Yum cha blow-out

1 Comment

gold16

 

Gold Leaf, 491 Ballarat Road, Sunshine West. Phone: 9311 1863

In the past year or so, CTS has dined yum cha – see here and here.

But as enjoyable as those outings were, in places that run yum cha a la carte and to order and without trolleys, we figured it was time for the real deal.

 

gold11

 

You know the drill – huge barn of a place, high noise levels, trolleys whizzing everywhere.

 

gold12

 

So CTS and a bunch of willing pals hit Gold Leaf in Sunshine.

Typically, Bennie and I arrived first and somewhat early.

We were forced to cool our heels with other early arrivers as the staff meal tables were cleared and then – in we went!

 

gold3

 

Within half an hour, the joint is packed and rocking.

With a group of eight eating madly, I don’t even think about keeping note of individual items and their prices.

Suffice it to say, it really does make a difference – the food here was of a very high standard and the service fine.

 

gold6

 

We had many of the staples and a few more adventurous things.

 

gold1

 

Eating the divine roast pork/crackling, for instance, I placed in my bowl some of the attending noodles – only to learn I was eating jellyfish for the first time.

It was lovely!

 

gold5

 

It was a wonderful experience and the price – a buck or so over $30 per head – equally splendid.

 

gold18

 

But some things never change …

As we’re wrapping up desserts and wrapping up generally, I notice even more trolleys sallying forth laden with very interesting a delicious-looking items.

No room for them … this time!

 

gold14

gold15

gold13

gold10

gold4

gold8

gold9

gold2

 

Yum cha by Kenny – no relation

4 Comments
kenny9

 

Kenny’s Yum Cha House, 34 Ferguson Street, Williamstown. Phone: 9397 8688

The premises recently occupied by Kenny’s Yum Cha House was previously, and for many years, a rather nondescript noodle shop we never tried.

A new family has taken over, headed by dumpling-making dad Kenny, and they’re doing very nice things.

I confess to having tried “hokkien noodles” a few weeks before Christmas and being unimpressed.

But then a home delivery of some of yum cha items – and very good they were – re-sparked my interest.

 

kenny1

 

So heading to Ferguson Street with two regular CTS companions, I am filled with hope.

But there is cause to be cautious in terms of optimism.

After all, normal expectations for yum cha goodies served in such a humble, corner store setting would normally fall into the realms of cheap, enjoyable but surely frozen and mass-produced dumplings and the like.

 

kenny3

 

What we enjoy at Kenny’s Yum Cha House is way, way better than that – top-notch yum cha that pretty much matches what you’ll find at any of the storied yum cha places around town.

In fact, this place sort of redefines yum cha and how it can work.

Yum cha doesn’t have to be Sunday brunch; it can also easily be dinner.

Great yum cha doesn’t have to involve trollies; it can just as easily be a la carte.

In truth, it can even be argued that ordering as you go is preferable.

 

kenny4

 

Finally, Kenny’s Yum Cha House proves beaut yum cha doesn’t have to be served in a vast barn; a smallish neighbourhood enterprise can do it, too.

Everything we have is good or better:

  • Pan-fried dumplings ($8 for five).
  • Pork dumplings ($5.50 for three).
  • Chive prawn dumplings ($6 for three).
  • Pork ribs in black bean sauce ($5.50).
  • Chicken feet in black bean sauce ($5).

Only the last mentioned are in any way less than excellent; they lack a certain spicy zing.

 

kenny2

 

As well, as we find that assessing a yum cha joint can at least partially be done on the basis of greenery, we order Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce ($12) – and that, too, is lovely.

 

kenny5

 

It’s been a rather smashing meal – cheap, easy, impromptu (we pay $16 per person).

And on a Monday night in Williamstown!

 

kenny6

kenny8

Kenny meets Kenny.

kenny7

 

 

 

 

Essendon yum cha – very good

Leave a comment

andy11

 

Andy’s Yum Cha House, 13 Napier Street, Essendon. Phone: 9370 9888

One member of today’s Team CTS grew up with yum cha.

She’s very open to all sorts of food experiences and has a cracking sense of humor.

But she reckons Andy’s – which has long been on the CTS “to do” list – is not really a real yum cha joint.

 

andy9

 

I know what she means.

It comes across as your average humble suburban Chinese eatery.

And certainly there are no yum cha trolleys whizzing every which-away.

 

andy1

 

But – and it seems I am somewhat alone in this assessment among our Sunday lunch table of four – I find the terrific meal we have at this Essendon yum cha outpost to be very good indeed.

 

andy2

 

My worst case scenario had been that the dumplings offered here would display the telltale signs of mass production and have come from plastic bags, frozen and then steamed.

