Tag Archives: Asian

Flavours of Asia Market – Caulfield Racecourse + GIVEAWAY *Winner Announced*

Dearest Readers, did you know the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is on from the 27th of February to 15th of March 🙂 As a foodie it’s always an exciting time look at the events calendar and pick a couple to go to, food is always good and generally so much fun. Talking about events, I have one you might be interested in going this weekend and that is the Flavours of Asia Market Festival on the 28th of February (Saturday) at Caulfield Racecourse.

Flavours of Asia

 

This Saturday it’s not only going to be the Blue Diamond Stakes Day at Caulfield, but they are also going to host a Flavours of Asia market with a range of Asian food stalls which include, Wonderbao, Hammer & Tong and Hoy Pinoy 🙂 Mr Bao and I were lucky enough to be invited to the preview even last week and we were very impressed with everything.

Flavours of Asia

The night started with the lovely bartender making us the market’s featured cocktail named ‘Market Mule with a Kick’ cocktail which is a combination of vodka, ginger ale, lime & chilli.

'Market Mule with a Kick' cocktail

‘Market Mule with a Kick’ cocktail

I quite enjoyed the cocktail and found it to be quite sweet (the way I like things) and the hint of chilli made it even more refreshing. It probably could have had a little more vodka in it to give it that extra kick, but given my low tolerance in alcohol this was good for me.

Lechon Kwali - slow braised and crispy fried pork belly

Lechon Kwali – fried pork belly

We were then offered some canapés from Hoy Pinoy which is a Filipino BBQ and Street Food stall, I’ve had some of their skewers at the Queen Victoria Night Market, before so I knew this would also be amazing. This is the Lechon Kwali slow braised & crispy fried pork belly with buck, chilli and yemma sauce. It had one of the best crusts on pork belly I’ve had, but the meat itself remained soft and tender! Highly recommended dish!

Red and Black Rice Salad

Red and Black Rice Salad

Moving onto a palate cleanser, this is the Red and Black Rice salad from Hammer & Tong, which had green peaches and also pomegranates. It was probably a little too green for Mr Bao’s liking but haha I quite enjoyed it and think this would be perfect to take to work for lunch.

BBQ Pork Bao

BBQ Pork Bao

You should always except to see Bao (Buns) at an Asia food market haha so there was definitely Pork Bao’s from Wonderbao. It’s been a while since I’ve visited Wonderbao the dough was still just as fluffy and filling was equally tasty.

Pork Bao

Pork Bao

Mr Bao was the photographer that night and he wanted to take a photo of the filling to show you ~ As you can see has generous juicy BBQ Pork filling.

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Hoy Pinoy

While we were enjoying the canapés and cocktails, we started smelling charcoal and saw on the far left corner of the racetrack was a lovely lady from Hoy Pinoy making their famous skewers. Can’t wait to devour these!

Wouldn't it be nice to have a skewer grill at home?

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a skewer grill at home?

I’m not sure I would use this skewer grill much at home…but just the look and smell of it made nudge Mr Bao and tell him we should buy one and have a skewer party hehe 🙂

Inihaw na Baboy - Pork Belly Skewers

Inihaw na Baboy – Pork Belly Skewers

We started with the Inihaw na Baboy – Pork Belly Skewers with a banana ketchup glaze, it can get messy eating these skewers but it’s worth it. I’m slightly addicted to that sweet sticky banana ketchup glaze and those crispy bits.

Inihaw na Manok - Chicken Skewers

Inihaw na Manok – Chicken Skewers

Even though we enjoyed the pork belly skewers, the Inihaw na Manok chicken skewers in traditional soy glaze I think it’s very similar to chicken adobo and was the clear winner for me. Not sure if it was the succulent chicken or simply the soy glaze but it was fantastic.

Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao

Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao

I have to admit I was already getting a little full by this stand, but there was more food coming, next we moved inside and were each given a Braised Pork Belly Gua Bao and another bao with fried tofu. It also came with picked mustard, coriander, cucumber, picked carrots and crushed peanuts. The gua bao’s already had hoisin sauce and all we had to do was add the condiments ourselves. I really liked this idea as I don’t like it when there’s too much picked mustard.

Andrew from Hammer & Tong

Andrew from Hammer & Tong

We then met Andrew Ward from Hammer & Tong, we weren’t allowed to just sit and wait for our next course 😛 we were asked to get up and learn from the Master how to make their ever popular Soft Shell Crab burger!

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I have always enjoyed the soft shell crab burgers at Hammer & Tong, the crab was always crispy with a very light batter and not covered in heavy dough. I found out that night the secret was actually tapioca flour as opposed to wheat flour! Andrew said they can make up to 10 burgers in 3 minutes at the night markets!

