Friday, December 24, 2010

Eating Out: Wong's Lucky Bar 旺旺幸运吧 [921 whitehorse road box hill Box Hill, 3128]

$98 4 person LOBSTER BANQUET or $28 a pound. I think this is still valid.
Lobster on egg noodles
One lobster. The meat was burning hot. Firm but not rubbery and flavoursome. The lobster was pretty fresh. Overall it wasn't bad except for one minor thing. The sauce was quite thin and didn't coat the noodles and lobster very well. Seasoning was perfect. Plenty to share around for 4 people.

Pork Ribs in Spicy Salt
Crunchy batter which was a little too thick in my opinion. Also could have had a little bit more spiciness to it and more meat.
Stir Fried Seasonal Vegetable (Bok Choy when we went)
Very large serving of vegetables. Crunchy and juicy. 
Hainanese Chicken
My favourite dish and also their signature dish. Large amounts of meat. Smooth, silky and the skin still has that springy crunch if you get what I mean. The chilli sauce wasn't too chilli and was quite sour whilst the spring onion sauce had a little msg or chicken powder or something similar added to it. Hainanese chicken rice is only $6.90 here.
Stir Fried Beef with Bitter Melon $12.80
We added this on top of the banquet meal as we had 5 people. Wasn't too bad except for once again a runny sauce which the stir fry bathed in. Good thing was the bitter melon wasn't bitter at all.

Food: 8/10 Overall it was pretty average chinese food. Hainanese chicken was above average. 
Service/Environment: 6/10 Wait staff were stretched to the limit and there were 4 or 5 wait staff for a classroom sized restaurant. Not the cleanest place and very cramped. It is insanely busy at night.
Value: 8.5/10 The lobster here is probably on of the cheapest in Melbourne at the moment. Good quality. Except other dishes are pretty average. Hainanese chicken rice is probably one of the cheapest as well, but don't expect the best.

Verdict? Probably only for cheap lobster, hainanese chicken rice and the stir fried pipis. YUMMY
Wong's lucky bar on Urbanspoon

Eating Out: Blok M [380 Little Bourke St Melbourne, 3000]

Originally planned to go to DonToo for ramen but found out that ramen is only available for dinner. Very disappointed after trying to find the place which only has a opaque A4 sized logo in front window. Therefore K仔 and I decided to just walk down a random street and pick out a restaurant whose cuisine is not so common. Although we walked past many japanese restaurants which I wanted to try (love jap food) we decided on a little Indonesian place called Blok M. We then decided to choose the weirdest sounding dishes.Because of the weird names I have completely forgotten what the dishes were called and can only describe them.
 Grilled Squid $9
It was quite a generous serve of decent squid. It was tender and had a chargrilled flavour. It was brushed with a sweet soy sauce before getting drenched in peanut sauce. I found it really rich and needed the good squeeze of lemon.
Durian Smoothie $3.50
Yes I admit, I like durian, the taste and the smell. I don't get how people describe the smell as rotten [insert disgusting object here]. I find it a distinct smell which is very strong. The smoothie could have been a little bit less icy and sweet however there was a strong durian flavour there. K仔 the Malaysian hates the smell but is willing to try some, only to rush back to his ice lemon tea.
I guess it would be like the nasi lemak equivalent? I didn't taste much but there was plenty of sides to accompany the rice. The fried chicken drumstick looked delicious. The stewed jackfruit was definitely an acquired taste. And the scary looking prawn crackers? Stale and health concerning. All for under $9 I think.

This sambal egg was pretty epic. Deep fried. The sambal was quite sweet but in a balanced and fragrant way. Most intriguing was the size of the yolk. It was about 3/4 of the entire egg.

Food: 7.5/10 Not bad but some flavours were acquired tastes.
Service/Environment: 8/10 Surprisingly quiet. The story of the restaurant hung there on the wall.Everything was clean.
Value: 8.5/10 Generous amounts of food.

Verdict? Yes I want to come back and try the whole fish dishes. Looks delicious.
Blok M on Urbanspoon

Eating Out: Honkie Breakfast at Jade Hong Kong Cafe [Carrington Rd, Box Hill]

Not many places serve honkie breakfasts here in Melbourne. You have to go to the asian suburbs and it is very expensive especially when compared to HK. In HK a honkie breakfast costs a few aussie dollars whilst here it's a minimum of $7 or so.

