Mr. Wong

I had culled a lot of my backlog drafts but this was one I was desperate to tell you about.
I had to been to Mr. Wong once before but without TimmyC which he constantly reminds me about, so when we had some free time between visiting family, we decided to go there for dinner. They don’t take bookings for less than 6 people for dinner, so we had no choice but to wing it. Knowing we had a public holiday on the Monday in Canberra, TimmyC and I figured ‘how busy could a restaurant be on a Sunday night, especially when there was only 3 of us?’, the answer is VERY. We arrived just before 7 pm and the next available table for 3 pax was just after 8:30 pm. We were there, TimmyC could almost taste the duck, so we put our name down on the list and took a stroll to get some cheesecake from Uncle Tetsu’s while we waited.
When we came back more eager than before, the table was still not available yet but they encouraged us to get a drink at the bar. Just after browsing the cocktail list, we were approached by the wait staff again and shown to a table downstairs. All my photos are pretty dark because of the poor lighting inside.

Coconut martini mocktail I didn’t get a photo of the description, all I remember is there was kiffir lime ($10.00). I’ve had a lot of mocktails in my time and most of them just end up tasting like a tropical fruit juice or a sweet fizzy soda, but I simply adored this. There was so much complexity in the flavours and it morphed as my tongue picked up different flavours, all this within a sip. I can’t wait to go back and go through the rest of the list.
Starters~
Dim sum platters steamed dim sum platter (8 pieces) a selection of today’s specialties ($32.00). The different dumplings were a combination of lobster, duck, scallops and the like. All of them were very delicate, perfect and oh so delicious. I would highly recommend ordering this despite the price tag.
Peking duck pancakes (half serve 8 pancakes $45.00). You cannot come to Mr. Wong and not order their duck. It is amazing. I love the duck pieces as it has a good skin to meat ratio, the meat is tender and the skin is impeccable.
Mains~
Prawns, scallops and calamari wok fried with ginger and spring onions ($36.00). To have prawns, scallops and calamari cooked perfectly until it was all tender was fantastic, I just wish there was more of a ‘sear’ to them from the wok.
Sweet and sticky pork ribs ($34.00). They did not lie, these ribs were sweet and sticky! Perhaps a little too sweet for my taste, but the meat was very tender.
Stir fried snow peas, sugar snap peas and broccoli with garlic and rice wine ($19.00). It was easy to get your fill of vegetables when they tasted this good.
King crab fried rice “typhoon shelter style” with garlic and chili (small $24.00). A fried rice is best eaten hot and that is what I told myself as I scoffed mouthfuls of rice like I had not eaten in days. The taste of crab was subtle but I really liked the oomph that the garlic and chili added.
Dessert~
Mango pudding with coconut tapioca, lychee granita and mango pearls ($16.00). TimmyC said he was starting to get full already after the starters but he then proceeded to eat the mains, by this stage, he was convinced he had enough and was so full that he could not order the deep fried ice cream that he had his eye on since we sat down. The waitress then came past to see if we wanted any dessert and just as TimmyC finished his ‘no dessert’ declaration to the table, he ordered the mango pudding almost in the same breath. There were no regrets. The mango pudding was silky smooth and we loved the flavour combination with the coconut and lychees.
I still dream about those mango pearls. Instead of just being flat one noted gelatinous balls, they actually burst in your mouth releasing sweet and juicy mango flavour, it reminded me of the dessert version of fish roe. Incredible!
Even though I was impressed by everything from the ambiance, to the efficient staff to the amazing food we had, I think I preferred our starters to the mains. It might have been our menu choices but those starters were seriously next level. I guess we will just have to come back and try more of the menu to know.