 

andy3

 

But what we are served I find to be excellent.

 

andy4

 

For this meal I become a somewhat slothful food blogger so don’t keep track of what we have and how much each serve costs us.

 

andy5

 

Suffice to say that our dumplings – containing all the expected ingredients such as prawns, pork, coriander and more – evince a range of textures and flavours that I really adore.

 

andy8

 

A high point is the greens with oyster sauce – it’s expertly done and easy to eat.

 

andy6

 

We eat very well and the price ends up being a most excellent $15 each.

(This story has been sponsored by Moonee Valley City Council. But in all other regards it is a regular Consider The Sauce post – we chose the restaurant and when to eat there; we ordered what we wanted and paid for it ourselves; and neither oversight nor an editorial role were sought by the council.)

 

andy7

andy10

Yum cha in Castlemaine

9 Comments
taste4

 

Taste of the Orient Yum Cha House, 223 Barker Street, Castlemaine. Phone: 5470 5465

Bennie and I are up Kyneton way to spend some time on Helen’s ranch – but first we’re checking out the Castlemaine market.

I’m impressed with the depth and breadth of the fresh produce and the likes of preserves on hand but it’s mostly lunch we’re after.

The best we see is an inside crew from one of the local Chinese joints doing what looks like some pretty good yum cha.

But there’s a queue and, silly me, we haven’t got enough hard cash on us to do the job.

So it’s in to Castlemaine proper we go.

 

taste7

 

We amble around the town’s CBD but find it hard to get a good reading on what’s on offer.

After years of trawling through the west, it seems we have some sort of in-built wisdom that means we can assess an eatery very quickly – good, bad, yes, no, worth a shot?

Not infallibly, mind you, but reliably so.

In Castlemaine, it feels as if every place we pass will sell us a crappy BLT and take about an hour to serve it.

Sorry, Castlemaine!

So we hit an ATM and prepare to head back to the market.

 

taste8

 

Just as we are departing I see it – the very same Chinese restaurant that is doing yum cha at the market.

It’s open and, yes please, that’ll do fine!

Vegetarian dims sims (top photo, $7.50) taste OK but seem to have the consistency of sludge and thus lack the sort of textural contrasts I am expecting.

 

taste2

 

Organic pork and carrot dim sims ($7.50) are juicy with porkiness and very good.

 

taste5

 

Deep-fried organic tofu ($6) suffers by comparison with more highly seasoned versions we get in Malaysian establishments but is still good.

 

taste1

 

Crystal vegetarian dumplings ($7.50) have all the crunch and texture I expected from our other veggie selection and are excellent.

Steamed buns are mostly Bennie’s preserve, but even I completely love the …

 

taste3

 

… free-range pork $4) and …

 

taste6

 

… free-range chicken and ginger ($4) items we have here!

The latter is juicy, meaty and fragrant with ginger.

Both buns are light and undoughy.

We’ve had what I consider to be a top-rate and very affordable yum cha feed.

Bennie is somewhat less impressed – is he becoming a cranky, hard-to-please teen?

And it’s true my judgment could be subjectively coloured by the lack of anything else in Castlemaine that called strongly to us and the sheer delight of finding a classy yum cha emporium right here.

Still, with just a few minor quibbles, I consider that what we eat is mostly as good as anything we’d get in Melbourne places – and a whole lot better than we’d get in many.

Feeling the love in Hoppers Crossing

Leave a comment

glory25

Glory We Cafe, 3/76 Old Geelong Rd, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9394 8845

While we enjoyed our first visit to Glory We Cafe, the chances of return visits seemed slim at best, especially given the options we have in the greater western suburbs for the sort of food it serves.

But since that visit, a few things have happened – with the upshot being the Glory We crew have earned our return custom through their goodwill, sincerity and dedication in engaging with their customers.

For one thing, they have made the switch from plastic, disposable implements and receptacles to those of a more re-usuable variety.

We don’t know or care if Consider The Sauce had anything to do with them making that change – we are simply happy that they have.

For another, we couldn’t help but notice the regular updates on their Facebook page in which they have been introducing new, alluring and seemingly authentic dishes of a Singaporean and Malaysian nature.

So off we go for Sunday lunch!

That Glory We remains a rather charmless, utilitarian space is well and truly compensated for by depth of the warm and caring service that is bestowed upon us on our return visit, service way above that we commonly expect from such places.

Combined with reliably good and sometimes very good food and the lack of alternatives in this general neighbourhood, we reckon Glory We fully deserves whatever good reputation it is earning as a westie hotspot.