There are about 8-10 options for breakfast all include a drink.
 Cold Milk Tea
Worst idea of the day, felt sick all day long. Can't stomach cold milk tea first thing in the morning.
 Macaroni in Stock
Average honkie style macaroni. Don't expect al dente pasta or homemade chicken stock. You'll get neither.
Bacon and egg with a slice of buttered toast cut in half
Very generous amount of bacon compared with what I'm used to. Egg crispy. Didn't eat the toast, I was way too full.

Altogether it was $7.50. Be warned, the meals are quite large and extremely filling.

Food: 7/10 Average honkie breakfast. Nothing special. 
Service/Environment: 7/10 Quick. Not shining clean though.
Value: 7/10 A little on the pricier side.

Verdict? Unfortunately I'm not that into honkie breakfasts. Except my mum comes here every single week before she goes grocery shopping, that suggests that it is not bad.
Jade Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eating Out: Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House [251 Swanston Street Melbourne, 3000]

On the dreaded day of the release of our ATAR scores, my friends and I went out to try and keep our minds away from it. We ended up here for lunch at around 2pm and it was still a little busy which is a good sign right?
Took me a little while to choose, I wanted the bun bo hue, pho and the vermicelli dish. I ended up choosing the vermicelli dish as I haven't had it in a while and it's SUMMER. In my mind bun bo hue and pho are more winter dishes.
Also their chinese on the menu is completely screwed. 75% of the menu is listed as 特别牛鸡粉 even for non noodle dishes.
Sugar Cane Prawn and Spring Roll Vermicelli $9
After mixing in all the nuoc cham (sweet/salty/sour/spicy sauce) I found it the vermicelli very sweet. Surprisingly it tasted good sweet as the sugar cane prawn was quite salty. Unfortunately they took the sugar cane out before serving the dish =[ I like chewing sugar cane. The spring rolls were crispy and filled with a pinkish paste.They were mediocre, not what I was expecting. I really liked the addition of peanuts as it gave it some more flavour. Overall a good dish but not spectacular. 

Food: 7.5/10 No one really said much about the food. I think it was average, nothing to shout home about.
Environment/Service: 8/10 Everything came on time. The place was clean. 
Value: 8/10 Lunch for under $10 in the city, not bad. Serving sizes were on the smaller size.

Verdict? Might come back for pho. MIGHT
Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 17, 2010

Food Court Challenge: I ♥ Teppanyaki Revisited[Westfield Doncaster]

I've been craving Unagi (japanese grilled eel) for quite a while. I love the fatty-ness of the fish with the sweet sauce. It is heavenly especially when served with rice. Last week I found out K仔 has never had unagi before so we ordered a unagi don. Except we were both super hungry from looking for a gift for a friend that we dug in before realising that I hadn't taken a picture.

Unagi Don $9.50ish
Generous portion of fish on a big mound of sushi rice. Nice and hot with lots of sauce. Unagi don must have lots of sauce in my opinion as the rice can be quite plain. However to be honest, I really don't think you can stuff up unagi don, that stuff comes out of a packet.

Unfortunately K仔 got a bone stuck in his throat which remained there for the rest of the day. How do you get rid of a fish bone in your throat? As a kid I remember I used to just swallow heaps of rice in a big gulp except that didn't seem to work.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cooking: Flounder in Spicy Salt

I'm trying to recreate the classic Chinese restaurant dish, Deep Fried Flounder in Spicy Salt, minus the deep frying part. It's a great way to get kids to eat fish. It's salty and slightly spicy, very addictive. Especially love the roe part hidden inside the fish. My first attempt yesterday wasn't as great as I hoped, it wasn't salty or spicy. I better actually find a recipe for it.
What do you do when a dish turns out worse than expected? Take the DSLR out =D

I pan fried the fish in a lot of oil
Then took it out
And stir fried some onions, garlic and capsicum
Then poured that on top of the fish
Where did I go wrong?
Please help =]

Cooking: Shucking Oysters

Not exactly cooking as we ate them raw. $10.50 a doz from coles unshucked. It is worth the $2 saving to shuck them yourself? At least you know when they were shucked and they didn't sit around exposed for who knows how many days.
I don't know why but the shells were really brittle. Not exactly sure where these oysters were from but were they from slightly more acidic water? 
I still can't shuck them from the hinge, they just don't want to open that way. So I shuck them by piercing the wider end at a weak spot. Anyone got tips for shucking from the hinge end? 
 12 shucked oysters
They weren't bad, but not as rich as I hoped. I don't think they were very fresh.

