Sydney Tag Archive

4 Best Mooncake Flavours in Sydney

Written by Editor’s Picks, Entertainment

What is your favourite type of mooncake?

Mooncakes are eaten during the annual Mid-Autumn Festival, or Moon Festival on the 15th August of Chinese Lunar calendar. Originally, this festival celebrated the moon. The moon is seen as a symbol for family unity and harmony as well as an abundance of harvest. Since it is a very popular festival, mooncakes are sold in almost every Asian food shop.

Cre: Purple Cane Malaysia

There are various types of fillings based on the culture or the region’s tradition. In Australia, since it is a very popular festival, mooncakes are sold in almost every Asian food shop or bakery. One of the most common places that have the most types of Chinese mooncakes is Breadtop or Market City. In Breadtop, besides the traditional flavors, there are a few more special fillings such as white lotus seed paste with triple yolks, lava custard, low sugar white lotus seed paste and macadamia nuts, mixed nuts with ham and so on.

Lava custard mooncake (Cre: Miss Tam Chiak)

Cre: Purple Cane Malaysia

Interestingly, new generations of mooncakes can have transformations in taste and dietary needs, since people are more conscious about maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, bakers created low-fat, low-sugar mooncakes with ingredients such as yogurt, jelly, and fat-free ice cream. They also offer a healthier choice of filling like green tea, ginger, fruits or veggies. According to some brands, one baked lotus seed paste mooncake with one egg yolk weighs about 180g, has 790 calories, and contains 45g of fat.

Jelly Mooncake (Cre:

Here are more types of mooncakes around the world:

1/Vietnamese Mooncakes

Mooncakes in Vietnam are widely known as ‘Banh Trung Thu’ with two common kinds: Baked sticky rice cake and plain sticky rice cake. Both are prepared from cooked glutinous rice. The mooncakes have a crust consisting of cooked glutinous rice powder, sugar and water. The filling consists of delicious ingredients like jam, mung beans, eggs, lotus seed and watermelon seed.

Banh Nuong (Baked Mooncake) (Cre:

Homemade Vietnamese mixed fruits and nuts mooncake (Cre:

Colorful Banh Deo (Colorful Sticky Rice Mooncake) Credit:

2/Green Tea Mooncakes

Mooncakes and tea are a traditional combination of Chinese food and together they create a new flavour. The green tea mooncakes are made by adding green tea powder to the other fillings and some lotus paste.

                         Mövenpick Green tea Mooncake and Tiramisu with Cheese Mooncake (Cre: Mövenpick)

3/Geppei (Japanese Mooncakes)

Mooncakes in Japan are known as Geppei. The red bean paste (Azuki) is the most popular filling, followed by chestnuts and beans. Unlike other mooncakes, Geppei does not make use of egg yolks as it is not preferred by many Japanese people.

Rabbit Wagashi Mooncakes (Cre: Little Miss Bento)

4/Ice Cream Mooncake

Sounds exciting, right? The ice cream mooncakes are usually square or round in shape. The crust is made from dark or white chocolate and the fillings can be an ice cream flavour of your choice. It also consists of egg yolk and is popular among youths.

Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream Mooncakes open yolk (Cre: Häagen-Dazs)

***Tip: Buying a box will be cheaper! Have a wonderful evening tasting mooncakes with friends or family with cups of hot tea!!!

What are your favourite flavours?

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Only Opal cards from 1st of August!

Written by News, Student Life

Opal smart cards have been introduced following the complete phase out of railway paper tickets on the 1st of August. However, in the next couple of months will there be another payment option available as well?

The Opal card was based on London’s Oyster and introduced due to fare evasion and misuse costing taxpayers $22 million AUD a year. NSW Government looks set to follow in London’s footsteps once more. According to, Sydney will trial the use of bank cards to pay for trips in 2017. This means that customers will be able to travel using their credit or debit cards while the use of personal bank accounts reduces the need to top up regularly.

For the moment, railway customers must buy an Opal card or Opal single-trip in order to travel throughout Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Hunter, Illawarra and Southern Highlands. Additionally, customers will not be able to continue using Pensioner Excursion Tickets or TravelTens from August 1st. They can, however, apply for a refund for unused trips before 30th October 2016 here. Tourists can also apply for an Opal card before arrival to NSW, or use the new single-trip tickets.

