YX Yuxiang Mini Hot Pot – Haymarket NSW Hotpot Review

Our bank accounts are very modest, and when my girlfriend suggested we go to the Dolar Shop for hotpot I very skillfully redirected us to YX Mini Hot Pot, a competent and reasonable alternative situated across the road.

One of the things I really like about YX Mini Hotpot are the semi-private booths that they offer. The interior is quite dark, and the spacious booths mean that you can enjoy your meal in private away from prying eyes.

We enjoyed YX Mini Hot Pot’s various hotpot bases. I chose the dual-base with preserved vegetable and fish (酸菜) and chili. I liked both bases but I wish that the fish and chilli base could be paired with a more neutral base like the mushroom base or the bone broth base. Unfortunately the combinations available for the dual broths were limited and I had to settle for two tasty broths.

My partner picked the mushroom base and the tomato base. The mushroom base was light and shroomy, and the tomato base was quite sweet. Both were quite good.

We enjoyed the assorted mushrooms and the bok choy. My partner particularly liked the way the oyster mushrooms were cut, which were flat and thin. One thing I would mention is that the bok choy was cut in a way where the stem and root end were completely removed, leaving only the leaf. I don’t know why they would have done this, as I quite like the stem part. As I was typing this my partner informed me that bok choy is her favourite vegetable to wash “as they have nice broad stems, and there’s not much room to hide dirt, and the leaves are easy to peel and detach.”

I can recommend both the fried tofu skin and the fresh tofu. Both were great at absorbing the taste of the soup.

As we are budget eaters, we ordered the normal sliced beef and sliced lamb. There were differing cuts and grades of wagyu on offer, however, for the discerning and wide walleted diner. The beef was very good and fresh. The lamb we found to be a bit lamby, however acceptable when cooked in the chilli soup base.

The assorted balls (meat and seafood) I thought was a bit missable. It was nice that they offered fresh stuff as opposed to supermarket freezer stuff, but they didn’t really wow me. If I had my time again I would not get these and get more meat or other seafood.

In conclusion: We really enjoyed YX Mini Hot Pot. We paid around $120 to satisfy two humans, which I think is a reasonable amount to pay for fresh ingredients. The ingredients were much fresher than Legend Hotpot Buffet in Emerald Square Burwood, however more expensive. We paid a similar amount at Chong Qing Ji Gong Bao in Kingsford, which is also a good option a bit further out from the city. I can recommend, however I can’t say anything about YX’s more premium offerings.

Yuxiang Mini Hot Pot Haymarket
1/102-108 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000
(02) 8065 9932


Lilong by Taste of Shanghai – Hurstville NSW Takeaway Review

Our family has been a big fan of the Taste of Shanghai chain of restaurants since the mid 2000s, frequenting the Eastwood store back when we had family living in Epping. My mother has in fact been a VIP member of Taste of Shanghai for around the last decade, and I have in turn enjoyed dining at Taste of Shanghai with my partner and her family (who have been also going independently for a long time).

I was surprised, therefore, to be disappointed by the delivery service (via UberEats) from Lilong by Taste of Shanghai. I found the xiaolongbao, the shenjiang bao, and the pan-fried dumplings to be universally disappointing. At least part of it has to be due to the travel time (approx 10 minutes from Hurstville to Kogarah), but I do think that if a food is unable to be satisfactorily delivered then it shouldn’t be delivered at all.

Thumbs down. Possibly thumbs up if eaten in person, but until then we will not know.

UPDATE – November 2020

Despite my negative review above, and despite my strong preference to the contrary, my partner decided that she wanted to go to Lilong to eat in person. What we found was better – but not much better.

Unfortunately the first complaint needs to go to the cleanliness of the operation. Pictured above is the state of the booth seat that the diners sit on. It doesn’t look like it’s been cleaned in recent memory. The crockery we received was also dirty – the cups had a black sediment in them, as well as stains that could easily be rubbed off by hand. This is absolutely not good enough.

We started with the braised duck in special soy sauce ($12.80). This is some of the worst duck we’ve had in a while. The flesh was very tough, seemingly overcooked. The flavour was straight soy sauce flavour, with no interesting components. The salad that they served on the side looked like they came straight out of a Woolworths bag – mostly baby spinach, some shredded carrot, and other basic greenery.

spicy beef brisket noodle soup

The spicy beef brisket noodle soup ($12.80) was not special. I thought that the soup was very watery and in fact had a bit of a tap water taste. We ended up only finishing the toppings, leaving a lot of the boring noodles to spare. Not a specialty of theirs at all.

The Shanghai Turnip Croissant ($10.89) was actually the reason we came to Lilong by Taste of Shanghai at all. My partner had a big craving for these, but was disappointed. I personally didn’t mind – I thought the pastry was light and fluffy, and the ham filling inside was tasty, but not enough to justify the 30 minute drive.

The pan-fried pork buns (sheng jian bao) (生煎包 – $12) is one of Taste of Shanghai’s top specialties. The shengjianbao today were mostly bald and naked – I wonder if there is some kind of global black sesame seed shortage going on. At the very least the bao were still excellent. The filling is still the same, with plenty of fresh hot soup bursting out with each bite. The bottoms were perfectly fried to a crisp. Overall, eating the sheng jian bao at the restaurant was much, much better than getting them delivered.

