The Booth (via Menulog)

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I’ve always been wanting to try The Booth but have always seemed to pick another restaurant in Box Hill, either by familiarity or just routine. On this occasion though, having been offered by Menulog to try their online ordering services, I thought it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a try. Menulog is currently the number 1 Australian website for online take-away and with over 3,500 restaurants on the website around Australia, it certainly makes a name for itself.

My locality is in Blackburn so the restaurants offering pick up or delivery will vary. However, if you’re in the Blackburn area, you can check out the link to check out other restaurants using Menulog for convenient online ordering (Blackburn Take-away Restaurants). I find it’s a great away to find some restaurants that you may not have come across before, you visit Menulog and type in your suburb to check out the restaurants using Menulog in your area.

Menulog is convenient and very straight forward to use, and for those tied to their smartphones (like myself), there is an app you can use too for iOS and Android (Link). But of course, the website and even their mobile website work well and easy enough to just pick what you want and order.

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As you can see from the screenshots, delivery isn’t too much for the sake of convenience but restaurants also do offer pick up too. Once you’ve chosen and paid for, you can schedule it for a preferred delivery time (or pick up) or “now”. Then all you need to do wait for the SMS confirmation and either pick it up at the scheduled time or await delivery. Real simple.

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The Booth

The food arrived on time and we were even provided with complimentary drinks, which is a definite winner in terms of service I must say. The food overall was still hot and no microwaving necessary.

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 The Pan-Fried Pork dumplings were still hot and even a little crispy still, even with the steam softening some of it up as it would in a take-away container. The dumplings are probably one of the better ones I’ve tried in Box Hill, it has just enough filling and the pork, ginger flavour comes through well.

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The Black Pepper Beef Noodles is fantastic too, the meal comes in two with the noodles in one container and the black pepper beef and sauce in another, all you need to do is mix it together. If you love pepper and beef, this dish is for you. The black pepper here is so flavourful, and the amount of pepper gives it a very nice spicy pepper kick. Pleasantly surprised.

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The Spicy and Sour Noodle Soup may not be for everyone, it is an acquired taste but since I have some familiarity with the sour and spicy soup, I quite enjoyed it. It’s a bit difficult to describe but if you have tasted Chinese Hot/Spicy and Sour soup before you’ll instantly know this, and I believe the sourness comes from Chinese vinegar that they add. Tasty dish but I could do without the abundance of mushrooms.

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The Booth’s Sweet Soya Bean Curd with Mango, Sago & Coconut Milk is really wonderful. I would have preferred if it were a cold dessert as it was only slightly cold/room temperature but I guess I could always add ice to it or chill it for a few hours. The dessert is quite similar to a Tofu Fah/Dau Fu Fa in texture but with the Soy Bean curd isn’t as smooth as tofu is but alas with the coconut milk and mango, sago makes for a really tasty dessert. The creaminess of the coconut milk and the sweetness of the mango gives it life. Would definitely order this again.

Impressions

I’m very glad to have ordered from The Booth, from it’s great service and tasty food I think you can definitely rely on them for a great take-away night. Overall, I couldn’t really fault the dishes other than its generous use of oil. I recommend giving it a try in-restaurant or ordering from Menulog as if you’re local it’s only $5 to Blackburn which I found to be very reasonable, and the food at The Booth certainly won’t break the bank either.

The Booth on Urbanspoon

The Booth (Order via Menulog)
612 Station St
Box Hill VIC 3128

Shophouse Kitchen

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Shophouse Kitchen in QV, Melbourne is one of the many new Hong Kong restaurants that have been popping up around Melbourne in recent times. What makes Hong Kong cuisine stand apart from either Taiwanese or Chinese dishes is their fusion of Western and Eastern such as eating a pork cutlet with rice or spaghetti but Hong Kong cuisine of course still retains the Chinese influence and has many Chinese dishes without Western influences.

