Yat Bun Tong re-run

I recently met up with a few fellow food bloggers (check out some of their awesome blogs here and here) for dinner at Yat Bun Tong (see my first post here). It is so nice to meet up with such like minded people and laugh about the same things we go through like- forever questioning ourselves of who is actually really ever reading our blog other than our number one fan (thanks for your support YummyLummy).

Serina from MsFrugralEars with her awesome mandarin skills took charge with ordering and conversing with the staff. It was refreshing not having to look at the menu or having the responsibility on deciding the whole table’s meal, which is the default mode that my friends usually put me in.

Shanghai steamed bun (10 pieces $13.80). It is still no Din Tai Fung, but I guess it is unfair to compare. The dumpling wrapper is the Goldilocks of thickness, not too thin and not too thick, it was just right. I’m still not completely sold on the soup interior but am still happy to have it there. They don’t always remember to give you a spoon but please do request one for easier eating.   Shallot pancake ($7.80). The pancake was crispy and flaky which reminded me of roti with flecks of shallot. I really enjoyed the texture but I think I would have liked more shallots and more salt throughout the pancake.Hot and sour soup ($5.80 per serve). My eyes widened when they lowered this bowl on the table. It was enormous! I asked Serina ‘I thought you only ordered two serves?’, she responded with ‘I did’. The waitress explained that the chef wanted to give us more but would only charge for two serves. I loved that the soup was full of lots of ingredients and most of us easily had two bowls. If it was a tad (chilli) hotter and you added a few drops of chinese vinegar like you’re supposed to, it would have been perfect.I took a photo of the serving bowl next to my bowl so you could see how big it was.Shanghai pan fried pork buns (10 pieces $14.80). This was the one dish I was determined to order after seeing photos from Michelle’s instagram who in turn saw it from Wita (#contagiousfood). The buns were light and fluffy with a good meat filling and a little bit of soup inside. It reminded me very much of Sydney food, which says a lot. I would happily return just to eat these.The filling inside the buns.BBQ duck spring rolls (2 pieces $6.80). We were told that this was a popular menu item and I can see why. A crispy hot spring roll filled exclusively with delicious duck meat complimented by the hoisin dipping sauce. These would make a good starter, maybe I’ll order these next time before I sit down and even look at the menu.Fried handmade noodles with black pepper beef ($15.80). People were starting to get full but insearchofgoldenpudding and I wanted to try their handmade noodles. I really like black pepper beef but usually with rice, it felt odd eating them with noodles especially when I’m used to eating my noodles with pork and vegetables. Some people might not like the fact that it came with no vegetables.

I really liked their handmade noodles, it wasn’t overly oily although it was a tad softer than I would usually have it.  I really like black pepper but even I  thought it was borderline overwhelming, next time I might try their handmade noodle with seafood in X.O sauce.I had a much better experience at Yat Bun Tong this time around because of the selection of food. I will definitely be back to eat more pork buns and eat more noodles.
Yat Bun Tong Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Four foodies met up a month ago to have dinner; Michelle the foodie from HerCanberra, The Food Avenue, Food Porn Journal and myself. Where others would talk about world events, pointless gossip and the weather, it was no surprise that we just talked about food. Even after we ate dinner where we ordered so much that all the dishes took up every inch of the table and everyone but me said they were super full, we were still talking about food, especially what we were going to eat next.
Michelle had been to 2 Yummy twice before to do a suckling pig banquet. Yes you read that right, a suckling pig made into 6 courses that can have to share with at least 9 other friends. That was definitely the next place we were going to go. Fast forward a month, lots of messages and keen friends later, we had booked a table for 14 people, one suckling pig pre-ordered with a $50 deposit paid and a karaoke room booked next door to continue the fun all night long.

This is the menu of all the dishes that one suckling pig turns into.  Some of us made a face of doubt when we were presented with the suckling pig, how will this small pig feed all fourteen of us?First up were suckling pig pancakes. This is usually served with duck but the crispiness of the skin provided a perfect candidate for substitution. I would have preferred more meat underneath the skin but I assumed it was being used in another dish.

