Ryo’s noodles

I experience FOMO a LOT, especially when my cousin and sister are surrounded by ramen restaurants and I am not. So when I was last in Sydney, I headed straight to Ryo’s noodles where both of them had been recently.

We arrived around 1:10pm on a Sunday to be greeted by a short line, I started to panic as they shut at 2pm but the line only took 20 minutes to get through. img_9370Maybe I’ll bring someone who can read Japanese with me next time, I hope this is just the menu in Japanese and that I’m not missing out on something awesome.#1 Tonkotsu ramen in salt flavoured soup with roast pork, shallots and sesame seeds ($13.00). I don’t eat the egg and nori so I wanted the basic ramen; it was easy to order for our table, ‘we will have three number ones please’. In a matter of minutes our order arrived. The broth was magical, the noodles were perfect and so was the tender pork. I really enjoyed the broth because it wasn’t really fatty and thick.Gotta love a broth where you can’t see the bottom of the spoon.Home-made pork bun ($4.50). I couldn’t help but try one of their home-made buns, the bun came out fresh and hot with a soft fluffy texture. The pork filling surprised me because it had a pulled pork texture.  Excuse the mangled mess, I ripped it in half to share with my Mumsy.This place is TINY. I can see why there is a wait, the food is delicious but there also not a lot of space to put many tables and chairs.We were in and out in 22 minutes. We weren’t pressured to leave but it was a tight squeeze in the restaurant with people waiting to be seated right next to us. We came for delicious rich tonkotsu ramen and that’s what we got, this is not a place to sit down and catch up.

There is also another Ryo’s noodles located in Bondi Junction.

Venue: Ryo’s Noodles

Address: 125 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 9955 0225

Ryo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lolo and Lola

There are not many reasons why I would get up early on the weekend but Lolo and Lola‘s opening day is a pretty good one. I’ve been waiting for months for their addition into the shipping container community at the Westside village but it wasn’t just the excitement of them finally opening that got me out of bed, it was also because they are notorious of running out of food due their popular demand. So I found it fitting that we went earlier rather than later.Michelle from HerCanberra met me at Westside 1 hour after Lolo and Lola’s grand opening and they were already being swamped by keen customers. We were quick to order and because we didn’t know what to get, we decided to get one of everything just to be sure that we didn’t miss out. And our early morning start paid off because we didn’t miss out and we happen to order the last box of ensaymada #sorrynotsorry Since we were invited to their opening, they were nice enough to give our order complimentary.

This is the view that you would continue to see for the rest of the day. The line to Lolo and Lola never really stops.Pancite Palabok rice noodle with prawns, tofu, smoked fish and chicharon in a garlic-annatto sauce ($10.00). I was surprised about the heavy seafood flavour in this dish, it turns out that the sauce/thick soup’s stock is made from prawn heads boiled away for 8 hours. This dish will not be for everyone because of its strong seafood flavours; I didn’t mind it but I much preferred the rice.Pork and mushroom adobo with garlic rice and petite atchara salad ($12.00). I really enjoyed this dish; the pork was tender and the sauce went really well with the rice. I’ve never eaten a non-chicken wing adobo but this reminded me of delicious tamarind pork belly that my Mum makes. I like the addition of the salad, because it breaks up the heavy rice/pork combination. My handy tip: try to avoid crunching on the peppercorns.“Filo” style chicken BBQ with garlic rice and petite atchara salad ($12.00). Stop what you’re doing and eat this immediately if not sooner. I was surprised that I found this my favourite dish as I did have my heart set on adobo. The chicken is so succulent and full of flavour, it made me make my ‘eyes widen with a big grin’ face because it was so tasty yet unexpected.Classic ice scramble Filopino streetside treat made with creamy blended ice topped with powdered milk and chocolate sauce ($6.00). I’d be the first to admit that this sounds like a crazy combination, but that was why I was here, to experience another culture through their food. As soon as I took my first spoonful I knew exactly what everything reminded me of. The pink thick creamy blended ice tasted like musk sticks, the texture of the powdered milk reminded me of undissolved blobs of milo in milk and even though I don’t like musk sticks, I was strangely addicted to the texture of the powdered milk with blended ice. Yes, definitely hard and weird to explain without you trying it, so if you’re game, definitely order it.Ube cake slice ($7.00). This sold out just before midday. I ate mouthfuls of cake between eating our brunch, which would have put many people off but I liked having a bite of sweetness between my mouthfuls of garlic rice. It was like a soft sponge cake with delicious butter cream frosting.Classic ensaymada ($20.00 per box of 9 or $3.00 a piece). This sold out by 10:30am which is ridiculous considering Lolo and Lola only opened their doors at 9:00am. The combination sounds strange but it works as a ‘sweet’. Think of a sweet bun (like Bread Top type of bread) that has been proofed for 8-12 hours, which then turns into a fluffy bread texture, topped with butter cream and cheese (yes you read that right). Michelle gave me a tip to warm them up a little before consuming and I am loving it.I’m a huge fan of cross section photos and this is what the ensaymada looks like on the inside.The menu may change daily so I’m not sure what they will serve today but their ‘cake’ will be classic sans rival. If you see mango sans rival on the sign, msg me and I will drop what I’m doing and head straight there.It was very popular opening morning and so there was a small wait after ordering to get the food, worth it though.