If you still have not used for an Opal card, using a single-trip Opal card may serve as a last resort. These can be bought on buses, and standard Opal cards can be purchased from 7-Eleven, Woolworths or online. However, some stations have not yet been installed with single-use Opal cards.  If you are caught without a valid ticket, transport officers will be able to fine you.

Twitter: The Opal Card User (TheOpalUser)

Twitter: The Opal Card User (TheOpalUser)

Other changes include the removal of free journeys after 8 trips. Now, customers will only receive a 50% discount if they take more than 8 journeys. Those who change transportation twice – a train to a bus, for example – in one trip (and within one hour) will also receive a $2 discount instead of needing to pay twice.

Due to the success in London 2014, the bank card system was exported to other cities. However, the technology will not reach regions outside of Sydney for some time. Melbourne, Brisbane and other cities will need to remain with smartcards due to their older technologies.

Even though the potential use of bank cards is an Australian first, Londoners are already using their smartphones to pay fares instead of bank cards. Will Sydney do the same in the next few years?

Featured Image:

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6 Best Spots in Sydney to explore

Written by Student Life

Need a new place for your next profile pic or running out of photo ideas? Here are five Sydney spots to satisfy your artistic side.

Spice Alley

Recently, this is one of the most popular check-in places and photos of young people living or visiting Sydney!


Spice Alley is a new downtown of a new lifestyle and dining culture on Kensington Street. It is locate in the heart of Sydney CBD, designed by Greencliff. It is filled with delicious and beautiful dishes as well as artistic internal designs. Comprised of interlacing streets inhabited by local modernisers, Chippendale is home to creative businesses, cafes, bars, restaurants and galleries, such as Spice Alley and the Kopi-Tiam, Mekong, KYO-TO, Bar Chinois, Glider KS, KOI Bar Dessert, aMBUSH Gallery, Kensington Contemporary, Spot 81, Galerie pompom, MOP Projects and White Rabbit Gallery. This is a great place welcoming curious visitors, rendezvous with old friends, meeting up with new ones or artists looking for inspiration.

Ash Street

Ash Street Laneway and see a Europe in Sydney. It is one of the most enlighted side streets in Sydney, the little strip of 19th-century buildings is riddled with bars and restaurants. Traveling to Paris and slowly tasting a drink at Ash Street Cellar

Ash St. Cellar (Cre: Merivale)

…or enjoy a classy lunch at Felix Bistro. A casual stroll down this alley will easily turn into a longer stay.

Felix Bistro (Cre: Merivale)

Angel Place

Right around the corner of Ash Street is the attractive Angel Place laneway – an exit from city life and an entrance to Romanesque architecture. The path is a cozy vintage walk with a slice of postmodern street art; all you have to do is look up to see 120 birdcages hanging from the sky, and capture some photos with whatever you have on hand.

Forgetten Songs (Cre: Ted Szukalski Digital Photo Gallery)

Those birdcages are the work of artist Michael Thomas Hill, which used to be an homage to the many species of birds living in the area before urbanization. You can also hear some birdsongs played on nearby speakers and enjoy thoughtful works of art appropriately named “Forgotten Songs.”

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

Photographers who are looking for one of the best spots for a million likes with hashtag #sydney or #travel  need to put this place on their checklist now! Rob Potter generously scored this spot 10/10 as an ideal location for landscape and portrait photography with a “unique and very Australian backdrop”.

Cre: Rob Potter

How to get there? Enjoy a walk from the Sydney Opera House, through Botanic Gardens or by public transport from Circular Quay Station. If you are traveling by personal vehicles, there is meter parking on Mrs. Macquarie’s Road.

Best time for a shot? Rob Potter suggested the best photos taken from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair is sunset when the sun is going down behind the Sydney Opera House. However due to the iconic view of both the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge being so close to each other, this photography location will offer you great photo opportunities all day long.

 The Rocks

The Rocks is an authentic visit place in Sydney. It is one of the premium photography locations for photographers to explore and capture amazing photos of this city.

There are a lot of little cobblestone streets and alleyways in The Rocks. The largest and most frequented is Playfair Street, where The Rocks Markets are held every weekend. However, another one worth visiting is Nurse’s Walk, which is a pathway through Harrington Street and George Street.