Venue: Mr. Wong

Address: 3 Bridge St, Sydney NSW 2000

Phone(02) 9240 3000

 

Mr. Wong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Empire BBQ cafe

When our usual Chinese roast meat eatery in Dickson was closed, my friend and I found ourselves venturing to other establishments that offer a similar menu. We went upstairs to what used to be the Family Food Court, which was now the spacious restaurant of Empire BBQ cafe.When we were seated, we were given menus and hot tea. While my friend and I were deliberating what to order, she couldn’t find the dishes I was talking about and it turns out we were given different menus. Make sure when you go to look at both of them before deciding what to order.Combination chow mein ($14.80). A rather large serving of chow mein, which had my favourite crispy egg noodle underneath absorbing all that delicious sauce.Roast pork with noodles ($12.80). My friend didn’t know exactly what to expect when she ordered this dish, but she didn’t think that the noodles would be served separately to the roast pork. The noodles might seem a bit bland to some but they are a big staple in the Hong Kong cuisine served with a little bit of oyster sauce and sesame oil topped off with some greens. The pork was nice as it wasn’t really fatty and it had the quintessential crunchy crackling. I do prefer my roast meats with rice, so I will order that next time.The roast pork had a good fat to meat ratio, all topped off with that perfect crackling.The food is reasonably priced and the dishes came out rather quickly.

I liked how the menu has a bit of everything from the western Chinese food like chicken and cashew nuts and honey prawns to Chinese offal (beef tripe, pig stomach etc) and also foods you don’t usually see on a menu like congee. I would like go back to try their congee and eat more of their roast meats range.

 

Venue: Empire BBQ cafe

Address: 28 Woolley St, Dickson ACT 2602

Phone(02) 6247 2477

Empire BBQ cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yummy Chinese BBQ re-run

I haven’t been back to Yummy Chinese BBQ since it just opened but with the cooler weather setting in, my friends and I wanted to warm ourselves with hot food over some hot coals. See my first post here.

Things have changed slightly since my last visit; there is no more steam boat, the small hot plates that sat in the charcoal chamber have been replaced with big gas hot plates which means more room to cook chicken wings and there is no more confusing iPad to order things from.

Yummy Chinese BBQ offers you ‘all you can eat’ from a range of skewers and raw meat that you cook yourselves and a buffet of hot Chinese food for those who can’t wait for the food to be cooked.

$36.00 per person all you can eat and $3.00 for unlimited orange juice and Coca Cola.
Skewers on offer include prawns, smoky lamb, beef and caramelised pork. We were not constrained with a time limit which was good because the coals took a while to arrive and we didn’t mind sitting outside because it meant it was less smoky. The food choice might seem a little odd to some because it is more ‘traditional’ Chinese food (that night’s buffet selection included pipis, fish in a chilli sauce, chicken feet and sesame balls filled with red bean) but it is a fun and different way to dine with friends.

We were done eating just under two hours and I basically just ate my weight in chicken wings.
Yummy Chinese BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wonder meals re-run 

There are three types of Chinese restaurants: 1) the Westernised Chinese restaurant that can be found in most suburbia shops 2) the more traditional Chinese restaurants with Asian delicacies and then there is Wonder Meals.

I have always found Wonder Meals very bizarre; everything from the name, the strange decor down to the menu, which had changed since I had last been. I can’t fully describe it. Menu items include poached tripe with duck blood curd, cold dressed pigs ears and pungent and chilli chicken gizzards just to name a few. I was trying to warn my food companion that things on the menu are a bit strange but we will stick to the ‘safe’ side of things which may or may not be to our detriment.

Set up with chair covers, linen napkins that you will never get to use and surrounded by fake flowers, just another day at Wonder Meals.Steamed and fried bread ($10.80). This was the first thing to arrive within minutes of ordering and I was pleasantly surprised to see it served with condensed milk but it meant that we were eating sweet first. Obviously the fried version tasted better than the steamed but the steamed buns make for good sauce moppers, so we left them for when the main dishes arrived.Fried beef fillets with abalone mushrooms ($20.80). This was very garlic-ky and salty which was balanced out by the boiled rice. It was a fairly big serve because it felt like we kept eating the same thing over and over again; I got a bit bored of it towards the end.Fried garlic shoots with shredded pork ($15.80). I had ordered this previously and it wasn’t as nice this time around. I thought the garlic shoots weren’t at their best which made the whole dish very mediocre.Pan fried dumplings (guotie) ($12.80). After getting fairly full from the previous dishes and being over an hour after we had initially ordered, I just assumed that they had forgotten about these but apparently they didn’t. I tasted the first one and it was very (temperature) hot but left a bitter vegetable taste in my mouth, I then asked for soy sauce and it made it much more tolerable.I was surprised that the restaurant was so busy on Friday night but I did sense the feeling that a lot of tables started to get frustrated with the service after being ignored several times and having to wait a long time between dishes. You really have to come here yourself and order some ‘out of the box’ items to decide if you like it or not. Maybe I’ll be more adventurous next time.

