They say the best Chinese restaurants are the ones that look dingy and tacky. If this was the case, I was going to one of the best Chinese restaurants in Canberra, complete with plastic flower decorations, weird never to be used napkins (they take them away as soon as you sit down like they are only for decorative purposes) and even with a crazy guy muttering to himself sitting near the entrance.
I had been here previously when it was attempting to be a yum cha place tucked away at the back of Belconnen with dirty carpets, oily food and limited menu, but now the place has had a makeover including new owners (apparently they are the same people who ran the yum cha at the Deakin club), new menu and a new name: Wonder meals.
Fried potato slice with chilli pepper ($12.80). What looks like noodles, tastes like vinegary and crunchy? Apparently fried potato slice. It was truly unlike anything I’ve had before and a preview of what unusual dishes were yet to come.
Leek pie ($6.80 per serve). It was like a leek/shallot/noodle/egg dumpling but I believed it lacked salt and definitely needed soy sauce.
Stir fried shredded meat with garlic stem ($15.80). Perfectly cooked garlic stems with tasty shredded pork. Yum!
Lotus seed puree buns ($6.80/3 pieces). This is one of my favourite bun fillings. When I broke it in two (to get rid of the yolk centre), I noticed that the colour of the filling wasn’t as dark as I’m used to and it didn’t taste very strong, so with the addition of the yolk contamination, I didn’t bother finishing it.
Fried noodles with shredded meat ($10.80). I don’t know if I didn’t like the noodle texture or I was just surprised by the dish as it was not what I expected. The noodles were extremely starchy and instead of being chewy, it gets stuck in your teeth, but despite not being a fan of the texture, I found it oddly addictive.
Steamed bread stuffed with meat ($4.80 per bread). Tasted great but it would have been better with a hint of sriracha. The bread absorbed a lot of the sauce but even then, the juices still drip when you take a bite.
Steamed spare rib with glutinous rice ($25.80). I’ve had lots of glutinous rice but nothing like this before. It was so incredibly sticky.
Pan fried pancake with egg and salted paste ($3.80 per serve). A crispy fried pastry with chili paste folded into the layers.
Menu taken from their website. We really wanted to try their marinated Chinese yam with blueberry jam ($13.80) for its vivid purple colour as well as strange combination of foods, but it was for some reason unavailable which was a shame.
There are three sections to the menu: the unusual mains menu complete with handy pictures; yum cha options and BBQed skewers, which covers a lot of palette preferences.
There weren’t many people during lunch service and I don’t know how busy they are during dinner but I think people should definitely come here to explore a cuisine that is so diverse beyond chow mein, stir fries and curries.
Venue: Wonder Meals
Address: 2 Cohen Street, Belconnen, ACT
Phone: (02) 6162 0074
Opening hours: 10:30AM to 2:30PM, 4:30PM to 10:30PM Monday to Sunday