Tag Archives: Chinese

Mrs Mi, Chatswood

I was waking up from an epic sleep-in on Saturday morning when I got a text from Captain Awesome.

“Hey are you going to that robot restaurant today??”

I usually consider myself relatively informed about new restaurant openings, but this I hadn’t heard of. Captain Awesome filled me in on the new Chinese restaurant in Chatswood which has a robot chef, and that as today was their opening day, they would be giving out free bowls of the signature pork mince noodles to the first 88 customers.

I was sold, and clearly Captain Awesome was as well as she’d been waiting for them to open since 10.30am that morning. So we drove out to join her to check out this robot chef in action.

The interior of Mrs Mi

Captain Awesome and a few others had already snagged a table by the time we got there, so we walked right on in, missing the robot chef, and joined them. The restaurant was pretty full and busy, with lots of staff on the floor to help out on the first day of trade.

The menu consists of Northern Chinese specialties, with a focus on dumplings and handmade noodles. We each chose a noodle and also ordered some dumplings to share.

Mrs Mi xiao long bao – $9.80

The xiao long bao were the first to arrive – there’s some stiff competition in the XLB arena in Chatswood with the likes of Din Tai Fung and New Shanghai, but Mrs Mi’s XLBs are damn good and are a serious contender. The dumpling skins were thin, with several pleats at the top, yet were sturdy enough to hold the flavoursome soup inside.

Braised pork belly with noodles – $13.80

All the noodles at Mrs Mi are sliced by the robot chef into a pot of boiling water. There’s a choice of having your noodles in broth or dry. The braised pork belly noodles had some fatty and tender pieces of pork, and some green Chinese vegetables thrown in for good measure. Even though this was a “dry noodle” dish, it still had enough of the braising liquid to coat the noodles with sauce.

Braised beef brisket, and tendon noodle soup – $14.80
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ipot, Sydney

Chinese New Year celebrations are still going strong, and one way to celebrate is to indulge in hotpot or steamboat. Traditionally, there is a communal pot of broth in which everyone cooks their food, but a new style of hotpot is hitting our shores where each person has their own, albeit smaller, pot of broth.

Smokey mushroom soup base – $9

ipot is where we first encounter these individual hotpots. While we are all still seated around a communal table, in front of each person is an induction cooktop that is controlled on the side of the table. We order a soup base each and when it is brought out to us, the induction cooktop gets into gear and starts to heat up our soup.

Sauces – $4pp

While you wait for your soup to boil, make your way to the front of the restaurant where there is a whole wall of sauces for you to choose from! With some suggestions at the back of the menu in hand, we go a little crazy with the number of sauces and mixing up the combinations – but it’s all part of the fun :)

When we return, our individual pots are simmering away nicely and ready for cooking. Here is some of the food that we ate: Continue reading ipot, Sydney

Bo Innovation, Hong Kong

I had seriously been looking forward to our meal at Bo Innovation in Hong Kong. Apart from its numerous accolades like 2 Michelin stars and being ranked as the 52nd best restaurant in the world, I was particularly intrigued by chef Alvin Leung’s “X-treme Chinese” cuisine. The “X-treme” cuisine label is enough to make me sceptical, but I was surprised by how traditional Chinese dishes were given a modern twist with molecular gastronomy techniques to create a unique and innovative dish.

Bo Innovation Dining Room

The elevator that takes us up to the dining area opens up to a small balcony garden where diners can sit and enjoy the sunshine. We’re taken to a table in the inside dining room, which features white tablecloths, sheer satin drapes and an open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work. For lunch, there are two menus on offer: the Lunch Chef Menu which is a degustation affair ($HKD780; around $AUD97 at the time) or the Bo Set Lunch which allows the diner to choose an entree and main, and includes a set starch and dessert ($HKD228; around $AUD28 at the time). We opt for the latter, and choose different dishes so we can sample as much of the menu as possible.

Cauliflower risotto, black truffle, duck jus

We are allowed to select 2 items per person from their list of Dim Sum or Classic “Bo” Dishes as an entree. We indicate that we are sharing the entrees and the waitstaff kindly bring out some small plates, chopsticks and a knife and fork for us to split the dishes. The cauliflower risotto is quite unexpected as the waitress explains that the risotto is actually little nubbins of cauliflower. Bits of black truffle are mixed throughout and the risotto sits in a pool of rich duck jus which provides most of the flavour of the dish.

Black truffle 'cheung fun'
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Tim Ho Wan, Hong Kong

So earlier this year I went on a little trip back to the motherland: Hong Kong! I was actually born in Sydney but the parentals are from Hong Kong and I do have some (limited) knowledge of Cantonese – enough for me to stumble my way through speaking to shop assistants and ordering food. The last time I visited Hong Kong was back in the pre-blogging days and so this was the first time I really went out of way to seek out great food in the city.

Baked BBQ pork bun - $HKD15

Of course the first place that made my list was the infamous Tim Ho Wan – one of the cheapest Michelin-starred restaurants. We went here with some of my Hong Kong-residing relatives and it seems they have found the trick of how to get a table at Tim Ho Wan without queueing! We visited the Sham Shui Po branch for dinner (the original is located in Mong Kok) and didn’t have to wait at all. Possibly because yum cha food is typically not eaten at dinnertime, but who’s fussed about that when you’ve just escaped 2 hour+ queues to eat at a Michelin-starred establishment?

Inside Tim Ho Wan

It’s still quite busy when we get inside but we’re quickly ushered to our table and orders are taken by indicating the quantity of the items you want on a piece of paper. The food comes out quickly and before we know it, we’ve got a whole host of yum cha favourites on our table, waiting to be eaten.

Baked BBQ pork bun - $HKD15

You can’t go to Tim Ho Wan without ordering the baked BBQ pork bun. Different to your regular char siu bao, these ones have a sweet filling of char siu encased by a pastry exterior and are topped with a sweet baked crust on top. It was like eating an almond croissant with a filling of BBQ pork, with the buttery pastry tasting almost croissant-like.

Steamed prawn dumpling (har gow) - $HKD21
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Chef’s Gallery, Sydney

Isn’t she adorable? This steamed sesame “piggy face” bun is one of the desserts on offer at Chef’s Gallery, a handmade noodle and dumpling house located near Town Hall. Like many other dumpling houses in Sydney, there is an ongoing kitchen theatre with the chefs stretching out balls of dough into noodles and pleating dumplings for your viewing pleasure behind the glass walls of the kitchen.

Yin Si Juan: Pandan flavoured shredded dough wrapped in a plain bun (fried) - $1.90

I have a soft spot for fried Chinese buns so I’m interested to try the pandan flavoured yin si juan with its lurid green innards. Though it glistens on the outside, the exterior is still soft and doesn’t have the doughnutty texture that I love in fried bread. And despite the green colour it lacks a distinct pandan flavour so it basically just tastes like plain bread. Sadness.

Wok fried medium grain rice with three types of egg - $13.90

The fried rice is much better and this may quite possibly be the tastiest fried rice I’ve tasted. Who knew that the addition of three types of egg (chicken egg, salted duck egg and century egg) could lift the humble fried rice to new heights? The rice is fluffy and I love the random bursts of salty flavour from the salted duck egg.

Chef's own golden snowflake chicken served with noodles in a pumpkin soup - $12.90
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