Soft Shell Crab Burger

Soft Shell Crab Burger

End result is this delicious brioche burger with freshly fried soft shell crab, salad and some mayo delicious! Another highly recommended dish you must try at the Flavours of Asia market or at their cafe in Fitzroy.

 

Ice-cream Gua Bao by Creame Supreme

Ice-cream Gua Bao by Creame Supreme

Creme Supreme is the new bao venture by Wonderbao where they’ve decided to come ice-cream and baos together to make dessert buns. I didn’t expect the gua bao (buns) to be deep fried to a nice golden colour, sandwiched in-between is black sesame ice-cream, crushed peanuts and drizzle of syrup. It reminded me of a fried donut which essentially is fried bread dough 🙂

I really enjoyed the preview event and wished we didn’t have other commitments so we could go again! To enter Caulfield Racecourse it will be $20 admission fee for adults, $10 for Concession and free entry for kids 13 for more information check out their website here. I’ve recommended my manager and colleague and they’re both going so hopefully they’ll enjoy the food as much as we did!

UPDATE UPDATE! I’ve just been notified I can offer 1 Reader two VIP Tickets to the Flavours of Asia Market with your own Picnic Suite!

To enter this giveaway
– Leave a comment and tell me have you tried Ice-cream Gua Bao (buns) before? 
– For more entries please ‘Like’ me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter ~ If you’ve already done that please let me now! Thank you!
– Giveaway ends on the 27th February (Friday 5pm) 
– You may reenter daily, one entry per day
– Winners will be chosen by me personally and announced on this blog and notified via email on the 27th February and tickets emailed to winner.
– Open only to all Melbourne residents (Sorry International Readers!)

WINNER ANNOUNCED!

Congratulations Gary James, I have emailed the VIP Tickets to you!

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Daisy@Nevertoosweet and Mr Bao attended Flavours of Asia as guests of Melbourne Racing Club and Haystacc PR

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New Friend Leaving – Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu

Mr Bao laughed and rolled his eyes, when I told him, “I’m going to start my blog post with the following statement – I am a social butterfly”. I’m not sure what’s so funny about this statement, because it’s very true! I love socialising, meeting new people, making new friends:) Fellow Wong (that’s our nickname for each other since we have the same surname haha)  is one of these new friends I have made, we met through another friend last year and have kept in touch since then. If it wasn’t because of a busy work/life schedule and distance of where we live, I’m sure we would met up more. 

Lucy Liu

Anyhow, the sad news is Fellow Wong is relocating again, he is originally from Sydney, this time he is moving to Singapore. It’s a great move for his career and he’s definitely someone who likes a new challenge so we’re very happy for him, however, at the same time it’s sad to see a new friend leave. There’s a few more weeks before he moves, but we wanted to catch up a few more times. That’s how we ended up having lunch at Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar, which is the new venture from Michael Lambie (The Smith, Circa), Smith Borg and Zac Cibbes. 

Kirin Apple Cider

I had a look at the menu before booking, and it gave me the impression of so modern Asian with Thai and Korean fusion. It seems to be on the rise with the number of modern Asian restaurants in Melbourne. The boys both shared a Kirin Apple cider, I didn’t know that Kirin produced ciders because I’ve always associated them with beer hehe I had a sip and found it to be quite crisp, but not too dry. 

Koh Tao Cooler - Apple, honey, apple juice, crushed ice top with soda $8

Koh Tao Cooler – Apple, honey, apple juice, crushed ice top with soda $8

I got a mocktail the Koh Tao Cooler with Apple, honey, apple juice, crushed ice and topped with soda. Really enjoyed this refreshing drink and paired quite well with our dishes with such rich flavours.

Freshly shucked oysters with red nam jim sauce $4 each

Oysters with red nam jim sauce $4 each

As a little starter we tried a freshly shucked oyster with red nam jim sauce. Haven’t had it with nam jim sauce before, found the slightly sourness helped bring out some of the sweetness from the oyster.

Barramundi & Scampi Dumplings with chilli, ginger and spring onions $14

Barramundi & Scampi Dumplings with chilli, ginger and spring onions $14

We then shared these Barramundi and scampi dumpling with chilli, ginger and spring onions. I’m usually sceptical of fish dumplings as they’re often quite fishy, but I was very impressed with these dumpling. They had a decent amount of filling and was actually quite tasty! Especially with the chilli sauce!

Crispy Pork Bun $8

Crispy Pork Bun $8

We then ordered a couple of buns to share, this is the Crispy Pork Bun with spicy kimchi and kewpie mayo. It’s so nice to see that Kewpie mayo is used more widely now and not only available in Japanese groceries. I’m addicted to it haha 🙂 The bun itself was soft and fluffy, however, I found the crackly wasn’t as crispy as we would have liked and found the pork to be slightly bland.

