Categories
Chinese

Taste of Nanking (老南京) – Waterloo NSW Restaurant Review

One tried and true formula for naming a Chinese restaurant is rolling the dice on different combinations and permutations of the words “Golden”, “Empress”, “Dragon”, “Jade”, and finishing off with ” Seafood Restaurant”. Another familiar technique is to name a restaurant after one’s hometown and append “Taste of” in front of it. Taste of Shanghai is one famous example. Taste of Nanking is another.

TASTE OF NANKING is located on Gadigal Avenue in Waterloo, a recently developed strip of Asian (mostly Chinese) restaurants and groceries with quite a few gems to find. It is somewhat down the street from U STORE, an expensive but fun Asian grocery store with a wide array of snacks and a good mix of not only Chinese but also Korean and Japanese goods.

Taste of Nanking’s Mixed Noodle with Scallion Sauce and Minced Pork ($13.80) was really good. It is a dry noodle dish with a delicious sauce base and a generous helping of mince. The serving is huge, and I enjoyed the addition of the steamed bok choy which provided a fresh and moist counter to the thick saucy noodle dish. There’s a chilli symbol next to it on the menu, but it has more of a sweet taste than a spicy taste. I can definitely recommend this one.

Crayfish topping on steamed rice (Luxury)

The Crayfish Topping on Steamed Rice dish comes in three different grades – Original, Luxury, and Supreme – denoting the quantity of crayfish topping added. I had the “Luxury”, level with 120 grams of crayfish topping, coming in at $22.80.

My feelings about this dish were a bit mixed. This was my first time having small crayfish like this, and I appreciated the small prawny flavour but wondered what kind of hell it was to have to hand peel these tiny crayfish that I was eating multiple of in each mouthful. Apart from the yummy crayfish, the sauce that swam in was a bit too salty and tasty for me, and in this sense the rice definitely came in handy. The egg was yummy, and the dish did benefit from the addition of extra egg. The preserved vegetables added a sweetness to the otherwise quite salty dish. Again this was quite a large serving and like the mixed noodles we took what we couldn’t finish home. If I had one alteration to suggest I would either only get the Original variation (assuming that with only 90 grams of crayfish topping there would be less salty sauce) or add some additional rice.

Nanking Special Egg

The Nanking Special Eggs ($2) were a little bit special. They are your classic marinated soy/tea eggs, served cold, and really good eaten with the mains.

The Braised Jumbo Meat Ball in Brown Sauce ($6.80) have a maximum order of 1 per customer, which I don’t really think makes sense unless there is a good reason for scarcity – normally more orders mean more income for the restaurant. They are a large ball formed out of minced pork. My partner quite enjoyed their soft internal texture, however I thought that they were a bit too salty to have on their own. They’re not bad, but if you are ordering these balls I’d highly recommend you have them with some rice.

Signature Nanking Soup Dumplings

The Signature Nanking Soup Dumplings (6 for $7.80) were pretty much Xiao Long Bao but without the folds in the pastry. I’m not really sure what else is different – perhaps a difference in the filling, but given the reasonably wide variation of XLB fillings in general I think it still fits in the same spectrum. The soup of Nanjing soup dumplings is also meant to be more prominent, and while these were quite soupy I think again they fall within the same spectrum as the XLBs of Sydney. They are cheap, juicy, and cheerful.

CONCLUSION

Taste of Nanking is not generally well-rated online, but I’m not too sure why. One one star review on Google Reviews was because their air conditioning wasn’t cold enough one Summer day, which I don’t really think is enough to poo-poo an otherwise good meal. Service seems to be another common complaint I thought the guy running front of house was really enthusiastic, although agree that it was a bit odd that we were given one cup to get water from the water cooler between the two of us.

Overall I think the food was good, and any of my gripes about it being too tasty could have been solved by ordering some extra white rice. Portions were huge and the meal was generally quite good value.

4.5/5 – Not for a business lunch or romantic date, but good for a quick casual meal or takeaway.

Taste of Nanking 老南京 Waterloo
1/18 Gadigal Ave, Waterloo NSW 2017
(02) 9313 8450

Categories
Chinese

China Bowl – Waterloo NSW Chinese Restaurant Review

This review is about China Bowl in Waterloo (Sydney) NSW Australia, not China Bowl in Waterloo Ontario Canada.

The pan-fried pork and cabbage dumplings were minimally fried, with juicy insides and no breakage in the pastry. Pretty good. Also comes in boiled.

shredded pancake with beef

My partner’s order of shredded pancake with beef was not our favourite. It was a huge portion of food, but taste did not meet the expectations set by the other dishes.

The Biang Biang Noodles were yummy, a large portion with lots of toppings. It’s important to eat this with a spoon as otherwise the toppings sink to the bottom and you end up just filling up on noodles. The noodles themselves were very jin dao (bouncy)

cold poached chicken in chilli oil and peanuts

The cold poached chicken in chilli oil and peanuts (口水鸡, mouth-watering saliva chicken) were delicious. My partner’s second favourite dish, even though she doesn’t normally like Sichuan cuisine. It was also a large portion.