If the sheng jian bao was one of the stars of the meal, the other would be the Wontons in Red Chilli Oil Sauce ($12.80). This is something that we almost always get when we eat at Taste of Shanghai, and one of the dishes I remember loving from my childhood. The filling is housemade pork and chive. The wonton skins are quite springy but not too undercooked. The red chilli oil sauce is, as always, delicious. I personally like to eat the wontons with a spoon in order to get a good amount of red sauce with every mouthful. This is an oft-imitated dish (for example by Dumpling Queen in Eastgardens), but only Taste of Shanghai seems to be able to execute it perfectly.

Overall I would say that dining at Lilong by Taste of Shanghai was better in person, however there are still a lot of misses on the menu. Stick with what they do best, however, and you will not go wrong – unless you are disgusted by the environment and general uncleanliness.

Lilong by Taste of Shanghai (Hurstville)
Rooftop, Westfield Hurstville
1 PA Park Rd & Cross St, Hurstville NSW 2220
(02) 9570 9051


Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken – Liverpool St, Sydney CBD NSW Review

My first ever experience of Taiwanese Fried Chicken Steak was at the now defunct 3Q Fried Chicken on George St many many years ago (or was it at Hot Star in Melbourne 2013 ? I can’t remember but I don’t want to lie to you, and especially not to myself). Since then I’ve had many different styles of Taiwanese fried chicken, at many different places. The sheer ubiquity of the Hot-Star brand, and the generally dependable quality of its food make them one of my go-tos.

While I’ve eaten at Hot-Star on Liverpool St many times, most of which have been late at night, I only have this single, poorly mosaiced photo to share. Hot-Star, for the uninitiated, specialises in large fried chicken, basically breast that has been butterflied and beaten into flat submission, battered, fried, and offered with either regular or spicy seasoning.

The result is delicious and always fresh. While no doubt offensive to the cardiovascular system, they are quite appealing to the senses.

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken – Liverpool St
96 Liverpool St, Sydney NSW 2000


Long Men Zhu – Mascot NSW Malatang Restaurant Review

Long Meng Zhu is one of many restaurants that serve Ma La Tang in Mascot’s recently developed high-rise area, located mere footsteps away from its nearest competitor.

The concept is much the same as every other Ma La Tang restaurant. There is a refrigerated display of a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables. The selection is a bit narrower than what you would find at a larger competitor like Yang Guo Fu Ma La Tang, but still reasonably appropriate. The meat are fresh and were still being actively topped up by the time I visited at around 10:30PM. What sets Long Men Zhu apart from many of its competitors is the array of soup bases on offer. Along with the classic spicy malatang soup, Long Men Zhu also offers a pork bone broth, a laksa broth, and a chicken broth.

I had a selection of sliced meats, vegetables, balls, and tofu in the pork bone broth. Service was fast however I did notice that one of my fish balls was still cold inside. The rest of the food was thoroughly cooked, and I did not get sick afterwards. The pork broth was quite nice and umami, a lighter option in terms of flavour than the usual malatang soup. It was actually so good that I drank most of it at the conclusion of my meal.

A shoutout should also go to the nice man working front of house, who was friendly and made me feel welcome as someone who pretend not to speak Chinese. He is probably the reason why there is a reasonably multicultural patronage at Long Men Zhu.


Pretty good, worth a try! The boss asked me if he would be seeing me at his restaurant more, and I told him to be honest probably no as I’m moving away from the area soon. I do want to bring my girlfriend back though.

Long Men Zhu
1/56 Church Ave, Mascot NSW 2020


Yummy Duck BBQ – Zetland NSW Restaurant Review

Yummy Duck BBQ and Brazilian Flame Barbecue sit on either side of a particularly long traffic light. It was this extended wait at a traffic light on my way to Brazilian Flame that first put me on to Yummy Duck BBQ, and I am glad that it did.

I visited Yummy Duck BBQ just before a night shift in the emergency department. I ordered in English, and asked to eat in but with an extra takeaway box in case I couldn’t finish my meal either due to abdominal or time constraints. It seems like something got lost in translation, however, as I ended up getting my meal served directly in those takeaway containers.

Roast duck and rice

The roast duck and rice ($13.80) was very cheap and very tasty. The amount of roast duck provided was extremely generous for the price, not to mention quality. The skin was nice and crispy, and the meat the perfect amount of juicy and tasty. The greens on the side were a nice touch, and the juices from the duck seeped into the rice below, providing it with a nice quacky flavour.

The wontons ($10.80) are your average meat-focused wontons served in an extremely salty clear broth with seaweed and shallots. While the wontons themselves are good with plenty of meaty filling, the broth does let the dish down and takes it from a recommend to a don’t recommend.

Yummy Duck BBQ seems to have its own cohort of faithful locals. During my brief visit to Yummy Duck I witnessed warm interactions between the staff and not only the predominantly student-aged Asian crowd but also middle-aged Caucasian men in high-vis alike. I would characterise this loyalty to Yummy Duck is well deserved – they have some of the best roast duck I’ve had in the past three years, and will definitely be my go to while I’m still living in the area.

Yummy Duck BBQ
392 Botany Rd, Zetland NSW 2017
0415 773 777