Archive for the 'Chinese' Category

Yum Cha – Marigold Citymark, Haymarket

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

One of my favourite ways to spend a day on the weekend is to meet friends and family to have Yum Cha – or “Dim Sum” as the yankees call it.  “Yum Cha” means “Drink tea” in Chinese, whilst “Dim Sum” is what you eat there as an accompaniment for the tea as you catch up – although in modern times, the food overshadows the tea!  Get to Marigold early, as there can be a queue from 11:30am on the weekend – an alternative to the take a number and listen to the microphone approach adopted by some.   Then when you get your table, order your tea (Jasmine, green, oolong etc), and cast your eye over the trolleys filled with steaming hot food (literally – some of the trolleys are mobile steamers filled with hot water).  I love Yum Cha also because the food is mini.  Bite sized so you can have a bit of everything.  Sorry on this trip we didn’t eat that much but here’s what we did have.

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Char Siu Bau (or BBQ pork buns) are well known to the general population as fluffly steaming white dough buns filled with sweet pork. But have you tried the baked and glazed version – with a brown top, rounded and smooth?  Another favourite bun of mine is the polo or pineapple buns, filled with custard and topped with a sweet, crispy topping.

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Essential but unhealthy – the mandatory spring rolls are crispy, deep fried asian sausage rolls – filled with mince of pork, mushrooms, and prawns if you’re lucky, as well as wood ear mushroom shreds and bamboo.  For the more health conscious, the steamed dumplings are a solid offering.  Prawn dumplings (har gau) are often chased by enthusiastic impatient diners (oh no, I would never do such a thing! ;) ) and are often the first to go; and the most asked for.  Like a steam prawn wonton, wrapped in rice paper and steamed.

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Eastwood Garden Peking Restaurant

Thursday, March 15th, 2007

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This is my second trip to this restaurant in Sydney’s inner/north/west whatever. The first time was for my friend Bec’s hen’s night (same Bec who took me to the amazing Dadong Beijing Duck restaurant in China!), where we feasted on course after course of Shanghai specialties.   Tonight was just a quiet dinner for two; and we feasted on handmade noodles with pickled vegetables and shredded pork. A huge mound of slippery al dente noodles came to our table, stir fried with plenty of bean shoots, and shredded pork.  The pork was quite fatty, but the noodles were surprisingly not too oily at all! Could have done with a bit more salted vegetable – because I love them – but at $8.80 you can’t complain too much!  The noodles were brilliant with the chilli oil I asked for too.  Then came my favourite dumplings of all time – wartip – or pot stickers as they are also known. These are crescent shaped dumplings wrapped with pork mince (and sometimes some vegetables), and then pan fried and steamed until the meat and pastry is cooked, and the bottoms crunchy.  They’re served bottoms up so they remain crunchy. We got 10 for $8.80. Bargain.

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Sunday, March 11th, 2007

Zilver, previously called Silver Spring, closed down and renovated a few years ago, completely changing its image, and vastly improving its menu, whilst uptiering its target market to a more upmarket offering.  Its “All you can eat for $17.50″ days have long gone and it has transformed completely into a rare gem of Chinese dining – great food AND service to go with it! 

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My friends Tracy and Chris got married on the weekend, and apart from being a long awaited marriage, it was also for me a long awaited feast hehehe. And I was not disappointed at all.  First cab off the rank- suckling pig entree platter with shredded cuttlefish.  The pig wasn’t overly fatty although the skin was quite thin so was slightly chewy.  Chewy the jellyfish was not – it was the perfect thickness and appropriately crunchy in texture.  Second course was deep fried seafood balls – minced seafood – predominantly prawns, rolled into balls and covered in almond flakes deep fried and served on a bed of shredded cabbage.

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Palate cleansing vegetables came next – perfectly cooked and crisp broccoli and mushrooms covered in a sauce thick with dried scallops – a real chinese delicacy.  And then came the emperor of all soups – sharks fin soup. So expensive is this dish that waiters often use a bread plate to catch any drips off the ladle that dare escape on the way from the tureen to bowl. You can have it with shredded chicken or crab meat as well as dried fish stomach (don’t ask, just drink).

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What a treat. Lobster cooked in classic ginger and shallot sauce.  One of my friends told me that when you have lobster at a wedding banquet, it adds an extra $300 per table of 12 (you do the sums!).  So I relished my huge tender chunk of lobster tail and made an attempt at the huge claw.  But didn’t try too hard as once my grandmother stabbed her finger with one of the sharp bits – ew!

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Stomach reaching capacity, next came sliced abalone and mushroom in oyster sauce with lettuce, and then steamed live coral trout.  It must be so hard cooking 25 two kg fish to the point of just cooked, and then sending it out to the masses.  Nevertheless, this one was perfect, its meat sweet and succulent.

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