The Fish Can re-post

* I just saw a more recent photo of their menu board and prices went up a little but all individual baos are still under $5.00

I’m re-writing this post with a bit more detail after I rushed to blog the original post within the hour that The Fish Can finally opened their doors.
The Fish Can has only been opened for two weeks but have had many positive reviews from people in Canberra who have been craving a good bao at a decent price. The first thing you need to know is the menu so here it is:I love how there are a combination of things including sweet and savoury and everything is under 5 bucks! They had another menu on the other side which is more of a ‘fish and chip’ side but today I’m concentrating on the more important issue: BAOS! But here it is just in case you were curious.  *photo from a friend who doesn’t want to be named.

The thing you need to know before you start to wonder why I only tried three baos is that this is what I saw when I got to Westside that day (see photo below). My heart sank and I headed to Miss Van’s to drown my sorrows in a bowl of pho (and I also may or may not have had a banh mi). While I was slurping away, I looked up from my bowl and noticed that The Fish Can had just opened their doors (so to speak) and I almost immediately dropped my chop sticks. So this was my second lunch and yes I am now a Hobbit.
Porkster braised free-range Murray Valley gilt belly, served with crushed Szechuan peanuts, house relish and cilantro (left $4.10). I was a bit disappointed at the size of the filling to bun ratio but I’m hoping that it was because it one of the first few baos served and they improve with some feed back. The pork itself was tender but it needs some sort of sauce so it isn’t just some dry ingredients in a bun. I would love to see a sliced pork belly with kewpie mayo and some lettuce (like Ippudo).

Not so Crab tempura soft-shell crab, lemon, cabbage slaw, Szechuan aioli and crushed peanuts (right $4.60). More filling, more exciting and more colourful. This was definitely my preference out of the two, the crab was crispy and so was the slaw, there was a nice aioli in there and there was flavour in every bite.
A close up of the ‘porkster’: delicious layers of fat and meat but I didn’t like the pickle so I picked it off. The thick short cut means that you don’t get some meat with every bite and there isn’t much else in the bun, it needs a little extra something…Lots of contrasting crunchy textures with the soft bao.Mars bao handmade bao with Mars bar core ($2.90). I didn’t expect a closed bao but if you think about it, a melted chocolate bar had to stay contained somehow. It might not look appetising but it definitely hit the sweet spot. You could taste the caramel, chocolate and nougat despite it being all melted, I just wish the bao itself had a tad bit more sweetness to it. My first preference was the sweet bao fries but they weren’t available that day, they will definitely be popular with the Asian crowd having been served with condensed milk.My friend tried the Chican bao all natural fried chicken breast, Szechuan aioli, crushed peanuts and cilantro ($4.10). He really really enjoyed it and went back a few days after and ordered more. The chicken looked really moist and the fillings were more generous, I wish I ordered this one too. Next time! Look at that juicy chicken patty. *drool*The savoury baos themselves were soft but could have been served a little warmer than they were, but then again it could have been a ‘we just opened and sorting out the kinks’ situation. In any case I am still super keen to head back, eventually try one of everything and get my hands on some sweet bao fries! The people serving inside were super friendly and the wait wasn’t long at all.

Are you ready to get your bao on?

Venue: The Fish Can (Next to The One)

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

Opening hours: **updated apparently they are not opened Thursday any more?**

Friday – Saturday 11:30am- 9:00pm

Sunday 11:30am – 4:00pm
The Fish Can Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Westside Acton Park

Even though I went to Westside Acton Park for two things specifically (see Miss Van’s and La Crepe blog posts here), I was surprised to see so many other eateries there.

There’s O’So smoothie, Damn Fine Roasters (Canberra’s first drive thru coffee shop, you just honk your horn and someone will be with you shortly), The One (I look forward to their chicken wings!), Miss Van’s, La Crepe (which might be closed for a few weeks) and Habibz (authentic Middle Eastern BBQ). Also up the top of the shipping containers is Aviary, Canberra’s first rooftop bar, I haven’t been up there yet because the one time I tried they were closed for health and safety reasons.

If you haven’t checked out Westside Acton Park yet they have a Pop Up Market this Saturday!

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ANZAC Day Dawn Service Breakfast On The Lake

ANZAC day is on this Saturday and if you were going to attend any dawn service then this year’s centenary year would probably be a good place to start. It is particularly cold right now so you would have to do some planning ahead like keeping yourselves dry and warm as well as plan your early morning breakfast, which everyone seems to go out for right after the service.