All in all China Bowl is good food at a good price. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to a colleague for a quick late night meal, especially if you live in the area.

4/5

China Bowl
5 Gadigal Ave, Waterloo NSW 2017
0432 521 980

Categories
Chinese

Slurp! Slurp! Noodle – Rosebery NSW Chinese Restaurant Review

Slurp Slurp! That was the sound I made as I tucked into my lunch at this Chinese noodle and dumpling restaurant in Rosebery today. Spoiler alert, it was excellent.

The little copper pot rice noodle ($12.80) with pork mince and an additional tea egg ($2.50) was delicious. The flavour of the soup and mince were the right amount of saltiness, and helped along by the copious serving of shallot. The tea eggs were perfectly cooked and a real treat. We had a small amount of chilli added in as well. The rice noodles themselves were very bouncy and 筋道. Definitely easy to slurp. Overall a great dish. My only regret is that I had to share the one egg with my partner.

I quite enjoyed the Pan Fried Shrimp Dumplings (6 for $13.80) the filling inside was light flavoured with a lot of prawn and ginger. It was almost the same as a 蝦餃 but inside of a fried dumpling. Even my partner, who hates prawn, finished an entire dumpling. The dumpling shell was fried perfectly and crispily. I do wish that they had offered a boiled variant however.

The Pan-fried Pickled Chili Coriander and Beef Dumplings (6 for $12.80) are part of their limited seasonal menu. I found the fillings tasty, with a strong coriander flavour. Again the dumplings were well pan-fried, and again I wish there would have been a more wholesome option for this one, like boiling or steaming.

The Steamed Pork and Chives Dumplings (10 for $11.80) were cheap and wholesome. My partner liked them more than me, but I did appreciate that they didn’t drench these ones in oil.

The Fried Pork Buns (6 for $8.80) were really cheap and filling. Like everything else at the restaurant they came out piping hot and fresh, and gave a good splash of the juices inside!

I think that overall Slurp! Slurp! was a very impressive, small, and clean Chinese restaurant. Their noodles were the star of the show, and if I were to go back I’d definitely try and make it through their extensive noodle menu. Their dumplings are good, but their over reliance on pan-fried dumplings over boiled or steamed dumplings makes it less impressive than if they were able to deliver delicious and wholesome boiled dumplings.

The service at Slurp! Slurp! was perfect for my liking. Attentive enough when you want things, but not so attentive like at a Western restaurant where they ask you how your food is every five minutes. Thanks for leaving us alone to enjoy our delicious meal.

5/5 dumperonis.

UPDATE 23/12/2020

We went back to Slurp! Slurp! last night to try a few more items. Our meal, whilst good, was not that great. My partner remarked that if we had had this meal the first time we probably wouldn’t have gone back for seconds.

Minty Beef Rice Noodles

The minty beef rice noodles ($13.80) were, true to their name, quite minty and beefy. I enjoyed the broth with its beefy flavours, and thought that the serving of beef was reasonably generous (however if ordering this again I would option it with extra beef). The addition of a tea egg ($2.50) is an absolute must. While not as good as the copper pot noodles, these minty beef rice noodles had the same kind of noodles, which remained tasty when paired with the broth even after the meat and other toppings were eaten. I can recommend this dish.

The unforgettable ghost chicken ($8.80) ended up being quite forgettable and neither spooky nor very good. It was cold chicken in a salad of onions and cucumber with a tangy vinegar dressing. Though billed as two chillis in heat the dish wasn’t really very spicy at all. The quantity of chicken was small, though I guess just on the cusp of reasonable given the dish’s low price. Don’t get this.

The pan fried shrimp and bamboo shoot dumplings ($13.80), distinct from the prawn-only dumplings from last time, were again a very strong dish. Given my goal of trying new dishes I wasn’t going to order these dumplings, however the lady ahead basically incepted me with her order consisting of two servings of these babies. The dumplings were perfectly pan fried, this time in a reasonably open wrapping as opposed to a fully sealed wrapping. The flavour of the filling was good, though I thought not as tasty as the prawn dumplings from my previous visit, and not as prawny. My partner, hater of prawn, ate two whole dumplings – perhaps as she also agreed that these weren’t as prawny as before.

The big wonton in chilli sauce ($10.80) was pretty good but pretty standard. They were indeed quite big, with a large and generous meaty filling. Compared to other similar dishes that I’ve had – for example at Lilong by Taste of Shanghai – this dish was a bit more spicy, with its heavy smattering of chilli paste. Pretty tasty, but wasn’t a standout.

The cabbage and pork dumplings ($11.80)were pretty standard fare. More wholesome than the more fancy pan fried dumplings. I think of equal quality to their pork and chive dumplings.

