We took advantage of my partner’s day off to have a nice little weekday yum cha at Hung Cheung in Marrickville.
Though I saw a line down the street outside Hung Cheung when I went to neighbouring Goodwood the previous weekend, the weekday clientele at Hung Cheung was far more sparse, with only about a third of their modest dining room filling up with a collection of mostly mums and bubs during our visit. We had a few small initial misgivings about the place given its apparent lack of patronage and minimal cart service, but given it was a random Thursday we decided to stick it through. This turned out to be a good decision.
I’ll try not to bore you with a blow-by-blow description of each dish, by simply prefacing that most were quite good.
The steamed chicken feet– (fèng zhuǎ 凤爪) were good. Good flavour, good steamedness. I wouldn’t have minded a slightly plumper chicken foot, but all in all a good showing.
The pork spare ribs in black bean sauce (pái gǔ 排骨) were not the best that I’ve had, nor were they the worst. I wonder if I just don’t like these any more though, I haven’t had one that’s really made me go ‘wow’ in a while. My partner thought it was a tad too porky. It is definitely pork.
I don’t think there’s really an English term for these apart from siu mai (shāo mài 烧卖), though I did hear the ladies go around asking customers if they wanted “dim sims” without any further elaboration. These were pretty stock standard, reasonably prawned, even to the point of being a little too prawned from my partner.
We both really enjoyed these tofu skin rolls (Xiān zhú juǎn 鲜竹卷). The flavour was outstanding and both the bean curd wrapping and fillings of a high quality.
A brief intermission to discuss the tea. Customers upon seating are asked if they want tea, though not directly asked the particular kind of tea that they want. This happened not only to the inner-West yummy mummies, but also to us, two people who not only look like we speak Chinese but also who spoke to the staff in Chinese upon entering the restaurant. We asked for tiě guān yīn, but clearly heard other customers answer “yes”, after which presumably a random tea of the server’s choice was served. I’m not really a tea expert so I can’t comment on the quality of the tea, though it was interesting to see it served in a tea bag (presumably to help with cleaning).
The fried taro dumpling (yùtóu jiǎo – 芋头角) was not my choice, but I did eat it. I don’t love it as a food in general, and this one was certainly as oil as any other I have tasted. I told my girlfriend she wasn’t allowed to order anything else deep fried after this. She enjoyed it.
The garlic chive and prawn dumplings (jiǔcài jiǎo 韭菜饺) were really good. I didn’t love the ones at Sun Ho Restaurant in Campsie RSL, so I was pleasantly surprised to taste these delicious, plump, and fragrant dumplings with huge pieces of prawn inside. These were not available on the roving cart during our weekday visit, and we had to ask for them specifically.
The BBQ pork rice noodle roll (chā shāo cháng fěn 叉烧肠粉) was a rare point of weakness. It was probably partially our (my partner’s) fault for ordering it with char siu rather than something more classic like prawn, but I also didn’t love the texture of the rice noodle rolls, finding it a bit more sticky and less silky than I would’ve preferred.
The mango pancakes were good. Pretty easy to eat by hand, portioned well for each human, unlike the ones I had in my childhood that I had to share. The pancake batter was a bit thicker than I would’ve liked, but this added a good level of structural integrity, allowing it to be eaten like a burrito.
OVERALL We very much enjoyed our yum cha lunch at Hung Cheung in Marrickville. We paid around $75 for two people and left quite full, which my partner thought was a little too much but I thought was an appropriate price to pay. The staff were nice and appropriate with good bilingual skills that catered well to their mixture of Chinese and non-Chinese guests, and while the trolley has all of the staples I think the real trick is to not be afraid to ask for stuff that isn’t being carted around. There’s even a menu with photos of each item in both Chinese and English (the best kind of menu) to pick from.
We also got to meet this good little cat on the way back to our car.
338 Marrickville Rd, Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9560 4681