BBQ Lap Cheong Hot Dog $8

BBQ Lap Cheong Hot Dog $8

This was my favourite! BBQ Lap Cheong ‘Hot Dog’ in a toasted milk bun with wombok coleslaw. A yum cha you can find Lap Cheong buns but they’re definitely not as indulgent as this one with that wombok coleslaw which I’m pretty sure has egg and more kewpie mayo! I really enjoyed this and would recommend you trying it!

Rare Breed Sticky Pork Belly $20

Rare Breed Sticky Pork Belly $20

This reminds me very much like that signature pork dish they have at Taxi Kitchen . I did find $20 for only 2 pieces of pork belly to be on the dearer side. It was also served a young coconut salad and red chilli. Unfortunately, we were a little underwhelmed as the pork was a little tough and once again under seasoned and not very sticky.

Koren Fried Chicken Ribs $14

Korean Fried Chicken Ribs $14

But then I was blown away again by the Korean Fried Chicken Ribs with kewpie mayo 🙂 The ribs were not greasy with the flesh still tender, it was slightly spicy probably because of the marinate, and dipped into Kewpie mayo perfect!

Korean Style Crispy Pork Hock $38

Korean Style Crispy Pork Hock $38

Just in case I forgot to mention, the menu here is designed for sharing as most places are now! We’ve had a fair amount of food, so we decided to only get one dish from the ‘Larger’ section of the menu. We decided on the Korean Style Crispy Pork Hock with apple kimchi salad, pancakes and hoisin sauce.

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I would describe this dish like it a peking duck, but instead you replace the duck with pork! It’s quite simple, you hack into the pork hock, rip pieces off it, wrap it into the pancakes add a bit of the salad. Here comes some action shots for you!

Lucy Liu

Step 1

Lucy Liu

Step 2

Step 3

Step 3

Oh yeah last step is to wrap it and put into your mouth!!! We all really enjoyed this, the pork hock was tender with great smokey flavour, with a drizzle of hoisin sauce to give it some sweetness and the green apple for crunch! It’s also a very generous serving that could easily feed 3 to 4 people! I also liked the super thin paper like pancakes which means it’s less filling and you can eat more of it 🙂

Chocolate Dulce De Leche with blood orange foam $15

Chocolate Dulce De Leche with blood orange foam $15

If I had it my way, I would’ve forced the boys to have 3 desserts! But they were too stuffed, so I settled for only 2! Starting with the Chocolate Dulce De Leche with blood orange foam. I’m a little perplexed because I really liked the bottom layer with the dulce de leche, how sweet and rich it was. But then I’m really not a fan of blood orange, while it was the opposite for the boys they liked the foam more because it wasn’t as sweet 😛

Crispy Banana Fritters $15

Crispy Banana Fritters $15

To make it easier for sharing, we got the Crispy Banana Fritters with coconut ice-cream and syrup. The batter in which the banana was coated in was thicker than I expected and not as crispy. Felt like a modern take and wasn’t as oily as the traditional one. Coconut ice-cream was creamy and nice with a sprinkle of toasted shredded coconut.

It was such a great catch up with Fellow Wong and as a side story, I’ve already introduced him to my good friend Ms S who will take care of him when he lands in Singapore. See I’m such a good friend haha I go to great lengths to take care of them. Back to Lucy Liu, I think it had some hits, but also some misses. I think some dishes they executed so well, however, lacked some flavour in some others. However, if you’re looking for a new place to have lunch or dinner with friends who take bookings, I think Lucy Liu is a good option. Plus the name is quirky 😛

Lucy Liu Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

The Booth Delivered – Menulog + Giveaway

As much as Mr Bao and I like going out and I love any excuse to dress up, put some make up on (sometimes perhaps too much lol) and head out for date night. Some days when I work from home, I literally roll out of bed in my pyjamas and will log onto my computer and stay in my PJ’s all day, with no make up on and put no effort into my look. And on days like these I would usually ask Mr Bao to get us takeaway for dinner. But then there’s another issue, sometimes when I tell Mr Bao what I want he’ll accidentally forget (yes men) or order something else because he thinks I’ll like… But I think I’ve found a new solution for this 🙂 And that is to use an online takeaway website instead like Menulog.

Menulog

I was given a $30 voucher to try the services provided by Menulog, I’ve used another similar website before and found the interface to be more or less the same. You type in your postcode/suburb and it will generate a list of restaurants who take orders and deliver in your area. I let out a little squeal when I saw ‘The Booth’ on the list, because it is one of my favourite Taiwanese restaurants in Melbourne! As you all know my love for Taiwan!