Slurp! Slurp!
R1/57 Rothschild Ave, Rosebery NSW 2018
(02) 9663 3817

Categories
Malaysian

Albee’s Kitchen – Kingsford NSW Restaurant Review

Albee’s Kitchen is a Malaysian restaurant in Kingsford. Situated close to the UNSW campus, I’m told that it was a very popular spot for students prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was a big fan of the Kuching Style Claypot Noodles ($14-$15). The soup was perfect and the noodles an excellent texture. This is one dish that I would have again and again.

Hainanese Chicken Rice

Albee’s Hainanese Chicken Rice ($12) didn’t quite fit expectations. It’s hard to articulate why – it just didn’t taste as classic 海南鸡饭 is meant to taste. Maybe because it was swimming in soy sauce.

The karipap (curry puff) ($3.50 each) is a fan favourite, very large and stuffed full of ingredients. You will find rave reviews for Albee’s curry puffs online but unfortunately (perhaps because it was a bit cold) it was not to our taste.

After enjoying our first meal at Albee’s (pictured) we tried unsuccessfully to visit again twice. One time at night they had already closed prior to their advertised closing time. We ate at No.1 Malatang instead that night, which was truly disappointing. The other time we went in the morning and they were yet to open, even though it was past their advertised opening time. This was a bit of a let down on both occasions.

Overall some of the dishes are a bit hit and miss, but the inclusion of some true winners leads me to recommend giving Albee’s Kitchen a go.

UPDATE – 25/11/2020

We went back! One of our Malaysian friends happened to be in the area and had a hankering for his favourite Malaysian restaurant. We took this opportunity to gather a few of our intensive care colleagues for a lunch with a menu curated by the sedap master.

Half Hainan Chicken

The Half Hainan Chicken ($18.80) was better than I remembered! The chicken was soft and tender, and if you look to compare with the above image you can see that the chicken to soy sauce ratio is not that as much as it was before.

Nam Yu Pork Rib

The Nam Yu Pork Rib ($19.80) is pork rib, marinated in fermented bean curd, and deep fried. It is quite delicious and brimming with umami taste. They are easy to pick up with chopsticks in a shared eating scenario and I found myself coming back to it again and again.

After having quite good Loh Bak at Ho Jiak in Haymarket I was keen to try Albee’s version. While good, I didn’t quite enjoy Albee’s Lor Bak/ Ngoh Hiang (2 for $18.80) as much. The filling of pork and prawn mince with vegetable just didn’t feel as premium as Ho Jiak’s. The bean curd exterior was also not as deep fried and crispy, which is both a plus and minus. It was still good but not as good.

As a potato lover, the Curry Chicken and Potato Hot Pot (Large) was my girlfriend’s favourite. She really enjoyed the yellow curry soup mixed with rice, and also how the potato fully soaked up the flavours. Even though she doesn’t usually like to have chicken while eating out (she thinks chicken is a non-special animal, having grown up eating a lot of chicken at home) she really enjoyed the chicken here, particularly how fall off the bone tender it was. Definitely a highlight.

Sambal Water Spinach

The Sambal Water Spinach ($17.80) was really no more special than other wok tossed vegetables with sambal mixed in. Quite good with rice. A special mention needs to be made for the sambal sauce at Albee’s, which has a deep umami flavour but isn’t so spicy that it is remote and inaccessible for the weak tongued.

UPDATE 4/12/2020

My girlfriend liked the curry chicken and potato so much that she made us go again. We ordered a bit too much between the two of us, and had plenty to take home.

The Wonton Soup ($12) was good. A huge serving that is a meal in and of itself. The soup was tasty but not too salty (as it was at Yummy Duck BBQ) and the wontons large. I enjoyed the bonus greens that came with the dish which added a degree of healthfulness to the meal. If I had one complaint it would be that the wonton wrappers are a bit thick and extensive.

Ipoh Chicken Noodle Soup

The Ipoh Chicken Noodle Soup ($14) was again a huge bowl for a cheap price. It was a bowl of rice noodles in a slightly spicy broth with sliced chicken, prawns, and bean sprouts. I found the mixture of chicken and prawn pleasing as it provides a bit from column A and a bit from column B – good if you’re not looking for a fully prawn noodle soup. The serving of noodles is very generous – don’t feel like you have to finish it all!

Pandan Chicken (3 for $5.80) was yummy and flavourful. Essentially Malaysian style fried chicken wrapped in pandan leaf. You’re not meant to eat the leaf but honestly it’s all deep fried and flavoured so it’s not bad.

Traditional curry chicken and potato with rice

A reprise of the curry chicken and potato but this time with rice and at a cheap price for a solo meal ($12). My partner didn’t actually enjoy this as much as last time. Perhaps the stone pot provides some additional flavour characteristics?

TO CONCLUDE

Albee’s Kitchen provides delicious and affordable Malaysian food. Our group meal came to around $20 per person and we left feeling happy and satisfied. I can definitely recommend Albee’s for your next lunch.

Albee’s Kitchen Kingsford
470 Anzac Parade, Kingsford NSW 2032
0452 077 118