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Hungry Paulie 愛呷囝仔 – Eastwood NSW Restaurant Review

Tucked away on Trelawney St on the Chinese side of Eastwood is Hungry Paulie, purveyor or fine Taiwanese breakfast foods.

The Traditional Egg Pancake with Fried Bread Stick (P15 台式蛋饼包油条 – $9.50) is similar to but not quite the same as the jianbing guozi (煎饼馃子) that I had in my childhood. Thin pancakes with a layer of egg omlette are wrapped around freshly fried yóutiáo, with a bit of very light soy flavoured dressing on top. The yóutiáo at Hungry Paulie are seriously good and well worth a mention, each hand-prepared on site from scratch by artisans working behind a glass window. I can recommend this.

My partner was a big fan of the Black Pepper Pork Pastry with Shallots (Paulie Pie) (P1 胡椒饼 – $6.50), which was essentially a large spherical pie with a huge amount of peppery beef steak filling. There is little in common between this meat pie and the classic Australian meat pie. The shape is almost spherical, with a more dough-reinforced base at the bottom and minimal crust up top. The filing is steak-dominated, with big chunks of chewable meat in a black-pepper rich semi-solid gravy. It was pretty good, and at $6.50 good value and worth a try.

My partner, keen on a dessert dish, ordered the hot Roasted Peanut Rice Milk (D2 – 花生米浆 – $4) This wasn’t quite what she expected. Rather than being a dessert, it was more of a staple meal, with quite a significant size and warmth to it. It had a distinctive peanut flavour and it wasn’t too sweet, but neither of us was a big fan of it. Perhaps it just wasn’t what we were looking for this morning.

The Taiwanese Anchovy Congee (C16 – 台式吻仔鱼粥 – $12) is a loose, wet congee flavoured with little dried anchovies. It is much looser than the congees of my childhood, though not to its detriment. The toppings of youtiao and fried wonton skins added a nice amount of crunch, but unfortunately the anchovy added only a slight almost-imperceptible umami flavour. Though this was a nicely warming bowl overall, I don’t think I really got much out of the anchovy flavouring. I think that if I were to come back I would get a more standard congee, like the one with preserved egg and pork, which is a known favourite.

The Braised Combo Noodle Soup (N6 – 红烧手工牛肉三宝面 – $18.50) was ordered essentially because there was a portrait of it sitting in front of me at the bar seats. It was probably fine, but to be honest at this point in the meal we were a bit too full to enjoy anything properly. The noodles had a slight mala flavour, which I normally don’t mind (and even enjoy) but didn’t appeal to me today. It was packed with protein of multiple bovine sources – muscle, tendon, rumen, and probably some reticulum too. Whilst I enjoyed the muscle, I could only bring myself to nibble on the other beef parts – I think it really is a dish best ordered hungry. The noodles were otherwise good, and the baby bok choy was very tender and sweet. I feel like I disappointed this dish, not the other way around.

The Savoury Rice Pudding (T1 – 碗粿 – $7) was a creamy, almost radish-cakey lump of starch in a bowl of gravy and mince. It was tasty and good, though I’m still not really sure what was inside

SUBSEQUENT VISIT
We re-visited Hungry Paulie around 7 months later, under a cloud of general malaise (short-lived, and well worth the extra protection) following the third dose of a COVID vaccine.

The Soy Bean Jelly with Sweet Soft Peanut (花生甜豆花 – $5.50) was like a wet, loose dou fu nao. There was less tofu than I would’ve liked, but I felt it was still adequately soft and silky, suspended in this soy milk soup. My partner, in a moment of surprisingly conviction, said that she thought that the tofu in this was still not as silky as what she gets at yum cha.

The Braised Soy Egg (滷蛋 – $2.50) was a soy egg, cut into quarters, and presented with a bit of garlic and chilli sauce. While there were no surprises with the egg itself, the addition of sauce was completely unexpected, as was the addition of shallots and lettuce. The sauce was ultimately quite tasty, and added to the experience. It’s interesting that there is a price differential between ordering this in the restaurant and via an online ordering app. It appears to be cheaper delivered, which is just strange.