Placing the order

Placing the order

I was really impressed with the menu online, it practically had everything you could order in the restaurant and at the same price. There is a $5 delivery free which I think is reasonable to cover for petrol and time used to deliver the meal. It’s quite easy to navigate, you choose what you want, it has the price on the right, press the ‘+’ button and it will be automatically be placed in the panel on the right and when you’re done, press ‘Place Your Order.’

Pay for order

The next page is where you enter your delivery details and pay for the order. I really liked the function where you can choose when you want the delivery to be sent, so I can order my dinner at lunch time at work and ask for it to be delivered at a specific time.

Menulog

We asked the delivery to be sent ‘Now’ and we were immediately sent an SMS confirmation with an estimated delivery time of about 45 minutes. It arrived in about an hour which is slightly longer than we expected, but knowing how busy The Booth gets every night, we will probably order earlier in advance next time.

Let the Feast begin!

I admit, I probably over ordered, but this is about the same amount we would order when we go to the restaurant and I really do like their food 🙂

Green Tea with pearls $4.7 and Matcha Milkshake $6

Green Tea with pearls $4.7 and Matcha Milkshake $6

Let’s start with the drinks ~ Mr Bao ordered the Green tea with pearls one of his favourite bottle drinks and I obviously got a Matcha Milkshake. I’ve had this at The Booth before and it can be a little inconsistent at times, sometimes too runny or milky. But they got it spot on this time with good matcha flavour and smooth texture. Who would’ve thought it was possible to get a matcha milkshake delivered to your door step 🙂

Chicken Wrap $9

Chicken Wrap $9

We shared a Chicken Wrap as a little appetizer, if you’ve haven’t had this type of Taiwanese wrap before, think of it as a Taiwanese pancake very similar texture as a Roti but a little more doughy with a crispy layer on the outside. The filling is slices of chicken with a sweet sauce similar with Hoisen sauce. One of my favourite dishes from The Booth, the pancake was not as crispy as I’d like, but I understand because it was placed in a box and the steam would have created moisture and softened it.

Special chicken rice $9.5

Special chicken rice $9.5

For my main, I got another usual Special Chicken Rice which is deep fried drumlets with rice, tomato sauce, fried egg and veggies. It’s a pretty affordable all this for only $9.5. They used a paper bag for the fried chicken which arrived piping hot and still crispy and it tasted the same as it does in the restaurant.

Three Cup Chicken Rice $9

Three Cup Chicken Rice $9

I’m not sure if Mr Bao has ordered the Three Cup Chicken rice before, but he felt like it that night. For those who don’t know Three Cup Chicken is given the name because it uses equal quantities of sesame oil, Chinese rice wine, and soy sauce. The chicken is then braised in these ingredients to make it into a stew. We both really enjoyed this dish and thought the chicken had great flavour and probably a more ‘takeaway’ safe dish to order, because it doesn’t change the texture or flavour at all. 

Taiwanese Meat Stick Soup $6.5

Taiwanese Meat Stick Soup $6.5

It was a little chilly that night so Mr Bao and I decided to order the Taiwanese Meat Stick soup as well. Taiwanese soups are generally thicker than the Canton style soups, we’re use to drinking in Hong Kong. This soup was full of Taiwanese meat balls, bamboo sticks, woodear, mushroom and radish ~

Sweet Soya Bean Curd with Pearls $6

Sweet Soya Bean Curd with Pearls $6

For those who have visited Taiwan you would know the Taiwanese love their desserts and The Booth do a great job in replicating these dishes. They offer the snowthies which is like a crushed iced dessert but the ice-cream is shaved so lightly that it has the texture of snow. Being realistic this is very hard to be delivered, but I was impressed with the selection of deserted they offered. I chose the Sweet Soya Bean curd because it’s been a while since I’ve had that and paired it with pearls. It was the perfect way to end our meal and night.

Overall, we enjoyed our experience ordering through Menulog, it was quick, easy and most importantly we got our Taiwanese food fix without having to go out 😉 If you haven’t tried ordering takeaway and having it delivered before, I would really recommend you trying because we all deserve a break once in a while especially working mothers! I have so much respect for you!

Now thanks to Menulog, one lucky Reader is going to have the chance to win a $40 voucher to this service out for themselves 🙂

The Booth on Urbanspoon

To enter this giveaway
– Leave a comment and tell me how often you order takeaway and have you tried Taiwanese food before?
– For more entries please ‘Like’ me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter ~ If you’ve already done that please let me now! Thank you!
– Giveaway ends on the 7th June (Sunday) 
– You may reenter daily, one entry per day
– Winners will be chosen by me personally and announced on this blog and notified via email on the 8th June 
– Open only to all Australian residents (Sorry International Readers!)

Congratulations to Ben Travia you have won a $40 coupon to Menulog!