Cre: Rob Potter

You can take stunning photos at Dawes Point Park at any time but according to many experienced photographers, the best time to photograph this place is predawn or just after sunset.

Cre: Rob Potter

As you can see from these photos, Dawes Point Park allows you to get up close and personal with the Sydney Harbour Bridge on one side, while another walk away path allows you to photograph across the water and capture the Sydney Opera House.

Farm Cove

This is a beautiful small bay right in the middle of the Botanical Garden. Come over in the early morning and just after sunrise you will have the sun shining straight on the Sydney CBD. Use the walking path as lead-in lines to your main subject, the city.


From Farm Cove, you can take unique photos with the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge right behind.

Besides, Vivid Sydney is happening and those places may be lighted up at night. Are you excited enough? Set up your cameras and phones, be ready to capture Sydney!

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Little Ms. Independent International Student

Written by Student Life

It’s pretty common for teens to wish they were on their own, living the independent life, with no parental units breathing down their necks. We’ve all been through that. I’ve always wanted to be independent — I’ve always dreamt of going to university, living on my own, setting my own curfew, exploring and absorbing culture through my pores. I just never thought that time would come so soon. I’d always prepared myself for the separation from my parents after I graduated. It was the norm. I’d come to terms that graduation marked the beginning of my adult life. But, alas, that is not always true.


It was the summer after my junior year. Australia wasn’t a curve ball my parents threw out of nowhere; it’s been in the works since the beginning of the school year. I was excited. And nervous. Really, really nervous. I was no stranger to uprooting to a strange land; I’ve had to move to Saudi Arabia at 9. Settling into Saudi Arabia, however, is far easier than Australia. You’d think, “Well, you’ve lived in a conservative society all your life, wouldn’t you want to be independent?” I did. But there was a catch.

I had to do it without my parents.dsc_0757

They flew Down Under with me, of course, but they were only around for 1 week. I was only 17. How was I supposed to survive three months and three weeks without my parents?! They don’t teach you this kind of stuff in school. But thankfully, my mamma didn’t raise no fool. I could take care of my basic necessities just fine – I knew how to wash my clothes, change my sheets, wash the dishes, clean my room, the simpler stuff. I just couldn’t handle finances well. But it wasn’t something I couldn’t learn.

“When I first moved to London, I felt very homesick and yearned after the countryside a lot. Because London’s hard. It’s a big place, and it’s lonely. It takes a while to get into it. But once I got into the flow of it and started to grow up, I realized that my home is wherever I am.”

– Toby Kebbell

afiqah5 (1)

Because I am underage, I had to stay in a home-stay. Living in a home-stay helped ease the homesickness – my host will usually have guests and they would treat me, almost, like their own. It made me feel very welcomed, except when they would begin to speak to each other. That always throws me off course. I went from smiling, laughing and trying to make small talk to just staring at a point on the wall or just staring at the TV as they spoke in rapid-fire Greek. 0 – 100 real quick. But I got used to it.

It was a challenge for me to enjoy myself here. There was this one time that a friend of mine pointed out that I was very cheerful and I was “emoting”. It was very interesting of her to say that – I had always thought I was emoting. Unknowingly, I had this solemn, somber, indifferent look on my face if I wasn’t particularly into conversations; probably an RBF but sadder. I was immensely insecure about being miles and miles away from my comfort zones. It was my defense mechanism.

I didn’t want to be one of those small town people who forgot themselves once they moved to the big city, the big leagues. Focused on not losing myself and home, I refused to enjoy what Sydney had to offer. But that always resulted in my sitting in my room, taking long walks down memory lane and getting lost in a whirlwind of emotions. That’s not healthy.

nazihah5Coming back for my second semester here, I’ve resolved to enjoy myself. Sure, I’ve had to grow up and mature pretty quickly, and I’m still a bundle of nerves anxiety. But, I’ve begun to accept that I’m 17 and miles away from home. It can only be a good thing in the long run and it’s the start of something great. The weather will change but it doesn’t mean I can’t get the most out of it.

I’ve got a mission here and that’s to make my parents proud, to make myself proud, and to grow. Like waves in the stormy ocean, responsibility and life broke the shores of my consciousness and washed me awake. Trying to surf the waves when I’ve only been practicing for 3 days is deadly. I will fall and get hurt but I’d hurt myself even more if I didn’t try.

