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An oval dish of gnocchi in a tomato and pork sauce with a garnish of rocket leaves
Photograph: Supplied/Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers

The best comfort food you can get delivered in Sydney

From fried chicken to yum cha, ice cream and pasta – there are many ways to do self-care, but our favourites involve carbs

Elizabeth McDonald
Written by
Elizabeth McDonald
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The words ‘self care’ are thrown around a lot lately and that can mean very different things for different people. For some, it’s an avocado face mask. For others it’s a bubble bath or a yoga session. Whatever floats your boat, we’re not here to judge. One thing that seems to be a universal theme, however, is our emotional connection to food. Food and mood go hand in hand, like chicken and waffles, Oreos and peanut butter, or hot chips and ice cream. Certain meals have the unique ability to transport us to a place of happiness, of comfort – and while a bowl of pasta can’t take all of life’s problems away, it’s not a bad place to start. Sydneysiders could use some love right now, so we’ve done a round up of the city’s most popular comfort foods for when you need a little tea and sympathy.

Looking for ways to take care of yourself at home? Check out our guide to mental wellness here.

Comfort Food

Just like Mama used to make – lasagne is one of those quintessential comfort foods that is good any time of the year. Layers of rich, meaty sauce, creamy béchamel and sheets of pasta make this cuddle in a pan a no-brainer. It can be a bit of a chore to make though, so luckily for you there are plenty of places in Sydney that you can get some of the good stuff. Even better – many of these Italian eateries are doing delivery.

While it’s usually reserved for a dusty Sunday morning adventure, a yum cha feast can be just as restorative from the comfort of your living room. A whole slew of Sydney yum cha palaces have made the pivot to takeaway and are doing yum cha banquets for home. Recreate that buzzing energy that can only come from the mysterious carts hauling around plates of goodness. Steamed har gow, crunchy spring rolls and Peking duck pancakes will give you that salty, sweet sensory hit which is never a bad thing.

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This one is obvious. A big bowl of carbs and sauce, from super rich carbonara from La Favola to a simple and elegant aglio e olio from Osteria Emilia, there’s just something about feeling stuffed full of spaghetti that makes us happy. In fact, it’s science. Your body converts carbohydrates into blood sugar, which helps release serotonin in your brain, which makes you feel good. Who are we to argue with science? Every corner of Sydney has plenty of places to get your pasta fix, so you can get that loved up carb feeling anywhere.

It comes in many forms but the basic principles are the same across all soups. Ingredients are heated, flavour is extracted, broth is slurped. Many of us have early memories of caregivers bringing soup to us when we’re not well, it’s easy to digest, often doesn’t require chewing, and someone has taken the time and care to create a steaming bowl just for you. Whether you’re into fatty, collagen-rich ramen, anise spiked Vietnamese pho, heady spiced laksa, or a classic chicken broth, there’s no denying that a bowl of soup is good for the soul.

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It seems that every corner of the world has their own version of the crunchy bird. Perhaps it’s because chicken is so accessible both in flavour and production, the perfect inoffensively bland vessel to carry a crisp, often heavily seasoned coating. Maybe it’s because we know that throwing anything into hot oil is bound to make it taste good and spark our brains' pleasure centres. Whatever it is, the universal nature of fried chicken is undeniable. If you’re into Southern-style chicken and waffles, go for it. Into a sticky, sweet, spicy Korean version? We’ve got you covered. Japanese karaage is always a winner, or go big (really big) with one of Taiwan’s greatest exports, the Hot Star fried chook.

It’s a trope that Hollywood has leaned on time and time again – the downhearted protagonist pouring their feelings into a pint of Ben and Jerry’s finest, hair a mess, mascara streaked cheeks, before suddenly, miraculously, rising like the phoenix and saving the day. Sydney’s ice cream and gelato game is strong and there are enough flavours to keep you content every day of the year. Throw some hot fudge, a cookie or a flake in there and you'll be on your way to a brighter state of mind.

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