Install Theme
Gastronomical ramblings

Food adventure @ Man Mo, WTC

Depending on which side of the Yarra River you’re on, riverside dining options are either scant or plentiful. A recent addition to what I refer to as the quieter side of the river is Chinese/Malaysian and seafood-orientated restaurant, Man Mo, at the World Trade Centre. I was invited to attend a dinner at the restaurant, and I would like to thank Man Mo, Asset 1 and Harvey Publicity for this opportunity. 

image

One minute, you’re walking along the bank of the Yarra towards Man Mo, take a step through the doors and before you know it… you’re in China! With the black and red theme well defined by the darker wooden tones and hanging traditional lucky charm tassels, the sleek outfit of the restaurant screamed oriental. 

image

Scallop & egg lettuce leaf.

With the crispy rice flakes and silky egg pieces forming the backdrop for the fresh and well-cooked Western Australia scallop, all wrapped in a lettuce cup, the dish essentially tasted like a scallop fried rice in san choi bao form!

image

Baked crab shell - Blue swimmer crab meat with onion, bacon and mushroom, with a sprinkle of crumb and shredded cheese. 

Read More

Food adventure @ Din Tai Fung, take five.

image

Aaah Din Tai Fung, we meet again. It’s been too long! With cravings for their xiao long baos and chilli oil wontons, we made sure to schedule a visit on the first day of our visit to Sydney. 

image

Strawberry mocktail. Ordered by Mr. Awks, who refused to let me photograph him with the drink in hand haha!

image

Xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings). 

Read More

Food adventure @ Dumplings Plus, Highpoint

I’ve been to Highpoint maybe a handful of times since the opening of its new ‘high-end’ shopping area, and during each visit, it was impossible to miss the insanely long queues/crowding outside Dumplings Plus. Which got me wondering, why? Curiosity got the best of me during my last visit, and so I decided to check out the dumplings joint.   

image

Still quite full at 9pm (closing time of the shopping centre). 

image

The glass windows surrounding the preparation area offers diners and passers-by a full view of the hard work that goes into prepping the dumplings. 

Read More

GIANT STEAMER BASKET OF PRAWN DUMPLINGS. So much NOM.
Sneak peak from Zhou Zhou Bar launch party.

Food adventure @ Oriental Teahouse, South Yarra

If there’s two things that Oriental Teahouse is renown for, it’s for their abundance of teas and their serving of YUMCHA at NIGHT. Mid-week cravings for yum cha have resulted in afterwork visits to the Melbourne Central establishment on several occasions. But with a recent invitation to visit the South Yarra restaurant, I saw and experienced Oriental Teahouse in a whole new light… I would like to thank Oriental Teahouse and Harvey Publicity for the opportunity to visit Oriental Teahouse South Yarra.

image

Save for the location and the restaurant’s dimensions, the Chapel St restaurant looks similar to the one in Melbourne Central. 

image

Some refreshing chilled teas to start. 

image

Prawn Hash Browns - breakfast favourite of the Orient, with prawns and Asian greens. 

image

The hash brown tasted like a variation of the deep fried prawn and bean curd dish typically served at yum cha, but with more flavour and less flaky crunch. The fried pieces of kale added to the dish’s crispiness. 

image

Chicken Dumpling & Quinoa Salad - leafy greens with mixed quinoa, chicken dumplings, broad beans & red onion in tangy ginger dressing. 

This salad completely disproves the theory that you don’t make friends with salad. Hearty and full of flavour, as opposed to light or refreshing, the ginger presence in the oily dressing brought much aroma. My lips gradually became slick with oil, but this was easily forgiven thanks to the taste. Both the skin and filling of the chicken dumplings were soft and tender. 

image

Chilli Wagyu Dumplings - wagyu beef marinated in kaffir lime, served with homemade chilli sauce. 

image

Give me silky dumpling skin and chilli oil sauce, and I couldn’t care less about the filling. But for the record, the filling was very similar to the chicken dumplings in texture, with the natural taste of wagyu beef pairing well with the chilli sauce. 

image

image

Main share dishes, served with rice. 

image

China Fried Chicken Ribs - chicken ribs tossed in pepper, garlic salt & chilli.

Thanks to the abundance of seasoning, these ribs were packed with flavour. In fact, there were times when it seemed as though there was too much flavour, with the crispy crunchy batter coming across as very salty. Luckily we had some rice on hand.  

image

Confucius Says, “Eat Your Veggies” - a wholesome bowl of stir fried string beans, carrots, barley, black fungus, bok choy, edamame & baby corn studded with with goji berries. 