Venue: Lolo and Lola

Address: Westside Acton Park, 3 Barrine Drive, Acton, ACT 2601

Opening hours: for now are:

Miss Van’s Street Food – Westside

We weren’t exactly starving but I was still keen on dragging my friends to Westside Acton Park and trying out Miss Van’s Street food which I had been waiting for weeks to open. I had been stalking their menu in anticipation of their opening and found it was a small but had precise flavours of Vietnam. I was hoping since that the menu is so refined that all the dishes that they prepare would be good.

Have you been to Westside Acton park yet?What would you choose from their menu?Beef Noodle Soup | Pho Our pho stock is cooked for a minimum of 24 hours following a closely guarded family recipe! We use only fresh noodles. All pho bowls are served with lime, thai basil, beanshoots, coriander and shallot, add your own sriracha, Miss Van’s chilli and garlic oil, fresh chilli and hoi sin. 

Rare beef noodle soup (pho tai) rare sliced marinated flank steak ($11.00). I had a spoonful of my friend’s soup and the broth was not oily or sweet but full off flavour with a slight chilli kick. I thought it was unusual that the beef wasn’t the thinly sliced stuff you get from an Asian grocer but rather more hand cut with additional beef chunks, despite the thicker cuts the beef was really tender. I probably would have ordered this if I didn’t have a big breakfast out and going straight to an afternoon tea, it would have also been a little harder to eat a noodle soup on low hipster seats.Check out the generous portions of beef!Vietnamese sandwich | Banh Mi our sandwich rolls are made on a signature Viet/French baguette, all banh mi served with whole egg ago, lightly pickled carrot, radish, coriander, soy sauce and chilli sauce. 

Chicken roll (banh mi ga) shredded chicken, confit shallot, house made pate ($7.00). I really liked the bread roll that they used, it had a crunchy exterior with a nice soft interior. Mmmm… My friend gave me all his coriander (yum!) so my view on this banh mi is a little biased. I’m not one for pate but I had it the way it was intended and it was really nice as it gave it an extra kick of salty goodness. When  I was ordering, they asked me if I wanted their homemade chilli that they said was hot, I asked for a little and it gave it a nice extra level of flavour. There was a tiny bit of gristle on the chicken but it didn’t ruin the bun as a whole.My friends ordered the pork roll.Soya bean milk homemade, infused with pandan leaf, lightly sweetened with palm sugar ($5.00). A subtle sweet drink with a hint of pandan after taste.Specials mini pork spring rolls ($5.00). Nice and hot crunchy spring rolls that are easy to share, too bad the specials menu are constantly being changed. 

I enjoyed the food that we shared from Miss Van’s, although the seating is a little harder to eat noodle soup. The food didn’t take that long to come and there are plenty of condiments for those who like their food nice and spicy.

Venue: Miss Van’s Street Food

Address: Westside Acton Park, Barrine Drive, Acton 2601

Opening times during Winter:

Wednesday – Saturday 12pm – late
Sunday 10am – 6pm

 

Miss Van's on Urbanspoon

 

Pho hub

I convinced a close friend of mine to move our weekly lunch to a new location, not only was I hazy on the details like where it was exactly, but I had no idea where the best place to park was either.