This year the National Museum is open for Dawn Service breakfast; they also have an added bonus of donating money to the ANZAC Appeal as well as free entry to the Museum’s WW1 Home front Exhibition.

Plan and book ahead to avoid disappointment.

ANZAC Day Breakfast On The Lake

Saturday 25th April 2015

 

The stunning Museum Café will be open on ANZAC day right after dawn service at 6.30am.

We will also be donating 10% of sales on the day to the ANZAC appeal. There is also free entry to the Museum’s WW1 Homefront Exhibition.

Bookings essential02 6208 5179

Displaying ANZAC Day Breakfast.jpg

Three eateries in 3.5 hours – Master Zhong

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.20140628-134734-49654571.jpgIt 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.20140628-134730-49650580.jpgWhat 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.20140628-134833-49713057.jpgA dough stick straight from the fryer is seriously the best. Hot, crispy, chewy and comforting.20140628-134836-49716247.jpgBeef 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. 20140628-134903-49743419.jpg

20140628-134901-49741893.jpgQuite the crowd building up around Master Zhong, indeed he is very popular with the local ANU students.20140628-134904-49744919.jpgDeep 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.20140628-135046-49846719.jpgOur 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)

Master Zhong on Urbanspoon

Three eateries in 3.5 hours – Dessert Castle

It didn’t take long to literally drive down the street to our next destination Dessert Castle but it did take us a while to find it. I was trying to quickly Instagram between meals as TimmyC drove past the ANU street theatre, past Spicy Ginger cafe and then all the way near Dominos and Chatime. I would have been no help anyway because I didn’t have my glasses on (yes I’m getting old) so we decided to park first and then find it. Turns out it was just to our left next to Shanghai dumpling cafe. There was signs on the door but with dim colour changing lights on the inside it wasn’t particular obvious and it was lacking an outdoor sign from the ceiling.20140627-072557-26757367.jpgCould you spot Dessert Castle easily from the street?20140627-072558-26758707.jpgI must admit, I had already made up my mind about this place before I even went there. I saw photos on other blogs and it just looked like a bigger selection of sub par cakes from a cafe looking awkward next to a bunch of froyo machines and some chocolate truffles, but TimmyC wanted to take me out to dinner and then dessert at Dessert Castle to make sure for ourselves. Fair enough, you can’t judge a venue without experiencing it for yourselves.

Inside was a lot smaller than I thought it would be. To your right is a wall of frozen yoghurt with lots of different flavours ranging from taro to peanut butter. At the far wall is the cake cabinet housing a large range of individual cakes, macarons and chocolate truffles while coming back around the other wall is the drinks, menu and cash register.

A big selection of macarons and chocolate truffles.20140627-072602-26762694.jpgA large glass cabinet full of individual cakes and tarts.20140627-072601-26761353.jpgA big wall of froyo with about 10 flavours.20140627-072600-26760009.jpgEverything inside was very ‘busy’ between the ceiling, the ever changing coloured lights, the froyo wall and all the cake selection, it was hard to focus on just one thing.20140627-072648-26808996.jpgTimmyC couldn’t decide what to get and his eyes darted around like a kid in a candy store. I suggested he order the crepes from the menu which he did not see and he knew then straight away what he wanted. I opted for macarons and froyo to get a wider scope of the menu.

Despite the lumpy look of the macaron shells, I decided to get two. I asked if they were made on site and I was informed that three sources make their macarons but what I couldn’t understand was if there are three different suppliers/people making them, why did they all consistently look lumpy? Also some of the fillings looked like a split cake batter which I was a bit dubious about. They also said that they have a size requirement for their cakes, so that must mean they source those as well.

Macarons – Tim tam and salted caramel flavour ($2.50). I was relieved to find that the macarons had a great texture and they weren’t stale but unfortunately, all I could taste was sweetness and I couldn’t distinguish the flavours. There was a hint of salt in the salted caramel one but other than that, they just tasted really sweet.