The Fried Radish Cake in Garlic Sauce Dressing ($5.50) was unexpectedly enjoyable. I’m normally not a believer in the radish cakes, but this one had me surprised. The outer layers were crispily fried, whilst the gooey inner layer was only modestly thick and barely noticeable. These radish cakes were drenched in a similar sauce to the eggs, which was very valuable to adding flavour. I think that with optimal frying dimensions and garlic sauce dressing these radish cakes were able to be enjoyed even by the non radish cake lover.

The Traditional Shallots Pancake with Braised Beef (牛肉捲餅 – $11.50) was not as good as the egg pancake, and not as good as I hoped. The actual pancake itself was stellar – thin, hot, and crispy, and with good shallot flavour. What was unfortunate was the filling that the shallot was wrapped around – a huge mass of lettuce, with a small amount of dressing and some cold braised beef. I think some warmth on the beef would’ve gone a long way, and it was certainly not helped by the mass of cold, internally wet lettuce. They really need to rethink this one.

The Taiwanese Pork Thick Soup with Bamboo and added Rice (嘉義赤肉羹 – $17) was quite enjoyable. It had a quality similar to a hot and sour soup, with plenty of white pepper flavour as well as something similar to bonito flake on top. It was thickened, with a reasonable amount of meat, bamboo, and mushrooms for the price. We were almost going to riot for not getting our rice, until we realised it was actually hidden inside the soup. So it was essentially a kind of congee.

This Wintermelon Iced Tea ($3.50) was super fresh, a bit sweet but not too sweet, and quite importantly, cheap. It makes a joke out of Hong Kong Bing Sutt charging $7 for a (delicious) iced milk tea.

VERDICT
I quite liked Hungry Paulie, and I’d like to take my parents to the Mascot branch once they feel safe enough from a COVID-19 to leave the house. There are plenty of things that I remember from my childhood on offer at Hungry Paulie that I think they would enjoy.

Hungry Paulie 愛呷囝仔 Eastwood
Shop 3/3-5 Trelawney St, Eastwood NSW 2122
0411 660 866

Categories
Chinese

iBao (i包) Kitchen – Rhodes NSW Restaurant Review

I recently had the pleasure of being among the first to receive my COVID-19 booster vaccine at the WSLHD Sydney Super Dome Quodos Bank Arena vaccination centre, and took myself out for a nearby breakfast to celebrate. The focus of my journey, Shiweiju, was not open, and I settled on nearby iBao (i包) instead.

Similar to Shiweju, iBao (i包) serves a variety of Tianjin or Northern Chinese breakfast classics, in a no-nonsense setting. I ordered in English (much to the disappointment of the man working there) a number of dishes from my childhood.

The Soy Milk ($3), is made in the Chinese style, with a light and watery mouthfeel. It was served warm in a coffee cup, with a small amount of sugar mixed in. I don’t know whether this soy milk is made in-store or merely purchased by the jug and heated, but the uneven distribution of sugar towards the bottom of the cup implies that it is made fresh.

I was a big fan of the pancake rolled with crisp fritter ($6.80). The thin and pliable jianbing, cooked with egg, had a fresh and light taste. The tian mian jiang (sweet bean sauce) was evenly applied and not overpowering, and while the jianbing was filled with a strange fried fritter rather than the classic youtiao, it still added the same crispiness.

The pork bun ($2.50) is a classic Tianjin bun, typified by the goubuli baozi that dogs don’t care about. The exterior is soft and almost dangerously thick, but when matched bite-for-bite with the moist and pork filling the meat to carb ratio was perfectly adequate. These are quite cheap and filling, and appear to be well loved by local community, who bought them in larger quantities to take home and eat with their families.

COMMENTS
There aren’t that many restaurants in Sydney focused on Tianjin or Northern Chinese cuisine, and I’m very grateful for the ones that do exist. My one gripe would be the staff member who went out for a cigarette just outside the restaurant’s front door, with the wind blowing some of the smoke inside. Maybe it added to the authenticity though.

iBao (i包) Kitchen Rhodes
Shop 5/7 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138
(02) 9029 1656