Pho hub is a new a Vietnamese restaurant in the Belconnen area located across the mall on Benjamin Way near Remedy (by Lonsdale St Roasters). We both ended up parking in the Westfield mall and so did everyone else it seemed because it was nearly impossible to get a park Friday lunch time. Despite being very busy, we were seated straight away and given menus.Fresh rice paper rolls with duck goi cuon vit served with hoisin sauce (x2 $7.00). My friend was keen to order the lemongrass chicken in a fresh paper roll but they had accidentally given us the duck version but we were too hungry to care. We both found it very underwhelming as it was packed with noodles and lettuce but only had tiny torn scraps of mint, I expected much more herbs than that. I don’t think these were worth ordering.Hello, herbs? Anyone home?Garlic chicken wings canh ga chien toi (x4 $6.00). I really really like chicken wings and so I ordered the these; they sounded really delicious in theory but what we ended up getting was really just pan-fried chicken wings which might have had a sprinkle of garlic powder (?). The accompanying soy sauce was pretty sweet and despite all the little chunks of garlic in the sauce, it didn’t taste very garlicky but it did make the chicken wing taste better than without it. I still prefer the pan friend chicken wings at Tu do.Beef rice noodle soup (pho tai) sliced rare beef with rice noodle soup ($12.50 regular). One of us had to order the pho when the restaurant is called Pho hub! My friend ended up ordering this when I saw pork chops on the menu, I only tasted a spoonful of my friends pho and found the broth was very peppery and oily; not the best broth I’ve had at a restaurant (once you’ve tasted homemade you really cant’ go back) but the serve was a decent size.

Grilled pork chop with tomato rice (approx $12.50). I had high hopes for their pork chops being a Vietnamese restaurant. The pork chop itself, even in the thicker cut areas was very tender and moist although but not much flavour. The rice was okay, it was had a subtle tomato flavour that I doused in the fish sauce but I didn’t eat the cucumbers and tomatoes as they appeared to be cut a while ago and had a dry dehydrated look to them. I was a bit puzzled by the pickled vegetables but they were addictive despite being chilli hot.

My favourite pork chop it still from Can Tho (Michelle you must go!).     It was exciting to eat somewhere new and different and while the busy patronage gave us high hopes, we won’t be rushing back to Pho hub again. We are still in search of a decent authentic Vietnamese restaurant in Canberra.

 

Venue: Pho Hub

Address: 39 Benjamin Way, Belconnen ACT 2617

Phone02 6251 0367

Opening hours: Lunch 10am – 3pm daily

Dinner Sunday – Wednesday 5pm – 10pm

Thursday – Saturday 5pm – 10:30pm

Pho Hub on Urbanspoon

Shanghai Dumpling King

I was excited when Shanghai Dumpling King was setting up shop because that meant there was another place south side to eat dumplings until I learnt that they are a sister restaurant of Shanghai Dumpling Cafe in Civic, but an opportunity arose where I was there more for the company rather than the food so fellow foodie Food Porn Journal and I went together.

It was lucky that we had similar tastes so ordering wasn’t an issue; we wanted to try the xiao long bao, pan fried dumplings and some noodles, and that is exactly what we got! Oh and we also squeezed in a dessert (or two).

Steamed mini pork buns also known as Xiao Long Bao, a specialty from Shanghai. Buns are filled with broth so be careful when eating it (8 pieces $11.50). I was pleasantly surprised that the wrapper didn’t break as I picked it up gently and placed it on my spoon. Each dumpling did have a ‘soup’ inside as promised and although it wasn’t terrible; the wrapper was too thick and threw out all the proportions. Not the worst that I’ve had (the bad ones bubble out a thick brown liquid, have not much of a soup inside and the wrappers break easily) but it wasn’t particularly good either.IMG_0948[1]I could see that the wrapper was too thick when they put down the bamboo steamer but I was still willing to give them a go.IMG_0949[1]Seafood pan fried dumplings (15 pieces $13.00). The filling reminded me of a fish paste which I didn’t mind so much (Asian taste buds!) and each of them had a crispy side.IMG_0954[1]Shanghai fried noodles traditional Shanghai style fried noodles stir fried with pak choy and sliced chicken in a soya sauce flavour ($12.50). I love a good noodle and this was by far the best dish of the night. The chicken was moist, the pak choy was fresh and everything was coated in a soy sauce without being overly salty.IMG_0952[1]Dessert~

Pancake filled with red bean paste ($9.50). I was really surprised to see this on the menu as it is not very common (you can also get them at Dumpling Inn). I thought the crispy outer layer in addition with the red bean filling made the pancake overall very dry. I’m used to a more deep fried and oily pancake.IMG_0955[1]A cross section of the red bean pancake. It might appear to be a thin filling but you don’t need that much red bean for the taste.IMG_0956[1]We were deep in conversation so I don’t remember what the wait time was like but it wasn’t particularly long. We didn’t have any waitressing issues or long waiting times like a lot of people seem to be experiencing, but we did go on a Monday night which meant it wasn’t too busy. I wouldn’t go out of my way to say that this place is a ‘dumpling king’ but I would come back and order noodles and maybe try their other main dishes.