See my first post about Wonder meals here.

Welcome back, I’ve missed you

Whenever I’m in the Jamison area, I always check on the status of Dumpling Inn and when I checked this week I was pleasantly surprised to find the roller shutters up and they were open again for business. They have been opened since the 10th February and everyone must have missed them because they have been very busy ever since.

Welcome back Dumpling Inn, I’ve missed you.

Getting our usual ‘peking shredded beef’, ‘four season beans with minced pork’ and ‘tasty chopping meats in seasame rolls’.IMG_9639

Yummy Chinese BBQ

So I found this sitting in my drafts folder and I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to finish this post, here it is!

I love it when friends find new places to eat, I just get to go along for the ride with very few details about the food. The new place we were headed to this time was called Yummy Chinese BBQ, based on the name I assumed we were going somewhere where ducks and bbq pork hung from the windows.
My friend sent me a message before we met to wear something that I wouldn’t mind smelling like BBQ smoke, luckily he did because I had a whole new outfit picked out, now I was going to wear any ol’ thing.

It is an ‘all you can eat’ situation with ‘cook it yourself’ elements from the BBQ and hotpot whilst also being able to choose some pre-made hot food from the buffet ($35.00 pp with a two-hour time limit).

The Uni Lodge Precinct is forever growing and is catering towards the increasing Asian student population in the area. IMG_5474.JPGIMG_5475.JPGAfter snapping photos of the surrounding area, I met my friends at the table and a look of confusion took over my face, if it’s a charcoal BBQ place, why is there a hot pot? I was further confused when I was also told there was an all you could eat buffet inside. With so much variety, where do I start?

Well the coals weren’t in the BBQ yet so that could take the back burner. My Asian friend was in charge of the tablet where you could order drinks and skewered meats for the BBQ, so I left her to deal with that as I went to venture inside to check out what was happening. At first, I didn’t know if I liked the thought of sitting outside until I went inside… Although there were exhaust fans above each grill, the feeling of smoke was irritating to the eyes.

 No coals yet, time to go to plan B.IMG_5478.JPGPlan B requires food input from the food buffet inside. Okay! Inside we go!

Broths are continually refilled by the wait staff and there is one hot pot between two people. It does take up valuable table real estate though because there isn’t much space left after a BBQ is fitted into the table.IMG_5480.JPG I’ve never seen portable hot pots like this and I thought the pattern was gorgeous!IMG_5476.JPGThe tablet luckily had some English translation or I’d be very lost. IMG_5479.JPGInside there is a cold open fridge with unlabeled marinated meats for the BBQ, an assortment of Asian salads, a limited range of sweets and fruit, a buffet of noodles, luncheon meat, greens for the hot pot and the last three trays were filled with hot ready to eat food (fish, pippies and crab).

The unidentified meat fridge is constantly being restocked. I particularly liked the chicken wings and garlic bread on the BBQ.IMG_5483.JPGA weird combination of sauce/condiments and dessert area. Not too many to choose from, just some sesame balls and fruit (not refilled yet).IMG_5484.JPGA variety of salads that I didn’t try at all, I was too busy om nom noming other things.IMG_5482.JPGNext up: an assortment of luncheon meat, vegetables and noodles for the hot pot as well as some pre-made hot food.IMG_5485.JPGI went to town on the pippies, the crab looked like it was too much effort for little return. IMG_5491.JPGI grabbed a few things for our hot pots.IMG_5503.JPGIMG_5504.JPGIMG_5500.JPGThe coals finally arrive!IMG_5497.JPGIt’s time to BBQ!IMG_5498.JPGThe BBQs are fitted with genius moving racks that have slots to connect with your skewer and constantly rotate them for even cooking.IMG_5501.JPGIt’s all starting to happen on the table, BBQ, hot pot and om nom noms. IMG_5502.JPGIt is a good way to dine as it provides some instant food as well as a fun way to eat with friends, it also allows everyone to eat what they like while still sharing an experience together.IMG_5510.JPGI must admit it was a fun way to dine with friends once you figure out all the food options and what was happening. There is a combination of ready to eat foods as well as novelty ‘cook it yourself’ options and once all the food starts cooking, you could be eating for a non stop 2 hour duration.