There were two servings on either side of the table and there were enough for two pancakes per person. Yum!Start with a pancake, smear on some hoisin sauce, choose a nice piece of meat and a slice of cucumber and you’re ready to roll.Next up was suckling pig with jelly fish. This is how Chinese people usually have suckling pig so my eyes lit up. For those who haven’t eaten jelly fish before, it is cold, chewy with a texture unlike anything else; it usually also has a bit of spice to it. Add a bit more of hoisin sauce and you’ve got an awesome mouthful between the chilli of the jelly fish, the crunch and fat from the pig and some sweetness from the sauce. There’s a bit of meat under the skin and this would have been ideal for the pancakes.   Deep fried suckling pig meat with lemon grass flavour. The courses had been staggered until now, once the two ‘entree’ portions were served, the rest of the banquet just flowed out from the kitchen and I found it very hard to keep up because I am a slow eater/was taking photos. This was deep fried but not oily, the lettuce served underneath it paired perfectly well to give a refreshing watery crunchy with the deep fried meat. It reminded me of peking steak with subtle hints of lemongrass.Stir fried suckling pig meat with house special sauce. The odd thing about this dish was the broccoli was stone cold and obviously pre-prepared around the plate while the meat was extremely hot (in both senses). I didn’t expect that the dish would be so chilli hot and it took me by surprise when I ate some and then I shoveled a lot more rice into my mouth. It was still tasty I just wish I had some warning.Suckling pig meat cooked with bean curd in a hot pot. It didn’t exactly come out in a hot pot but everything retained its heat really well still. Despite being a huge meat eater, I really enjoy bean curd and I found this particularly delicious because it soaked up all the sauce from this dish. I ate more of this than the suckling pig meat (but I guess I am also having pig in every other dish). Stir fried suckling pig with handmade noodle in OX sauce. This was one of the dishes that I was looking forward to the most. I love handmade noodles and I love suckling pig so this was a winning combination, but I found it one of the most oddest dishes I have ever eaten. The texture and the taste of the noodles reminded me more of pasta than noodles. OX sauce has a strong and distinctive taste that I didn’t feel that this dish had. Overall it was more bland in comparison to other dishes, so I ended up piling other dishes and sauces on top and mixed it through to help it a little.With 14 people at the table, I was the last one eating. I wasn’t crazy full like everyone else when I  stopped eating, I just got bored eating the few dishes were left. So basically if you’re anyone else you’ll leave being very satisfied and regretting your last two mouth fulls because it pushed you over the edge.

Despite having four more people that we needed for the banquet minimum, there was plenty of food to go around and it was all delicious and diverse. I would easily grab another 9 people and do it all over again very soon.

Venue: 2 Yummy BBQ noodle house

Address: 3/114 Emu bank, Belconnen ACT 2617

Suckling pig banquet: $40.00 pp, you need to order a head and pay a $50 deposit and a minimum of 10 people to participate

Phone: 0262516622

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

 

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

 

Bistro Nguyen’s

My friend and I have made a tradition out of meeting up for Friday lunches, usually we eat Asian food because it is cheaper, generally faster and sometimes we just crave noodles and rice. So when I heard a new Vietnamese restaurant had opened up in the city, we had to go immediately. Bistro Nguyen’s is located on the corner of the Melbourne building near Nourthbourne Avenue and Alinga street. The decor is a mixture of different chairs matched with different tables, I didn’t trust the durability of the plastic stools at our table so I swapped them out for a metal ones.IMG_9915It was very busy during the Friday lunch rush, it was completely full inside so we took a table outside.IMG_9917I don’t know how I feel having all the mouth side parts of the utensil facing up, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?IMG_9921It is an ‘order and pay at the counter’ situation but not only that, the food is only delivered to the table whenever it is ready and not in any particular order, which meant that we received our the pho first and the grilled pork rolls and drinks last with a pretty decent waiting gap in between.