While the variety of veggies looked sensational on the plate, the taste was fairly average. 

image

Chinese Wonka Dumplings - fried sesame & sticky rice spheres filled with melted chocolate, served with vanilla ice cream. 

image

I’m not the biggest fan of Asian desserts, but may need to revise that mindset given the amazing sweets we were served… 

There was a great contrast between the flavour and texture of the crunch from the sesame shell and the chewy doughiness of the sticky rice layer. The oozy, melted chocolate brought much of the overall sweetness. The creamy vanilla ice cream was the cherry on top, tying together all the elements perfectly. 

image

Signature White Chocolate Dumplings - ‘amazeballs’ stuffed with white chocolate, topped with white chocolate & peanut praline. 

image

While I was already blown away by the sesame dessert, critical levels were reached with this signature dessert. Picture this: a condensed ball of white chocolate with a nutty explosion of peanuts and coconut. Again, each component worked wonderfully with one another. I can’t help but agree with their ‘amazeballs’ description. 

With many of the dishes bringing something new to the table (here’s looking at you, quinoa salad and dessert balls), there’s now even more reason to visit Oriental Teahouse asides from the late night yumcha fixes. Seriously… amazeballs… get on them! 

Disclosure: the opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.

Oriental Tea House on Urbanspoon

Oriental Tea House

455 Chapel St,

South Yarra, Victoria, 3141. 

(03) 9824 0128

http://www.orientalteahouse.com.au/

Snaps from Chinese New Years Eve dinner. Plenty of meat… and one plate of greens! 

Happy Year of the Horse, folks! 

Food adventure @ Shandong Mama

With some remaining cravings for all foods Asian since returning home from my European adventures, the sister and I decided to hit up a dumpling joint for dinner one weeknight. Having made quite a splash with diners and dumpling lovers since landing in Melbourne some time last year, visiting Shandong Mama was an obvious choice. 

image

Much like many of the restaurants in the same area, you take one look at the interior and know that you’re in the heart of Asia town. In other words, the interior was very simply decorated, with the occasional token red and gold Chinese trinket. 

image

Spring onion egg roll pancake. 

image

The edges were rather crispy, while the centre tasted like a cross between an Asian pancake and omelette. The let down of the dish was the flavour, which was quite bland and dull. Bring on the soy sauce and chilli! 

image

Dill-icious pan-fried pork dumplings - pork mince with fresh dill, spring onion, ginger, dried shrimps and sesame oil. 

image

There was such a strong lemon and dill presence in the flavouring of the overall dumpling that my taste buds expected the fishiness of salmon to follow. It took a while for my palate to adjust to the combination of pork, lemon and dill, but the playful flavour pairing was a refreshing change to the usual dumpling flavours. It may not be for everyone though; the sister didn’t enjoy this dish in the slightest.

With the wrapper left open, the juices from the filling are allowed to seep out, mix in the pan and consequently add to the flavouring of the dumpling wrapper. 

image

Boiled pork and cabbage dumplings. 

image

Expect a delicious blend of flavoursome pork mince and cabbage, wrapped in a silky light dumpling wrapper. What really won me over was the rich-flavoured soup inside the dumpling.

While noodles, rice and main dishes also make an appearance on their menu, it’s the dumplings that run the show at Shandong Mama. With no shortages of dumpling restaurants in Melbourne, Shandong Mama shakes up the game with their unique open fried dumplings and intriguing flavour combinations. 

Shandong Mama on Urbanspoon

Shandong Mama

Shop 7, Mid City Arcade

200 Bourke St,

Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. 

(03) 9650 3818

Food adventure @ Harbour Inn Chinese Restaurant

One thing that I hadn’t anticipated on getting out of my European travels was a massive craving for Asian food. After returning home, I spent my first day back with J, and in one of those spare moments where our food cravings actually synced, we found ourselves in Altona for a yumcha lunch at Harbour Inn. 

image

Don’t expect a typical Melbourne yumcha experience here. Cosier than many of the yumcha establishments around Melbourne (Gold Leaf, Shark Fin House and Plume to name a few), there are no trolleys here. Instead, orders are taken using a pen-to-paper system. Efficient in some ways, but it also means that the food takes longer to come out…

image

The fried…

image

While the texture of the pan-fried bean curd with prawn filling was crispy, it wasn’t as delicate as usual. 

image

The prawn rice roll wasn’t the steamed version I was expecting but came in the form of a crispy spring roll instead. I do love my steamed rolls (har cheong) but didn’t mind the fried version at Harbour Inn. 

image

The skin of the pan-fried pork dumpling was light and soft. Its filling tasted quite sweet, and paired well with the equally sweet soy sauce. 

image

The steamed… 

image

The steamed prawn dumplings were very generously sized. The taste was no different to the har gows from other yumcha restaurants. 

image

The skin of the steamed prawn and chive dumplings was spot-on gelatinous in texture, and again, the sizing was very generous. 

image

Unfortunately, the best was not saved for last. There was no soup explosion when I bit into the xiao long bao, and there was also too much meat filling, deviating from the correct ratio of filling to soup to skin.  

Based on what I had spied whilst lunching at Harbour Inn, the restaurant has established quite a local fan base. While our experience was okay, the 40 minute wait for the food was just too long. Doing the quick maths, some of that wait time could have been spent on driving out a little further to the usual yumcha locations. 

Harbour Inn Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Harbour Inn Chinese Restaurant

52 Pier St,

Altona, Victoria, 3018. 

(03) 9398 3725