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This dish is not one of those distinctly Chinese dishes, instead this dish is called a Baked Chicken Chop on Rice. This dish is basically Fried Rice topped with a cheese and tomato sauce bake with a Crumbed Chicken Chop. You can also order this with a creamy sauce, akin to that of a Alfredo sauce or creamy garlic sauce. You can instantly tell this is Hong Kong style food, and the fusion here actually works well. The Fried Rice flavour is quite muted, which allows the flavour from the tomato sauce and cheese to come through. The generous serving of chicken is crisp and moist which is the centrepiece of the dish. Overall, I liked it but I didn’t love it.

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Here we have the Grilled Chicken Chop Rice Set served with blanched bok choy, a fried egg and white rice dressed with soy sauce. I found the grilled chicken here to be overcooked, and over charred which is unfortunate. The lack of sauce also is a disappointment as with dry meat, almost dry veggies and egg lacking in any sauce as well, it makes for a poor dish as a whole with nothing to gel everything together.

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 The Fried Chicken Chop Fried Rice dish is as the name suggests, Crispy fried chicken with veggies and served with Fried Rice. Again the Fried Rice lacks flavour and here would be a downside to the dish as there is nothing that really defines the fried rice here with steamed white rice. On the plus side, the crispy chicken was moist and yet extra crispy with plenty of seasoning.

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On the dessert side of things, I was intrigued by the Signature Durian Tofu Pudding but was sorely disappointed by the end result. You can instantly tell from the first mouthful that the durian here is just flavouring and not real/pureed durian to provide the flavour. The durian extract or flavouring here was used sparingly and it’s almost just a pudding with a hint of durian.

Impressions

Although the impression you may have here is that the dishes aren’t fantastic,  I would say it’s only the Western/fusion style dishes that come up a bit short as they are not either exceptional Western dishes nor are they tasty Chinese dishes. On the other hand, the more Chinese styled dishes such as their BBQ Pork and Fried Wonton (Dry La Mian Noodles) or their Asian Roast on Rice are tasty without question and would actually come back for.

Shophouse Kitchen ??? on Urbanspoon

Shophouse Kitchen
Shop 29, 210 Lonsdale St
Melbourne VIC 03000
Inside QV Square

Cafe Soho

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Cafe Soho on Kingsway, Glen Waverley is a Hong Kong style restaurant that replaced the Italian styled cafe before it. I recall there being another Hong Kong eatery on Kingsway before Petaling Street took its place and I actually was kinda fond of that restaurant. Cafe Soho is quite similar in its cuisine but definitely has a larger more diverse menu.

The image on top is a very Western meets Chinese, with its fried chicken and a creamy tomato based sauce with sunny side up egg and salad. The chicken is nice and crispy, tender inside. I found the sauce to be a bit bland, not much seasoning (it definitely needs pepper or chilli flakes) and it tastes a bit odd with rice. I guess some people may be used to this kind of cuisine but it still feels kind of strange.

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Their vermicelli noodle soup with mushrooms and pork is a pleasant dish albeit a bit oily as you can see by its sheen. Sometimes hot noodle soup is just great on a cold winters day. Nothing too exciting to see here, to be perfectly honest.

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Also ordered the Sweet and Sour Pork with rice. I believe they deep fry the pork before stir frying which gives it a nice crispy bite to it. The sauce lacked the sourness from the tomatoes, and I felt was a bit too sweet. The larger meat pieces works well here, as opposed to Grand Tofu’s version but I actually do prefer Grand Tofu’s Sweet and Sour Pork even though their meat to skin/flour ratio is low, and sometimes there is an airiness to the meat (balls) that isn’t too appealing. A decent meal.

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Hong Kong styled Milk Tea is a bit different to Malaysian Milk Tea or the Bubble Teas as it uses evaporated milk instead of condensed (Malaysian) so you have this tangy, slightly bitter but still retaining some sweetness drink. Here, it’s done well and it comes in a nice cup and saucer. I actually had to add a bit of sugar because it wasn’t all that sweet. A nice drink.

Impressions

Cafe Soho I feel is a bit hit or miss with what you order, nothing here is offensively bad but I feel nothing really stands out and I’ve been here a couple of times and I don’t even remember what I’ve ordered. It doesn’t leave a lasting impression but will be sufficient enough to fill you up. Overall I’d say its a bit bland and wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here but as an option I wouldn’t mind going back. It has a disastrous rating on Urbanspoon though, so I guess diner beware?