Food Court Challenge: I ♥ Teppanyaki and Dumpling King [Westfield Doncaster]

♥ Teppanyaki
 OK Deluxe (I think) $6ish
I can't exactly remember which one it was but it had bacon, pumpkin as well as the usual peas and cabbage. Freshly made to order with lots of sauce. Cheap, filling and delicious lunch.

Verdict? Definitely come back again but probably only for their okonomiyaki.  
Dumpling King
Dumplings in spicy soup $9.80
Wanted to try they dumplings as they make them in the little window next to the counter. The dumplings themselves are quite good, thick skinned with a generous pork filling. Unfortunately the soup was indeed spicy and filled with msg. It was good but my mouth was on fire and I could barely taste the dumplings. I really liked the addition of the seaweed like stuff, added a crunchy texture compared to the soft dumplings.

Verdict? Haven't really had a great experience with this place, I think it's a little overpriced and laden with msg.

Eating Out: Green Tea [320 Racecourse Road Flemington, 3031]

This wasn't where we planned to eat for the night. We planned to go to Laksa King except we didn't book and there was a 30 minute wait for a table. However because we were already running late we didn't have the time to wait for a table so we decided to just eat somewhere else. We ended up at where Laksa King used to be, except now it is a Vietnamese restaurant, and yes they do actually serve laksa there. But we went with pho since it was raining and we thought it would be quick. Boy were we wrong. Turned out to be the longest wait for pho I've ever had.
Why can't they just cut the lemons into wedges?
Why random shapes where you can't squeeze?
 Beef and Beef Ball Pho $10.80
One sniff and I knew that this was no ordinary pho, and no I don't mean that in a good way. One taste of the broth and my fear was confirmed. This was epic star anise broth, the aniseed flavour was so intense. I'm not sure whether this was intended or if there was an accident. It got better as we ate on as our tastebuds became accustomed to the taste. However there was also another problem. When I read beef balls I did not expect randomly chopped beef balls, how many full beef balls were in my bowl I still don't know but it sure wasn't more than a few. Other than that it was a pretty average bowl of pho.

Food: 7/10 Not a fan of aniseed flavoured broth.
Service/Environment: 7/10 They gave us a dirty teacup which I can overlook. But when my bro showed it to the waitress telling her there was a massive green blob (of something we did not want to know that wouldn't come off) on it she was errrrr would you like another one? as if she was unsure of what my bro was implying....maybe I interpreted the situation wrong
Value: 7/10 At that price I can get a large(meaning massive) bowl of pho in Footscray/Springvale/Richmond/Box Hill/City. 

Verdict? I'd rather Laksa King even if there's a bit of a wait. But don't get me wrong, if you love star anise then go ahead and try this place. 
Green Tea on Urbanspoon

Eating Out: Commercial Hotel-Motel in Yarram [238 Commercial Road Yarram VIC 3971]

This place is in a little country town called Yarram. We arrived in the town at about 1:45 and walked down the main shopping strip trying to find a place for lunch. However bistro's closed at 2 and closed all the lights once they saw us. This place was about to do the same until the owner(I'm guessing) came up and told the kitchen staff to serve us. They only offered 2 dishes, which was understandable given the circumstances. So fish and chips and chicken parma's it was for lunch.

Lemon Lime and Bitters
Is there enough alcohol in this to give a blood alcohol reading at all? 
 Chicken Parma
One pretty good parma. Nice and thick but not too big. Under it was a layer of thick cut chips and a large salad on the side. Also came with a bread roll and butter, except my butter melted because it was under my hot bread roll. I found the tomato sauce really rich and delicious. The cheese was stringy and not too strong. Ticks all the boxes for a good parma.
Fish and Chips
The fish was actually quite large. Crunchy batter, decent fish. Everything else was the same as the parma except there was tartare sauce. And a very generous amount of it. 

Altogether it was $50 for 2 parmas and 2 fish and chips and 4 drinks.
Even I didn't believe it.
Food: 8.5/10 Very decent and true pub meal.
Service/Environment: 7.5/10 Can't blame them, we did arrive after their opening hours. 
Value: 9/10 Great value for money.

Verdict? Great pub food except it's a 3 hour drive from Melbourne.