Situated between Carriageworks near Redfern Station and Sydney’s Chinatown is this vibrant pan-Asian hawker style food center. There are heaps of different vendors to choose from and it’s all very reminiscent of Singapore’s food centers, though a bit more decorative and expensive. As the name implies, Spice Alley is located in the backstreets, behind several brick buildings in the area. When you come across it, you will feel like you have uncovered a ‘secret’, a place that shouldn’t be there but is. It’s so secret, since the entry is easy to spot if you are walking up and down Kensington Street as there are signs saying ‘Spice Alley’.
There are around dozen vendors representing Asian cuisines from Chinese, Malaysian/Singaporean, Vietnamese, Thai, Indonesian and Japanese. The whole set up seems like a labyrinth with a bunch of makeshift, haphazard things all over the place, but I think it would make for good photos. Vendors have their own tables and seats. Some tables are uncover, some are under the open sky.
I came to Spice Alley after visiting the morning market at Carriageworks by walking all the way to where the old KOI Dessert Bar was located for some desserts first, and then visited Spice Alley. It is all within walking distance and Carriageworks, it was about a good 15 minutes walk.
For lunch, we had Roti and curry which came with a delicious, messy looking roti, two curries, fried chicken pieces and we came back later for dinner where I went for Chicken Rice which came with thick soy sauce, garlic chili, chicken soup, chicken prices and the fragrant chicken rice.
The Roti and Chicken Rice were pretty standard fare. Nothing too amazing about either dish. The Chicken Rice’s rice was fragrant with chicken stock flavor, the chicken was succulent and the soup was quite usual tasting, i.e. not too salty.
For dessert, we had some Thai Jackfruit Sticky Rice, which came with coconut milk. The dessert was nice and as expected.
We came for both lunch and dinner across two different days, the options for lunch and dinner sessions weren’t any different. Yet, I didn’t feel like there was anything that compel me to visit this place. Everything was so-so and the price wasn’t super cheap. But I did enjoy the atmosphere/décor and the excitement of having to visit vendors and see their offerings.
The price for the food was all around AUD$10 to $20. It was by no means a really cheap area, but it was cheaper than visiting a fancy restaurant. You will definitely find something that you will want to try.
One thing I will say is that the crowd is definitely larger during the dinner session than the lunch session. The dinner session feels more lively when all the lightworks come alive and is bustling with people.
Spice Alley is located to the south of Sydney’s CBD in Kensington St, Chippendale NSW 2008 and you can also visit the Koi Dessert Bar as well:
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