Grilled pork rolls Nguyen’s special grilled pork rice paper rolls with herbs and special dipping sauce (3 pieces $7.50). These were very disappointing rice paper rolls. There was no taste of herbs, you could barely taste the pork and the dipping sauce didn’t help either. The pork looked like processed brown meat that did not look grilled. I will not be ordering this again.IMG_9949IMG_9948Rare beef pho traditional  beef noodle soup slow cooked with the heart and soul of Nguyen’s secret family recipe. A quintessential Vietnamese dish! ($12.50). I tasted my friend’s pho, it is sweeter than all the other broths that I’ve tried but still very flavoursome. At first my ‘very picky broth taster’ friend liked it, but towards the end she said that she could taste a lot of MSG and that she would not be ordering it again. I rather enjoyed the spoonful I had (being a less picky broth taster) and I would consider trying it next time.IMG_9933Pho served with all the garnishes.IMG_9938Saigon pork roll made fresh daily by our master baker. Saigon roll filled with pork belly, Vietnamese ham, home-made pate, mayo, pickled carrot, cucumber, coriander and a dash of soy sauce ($7.50). I would have usually gone straight for the pho but it was crazy hot out so I grabbed something more temperature appropriate. I’m surprised they let me order this considering I asked for the home-made pate to be omitted *gasp!* but even then they asked to clarify that I wanted to take the most ‘essential’ ingredient. All the meat looked processed and there was barely any in the roll, I liked the taste of the pickled carrot which was good because that was the only thing I could taste besides the crusty bread roll. I don’t know if they forgot the mayo because the whole thing felt pretty dry in my mouth, although I don’t know if this would have been any better if I had left the pate inside.IMG_9943I did consider picking out the chillis but they had no taste to them what so ever. Can you squint and see the meat inside the roll?IMG_9947Vietnamese black iced coffee ($4.00). It was definitely needed on this hot day. They didn’t have any smoothies available so I just stuck with water.IMG_9942We had a pretty cheap lunch but it wasn’t completely impressive. I don’t want to judge this place yet because I’ve eaten such a limited portion of what they offer. I would come back and have their pho and I’d also be interested to see how their stir fried/rice dishes are. Their menu covers a large range of Vietnamese dishes including pho, vermicelli, rice dishes, Saigon rolls and stir fries.

Venue: Bistro Nguyen’s

Address78-80 Alinga St Canberra, ACT

Phone: 02 6262 6888

Bistro Nguyen's on Urbanspoon

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

 

 

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.

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

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

Ramen Ikkyu

It seems like every man, celebrity chef, blogger and their dog have been to Ramen Ikkyu despite having been open for just a couple of weeks. So I did what any sane keen ramen eating blogger would do – I dragged my whole family, including my pregnant cousin to the other side of Sydney to a busy food court to try this place for myself.

I was a bit worried that since Harunobu Inukai, the former chef of the French-Japanese fusion restaurant Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay now turned ramen chef, only made 150 bowls a day. I couldn’t think of anything more sad than if I dragged everyone out to the other side of town and there was only one bowl left and they had to watch me enjoy it. image

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It seemed like an easy system, there were 8 ramen types to choose from and a cute little easy to use touch screen system. Well that’s what I thought until I realised I could only eat 1/8th of the menu (1/4 at the most). Decisions… Decisions…

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Chili oil ramen ($11.50).

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Ikkyu (miso) ramen ($10.50).

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Tokyo (shoyu) ($10.50). It was the special of the day which really swayed my decision. I didn’t think much of the broth, I mean it was better than anything than we have in Canberra but Sydney has so many other establishments that offer a much superior soup base in flavour and in ‘richness’. The pork was very delicious though, with a high fat ratio layered between the meat and the noodles had a great texture, but I find that all three things- broth, noodles and pork need to come together to make a ramen experience absolutely fantastic and magical.

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Ikkyu (shoyu)($10.50).

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Sides~

Cha-shu 3 slices ($3.00), shallots($0.50) and sweet corn($0.50).

The bowl of ramen itself would have been very affordable and considered cheap but I just had to indulge and see what their $14 pork rib was all about. As it sat there on the tray while I waited for my noodles to arrive, all the other patrons would point and ask what that delicious piece of meat on the bone was. All I could think was ‘don’t get grubby fingers too close to my pork’.

A bit dry in areas but that is expected due to the size and the thickness. Not as great as other ramen places but great to nibble on to get some extra pork to your bowl. Maybe share between two people?

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What makes this a unique dining experience is the free extra kaedama that you get with each bowl of ramen so that if you gobble up all the noodles before you finish the broth, there is a round #2.

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I don’t think Ramen Ikkyu lived up to all the hype. I see bloggers and instagrammers posting photos of queues and noodles but I would much rather walk down the street and grab a bowl from Gum Shara. If I get the chance I would come back in a few months to see if anything changes.

Venue: Ramen Ikkyu

Address: Shop F1A, Sussex Centre food court, 401 Sussex Street, Haymarket, NSW

Phone: (02) 9281 0998

Good Food articlehttp://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/eat-out/review/restaurant/ramen-ikkyu-20130716-2q0z9.html?rand=1374101910073

Opening hours: Seven days, noon-8pm until sold out (150 bowls a day)

 

 

Ramen Ikkyu on Urbanspoon