See other blogger reviews from Mouthless Mutters and Food Porn Journal.

Venue: Shanghai Dumpling King

Address: 1/33 Gartside Street, Wanniassa, ACT

Phone: (02) 62313456
Shanghai Dumpling King on Urbanspoon

 

Enlighten Festival – Night Noodle Markets re-run

With only two nights of the Enlighten festival left and three more nights of the Night Noodle markets, if you haven’t been there yet I’d suggest you get there soon. Gates open at 5pm weeknights and 4pm weekends for the Night Noodle Markets and while everyone is munching on food, we are happily reminded about Enlighten when projections turn on promptly at 8pm. After my first run through with the Night Noodle Markets, I was back to deal with business as it was my last chance to go before they all packed up and left for the year.

Roti road was my first stop as I was disappointed on missing out the first time around. The line was relatively short although this might have been because I compared it to the super long long long line next door for N2 gelato. There are two lines for Roti Road though (a common motif at these markets I believe), one for ordering and paying and one for collection. I was trying to out smart the system by getting TimmyC to line up in the pick up line first but with sequential ticketing system it didn’t matter, we ended up waiting to the side until our number was called.

I was disappointed to find no roti at Roti Road but proceeded to buy all their food menu items anyway. Malaysian BBQ chicken wings ($10.00 for three) and Ayam Percik (spicy BBQ chicken $10.00 for two). I really liked both and although the chicken wings are on the smaller side they have a beautiful sticky glaze to them. I really liked their chicken skewers, it stands out from the rest of the other stalls as they have a thick not too hot sauce on them that we kept re-dipping our chicken into as the sauce dripped into the tray.IMG_0459

IMG_0462From there we divided and conquered. I bee lined straight for my favourite Hoy Pinoy BBQed skewers as everyone proceeded to meet me in the line with lots of plates of food. Needless to say, Hoy Pinoy had one of the longest lines but for good reason and thankfully everyone agreed when I finally met them at the picnic area with a bouquet of pork skewers with a banana ketchup glaze (2 for $10.00 they ran out of chicken ones) .IMG_0480The line was long, but my stomach knew what it wanted: Hoy Pinoy skewers!IMG_0477Hoy Pinoy workers cooking away as we wait patiently in line.IMG_0479TimmyC came back with a plate of mini pancakes, they didn’t have ice-cream but the whipped cream and maple syrup did just fine. They are bigger and had more of a crispyness compared to the Dutch mini pancakes that you would find at the multicultural festival. He said that the line was relatively short and they were worth going to. I think I got two out of the 12 pancakes on the plate, they went fast.IMG_0466My other friends had headed for SpanThai and came back with:

Chicken and chorizo paella ($15.00). To me this tasted like yellowed coloured rice until I had a bite with chicken. IMG_0470Vegetarian pad see ew. This didn’t look like much but it tasted nicer than it looked.IMG_0472Mango with sticky rice ($13.00). I really liked this and not many people would be used to sticky rice but I liked the coconut flavours they had put in the rice and the mango tasted sweet and fresh. The sticky rice was a bit glutinous to break apart with just a plastic spork.IMG_0471The lines were waaaay too long for me to go back to N2 gelato so we all went to Braddon for Frugii.IMG_0488

I really also wanted to try let’s do yum cha but I was told that everything tasted like frozen store bought stuff.
I hope the lines aren’t too bad when you go and you get to try what you want to eat. After the success of this year’s Night Noodle Markets, maybe it will be bigger next year?

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Enlighten Festival – Night Noodle Markets

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the Night Noodle Markets before the hoards of people came in at 5:30pm on the dot last night. The grounds were eerily still as everyone was preparing food inside the stalls but the peace and quiet did not last as waves of people continued to flock the area until they ran out of food/shut for the night (just after 10pm).