Unfortunate traits are: figuring out what all the unlabeled meats were (I’m pretty sure I ate tongue somewhere), some of the meats were too fatty and not worth cooking, going to trek for the toilets which were deceivingly far away and getting the smell of BBQ smoke from your hair and clothes.

Venue: Yummy Chinese BBQ

Address1 Childers St Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6248 9154

Opening hours:

IMG_5481.JPG

Yummy Chinese BBQ on Urbanspoon

Yum cha at Ginseng

I blame all my friends who have been talking about yum cha of late and giving me dim sum cravings. Ever since Noble Palace closed their doors, I’ve been wanting another south side option to open up (when driving all the way to Dickson would seem like I may as well drive to Sydney). Everyone had been heading to Ginseng inside the Hellenic club and I was hoping to give it a go myself. Now I didn’t technically make it inside, but I definitely ate there.

A huge demand at Ginseng allowed them to expand by putting tables outside the opening door frame-work. This was where we were seated after arriving later in the lunch time rush and without a booking. I felt that we were more neglected than the people who were physically inside the restaurant and hearing my neighbouring table’s frustrations, I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt that way. Well I guess I should arrive earlier or book next time.

So close yet so far away.IMG_4814.JPGWe had to ask several times for chilli sauce and tea, which is usually the first thing that a server should bring to you as your sit down. Asking for things and requesting food items in the hectic environment were often ignored or forgotten. Trolleys eventually wheeled past, but I was after specific items which left me waiting as they were replenishing their stocks after a busy lunch period.

The lobster dumplings and the chicken wings must have been fresh because they were crazy hot! The dumplings and yum cha dishes were made pretty well for Canberra standards and I was pleasantly surprised. I really liked the texture of their egg tarts, it would have been perfect if they were fresh out of oven or even slightly warm.IMG_4855.JPGAfter a huge manhunt which saw every waiter and waitress that walked past look for my steamed pork rib, I finally succeeded! I was so excited I forgot to take a photo. It was steamed well arriving very hot, but they forgot to put it with chilli and black bean so it lacked some flavour, luckily I had also requested chilli sauce and chilli in soy sauce.

TimmyC ordered a mango pudding early, but I wanted mine towards the end when I had eaten everything else. I personally prefer it with evaporated milk, it makes it so much better *licks lips*.

TimmyC’s mango pudding.IMG_4819.JPGvs. my mango pudding,IMG_4822.JPGAfter several puddings, jellies, steamed dumplings etc (I didn’t take a photo of everything), our bill came to $70ish dollars for two and a bit people (my friends were barely nibbling because they had already eaten). I think the trick is to arrive early, get a seat inside the restaurant and be persistent with your requests.

 

Venue: Ginseng

Address: Upstairs inside the Hellenic club in Woden

Phone: (02) 6282 9866

Yum cha: I don’t know when it starts but it finishes at 3pm on Sundays

Ming’s Restaurant

Several people have mentioned Ming’s restaurant to me but I didn’t get around to going there until we needed a family friendly restaurant in the Woden area. A larger sized group meant that we got to try a variety of dishes.20140712-201909-73149415.jpgSpring rolls with beef mince ($3.60 for 2 pieces). Nothing really special, I didn’t really get much meat in mine, just lots of air pockets and cabbage although they were deep-fried well, being crispy but not overly oily.20140712-200558-72358219.jpgPan-fried roti (4.00). Pieces were cut up into quarters, my piece was crispy and warm while my friend who got a piece before me had a cold soggy piece. I don’t think one piece of roti should be this expensive unless they are made fresh.20140712-200559-72359539.jpgBelacan beans ($14.80). It’s hard to describe the taste but it wasn’t for my palette, I’m used to having these beans in a different way.20140712-200936-72576489.jpgShantung chicken ($15.80). So I only had blurry photos of the shangtung chicken which didn’t make the cut so there are no photos. I thought they did this really well, the chicken was super tasty with plenty of pickled cucumbers underneath. I would definitely order this again and it was a real crowd pleaser.

