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Snakebean Asian Diner

December 6, 2009

Snakebean’s “Crispy Skinned Chicken – With crunchy green mango salad” $15.50
The photos in this post have been kindly provided by my friend V

Two friends and I visited Snakebean Asian Diner after a fantastic night checking out the College of Fine Arts Annual. I can’t believe it’s been so many years since it was our Annual…! Makes me feel old. Anyway, it’s always great to see what the students at COFA come up with for their graduating show. But walking up and down the hallowed hallways of F-Block makes for hungry Melly.

All three of us were STARVING by the time the Annual finished (at 8pm! So early! More time for drinking at the afterparty I suppose!). But having been students at COFA for 3 years, we knew there wasn’t too much choice in the immediate vicinity besides the usual stalwarts: the trusty Indian Home Diner, and the ever ubiquitous Oxford St kebab shops. With one of the people in our little group gluten and lactose intolerant, that also meant the Pizza place nearby was out. So down towards the party-end of Oxford St we went!

Snakebean Asian Diner is a small, unassuming shopfront in the busy strip of Oxford St. With hunger-fuelled eagle eyes, we kept a sharp lookout for the tiny flag and pop up sign that marked our destination.

I’d heard about Snakebean from Helen Greenwood’s favourable review in the smh. In particular I was super keen to try out the Sago pudding that she raves about:

…the absolute standout is a dessert that I reckon many chefs would walk over hot tongs to try.

It is a sago pudding with purply little monkey bananas and coconut-milk custard. From the tender bubbles of sago to the chocolatey taste of the overripe bananas and the peanut-brittle effect of salt and crushed peanuts, it has such complexity and humour and depth that it is worth the trip alone.


The diner itself is tiny, with colourful plastic stools and help-yourself cutlery. You look at the menu, and order and pay at the counter. It’s no frills, and is perfect for a low fuss meal like tonight. The only problem is picking what to get! The menu covers hawker style asian meals, mostly Thai, but with Vietnamese influences too.

In the end we choose: “Sydney’s Best ‘Roadside Style’ Papaya Salad” $11.50:

Slow Cooked Beef – With carrot, paprika and star anise” $14.75:

“Crispy Skinned Chicken – With crunchy green mango salad” $15.50:

We are all famished. And it all looks amazing! The next 15 mins are silent, except for crunching.

It’s a humid night, and the salads are refreshingly crunchy – with lots of fish sauce and lemon juice to balance the sweetness. The crispy chicken is great too, and the slow cooked beef brings a nice amount of heat.

Unfortunately by the time we’re done eating – the kitchen has closed, and there’s no time to get dessert! The owner (we think) is friendly, but tells us that they usually close the diner to new customers at 9pm on a Tuesday night. We’d just scraped in.

Ah well. It’s definitely a good excuse to go back!

Snakebean Asian Diner
95 Oxford St
NSW 2010

Ph: (02) 9380 8808

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