The highlights for me (although I do have a lot of places I want to go back and try) were:

Morks boat noodles – As an Asian I find so much comfort in noodle soups, although both ‘soupy’ and ‘dry’ were delicious and there is so much flavour in the beef brisket. I love beef balls and they are paired it with a really good noodle that keeps its integrity and doesn’t get too soft.

Hoy Pinoy – the skewers just had so much charcoal smokey flavour topped with a sticky glaze, I started to develop a glaze moustache towards the end.

N2 gelato – I really liked both flavours; ‘ferrero revealnutella gelato with crushed hazelnuts, a crunchy rice bubble choc top and a warm chocolate ganache syringe and ‘brokeback momentvanilla gelato with layers of honeycomb bites, a honeycomb choc top and a warm caramel syringe (both $8.00 each). My suggestion is, after waiting so long in the line, you may as order both and enjoy everything they have to offer.

Daniel San – I love the Japanese style of flavour they have to these skewers, I am a huge chicken yakitori fan all the way. Plus I love all their witty names!

So hopefully we have shown that Canberra’s love of food is strong and that we have proved this to our interstate vendors to take Canberra seriously as a foodie area and encourage them to come back next year, maybe even have this market expand and grow for years to come.

p.s. The National Portrait Gallery has my favourite light projections this year.

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Use your noodle!

I have always been disappointed with the food choices when the beautiful Enlighten festival comes to Canberra. It always reminds me of the over priced, mediocre food that you would find at Floriade, but one event at a time.

This year, the Night Noodle Markets presented by Citi will coincide with the Enlighten Festival, bringing with it a whole lot of yummy food from interstate as well as some Canberra locals including Morks and Thirst Thai. I have finally found the list of vendors who will have a stall at Canberra’s first Night Noodle Market.

You’re welcome 😉

Restaurants at Enlighten Night Noodle Markets

 

Business Name

Cuisine Style

Spanthai Thai
Zagyoza Japanese
Teppanyaki Noodles Japanese
Shallot Thai Thai
Bao Stop Bao
Let’s Do Yum Cha Dumplings
Let’s Do Yum Cha – Trailer Dumplings
Hoy Pinoy Filipino
Daniel San Japanese
Thainabox – Food Truck Thai
Roti Road Malaysian
Thirst Thai Thai
N2 Extreme Gelato Liquid Nitrogen Gelato
Mini Pancakes Dessert
Morks Thai
Song Laos Cuisine South-east Asian cuisine
Kiyamachi Tei Okonomiyaki

 

 

Get excited Canberra!

Venue: Enlighten Night Noodle Markets

Address: Reconciliation Place, Canberra

Opening times: February 27 to March 8

Mon – Wed 5pm-9pm

Thurs – Fri 5pm-10pm

Sat 4pm-10pm

Sun 4pm-9pm

Enlighten Night Noodle Markets is heading to Canberra

I shared this to my FaceBook page, but for those who missed out on the news:

Enlighten Night Noodle Markets is heading to Canberra

Save the date now for the much anticipated Enlighten Night Noodle Markets, launching in the ACT from February 27 – March 8, 2015. Expect an exciting array of Asian-inspired dishes, themed bars, music and heaps of atmosphere, all amid the spectacle of lights that is Enlighten. Restaurants interested in participating can register here.

Joe’s Thai Food

I’ve started to develop an addiction to Joe’s Thai food, I’m going to make a bold statement and say they have one of the best stir fried noodles in Canberra. I had snuck in a tasty takeaway previously, but this blog post is about when I went to dine there with some friends and family.

Joe’s Thai Food is a wonderful addition to the Wanniassa shops.20140712-195306-71586341.jpgA fully booked out restaurant is just another night at Joe’s Thai and they do plenty of takeaways too.20140712-195309-71589180.jpgI love the origami lotus flower napkins they fold for every plate.20140712-200235-72155308.jpg Entree~

Tom Yum Goong traditional Thai hot and sour soup with prawns ($8.00). Each of us who tasted the soup all had different sharp initial tastes: sweet, sour or salty. I think the flavours of the soup are too strong but the prawns were really nice and big.20140712-195310-71590640.jpg Tod Mun Pla Thai fish cakes (4 per serve $7.00). I didn’t get to taste one but everyone who did really enjoyed these.20140712-195429-71669729.jpg Peek Gai Tod Thai style marinated fried chicken wings ($6.00). I’ve never seen any restaurant make much of an effort to coat their chicken wings (batter doesn’t count) but here they have coated it in a lovely curry powder and lemon grass *licks lips*.20140712-195431-71671326.jpg Spring rolls vegetarian (4 per serve $6.00).20140712-195428-71668340.jpgMains~