Cafe Soho on Urbanspoon

Cafe Soho

113-115 Kingsway
Glen Waverley VIC 3150

Lu Yang Dumpling House

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Lu Yang Dumpling House is a popular Chinese restaurant in Box Hill, and one of the many Chinese restaurants around. It always seems to be full around lunchtime. Wanting to see for ourselves whether the place lives up to its popularity we gave it a try.

Their menu has a large selection of dumplings, pork, chicken, beef, seafood, vegetarian as well as Chinese stir-fried noodles and rice dishes. As the name of the restaurant seems to suggest, they specialise in dumplings so we ordered a mix of steamed dumplings consisting of seafood, pork, and beef, vegetarian dumplings.

I found the skin of the dumplings to be the right thickness but it seemed to be steamed for too long, making the skins to be too soft and when you bite into it, it all falls apart. The dumpling flavours all were unfortunately nothing out of the ordinary. I really couldn’t say any of the ones I tried had great flavours. Even the most commonly made dumpling, pork dumplings lacked ginger and chives. Overall I found the dumplings on the bland side of things.

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We also wanted to try the pan fried dumplings, these were the pork specialty as mentioned above it was a bit bland and the overall balance of flavours was not quite there. You had to either eat them with the dipping sauce (Predominantly Chinkiang vinegar) or the chilli oil/seeds to give it a bit of a kick. Another negative was the dumplings were swimming in oil. Taking a bite into them you’ll find oil squirting out of them. Not a particularly pleasant experience and the old Bob’s Kitchen in Glen Waverley (now RaRamen Glen Waverley) makes one of the better dumplings around town.

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A pleasant surprise was their Szechuan Noodles, again slightly too oily, but that’s okay because overall the seasoning, sauce all had a good balance. Not overly seasoned with salt, and the fresh vegetables stir fried in with the noodles made it a tasty dish indeed.

Impressions

Lu Yang Dumpling House is a bit hit and miss, and I’m uncertain why it seems to be so popular. I’d also like to mention the service is a bit slow, I believe we waited around 20 or so minutes before the first order arrived with no apology from the waitresses that served us. I guess I can’t expect much from Chinese restaurants. I’d give the dumplings a miss, you can definitely find better dumplings (with overall better skin to filling ratio) elsewhere.

Lu Yang Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Lu Yang Dumpling House

617 Station Street

Box Hill VIC 3128

 

Foods Paradise

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Foods Paradise across from Glen Waverley Railway station replaced Ho Chak earlier this year. It serves a mixture of cuisines such as Malaysian, Taiwanese and Chinese.  There are a number of dishes on offer on their menu, starting off with the xiao long buns, rice & noodle dishes and combo meals.  It’s an interesting variety of dishes I must say.

We ordered the Braised Beef Noodle Soup, pictured above. It has that soy soup base that you may find familiar to that of Soy Chicken with an essence of something herbal too. I’m not a big fan of this kind of soup or sauce for that matter but it is flavourful for what it is.

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To try something different, I was attracted to the Shark Fin Noodle Soup that was pictured in the menu with the green tinged noodles. This dish looks amazing, but the taste is a spectacular let down for its complete blandness and overload of mushrooms as its primary flavour. The soup lacks any real substance and the “shar fins” add that element of texture to the soup but with the soup base itself lacking in any substantial flavour it comes out as a disappointment unfortunately. The noodles are cooked well, not too soggy and has a nice bite to it (just a tad dense/spongey) I guess that’s the plus. As mentioned previously, the mushrooms completely overwhelm everything else. They also add strips of seafood stick pieces, it’s neither interesting nor does it complement the noodles and soup. It feels like another bland addition. I’m sorry for the scathing review of this dish but it really wasn’t in anyway great.

