydney institution. Try khao kreab aon, which are colourful crepe triangles stuffed with shredded coconut, sesame and sugar. Or savour multiple kinds of sticky rice, presented with coconut custard, mango wedges or fragrant durian. The bua loy (floating lotus) dumplings are shaped from taro and young coconut, and bathed in a warm coconut broth, while you can enjoy coconut ice-cream that truly tastes like Thailand – it's sweetened with salted coconut sugar caramel sourced a village in Samut Songkhram, southwest of Bangkok.
Shop P9, 1-5 Railway Street, Chatswood
Flaky, buttery roti are a fixture at mamak (Indian Muslim) stalls in Malaysia, and here, they’re more than a satisfying way to mop up your curry. There’s also an extensive menu of sweet versions of the rich flatbread at this eatery, all appropriately served with a scoop of ice-cream. At Mamak, your roti can be slathered with kaya jam (pandan and coconut), studded with sliced bananas (roti pisang), served as a thicker, sweeter spiral (roti bom) or as a paper-thin, crispy dessert tower (roti tisu) that you can joyously crack with a spoon.