Between our sugar rush from Dessert Castle and having already eaten at two eateries that night, we decided to walk to our next venue just down the street in the Uni lodge precinct. We were happily conversing and braving the bitter winds when I spotted a food van across the road. Master Zhong brought much delight to me and my Asian friend who loves street food. TimmyC summed it up perfectly on his FaceBook:
Dinner at Monster $150
Dessert at Dessert Castle $50
The look on the girls’ faces when they discover the Master Zhong’s cheap takeaway food caravan….. priceless.
My friend Anita looking very happy that we found this food van.It is a simple set up, a trailer all fitted out with a fridge, noodle cooking station, pre-made sauces and congee as well as a deep fryer. It is really aimed at the International students living on campus with having already multiple Asian restaurants in the area as well as a supermarket, Chatime and Meet fresh but we were very happy to have bumped into them while we were in the area. The owner spoke Cantonese and Mandarin (and one would presume some English) and was happy to find such excited girls to come sample his food. He told us that he usually has a different flavoured congee every night (perfect for this weather) but tonight he had burnt it as he looked away for a second so it was unfortunately not on the menu tonight. The menu ranges from hot dogs, sandwiches and chips to laksa, red bean cake and beef brisket noodles.
Only two men are running the ‘Master Zhong’ food van which is probably a good thing considering how small the interior is.What was supposed to be a light supper or snack turned into a menu sample expedition! We ended up ordering fish balls in curry sauce, beef balls in curry sauce, chicken wings, dough sticks and a bowl of beef brisket noodles.
The owner let us know that the fish balls and beef balls were hand-made and not the frozen machine made ones that you would usually find at the supermarket. The sticks came with 5 balls for $4.00 each, once cooked they are dipped in a curry sauce and given to us in a paper bag. I found the whole thing to be rather quite salty so I threw them in the noodle soup to wash off some of that excess salt. The dough stick ($2.50) was heaven in a stick.
Left to right: beef, fish and dough stick.A dough stick straight from the fryer is seriously the best. Hot, crispy, chewy and comforting.Beef brisket noodles ($8.00). I was surprised to find that the noodles weren’t egg noodles which is usually how it is served, the soup and noodles were cooked nicely but I found the brisket to be inconsistent as some pieces were very soft and tender while others were a bit more chewy and tight. Our experience with the noodles would have probably been better if we weren’t eating it outside while the wind was blowing our hair across our faces and we could still feel our nose.
Quite the crowd building up around Master Zhong, indeed he is very popular with the local ANU students.Deep fried chicken wings ($3.00 each). This should be no surprise to long-term readers that I ordered this, it was nothing particularly special but when you’re standing out in the freezing cold, a hot chicken wing sure does hit the spot.Our whole bag of food was less than $25. I am excited to try his congee next time and then buy a whole bunch of dough sticks to eat with it.
Is this a dodgy looking food van? Yes, but it is exactly what I’ve been waiting for to come to Canberra. While the hipster places are building a mini Melbourne with exorbitant prices, I’m looking for a little slice of Hong Kong with their street foods, cheap(er) prices and opening hours that I could get used to!
Venue: Master Zhong
Address: It is a trailer parked across the lane from Spicy Ginger Cuisine (approximately 2/25 Childers St, Canberra ACT 2601)
Wechat ID: Danny 1966168 (I don’t know what this is, it must be a young person thing)
Opening hours: 9:30pm – 1:30am Closed Sundays (and closed also Mondays during uni holidays)