Panang curry traditional Thai thick and rich curry with duck ($18.00). I really enjoyed this curry, it had a bit of a bite to it and the curry itself came with a very generous serve of vegetables and it wasn’t just some sauce and a little bit of protein.20140712-195525-71725795.jpgPad Med Ma Muang Hin Ma Paan cashew nut stir-fry with chicken ($14.00). We ordered this so there was more options for people who didn’t like chili. TimmyC really enjoyed this dish.20140712-195528-71728773.jpgPad Khi Mao the drunken noodle stir-fry with beef ($13.50). Hot stir-fried noodles is my weakness and there was a nice bit of spiciness to the flavour. I could have greedily eaten this all to myself.20140712-200134-72094976.jpgPad Khing ginger and shallot stir-fry with seafood ($16.00). This dish wasn’t as exciting as the others and the mixture of seafood wasn’t particularly appetizing, although the calamari was stupidly soft and tender. I did enjoy the flavours of ginger and shallots, I think this would have been better if it was served with chicken.20140712-200136-72096460.jpgChef’s Special~

Stuffed eggplant with chicken mince and seafood ($18.00). Everyone really enjoyed this dish. The eggplant was cooked well although you couldn’t distinguish the flavours of what it was stuffed with and it was all drizzled in a lovely savoury sauce.20140712-195524-71724393.jpgThai crispy snapper with special topping with mango salad ($32.00). My friend rang ahead and made sure this was available that night. It is highly recommended that you order this if there is more than two people as the serving is HUUGE. The fish fillets are removed, battered and fried before being placed back on the fish frame and topped with a green mango salad that is slightly (chili) hot. I would also love to try this with ginger and shallots.20140712-200139-72099115.jpgA close up of the beautiful shredded topping.20140712-200137-72097800.jpgDessert~ I really wanted to try a more Asian dessert but they ran out of the green tea cupcake and that is what I really wanted to try.

Plain ice-cream a generous scoop of vanilla ice-cream with caramel topping ($5.00). It really was a  generous serving even though you can’t really tell in the photo, but there was a LOT of ice-cream.20140712-200232-72152663.jpgThey also gave us complimentary oranges.20140712-200231-72151217.jpgCrispy banana fritters served with ice-cream with a choice of topping ($8.00). The fritter was nice and crispy. I shared my dessert and even between us, we still couldn’t finish the large amount of ice-cream that was served with it. Nothing special about this dessert but it was made really well.20140712-200233-72153994.jpgThe service was very friendly although they did need some prompting for more water or tea. Joe himself came out to say hello, he was also very friendly and was happy to share his secret to delicious chicken wings.

I really enjoyed the food here and the menu items seem genuinely authentic. It’s nice to have a decent Thai restaurant on the South side!

 

Venue: Joe’s Thai Food

Address: Wanniassa Shopping Centre, Shop 20 Sangster Pl Wanniassa, ACT 

Phone: 02 6231 9100

Joe's Thai Food on Urbanspoon

 

 

CBD Dumpling House dinner

Taking international guests around for a very disorganized dinner is never easy especially on a Friday night but when they mentioned they wanted dumplings with lots of variety, I knew exactly where to take them.

CBD dumpling house has been open for three weeks now, but I haven’t rushed out and try it as their menu is almost exactly the same as their sister restaurant Dickson dumpling house (see my ‘must have’ list here).20140215-095406.jpgWhen we went in around 9pm on a Friday night, it didn’t take long to get a table for 6 without a booking. Inside was bustling with patrons, busy kitchen hands and servers whizzing by with orders.20140215-095428.jpg

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20140215-095448.jpgWithout taking any chances, I ordered majority of things from my ‘must have’ list with only two new dishes that I haven’t tried before. The dishes come out exceptionally fast which we as why I was hesitant to order until all 6 of us had arrived. Food quickly filled our table and before I could put my camera down, plates were shuffled around to accommodate the next dish. It was very squishy and we had to conglomerate plates fast to allow reasonable space for our plate, bowl and glass.