Honey King prawns ($18.80). Made really well with big prawns but then again I’ve never had a honey prawn that I didn’t like.20140712-200939-72579279.jpgBeef Rendang ($16.80). I loved this! Hands down the best dish of the night. It has a bit of a chilli kick to it and it was borderline too hot for me but I couldn’t help smothering my rice in the delicious rich sauce anyway.20140712-200937-72577983.jpgRock salt squid tentacle (Australia produce) ($17.80). A bit daunting to look at if you’re not used to eating this type of thing but it was tasty. I would have wanted it to be saltier with a bit more garlic, shallots and chilli but at least the pieces were easy to chew.20140712-201258-72778768.jpgSpecials board~ I am always so self-conscious when I take photos in a Chinese restaurant, I always feel eyes on me like I’m trying to steal secrets back to my parents Chinese restaurant even though both my parents are retired. For this reason, I decided not to walk to the specials board in the centre of the long wall and take photos of the description of the dish and the price, so sorry this is what I can remember to the best of my ability.

Fish in two ways, ginger and snowpeas and chilli sauce. I didn’t mind this dish but my preference is for steamed fish with ginger and snowpeas. Seafood dishes are more expensive obviously, I think this was around the $30 mark.20140712-200601-72361117.jpgGolden pork chops. I expected a more juicier and salty pork chop and a bit more ‘wow’ but I didn’t get it from this dish.20140712-201257-72777430.jpgI think Ming’s do some Asian dishes really well but they don’t have signature dishes that I couldn’t get anywhere else. Their advantage is their extensive menu ranging from Chinese, Malaysian to Nyonya style clay pots and their location. I would love to come back and try more dishes like noodles and dry chilli beef, it would be nice to have a place that does these dishes well in the south side area.20140712-201910-73150813.jpgThe venue is really spacious and because it is away from the mall area, it is really easy to find a park. The place is family friendly and has a large range or dishes to suit everyone.20140712-201912-73152399.jpgVenue: Ming’s Restaurant

Address7-11 Botany St Phillip, ACT

Phone: (02) 6282 9799

Website: www.mingschinese.com.au   << I just checked out their website and it has a really good layout with a great online ordering system which I did not expect from this little restaurant. I am very impressed!

 

Ming's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Up 2 U Chinese restaurant

I love eating at new and exciting places, I love staying up late and I love myself some steam boat, so when my friend said that she wanted to celebrate her birthday at the Up 2 U restaurant in Belconnen, I was super excited! She asked if would I wanted to eat at a 9:30pm or midnight, I opted for the earlier time slot as I thought everyone else would fall asleep in their food if we went at midnight. 😛

I never knew that there was a whole other world behind the Boardwalk in Belconnen facing towards the lake, luckily I had read the review from In the Taratory about this place, otherwise I would have thought my friends were taking me to a quiet dark place to ditch my body by the lake. The signs for the restaurants were sketchy and hand written but I assure you that there is a restaurant behind that fogged up glass.

This restaurant could easily be mistaken for a European bath house as all the steam condenses on the cold glass doors.20140716-192525-69925521.jpgVery dodgy looking signage around the place but they all point you to the right direction of the restaurant that is tucked away at the end of the Boardwalk.20140716-192526-69926984.jpg20140716-192529-69929995.jpgI was really excited about eating here and couldn’t help but eat from the three categories that this restaurant offers: BBQ, hot pot and clay pot rice. I ordered chicken skewers immediately upon arriving as we wait for the birthday girl so I wasn’t tempted to start eating my friends.

BBQ~

It should be no surprise that I ordered this. The chicken wings were met with lots of enthusiasm between being hungry at such a late time and feeling the cool draft blowing from the doors, although the waitress didn’t quite understand me as I wanted 4 serves but she only gave us 4 skewers (2 per serve for $5). The chicken wings had slits cut into them to ensure thorough cooking. They were served hot and crispy (maybe marinated with curry powder?), I didn’t leave any meat to waste. It was very tasty and we ordered more when the birthday girl arrived. 20140716-192613-69973808.jpgCantonese Clay Pot Rice~ “The making of clay pot rice is quite simple. Put the rice into the clay pot after washing it. Add appropriate (amount) of water and close the lid; cook the rice until it is 70% done; add in all the ingredients and simmer the clay pot with a slow fire”.