It wasn’t (and still isn’t) easy and I don’t expect it to be. I’ve always got support from my loving parents and my wonderful friends back home and here Down Under. To help myself enjoy myself Down Under, I chronicle my adventures on my blog here and through photos on my gallery.

How long was I going to live under my parents’ wings?

I’ve got my own. Let’s give them a test run.


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Finding the right accommodation 101

Written by Student Life, Tips & Tricks

Accommodation can determine life in Sydney. As international students, individual circumstances factor into the process of choosing the right fit. The research process is tedious and often overwhelming, given the handful of options available. So allow me to provide a guide to finding the perfect home.


Residential Colleges

Designed to cure homesickness and ensure you’ll feel loved, residential colleges are equivalent to the Houses in Harry Potter (but without the moving staircases and talking paintings). Think cafeterias, entertainment lounges, galas, etc! Endless college-held activities guarantee students the time of their lives at the uni. Each college carries a different vibe, ensuring no one becomes a misfit. Best part: strangers become homies for life and loneliness becomes the past.


Student Apartments

These are similar to residential colleges, but are designed for students of a single status or otherwise to live independently. Choices of 2, 3, 4, 6 and even 8 bedroom apartments are offered, with the kitchen, bathroom and living room as the communal area. It is another way to build life-long friendships while living in a supportive community.


Studio Apartments

Like student apartments, studio apartments can be located inside or outside the campus, allowing students to be a part of neighboring suburb communities if they are not fond of university student life. A studio is fully equipped with one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom for one person and one person only (law states so). For international students who prefer to live on their own , studio apartments are the most appropriate decision.


Temporary Accommodation

Thank goodness universities have not forgotten about the international students on exchange or for (emergency) short-term stay. Budget-friendly hotels, hostels and serviced apartments are good for having shelter while scrambling to find a real place to settle in. Vacation rentals are also up for grabs as well as a few campus accommodations that offer housing for that short period of time needed.

Private Accommodation

Most university websites establish a separate site for independents, or “indies”, to post their advertisement specifically tailored for students’ needs e.g. close proximity to campus, easy access to transport and safe environment to live. Indies include landlords looking for tenants, home owners looking for an extra roomie or local families looking for another member to join their family. The crucial part that cannot be overlooked is to physically house-hunt and meet future landlords or roommates before moving in (it is illegal not to so as well).


Accommodation must follow legal housing practices and, more importantly, match its description and picture. Private accommodation requires in-depth knowledge of housing practices to ensure nothing is put against you illegally.


Among the array of options for private accommodation, homestay is not a bad choice if you are lucky enough to be offered a loving household. Living with a family means you have a new support network to keep you going. . The University of Sydney even partners with the Australian Homestay Network (AHN), which is a network that aims to ensure the well-being of students in the welcoming houses of friendly families.


Boarding Houses

Last but not least, a choice more popular in the inner west of Sydney is to live in a boarding home, often run by a church or humanitarian group. Almost like residential colleges except off-campus, boarding houses carry students of diverse backgrounds to engage with each other and make the most of their living in Sydney


One last reminder…

QS Top Universities, Mercer and The Economist all regularly rank Sydney as the top 10 most student friendly cities in the world. But(there’s always a “but”) pricing wise, students are looking at $200+ rent per week without utility bills and meals. As far as roommates or apartment neighbors go, reality could turn into a nightmare. And for students on campus who want to study ? Word of advice: earplugs and coffee will be your new best friend.

At the end of the day, choose an accommodation that you believe best suits your requirements to call a place home.


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International Student Story: Irine Tania

Written by Your Story

“Try to get involve in organization. Don’t be shy, take action to be brave.” – Irine Tania.

Not many people would guess that this shy girl is the president of an Indonesian student association of more than 1000 members in Sydney. Irine Tania is a third-year international student of UTS, doing Bachelor of Finance and Accounting. Arriving in Australia on September 2013, she has just one more semester to go until she receives her final recognition.