Entree~

San choy bao (4 per serve $13.80). The duck san choy bao was very good coming out promptly in fresh lettuce cups and the filling wasn’t oily either. I love the crunch in these!20140215-095303.jpgPan fried dumplings pork and beef (12 pieces $10.80). In my opinion, dumplings are always better pan-fried (unless it’s a xiao long bao). There wasn’t too much taste difference between the pork and the beef, they were pan-fried crispy although some where borderline burnt. Make sure you grab the right sauce as one is Chinese vinegar and the other soy sauce (very different!). They are bite size pieces which was always my only ever gripe about these dumplings.

Pan fried pork dumplings.20140215-095356.jpgPan fried beef dumplings.20140215-095332.jpgMains~

Yu Xiang eggplant with pork mince hot pot ($13.80). Eggplant was oily which was expected and it was retained its heat long after the bubbles subsided. There wasn’t much flavour in the way of pork mince and chilli and I thought it was a bit sub par in comparison to the recent eggplant hot pots I’ve had at the Emperor Court Chinese Restaurant in Yarralumla and Tak Kee in Dickson .20140215-095341.jpgChilli basil prawns ($19.80). The prawns had poor timing as it was the first dishes to come out. By the time we did the food table shuffle each and every time a new dish arrived then eat the san choy bao, this dish was cold.  It was a little chilli but nothing overwhelming and even though it didn’t lack flavour, overall it wasn’t a great dish and definitely not worth the money.20140215-095321.jpgChar kwai teow ($13.80). They weren’t too stingy with the Chinese sausage and all ingredients were cooked perfectly.20140215-095311.jpgBeef fried rice noodle ($13.80). I didn’t expect it to have any chilli in this dish it but it apparently did and I unknowing gave it to my friend who was only slowly introducing chilli into his diet. His lips tingled and became a bit numb but he said it wasn’t too bad. This was a bit oilier than the char kway teow but I thought both were very good.20140215-095349.jpgGeorge Costanza review. Knowing that the restaurant isn’t really inside the mall, I was curious to see the state of their bathrooms. The restaurant has their own bathrooms which were renovated rather nicely with beautiful basins. The only confronting thing was they didn’t have a sanitary bin but rather a bin with no flap cover. :/

The CBD dumpling house is nice quick place to get noodles and dumplings especially when you’re in a rush/very hungry and depending on what you order, the meal can be quite affordable. I didn’t have any trouble with getting attention from the wait staff to get more water/more bowls/placing my order but that may be because I’m loud and persistent, I know my friends went the previous night and they said the service was terrible.

I’m still working on expanding my ‘must have’ list but neither if the two new dishes (eggplant and prawns) I tried will be making a reappearance.

Venue: CBD Dumpling House

Address: Shop FG 13C Canberra Centre, just up from PappaRich on the outside away from Koko Black

Phone: (02) 6262 8855 or (02) 6262 8866

CBD Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

 

** 29th March 2014**

I came here on last night and tried their ‘salt and pepper pork ribs’ which is a common dish but it was awfully salty and had a weird coating. I won’t be ordering that again.

:/

Oriental kitchen

Long before I was a food blogger, I was a uni student who liked to eat at one Chinese restaurant in the city and was always served by a guy who looked like Monkey Magic, we always ordered the same thing, I would always eat too much rice and the meal would be perfect. I was really sadden when Oriental Kitchen closed up, or so I thought it was. During my quest to find fish and chips in Charnwood, I was delighted to come across Oriental Kitchen again in its new location (well new to me) and I vowed to come again ASAP to see if anything other than the location had changed.

As we sat there and waited for our meal, countless people came in and our collecting their take aways, this place was really popular with the locals (I assumed they were locals and not crazy like us eating at the other side of town).

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Short soup. I found this bowl completely impractical, even when the waitress was sitting it down she was finding it hard not to spill the short soup. The short soup was nice enough, not overly salty and a decent amount of dumplings inside. 

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Spring rolls. Nothing particularly special about these spring rolls although they were served piping hot.

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‘Surf and turf’ hot pot with black pepper fillet steak, snow peas and prawns. This was no longer on the menu but the waitress said that they could replicate it, after all, this is what we came for. As soon as it came out on the sizzling hot plate, I knew it wasn’t going to be the same. The beef was tender but it wasn’t in cubes (yes shape makes a big difference) and the sauce was heavily doused with black pepper.