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I will be emailing you with the voucher and details 🙂 Thanks again for entering in the Giveaway!

Daisy@Nevertoosweet and Mr Bao received a $30 voucher from Menulog the remainder of the bill was independently paid for. 

Beef Noodle Master – Yong Kang, Taipei

Yong Kang Beef Noodle1

Even though I go to Taipei regularly, I still manage to find new and old eateries I’ve never been before. Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)is one of these places, it is one of the most traditional and well-known places in Taipei for beef noodles. It’s a very old school looking store and probably hadn’t been renovated since it opened, with tables and stools filling the restaurant to the brim. They open at 11am, and we got there at around half past, already there was a queue forming and we were told that it will be a 15 to 20 minute wait.

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We were given a small round table and shared with another party of 3, you don’t have a choice here. You either share a table or you’ll have to wait again for your own and they’re most likely not going to give it to you 🙂 This is quite a common practice in Asia ~ The menu is all written on the wall in Chinese, which is a little concerning because I’m not sure how non-Chinese speaking people will be able to order what they want. But perhaps if you ask the waiters or waitresses they should be able to help you.

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD)

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD) each

We started off with some cold side dishes, which you can see in the photo above, you go to the counter and tell the waitress what you’d like she’ll scoop it onto a plate and you will need to bring it back to your table. From the top left, we got a soy braised octopus, braised mung and also cucumber with konnyaku jelly. The octopus and cucumber had a nice hint of spiciness to it and these were great starter.

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Within a couple of minutes the beef noodles we ordered arrived. They come in two sizes but we decided to go the small because we knew we’d be eating all day 😛 For those who are unfamiliar with Taiwanese beef noodles, its very similar to the ones made in China, they both use beef brisket and perhaps tendons. What makes Taiwanese beef noodles special is the soy sauce used to make the broth and also the spiciness along with the herbs such as star anise used. I personally prefer this Taiwanese version as flavours are stronger. Anyhow, back to these famous beef noodles from Yong Kong, they certainly lived up to their name! All three of us were so impressed by the tenderness of the beef, the al dente noodle but most importantly was the broth! Happy to declare probably one of the best I have up until now 🙂

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

My other sister Bianca can’t really eat spicy food, so she opted for the beef noodles with a clear broth instead. There was definitely a contrast between the two beef noodles, as the clear broth the beef flavour is more prominent and becomes the hero, as opposed to the spicy broth in the other one. The beef didn’t feel as tender but wasn’t tough and the clear broth was nonetheless tasty. I think both beef noodles were delicious really depends what you prefer 🙂

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Because it was our first meal of the day, we were pretty hungry. We decided try the wonton in chilli sauce as well. One of my favourite ways to eat wontons! A slight disappointment compared to the beef noodles, as I found the filling a little bland and expected the chilli sauce to be a lot spicier.

When I was doing research about Yong Kang Beef Noodles I found their website which is all in Chinese but the URL for their website is ‘Beef Noodle Master’ 😛 Find the name a little tacky but their noodles are everything but the best ~ really enjoyed our meal at Yong Kang, only advice is to get there early and go with an empty stomach!

永康牛肉麵館

No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2,
Jīnshān South Rd, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening times: 11am-9:30pm
PH: +866 02-2351-1051

Finally Arrived – Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

I’m sure long-time Readers will know my love for Taiwan 🙂 I go quite regularly and at least once a year I’m not sure what is it but I really like the food, people and culture there. That’s why whenever a new Taiwanese franchise ventures into Melbourne I get extremely excited, because they satisfy my constant cravings for Taiwanese food.

Hot Star on Elizabeth St

Hot Star on Elizabeth St

In the past year we’ve seen Chatime and Gongcha bubble tea outlets opening in Melbourne, this time it’s Hot Star Large Fried Chicken! I have shared with you how much I like their XXL large piece of fried chicken in this previous post. So you can imagine I was thrilled that they were opening in Melbourne. Their first store opened a couple of months ago on the busy Swanston St, I have been meaning to try but have heard the long queues so wanted to wait until it died down a little. Then last week I got the good news that Hot Star was opening another store on Elizabeth St once again next to Gong Cha.

Hotstar Melb

Mr Bao and I went down to Hot Star at around 7:30pm and was very lucky to find parking right in front of the store. It looked very similar to the store they have in Hong Kong, where it is an actual store. Compared to the ones in Taiwan night markets the fried chicken is sold at food stalls. We met Prima the store manager that and was given a tour of the narrow store.

Hotstar1

It was really interested to see the fried chicken cooked in front of us, Prima explained that they take quality control very seriously. The staff have been flown to Taiwan to learn how to marinate the chicken, coat it in the special batter and deep fry to make it crispy delicious but not too oily or greasy. All ingredients except for the chicken breast (they source locally) the rest are imported from Taiwan to hopefully replicate the same taste and flavour in Melbourne.

