While I guess some of the grocery posts on this blog have worldwide appeal, much of what I eat from the local Asian grocery store is made here in Sydney, and only available at a few places. This makes me writing this essentially useless, as the likelihood of even a single person reading this and then deciding to buy or not buy these wontons is exceedingly low.
Despite this, I thought the Prestons Foods Pork & Garlic Chive Wontons to be quite solid. The filling was generous and had a good meaty texture and good chivey flavour. I’d eat them again.
It took about six months of heavy targeted ads on social media for me to succumb to ordering LeTAO’s made-in-Japan cheesecakes.
The first thing that struck me about the LeTAO cheesecakes were their size. Even though their size and weight are explicitly stated on the website, I clearly did not pay close attention to this as both cheesecakes that I ordered were much smaller than I had imagined, especially given their premium price point.
It was a matter of quality over quantity, however, as these cheesecakes, though expensive were quite good. The melon double seasonal limited cheesecake ($40.99) had a pleasant mouthfeel, not too sweet taste, with a hint of melon flavouring. It was well enjoyed by the entire family, who are usually more used to Savoy’s taro cake but were forced by me to try something new.
The Parfait D’or Fromage ($37.99), a rectangular cheesecake of also very small proportions contained a mixture of camembert, soured cream cheese and mascarpone. The camembert definitely added a dimension of strangeness to the cake that the melon cake did not have, though none was more strange than its dimensions. It should be noted that the promotional pictures on the LeTAO website feature this particular cheesecake being served on a wooden board, with nothing of a known size to compare it to.
THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS These LeTAO were pretty good, classically not too sweet given their East Asian origins, and definitely an interesting change up from the classic sponge cake that might rule your family traditions. Their price point and small size are however quite challenging, and important to consider for anyone planning to feed more than a few people.
I am glad that I turned down Big John’s offer to comp me a bag of their fab frozen dumplings after my stellar review, because it leaves me free to write a less gushing review about one of their other products. As someone immersed in the Sydney foodie social media scene, it always makes me feel uncomfortable how many of these influencers are taking money or freebies from industry. I understand that for some this is a job rather than a mere stupid hobby, but I find it very difficult to trust recommendations from anyone who might have a conflict of interest. Even when a review is not directly paid for or comped, there’s a general understanding that if you’re someone who’s a negative Nancy you’re less likely to be invited to collaborate with other brands.
So I’m glad to say that I have no conflicts of interest to declare when it comes to reviewing Big John’s Jumbo Pork Meatballs, Classic Shanghai Style. I had been craving a lion’s head meatball ever since I was reminded of their existence in some kind of Youtube video. My last such meatball was from Taste of Nanking in Waterloo, two years ago, and it was time to have it again.
These meatballs were cooked as per the instructions, in a light broth of ginger and light soy sauce, though I forgot the ginger. I also later cooked them steamed and then another time boiled with just plain water.
No matter how I cooked them, I felt like they were too wet and too loose in their structure. Perhaps it’s because my view of what these balls should be like are coloured by my last experience. Perhaps they’re not even meant to be the same kind, as these are Shanghainese and those were from a Nanjing-themed restaurant. Who knows, not me, for I do not read Chinese. I invite commenters to tell me that I’m comparing them to the wrong benchmark if that is the case.
I also felt, probably related to their structure and texture, that there was too much ginger in the meatball itself, let alone for it to be boiled with ginger as per the instructions. Perhaps if the ginger was minced more finely the ball would stay together better.
Ultimately though, while some may like these, they were not what I was after.
Pegfeeds adherents know that this blog originally started as an idea to catalogue all different types of Asian groceries and snacks so that I could remember what I liked and what I didn’t like. That never really took off, and to this day I still keep buying the same snacks having forgotten that I don’t actually like them.
I boiled these Pork and Chives Dumplings (15 for $12.50) in the usual way. While they were not bad, and definitely better than 90% of the other frozen dumplings on the market, they weren’t quite as good as Big John’s. There was a good quantity of chive, with a good filling to wrapper ratio, but at the end of the day I didn’t feel like the texture of the meat was as good. It kind of faded away into nothing, where I prefer a bit more of a coarser grind to the pork to give it a bit of bite.
Having said that, they’re not bad, right. The flavour was OK, and they certainly slide into the premium tier of frozen grocery store dumplings. They just don’t beat the reigning champ.
麒麟 手工韭菜猪肉水饺 – UPC 0793420734661
UPDATE. I had more of their frozen dumplings/wontons and didn’t feel like it really warranted a separate post, especially as this one’s already been published. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll have an entire meal at Chi Lin and this will become a restaurant review instead of a review of only frozen dumpers.
The Chi Lin Pork and Vegetable Wontons were actually quite good. They were better, in my opinion, than the Pork and Chives Dumplings.
I preferred the thinner wrappers of these wontons, as well as the filling, which had a more complex umami flavour. These wontons even came with soup flavouring for a bit of a hot and sour soup, which was tasty even if not elevated. At $11.50 for 12 from Orange Supermarket in Wentworth Point, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy these again.
Chi Lin Pork and Vegetable Wontons – 0793420734630
Before I die of dementia afraid and alone I need to tell you guys about these amazing frozen dumplings that my parents bought me. These are plump, with a real filling of meat and chives and a wrapper that far exceeds even the best of your standard Asian supermarket frozen dumplings. My partner grew up in a household without handmade dumplings. For the first 21 years of her life she thought that dumplings were these tiny, poorly filled machine-made things with more dough than taste. Her first encounter of having handmade dumplings with my family is probably what led her to stick with me for this long, and I’m honestly afraid that now that we have found such good frozen dumplings that she may leave me as there is nothing else that I can offer her that she can’t get herself.
They’re actually better than the ones I make myself at home. A pork, prawn and chive variation would be absolutely killer.