While still in Indonesia, a lot of her friends and other youngsters chose Melbourne to study, but Irine decided to study in Australia. This choice is simply because she has an elder brother living and studying in Sydney already, and she saw studying abroad as an opportunity to improve her English skills. However, this long trip has exceeded Irine’s expectations. In a country where there is the mixture of religions and freedom of speech, Irine feels more respected. She loves Sydney, and the multi-cultural environment has also allowed her to grow to be a more open-minded and sociable person.

This change is a huge movement in Irine’s life. Before getting used to the international student life, she was very quiet and was scared to make friends or communicate. Language has always been a common disadvantage for international students. To beat this difficulty, Irine joined The Activity Club in UTS: Insearch in which she met many people and practiced her English skills by communicating with all members.

A calm and soft girl can be a good President – why not?

Since early May, Irine becomes the president of Perhimpunan Pelajar Indonesia Australia (PPIA) – Indonesian Students Association of UTS. PPIA UTS is a non-profit organisation customized mainly for all Indonesian students studying at UTS but is open to all students. Her success as a president includes the steady increase in people joining PPIA UTS. According to Irine, she runs one event per month and at every event there are more than 50 people attending. Just recently, their ‘Help Indonesia Breathe’ campaign, created to help people in Sumatra and Kalimantan from the burning forests disaster, has had a successful end.


Being a president of an association has taught Irine many lessons in having a good presentation or talk to the sponsors. (Photo by Irine Tania)

“Don’t be afraid if you don’t have experience, when you have commitment, you can do it. Everytime you do, try your best!” – Irine Tania

Being a president of an association has taught Irine many lessons in how to manage time and balance work, create an event, have a good presentation, talk to the sponsors as well as defining the committee and organising the team. She has proved to everyone that being soft and calm is another way to lead an organisation.


A campaign named Help Indonesia Breathe has just ended successfully. (Photo by Irine Tania)

One of her regrets so far is that she did not try to do this earlier. So, if there is one thing she could do to make a difference, is to be to be more sociable and join PPIA at the first days she had been to Australia.

Love what you are doing, Finance and Accounting will be easier!

Not only is her time management effective, but the passion towards her major is a reason Irine keeps up with lessons and exams. A good foundation in her hometown and her love of Math helped her get high grades in Finance and Accounting in Diploma of Business at UTS: Insearch. Her marks helped her believe more in herself that she can do Finance and Accounting. She said: “You have to like the subject and be patient with Finance and Accounting. Also, you should try to review every lecture even there is no exam or if it’s easy, and practice as much as you can. You will get a better result.”  Not everyone doing Finance and Accounting likes Math, but definitely everyone can do it if you try hard.

What is the secret tip of a young president?

Irine is a typical busy international student with studying, a part-time job, social works and hanging out with friends. The amount of work you can imagine is super high and very hard to manage to do them well. However, this hardworking international student is really living with it and trying to balance them all.


Irine is a typical busy international student with studying, part-time job, social works, hanging out with friends. (Photo by Irine Tania)

Her routine is to wake up at 6 or 7 o’clock and study until to 9 o’clock in the morning, spend the rest of the day on other tasks and then back to homework at night. Irine also knows that it is important to keep good health is also important, and has started to do yoga. Although it will be hard in the beginning, thinking about long-term effects gives her more motivation.

Will you stay or go back to your country after graduated from Australia?


“A broad social network and communication are important to help develop a business” – Irine thinks. (Photo by Irine Tania)

Irine does not hesitate in saying that she will go back to Indonesia. She has a strong love for her nation and hopes that she can develop it one day. Her current ambition is to create a business and has already begun coordinating with a friend in her hometown. They hope to bring the online store, selling dresses with traditional Indonesian batik patterns, live by March 2016. She cannot wait to build up a brand of Indonesian culture and hopes to see people from other nations wearing her nation’s traditional pattern.

She also shared her tips:

“If you want to make your business last longer, try to make it step by step. Meeting a lot of people may help you promote and innovate the ideas.”

So, if you are also interested in this project, stay tuned for her product next year!

If you could give advice for international students, what would it be?

“Make a lot of friends, as much as you can, not only from your country but with different countries and backgrounds.”

What would you say to inspire international students to get better in the future?

“Try to get involve in the different student organizations. Don’t be shy, take an action to be brave.”


“Don’t be shy, take an action to be brave.” – said Irine (Photo by Irine Tania)

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