Hotstar2

The fried chicken at Hot Star is renown for their huge size, but because it is so thin it only takes about 5 minutes for it to be cooked in the deep fryer. It is then placed on the drying rack where it will air dry and crisp up before another flavoured powder is sprinkled over it.

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The most popular and my favourite powder would be the hot chilli powder, but they do offer plum powder as well for those who like it more mild ~

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Our dinner on Friday night as a XXL fried chicken each and a cup of Gongcha. I can’t think of a better drink to pair with the Hot Star friend chicken, I chose the Milk Tea with pearls while Mr Bao got the Milk Tea with Honey and pearls.

Hot Star Fried Chicken $8

Mr Bao opted for the fried chicken with only salt and pepper and not of one of the flavoured powders. We were both so impressed of the taste and texture of the fried chicken, I honestly think it is on par with the ones in Taiwan. Except the flavour of the chicken is a little different, as Prima suggests the type of chicken and how they’re bred is quite different in Taiwan compared to Australia.

Spicy Fred Chicken $8

Spicy Fred Chicken $8

This fried chicken with the spicy hot powder totally made my day and took me immediately back to all those times I’ve visited the night markets! Mr Bao and I enjoyed the fried chicken so much we didn’t even bother talking to each other until we finished and he wanted to go get another piece hehe

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The Hot Star fried chicken is renown for being super large at least 29cm long it was definitely bigger than my face! I have heard some criticism from people that it is quite expensive $8AUD compared to $55TWD (not sure if prices have increased). You get a can of softdrink for $9.9AUD, I do agree that it is quite expensive compared to Taiwan. However, I don’t find the price to be unreasonable given the size of the fried chicken and the fact that we don’t have to fly to Taiwan to get Hot Star… I’m happy 🙂

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Mr Bao and I were so obsessed we actually drove back to Hot Star last night at around 9:30pm and they were already sold out! We didn’t expect them to be so popular 😦 will need to go back another time. I really urge all Fried Chicken fans no matter if its Southern Fried Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken or good old KFC, you need to try Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Hot Star! Hope you will like it as much as we do!

Hot Star Fried Chicken (Elizabeth St) 
429 Elizabeth St
Melbourne CBD
PH: 0481 134 291
Hot Star/Gong Cha on Urbanspoon

Daisy and Mr Bao@Nevertoosweet visited as guests of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken and Harvey PR

Dill-licious Dumplings – ShanDong Mama

Dumplings, I’ve grown up eating them 🙂 On my Dad’s side our family originated from Shanghai so we eat dumplings like Xiao Long Bao, probably one of the most known dumplings ~ But technically they’re supposed to be little buns because Bao means buns. While on my Mum’s side they’re from the Canton reason so the dumpling they eat are more like dimsims and Shu Mai are definitely my number 1 favourite!

Shan Dong Mama1

But I’ve actually never heard of Shan Dong dumplings, and didn’t know that they had their own version of dumplings ~ I first heard about Shan Dong Mama from Ms I-Hua’s blog post about them a few months back and have been dying to go. Laziness got the best of me, because Shan Dong Mama is in the shopping centre in China town, parking is a nightmare and I try to avoid that area at all costs 😛

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Finally a few weeks ago, we so happened to be in the city catching up with Yue and they once again came to me for suggestions and I immediately said “ShanDong Mama”, especially since they were driving hahaha I called up before but was told that they didn’t take bookings.

Fortunately, they weren’t too busy on a Friday night and we immediately got a table. If you’re a frequent guest of Chinese restaurants you will immediately recognise the bright lights, brown tables and chairs and also super quick service at ShanDong Mama hahaha it’s all about serving customers efficiently so they’ll eat and leave 😀

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We flicked through the menu and found a good range of dishes and not just dumplings, it also offered side dishes, snacks, rice and noodle dishes but of course no dessert 😦 We had a bit of a laugh at when we saw this ‘translation’ on the menu ‘Yuro’ and ‘Daryl’, we suspect it’s because it’s too hard for people to pronounce the Chinese translations.

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As an appetizer we ordered the homemade smoked spiced fish, it’s a dish that my grandma makes at home all the time, but I know there are many versions of it and uses different types of fish. I’m not really sure what fish this was but for $8, we thought it was a very generous serving. If you haven’t had Chinese smoked fish before, the fish pieces are marinated in Chinese spice such as ginger, Chinese rice wine, soy sauce, star anise and then deep fried in peanut oil. It is then tossed in sticky sweet sauce very similar to those used for the marinade 🙂 This one didn’t feel like it was deep fried instead it was pan fried then covered in sauce. Either way it was quite good, even though Mr Bao thought the sauce was a little sweet.