I love clay pot rice, it was one of my ‘must eats’ before I left Hong Kong during my last trip. I was tempted to order three of the same thing but I thought variety is the spice of life so I chose another two flavours that generally appeal to everyone’s taste buds. I enjoyed all of them overall, this restaurant is the best (and only?) place to get a clay pot rice around in Canberra. They take around 20-30 minutes to cook which we were happy to wait for.

Spare rib with black bean sauces with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80). This is always my number one pick when I eat clay pot rice and was probably my favourite pick of the night if I had to choose. All the meat juices flowed through the rice and each clay pot had the crunchy rice stuck around to the sides and bottom which is my favourite part to eat.20140716-192620-69980354.jpgSteamed chicken and mushroom with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80).20140716-192615-69975180.jpgSteamed beef with oyster sauce with Cantonese clay pot rice ($13.80).20140716-192616-69976832.jpgHotpot~ 

This is what my friend’s have dubbed ‘Asian fondue’. A little easier not to lose your food with individual hot pots and is an easy quirky way to have dinner with friends. Firstly you choose a soup base, then a variety of thinly sliced meat, noodles, protein balls and seafood with an ‘all you can eat’ vegetable table and cook it all in the pot. When the meat is done it will change colour, the protein balls are done when they have expanded and floated to the top and the vegetables and noodles can be cooked to your liking. There is a lot of control of how your meal is done and that is probably why they have named the restaurant ‘Up 2 U’. The lunchtime specials menu stipulates ‘please don’t waste food. Extra change will be applied!’.20140716-192553-69953924.jpgIndividual pots also mean that people don’t take all the food I put in which is what usually happens when I’m at home with my family.20140716-192555-69955303.jpgWhen the birthday girl arrived she happily said that she would have the steam boat with me while the other guys were just happy to gorge on the clay pots. We both order pork bones as our soup broth and choose a combination of meat, noodles and seafood. They informed us that they were packing away the ‘all you can eat’ vegetables that is on offer for the steam boat but will bring us a selection of greens and vegetables on a plate. I thought it was odd considering they weren’t theoretically due to close for hours to come but we agreed.

Hot pot for one $25.00 pp or $30.00 pp with free soft drink refills but there is a lunch time special between 11am – 2pm for $15.00 pp.

The hot pot is bubbling away, it is time to start filling it up!20140716-192716-70036001.jpgThere was something wrong with the burner I was sitting at, it only had one setting ‘full ball’ so usually when a hotpot is bubbling away and on the verge of over flowing, you would just turn down the heat but I had to eat as fast as I could or add more things to the pot. Intermittently our pots were refilled with more broth and a the end the soup becomes thicker and full of flavour from all the food you have cooked and I couldn’t help but drink it. It left me feeling very full, warm and content.

A combination of thinly sliced beef, beef balls, fish balls, lobster balls, ox tongue (not for me) and pork balls.20140716-192744-70064587.jpgWe ordered more food, this time with pork, squid and fish. I found the pork meat too fatty so I left it out.20140716-192713-70033120.jpgThe meat is frozen but don’t worry, it quickly defrosts in the hot cauldron.20140716-192710-70030489.jpgA combination of noodles and tofu.20140716-192745-70065888.jpgA random mix of greens and vegetables, I think it would have been better if we could have chosen our own. Maybe next time we’ll come earlier.20140716-192747-70067343.jpgThe restaurant is spacious with seating extended to upstairs but there are drafts coming through the doors which make it very cold at night and the glass is constantly fogged up. I could see how you could lose hours giggling and chatting over a hot pot with friends with a unique dining experience. I would definitely come back soon as I have developed a craving for the clay pot rice as I write this post.20140716-192801-70081180.jpg

20140716-192759-70079827.jpgI love their opening hours. Very handy for those who want something different and with convenient opening hours. We left just before midnight and they had packed up all the vegetables just before we started our hot pots so I don’t know if they closed up for the night after we had left.20140716-192528-69928407.jpgThe staff said that we should feel free to ring ahead for the clay pot rice next time to reduce waiting periods, something I will heavily consider doing.