Lump looking macarons but I took a chance.20140627-072647-26807476.jpgIt looks like my macaron had goosebumps.20140627-072910-26950210.jpgBut at least it had a good texture.20140627-072911-26951674.jpgOreo cheesecake ($6.50?). My friends ordered this cake and it tasted surprisingly really good, it tasted like a mix of white chocolate and oreo in a smooth cheese cake that wasn’t overly sweet or heavy.20140627-072645-26805658.jpgThis is a huge container, don’t fill it all up as the price is based on weight, $2.20 per 100g.20140627-072644-26804289.jpgI tried to choose my flavours wisely at the froyo section. I started off with nutella, then peanut butter which came out a different consistency, followed by cookies and cream, chocolate, cherry and plain. My taste tester tub, which looked like 50 shades of brown came to $7.05. The cherry flavour was TimmyC’s favourite, to me it tasted like a mouthful of pink nerds candy. My favourite (if I had to choose) would have been the Nutella but because this type of frozen yoghurt like most froyo franchises isn’t creamy, all the flavours tasted watered down (fancy fillings strawberry is still my favourite). You can also add toppings but I didn’t bother with any, the amount of people I saw licking their fingers from dripping froyo to the topping counter was disconcerting.20140627-072729-26849520.jpgPancakes with maple syrup, strawberries, banana, whipped cream all topped off with chocolate sauce  ($12.00). We thought ordering off the menu meant that it was a hot menu item but sadly everything was very cold. The pancakes had no ‘bend’ to them and felt crumbly when you cut through it while all the condiments were OTT and too sweet. It might have been okay if you were under the age of 10 and you just wanted a sugar hit.20140627-072732-26852710.jpgThis is all we could finish of the pancakes before we gave up.20140627-072916-26956203.jpgCrepes served with strawberries, banana, vanilla ice-cream, whipped cream all topped off with chocolate sauce  ($12.00). Again, this was cold, underwhelming and too sweet.20140627-072735-26855868.jpg20140627-072734-26854249.jpgFlat white ($4.00). Nothing amazing about it but the slight bitter coffee taste was refreshing between all the sweet desserts.20140627-072731-26851107.jpgI wanted to like it, after all the staff were very friendly and asked us as they walked past about what we thought. It was all underwhelming but I was surprised to find that what I thought I would like the least being the best tasting dessert (the cheesecake). I guess I had high expectations of a place that had dedicated their whole store to desserts that the calibre would be much higher.

After all the sweetness and not being particularly satisfied, I asked one of my friends if they would like to go to the Golden Drum for a bit of supper. She was keen so we left Dessert Castle and started walking up the road when something magical happened….

Venue: Dessert Castle

Address35 Childers St Canberra, ACT 

Website: http://www.dessertcastle.com.au/

Dessert Castle on Urbanspoon

Boffins

——-16/03/2012——-

My friend and I went back to ANU where we both had met, we had never eaten at Boffins restaurant before but now that we are both no longer there, we made time to meet up where it all started. I thought parking would be a little easier at the uni being after hours but we were lucky to get a spot after a few slow drive bys in the area.

Complimentary warm sour dough loaf (made in house) with deeeeeelicious butter and oil and balsamic vinegar 

Entree~

Soup of the day mushroom and chive soup– it first tastes is like a curry with an after taste of mushroom and pepper, I liked it.

Rosemary gremolata encrusted lamb loin with roasted beetroot, carrot puree and a light pan jus ($16.50) it was a small serving but the puree was really good and went well with the lamb.

Mains~

Pan seared chicken breast infused with lemongrass and lime set atop a bed of jasmine rice finished with a creamy coconut sauce ($29.00) Surprisingly good considering I don’t usually order chicken and the sauce tasted like a thai greey curry because of the lemon grass and lime.

Oven roasted pork fillet accompanied by a warm salad of sun-dried tomatoes, dried apricots, green olives and roast sweet potato with a porcini mushroom glaze ($31.00) The pork was ok, it tasted sweet but I found the sauce was overwhelming the taste of pork. The odd combination of olives, apricot and sweet potato went really well together.

Dessert~ 

Traditional tiramisu with a Boffins twistdark chocolate mud cake soaked in an espresso Kahlua syrup, layered with a vanilla double cream and bitter chocolate ganache topped with sugar roasted macadamia nuts ($14.50) This tasted like a chocolate mousse with the texture of a chocolate ripple cake with cream. I really enjoyed the macadamia nuts, fresh raspberries and blueberries on top and the whole dessert had lots of different textures.

House-made panna cotta with a hint of honey accompanied by a crisp glass pastry shard finished with a rose water and cardamom glaze ($14.50) I loved the subtle honey taste! I found this dessert a bit ‘solid’ for a panna cotta and even though you could feel and see the slight imperfection on the outside, the inside was really smooth and creamy.

Coffee and a petit four– the coffee was ok and the petit four tasted like a like a nut cluster.

Even though I was that annoying customer being indecisive etc, the service was friendly throughout the whole dinner service. The food is nice but not as good as what they think and are charging for the high prices.

Venue: Boffins

Address: University House, 1 Balmain Cres, Acton ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 6125 5285

Entertainment card: Yes, makes a difference!

Boffins on Urbanspoon