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Initially we wanted the Daryl, but they had sold out so we opted for the Yuro. Still a good choice, with noodles and fish pieces and lightly scrambled eggs through a thick sauce that they called gravy ~ We really liked the flavour of the fish and the chewiness from the black fungus. The gravy was quite thick and I think we would’ve preferred if it was thinner and more like a noodle soup dish instead.

Melbourne Dumplings $13.8 - Diced seafood and chicken mince lemon rind olive oil parsley and garlic

Melbourne Dumplings $13.8 – Diced seafood and chicken mince lemon rind olive oil parsley and garlic

Wanting to try both steamed and pan-fried dumplings, we started off with the Melbourne Dumplings steamed. I was very curious to what filling it will have and how will it reflect ‘Melbourne’ 😀 Turns out it was a combination of diced seafood, chicken mince with lemon zest, olive oil, parsley and garlic. I liked the diced seafood with prawns, calamari, mussels fish and also chicken but I found the lemon zest and parsley to be a little out of place but still tasted nice.

Dill-icious Pork Fried Dumplings $12.8 - finely chopped pork mince and fresh dill, spring onions, ginger, dried shrimps and a dash of sesame oil for extra flavour

Dill-icious Pork Fried Dumplings $12.8 – finely chopped pork mince and fresh dil

Another funny name for dumplings the ‘Dill-icious’ pork fried dumplings hehe the filling had pork mince, fresh dill, spring onions, ginger, dried shrimps and a sesame oil. The dill really gave the dumplings extra flavour along with the dried shrimps and sesame oil, was the favourite dumplings of the night.

Prawn, Black fungus and chives dumpling $12.8

Prawn, Black fungus and chives dumpling $12.8

We also tried the prawn, black fungus and chives dumplings, it tasted a little similar to the Dill-licious dumplings, we liked the black fungus and the replacement of dill with chives instead ~

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Left – Prawn dumplings Right – Dill-licious Pork Dumplings

Both dumplings looked very similar so thought I’ll take a photo of them both together to show you what the filling looks like inside ~ The dumpling skin was a good consistency and not too thick, I also liked the  crispy bottom.

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That sums our my first experience trying Shan Dong dumplings and it was great ~ We all really enjoyed the dumplings here. I also agree with I-Hua that because there was so much flavour in the dumplings itself, unlike Shanghainese dumplings, we didn’t have to use any sauce like vinegar and soy sauce 🙂

Shandong Mama is definitely worth recommending to those who like dumplings and want to try something a little different 🙂 It’s also a bonus when reasonably priced, with all this food it cost about $22 per person, just don’t forget it’s a cash only restaurant ~

Shandong Mama on Urbanspoon

Whirlwind Trip to Singapore – Maxwell Food Centre

For Readers who follow me on Instagram and Twitter you may have noticed a few weeks ago, Mr Bao and I made a whirlwind trip to Singapore. I know it may sound a little extreme to go to Singapore for only 4 days and 3 nights, but I don’t have much annual leave left and really wanted to go away somewhere outside of Australia 🙂 Even though it seems like a super short time, we managed to meet so many people, eat at so many places it’s quite ridiculous! I think we’ve outdone ourselves 😛 And now i’m super excited about sharing our adventures with you ~

Garden By The Bar, Singapore

Garden By The Bar, Singapore

We caught an early flight from Melbourne and arrived at Singapore at around 5pm, we quickly checked into our hotel (Hotel Ibis Beecoolen) and immediately jumped into a cab to our first stop Maxwell Food Centre. We were intending to go to Tiong Bahru Market but the taxi driver suggested that we go to Maxwell instead as it was closer to us. Someone has once told me, taxi drivers are one of the best tour guides as they consistently drive through the city, so we took his advice.

Maxwell

As we walked in, Maxwell Food Centre reminded me of some of the food courts that can be found in other Asian cities, but it was very clean clean and organised. No wonder every comments that Singapore is super clean. Even though the food centre isn’t air conditioned it does have fans to keep patrons cool.

Before coming to Singapore I had bugged all my Singapore friends Yue, Lianne, Siok and Beth to give me their recommendations of where to eat so I knew the famous Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice was at Maxwell. But unfortunately, when we went I think it had already closed and we didn’t get to try 😦 Doesn’t matter because we found Heng Heng Hainanese Chicken Rice instead ~

Hainanese Chicken rice $4.5SGD ($3.7AUD)

Hainanese Chicken rice $4.5SGD ($3.7AUD)

I couldn’t believe that all this food was only $4.5SGD which was an equivalent of $3.7 Australia dollars! We can barely buy a drink with that here in Melbourne! Mr Bao was super hungry and got extra rice for 50c more ~ The chicken was boneless but more importantly it was tender and succulent covered in the essential soy sauce.