Venue: Up to You Restaurant

Address: Unit 5, The Boardwalk 114 Emu Bank, Belconnen 2617

Phone: (02) 6253 0440

 

Up 2 U Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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

Mr Wei’s

I had been here previously for a lunch banquet but I didn’t get around to posting about it (and I’ve been reminded ever since – thanks Thomas), so when I couldn’t get into Wild duck for dinner, I knew the next best thing – Mr. Wei’s in the city.

I knew it was a shaky start when I had booked that afternoon and they said ‘see you tonight’ but when I arrived several hours later they were confused about/lost my booking for three people. It didn’t matter, it wasn’t booked out and after being asked by four staff if I wanted a table for three in a short succession, we were led to a table by the window (I don’t think their English is that strong). 20140223-095300.jpgThe lanterns are very cute when they light up at night.20140223-095243.jpgPan fried pork dumplings ($13.50). These pot stickers had little crunchy bits around each dumpling, it could have been a tad crunchier but the filling had a little bit of ‘soup’ inside which I really liked.20140223-095044.jpgA tasty filling with pork and shallots.20140223-095056.jpgSignature dish Beijing roast duck – duck pancakes served with pancake, hoi sin sauce, shallots, cucumber and duck fried rice (half a duck $48.90). They give you a dozen pancakes for half a duck and that meant between the three of us, we get 4 each which was a good amount. Usually with duck pancakes, the duck portion is more skin than meat so I found it intriguing that there was so much meat on the duck pieces and not much skin. A lot of the duck flavour comes from the skin and as delicious as all this looked, I feel that I’ve had better duck at other places and the duck could have been better and served with more skin.20140223-095140.jpgDuck pancake condiments.20140223-095109.jpgThe duck pieces were where served on a duck shaped platter.20140223-095118.jpg20140223-095130.jpgAdd a bit of everything and it becomes a great few mouthfuls20140223-095148.jpgExtras~

Fried mantou ($3.00). I was keen to see if Mr. Wei’s had this and I was sad when I couldn’t find it on the menu, but when I was ordering I caught a glimpse of it attached to another dish, I asked politely if we could order it by itself and they let us have it as a side. It is fried bread that is crispy on the outside and soft in middle with a slightly sweet taste. (Note: these are pretty small, don’t fall for the illusion of my zoomed in photo).20140223-095157.jpgDuck fried rice. After finely cutting the duck pieces for your duck pancake, the rest of the duck goes into either a duck soup or fried rice, we chose the fried rice option. The rice was served nice and hot, but there was no dominating flavour overall.20140223-095233.jpgPork belly slowly cooked pork belly with spice sauce and ground bean sauce, placed on a bed of baby spinach, topped with black bean aged vinegar capsicums ($23.50). When Chinese people eat pork belly, it is usually pretty fatty and tender so some people might be surprised to get this dish expecting something a little different. It seems like a small portion after you discard the fatty skin and share between more than two people. I really liked it but I don’t think this dish is for everyone.20140223-095219.jpgThey ran out of lemongrass chicken which I was interested in trying but it might have been a good thing as this was probably just enough food for three people without being glutinous and too over filling. It turned out relatively (in comparison to Wild duck) cheap too at $25 a person.

I don’t know if they have any association with Wild Duck but their menu items are very similar and so are their serving plates. Between my two dining experiences here, my view hasn’t changed and I see Mr. Wei’s as the ‘poor man’s version of Wild Duck’, which isn’t a bad thing considering how expensive Wild Duck can get. I don’t mind the food here, the staff is generally attentive and the food isn’t too expensive. The atmosphere is somewhere between fine dining Chinese and a local take away.

**See my Wild Duck posts here: visit one & re-run.

Venue: Mr. Wei’s

Address: 170 London Circuit, Canberra, ACT 2601

Phone: (02) 6230 0857

Mr Wei's on Urbanspoon

Jade Dumpling Noodle House

When I went to the Jade Dumpling Noodle House, it was so new that the grand opening flowers had only just started wilt. I was excited at the promise of delicious dumplings and noodles in Canberra, fingers crossed!