The same photos that have appeared on the joint’s Facebook page grace the walls of the restaurant, so we take only a few minutes to make our selections.

glory21

Mee goreng ($9.50) looks nothing special – like what might get served in any old shopping centre food court, in fact.

But this wet version tastes a whole lot better than that.

A wonderfully gooey fried egg sits atop lovely al dente egg noodles, with calamari, prawns, egg and tofu complemented by crunchy onion slivers and some greenery.

It’s simple, homely and fine.

glory22

Our second dish is the subject of today’s Glory We Facebook post: “XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake – Introducing our NEW weekend delicacy which is a common dish in Singapore which Singaporeans eat throughout the day whether at breakfast, lunch, dinner or even supper. This dish consist of stir-fried cubes of raddish cake. You can order it fried with or without sweet black sauce. To order one fried with sweet black sauce, you have to tell our friendly staff you want it ‘black’.”

This is a new one on us, so we had sought advice from Ms Baklover, who spent a week or so eating her away around the island state a while back and so whom we consider an oracle of all things Singaporean.

She told us it’s a delicious dish “when made right”, but to be cautious when it comes to the “black” version as she finds it a bit on the cloying side herself.

So we order and don’t ask for dark – and end up with the dark variety ($9.50) anyway.

It’s OK and Bennie likes it but, truthfully, I do find it too rich and oily.

Our bemusement over what we’ve been provided sparks some charming back-and-forth dialogue with the staff, with the chef explaining that the dark version is a Singaporean preference and light a Malaysian one.

“That’s OK – we’re Malaysian,” I proclaim.

(Cue much laughter all ’round …)

So we’re served a plate of the lighter variety of the Glory We Cafe XO Sauce Fried Carrot Cake at no charge.

(It’s important to acknowledge that this generosity and level of customer care would have been afforded us no matter who we were or that the staff members eventually twigged that we were food bloggers or some other sort of busybodies.)

glory23

Ahhh, this is more like it – and much more to both our liking.

There’s a lighter touch going on here and much more textural variety, with the raddish cake pieces having nicely tanned and crisped exteriors.

At this stage of our meal, though, it’s more than we can consume so what’s left goes home with us.

If this dish, no matter how good, is unlikely to become a firm CTS favourite, we’ve had such a fine time at Glory We that this place already is.

Check out the Glory We Cafe Facebook page here.

 

glory24

glory26

Glory We Cafe

4 Comments

glory1

Glory We Cafe, 3/76 Old Geelong Rd, Hoppers Crossing. Phone: 9394 8845

If we lived anywhere in the vicinity of Glory We Cafe, we’d be habitual visitors for sure.

In other words, we’d feel compelled to turn a blind eye to the overwhelming use of plastic cutlery and containers.

Why?

Because this neat Asian cafe with a fast food vibe inhabits a part of the western suburbs of dismal foodiness, so much so that this is our first Hoppers Crossing story.

On one side of Glory We is an unlovely piece of Old Geelong Rd that is a seemingly endless string of discount furniture stores, while on the other is a small local shopping strip and all around are soulless supermarkets and car yards and parks.

glory7

Glory We sells a hybrid mixture of yum cha and dumplings, Asian snacks and sweet drinks, and larger but still very cheap plates of the laksa and nasi lemak variety.

I’m told our yum cha selections are imported but our chicken rice and curry puff are made in-house. But we’d much rather live with brought-in dumplings than disposable implements!

The Taiwanese-style chook ($6.90, top picture) – served on a disposable bento tray with rice, mayo and salad – is truly fine, tender and beautifully seasoned.

glory3

Bennie likes the prawn and chive dumplings ($4.80 for three), but I prefer the small pork dim sims ($3.80 for four) – they’re chewy in the right kind of way and flavoursome.

glory4

I leave the “good” pork bun ($1.80) to Bennie as I dive right into a fabulous curry puff ($2.40) – lovely pastry, big chunks of vegetables and even some hard-boiled egg, with a mild curry sludge holding it all together.

glory2

Bennie loves his ice shaving lemon fig jelly ($4.50), his wide straw perfect for sucking up the jelly blobs, though he confesses it’s more lemon than fig.

My boy’s growing adoration of weirdo Asian beverages is of significant budgetary concern.

Glory We Cafe on Urbanspoon

glory9

glory6

glory5

glory8

Meals on wheels III

4 Comments

Yuma cha advertising on a western suburbs bus.

 

Parked at the Yarraville bus terminus … my kind of vehicular advertising!

Such a little thing, but one that would have been unthinkable 20 or 30 years ago.

And another eloquent signpost on the way to a melting pot city, melting pot country and melting pot world.