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Chicken chow mein. This is my measuring stuck for a Chinese restaurant, my pad Thai for Thai and butter chicken for Indian equivalent. I could tell right away by looking at the noodles that this wasn’t the type of noodle that I liked. The chicken pieces were nice and tender but overall, even with the abundant amount of greens (it was 85%+ worth of greens), it was too salty.

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Overall the service was friendly, the food came out fast and cheap but it wasn’t what I remembered the food to be like, if it was, I would travel a lot more frequently to Charnwood. It is just a typical local Australian Chinese restaurant.

Venue: Oriental Kitchen

Address: Shop 2 / Charnwood Shopping Centre, Charnwood Pl, Charnwood, ACT, 2615

Phone: (02) 62588184

Opening hours:

closed Monday and Sunday lunch

Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 2:30pm

open for dinner 5 – 10pm 7 days

Oriental Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Mekong River re-run

I wanted to come back here and try more of Mekong River‘s noodles just to make sure the first time wasn’t a fluke and to test whether their noodle soups were as good as the stir fried noodles.

Pho ($10.00 lunch special). I am a big fan of pho noodles but this one was one of the most disappointing ones I have tried. The broth was just brown coloured water, there weren’t enough herbs and the meat was way too thick to be served with pho noodles.

Lard Nah  with chicken ($10.00 lunch special). With lots of delicious gravy, you can’t go wrong.

Laksa with roast pork ($10.00 lunch special). Seriously, why are people eating next door when the stir fried noodles and the laksas are so much better here. All the tofu was a sponge to all the delicious flavoursome soup and it had a bit of a chili kick to it.

Pad Kee Mao ($10.00 lunch special). I couldn’t not order this again, served hot and tasty with just hints of chilli. One of my favourite noodles from this restaurant.

So it wasn’t a fluke, the stir fried noodles were just as amazing as before but now we can add laksas to the ‘to eat’ list and stay away from their pho.

Mekong River – Mmmm noodles, get in my belly

I had eaten at Mekong River before but it wasn’t particularly memorable and I just never got around to blogging about it (story of my life at the moment). Unknowingly, it is now under new management and chef but everything looks exactly the same.

My friend and sat down for a quick lunch, we had craving for noodles!
Luckily for us, all their lunch specials were mostly noodles and even though there was just the two of us, we ordered three dishes as we were keen to try this place out (yet again).

(photo from previous visit, this time we were given a lunch specials menu)

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Pad Kee Mao Flat rice noodle with chili  basil and choy sum with Chinese BBQ pork ($10.00 lunch special)We were very surprised to see our first dish to come out just minutes later after we ordered (albeit we were the only ones there, but that’s still fast!). I took one bite and I had a stupid grin on my face. That was good. Even though there was no meat in my bite, there was so much flavour in the noodles, herbs and vegetables and it was all served piping hot from the wok (I have a thing about eating hot hot noodles). Do I dare say it is as good if not better than Thip’s Thai in Belconnen?

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Don’t be fooled by all the chili floating around in the dish, I couldn’t even taste it but you can request hot if that is what you’re after.

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Crispy noodles with chicken ($10.00 lunch special)Dishes two and three came out in quick succession but I had to eat the crispy noodles before they got all soft from the pool of delicious thick gravy. With a slight hint of ginger, I was in heaven, although it was a bit awkward to eat the noodles as they pointing in all directions until they went into your mouth. Probably not a first date type of food.

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Lard Nah Flat rice noodle with special sauce, onion, carrots and Chinese broccoli with beef ($10.00 lunch special). If you grew up with this dish, you get cravings and this hit the spot for us. The thick pool of gravy didn’t take away from the al dente crispiness of the vegetables.

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Maybe the best noodles in Canberra(?), if not, definitely in my top 5 list. I probably can’t directly compare to the Noodle house as everyone usually goes there for laksa and noodle soup but the dishes are less oily at Mekong River and all the vegetables are fresh which makes a huge difference. I will have to come back and try the noodle soups to make direct comparisons. 

By far one of the more superior restaurants in the neighbourhood (and I’ve eaten at all of them). 

VenueMekong River Restaurant

Address19-27 Woolley St, Dickson, ACT 2602

Phone: (02) 6162 1988

Opening hours: Open 7 days

Lunch: 11am – 2:20pm

Dinner: 5pm – 9:30pm

Fri – Sat: 5pm – 10pm 

Mekong River Restaurant on Urbanspoon