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They have an ordering system that you would sometimes find at yum cha places where you just write how many of each dish that you would like. Trying not to go too crazy, I grabbed the pen and started marking numbers against everything that I wanted to try without taking much notice of how many people were there to eat with me. image I’m sure I didn’t order too much. imageimage

Spicy wontons vegetable and pork wonton dipped in a spicy sauce, peanut butter and chili sauce (10pcs $10.80). All the heat comes from the sauce so I was careful not to smother it in. A lovely dumpling but I couldn’t taste any peanut butter in the sauce, which is probably a good thing because I think it would have ruined it.

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Radish cake deep fried pastry filled with radish, dried shrimp and shallot (4pcs $8.80). I didn’t read the description and what I was expecting was a square prisms not these spheres. The pastry was nice and flaky but it left the filling to be a bit too mushy.

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Peking duck served with 6pcs of Chinese pancake, second course stir fried with handmade noodle (2 course $36.00).The noodles were a bit salty but what annoyed me the most was playing ‘find the duck’ amongst the noodles.

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Finally found one!

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The duck pancakes were a bit meh, nothing too spectacular here.

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Jade Xiao long baosteam mini pork bun (6pcs $8.40). The best xiao long bao in Canberra (but it has nothing on Din Tai Fung). Dumpling etiquette requires you to delicately pick up the dumpling and dip it in soy sauce or Chinese vinegar (the more acceptable option) and it eat it in one bite (don’t burn your mouth though). What you should get, unlike most places in Canberra, is a ‘soup’ that has developed during the steaming of the dumpling with all the meaty juices, so be careful not to break it open while picking it up.

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Pork dumpling pan fried pork dumpling (6pcs $8.40). I wish the bottom was more crispy.

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Pork and chive dumpling (steamed 10pcs $11.50). Not a fan of these at all, I felt that the wrapper was too thick and didn’t have a good wrapper to filling ratio. I didn’t want to waste them so I ended up dipping the nude filling in a bit of soy sauce.

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Pork bun pan fried pork bun (6pcs $8.80). This is not what I expected at all, it should have been an actual fluffy bun (think BBQ pork bun) with a pan fried bottom. Instead this was just a pork dumpling with a wrapper that was way too thick to be pleasant.

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Szechuan eggplant ($15.80) braised eggplant with minced pork. I’m a big fan of this dish so I wanted to see their take on it. It is usually very oily but this wasn’t and it was so delicious. image

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Jade fried rice House Special fried rice ($11.80). I didn’t really taste much in this dish as I mainly used it as a sauce sponge for all the eggplant I was eating.

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Peking pork ribs deep fried pork ribs with peking sauce ($16.80). I was hoping for something along the lines of hot rock salt but this was really just sweet and sour deep fried pork.

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Kung po chicken stir fried chicken with Kung po sauce ($15.80). Wow, I was amazed at how incredibly tender the chicken was and even though I avoided the dry chilies I was still expecting a spicy kick to it but it didn’t have any.

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We started with the first dish when it arrived but not long after taking a quick snap shot of it, one dish after another just kept on coming like an avalanche and I couldn’t keep up. I’m hoping that the dumplings will get better, I hear that they hired a chef from Hong Kong especially when they were opening this restaurant.

It is better than your average local Chinese take away.

Venue: Jade Dumpling noodle house

Address: Shop B Gungahlin Place West, Gungahlin ACT 2912

Phone: (02) 6262 2918

Jade dumpling noodle house on Urbanspoon

Wonder meals

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.

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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.

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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.

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Stir fried shredded meat with garlic stem ($15.80). Perfectly cooked garlic stems with tasty shredded pork. Yum!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Peek-a-boo!

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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.

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Pan fried pancake with egg and salted paste ($3.80 per serve). A crispy fried pastry with chili paste folded into the layers.

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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.

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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

Wesbitehttp://wondermeals.com.au/

Opening hours: 10:30AM to 2:30PM, 4:30PM to 10:30PM Monday to Sunday

Wonder Meals on Urbanspoon