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What blew me away was the chicken soup, it had such intense chicken flavour, I can just imagine the number of chickens that have boiled in the soup and the chicken bones added to give it even more flavour. This was a new experience to me, because I find the chicken soup in Melbourne to be very diluted and often just a combination of water, salt and even worse MSG. While the rice was more on the firmer side, each and every grain was flavoured with chicken stock as well. I’m not really even a rice eater but even I had more than usual ~ I also couldn’t get enough of that sticky dark soy sauce which was distinctively sweet, have never been able to find it here 😦
Oyster omelette $8SGD ($6.5AUD)

Oyster omelette $8SGD ($6.5AUD)

Next was the oyster omelette, I’m not really sure if this is a Singaporean dish but it was very similar to the Teochew oyster omelete I’ve had before in Hong Kong. It was made to order and piping hot, a lot of egg yolks must have been used as it had a strong egg flavour and also had little oyster mixed through. It was most delicious when dipped in the sambal sauce.

Curry Laksa $3SGD ($2.45AUD)

Curry Laksa $3SGD ($2.45AUD)

Once again I was in disbelief when Mr Bao told me that this bowl of laksa was only $3SGD! How is it possible to make something so delicious yet sell it so cheap 😀 The coconut curry soup was so much stronger and spicier than the ones I’ve had and also liked the addition of clams instead of chicken. We also liked the fish balls as we found them be firmer and with more flavour.

Bee Hoon Noodles

Bee Hoon Noodles

I also realised that the noodles they use is quite different here in Singapore. Thanks to Instagram, I found out that this type of noodles is called Bee Hoon and in Singapore nearly all curry laksas use these noodles. While Malaysians will use a mixture of rice vermicelli and egg noodles and that’s the type that I’ve been eating in Melbourne 🙂 I can’t really say which type I like more because the bee hoon has a more ‘bouncier’ texture and I quite liked that ~

Satay $6SGD ($4.9AUD) Pork, chicken, beef 60c and lamb 70c

Satay $6SGD ($4.9AUD) Pork, chicken, beef 60c and lamb 70c

Still feeling hungry we ordered a plate of satays, once again great value. Pork, chicken and beef for only 60c each and lamb satays were 70c. I couldn’t really tell which one was which hahaha but they all tasted good to me, they’re also smaller than the ones I’ve had before, it was like one bite per skewer. The satays would not have been the same without the curry peanut sauce 😀
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Hahaha because it was so hot, Mr Bao was sweating like a dog so he needed lots and lots of drinks to cool down 😛
Sugar Cane Juice $

Sugar Cane Juice $1.5SGD ($1.2AUD)

Starting with the Sugar Cane juice, we were so excited to see this on sale as it’s becoming hard to find these freshly squeezed sugar cane juice in Hong Kong. It was sweet but not sickly so and definitely helped quench Mr Bao’s thirst and cool him down a little.

Young Green Coconut $2.8SGD ($2.3AUD)

Young Green Coconut $2.8SGD ($2.3AUD)

I’ve never seen such a HUGE coconut! But then realised it’s a young green coconut so it hasn’t matured, I found the juice to resemble very much like water but with subtle taste of coconut. I think I prefer the young coconuts as the juice is much sweeter 😛 Having said that the flesh I had lots of fun scooping out the flesh from this young green coconut!

Tea tarik $2SGD ($1.65AUD)

Tea tarik $2SGD ($1.65AUD)

I thought that was enough drinks, but Mr Bao was still thirsty so we grabbed a Teh Tarik from Soon Li Coffee, but was a little taken back when the owner was quite rude and gave us a hot Teh Tarik when we asked for a cold one. The Teh Tarik itself was quite good but it wasn’t as strong as I expected and was slightly watery as not as creamy but was still nice.

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Almond jelly and lychee on shaved ice $2.5SGD ($2.05AUD)

Yes I had actually planned to have desserts after dinner with friends…but I couldn’t leave without a shaved ice of some sort 😛 Mr Bao said he couldn’t find me Ais Kachang maybe because it’s a Malaysian dessert? So he came back to the table with this almond jelly with lychee on shaved ice. The almond jelly was quite firm and very strong almond flavour while lychees were very sweet. The shaved ice was also sweetened with a sugar syrup. Perfect way to end my first meal in Singapore 😀

If you stayed around the China town area, we would definitely recommend you visiting Maxwell Food Centre as it’s a great place to get a taste of local Singaporean hawker foods. You’ll find yourself leaving with a very full and satisfied stomach and only having to spend $10 or so Singaporean dollars!

Maxwell Food Centre 
1 Kadayanallur Street, Singapore 069184

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