A menu for the Year of the Rooster

The calendar New Year may seem like so long ago already, but the Lunar New Year is right here and with it, another opportunity to set intentions for the days and months to come. The Chinese Zodiac has us smack bang in the year of the rooster.

If you believe (or just for fun), this year should be a powerful one, with a heap of momentum propelling us headlong into our endeavours. It is said that we should be clear about our intentions, and stick to the old ‘if it ain’t broke’, tried and true path, rather than sticking your neck out (rooster style), only to get the chop.

The characteristics of the rooster are loyalty, commitment and family values – all things that when applied to the world of food, in my mind at least, mean a celebration of the food we know to be good, and sharing it with the people we love and value the most.

Sure, trying new things is exciting, but when I think about the food that makes me the happiest, it comes from the restaurants that never fail to nail the classics, time and time again, and recipes that always deliver, no matter how many times you make them.

The trusted and loyal restaurants and recipes that will get me through this year will be places like Marrickville Pork Roll for banh mi – still the best and one of the cheapest food thrills you can have in Sydney, Faheem Fast Food in Enmore for some of the best Northern Indian and Pakistani food you’re likely to come across, and down the street, Emma’s Snack Bar for the most heartfelt and fun Lebanese feasts in the city.

The reliably great and the consistently fantastic are the benchmarks of an ever-changing food scene here in the Inner West, and just like the loyal rooster, should be celebrated. After over five years writing for Ciao, this is my last column for now; I want to thank you all for putting up with my (often) inane rantings and passionate outbursts over this time and I wish you all the great fortune that this Chinese New Year brings.

Gong Hei Fat Choi!

Melissa Leong