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Foods Paradise’ s Wat Tan Hor is at the very least decent. The egg sauce is wonderfully appetising, and quite similar to the other great Malaysian restaurants around Melbourne. I’ll stop short to say it’s genuinely authentic but it is genuinely tasty. It is also generous in its seafood and chicken. The much sought after wok flavour is present in this dish so I’d say this is a winner (comparatively)

Impressions

It’s exceedingly common to see new restaurants have extensive Food, Drinks and Desserts menu. While Foods Paradise offers the first one, it lacks in Drinks and Desserts which is a shame. What I haven’t mentioned here is their Beef Rendang in Deep Fried Bread is an interesting and tasty dish in itself, although I’ll warn you the bread is very oily. So take it in small portions.

Foods Paradise has its moments of greatness and disappointments. I find it to more leaning more towards the mediocre side of things as a result. I don’t even know whether to say give it a try or not it’s that 50/50. If you like to take a gamble, I guess give it a go?

Foods Paradise on Urbanspoon

Foods Paradise

25-27 Railway Parade North
Glen Waverley VIC 3150

First Taste Box Hill

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First Taste is one of my favourite restaurants in Springvale. I love the claypot rice, absolutely adore it. Being able to scrape the rice from the sides is just a treat. I never knew there was a First Taste in Box Hill, and now it’s even more convenient to dine and order my favourite Black Pepper Beef Claypot Rice.

What is noticed is slightly different from the Springvale eatery is that they use less or sometimes none at all of coriander and they don’t leave the claypot bowls to cook as long. What you have is less crispy rice but still ridiculously hot, and the lacking flavour from the coriander. However everything else is basically the same, the beef is nice and tender with a pleasant fragrance and taste of pepper on the tongue. First Taste also provides a generous serving of sauce on top.

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I’m not a big fan of First Taste’s other claypot dishes though. The chicken, Chinese sausage and mushroom with soy sauce isn’t too my liking. It’s one of those slightly herbal tinged dishes, and I’m not fond of Chinese sausage with soy and of course the big mushrooms. That’s not to say it’s not cooked well, I definitely say for those that like these kind of dishes would find this perfectly satisfying. Again, they don’t leave the claypots to cook long enough so the sides and bottom of the claypot bowl aren’t as crispy.

Impressions

First Taste Box Hill is much like it’s brother (or sister) in Springvale. Slightly varied but familiarity is key here and you can’t find better Claypot rice anywhere else. Yes even Claypot King.

First Taste on Urbanspoon

First Taste
604 Station Street
Box Hill VIC 03128

Ho Chak

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Ho Chak opened last year in Glen Waverley, where the Hakka Tea House restaurant was located. Ho Chak serves Malaysian cuisine and apparently have a seafood specialty. We have visited there a couple of times and more often than not, the food served is more than satisfying. It’s also not as crowded along Railway Parade as it is on Kingsway so that’s always a plus during peak lunch and dinner periods.

One of their interesting dishes is the Marmite Pork with Fried Egg on Rice (pictured above), I recall eating something very similar in Ipoh, Malaysian a couple years back and might I say that was a delicious mix of ingredients. The dish here isn’t quite the same but the slight saltiness of marmite added with the sweetness really does make for a wonderful treat. It’s not often you find these dishes that seem out of the ordinary that pleasantly charm you.

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Their Vermicelli and Rice Noodle with Egg Sauce as it’s called on their menu  (aka Seafood Char Hor Fun) is also another tasty dish. I believe when we last visited there, they used both the flat rice noodles and the vermicelli which is commonly used for Mee Hoon. It’s also quite rare that you see these two noodles mixed together in a Hor Fun dish in Melbourne. This, and Straits of Malacca do indeed have both noodles which is delightful.

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Ho Chak’s Curry Laksa isn’t one of my favourites, unfortunately. I found the curry sauce to have too many spices added to it, it was way too overpowering. It was a bit off putting to be honest. I like my curry laksa’s to be more on the creamier side but not too creamy that it makes it hard to stomach the richness of the cream. The plus side is that it’s a very large serve, it can feed two people quite easily. Some people may like it, but I’m not too fond of this variation to be honest.

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Their Curry Chicken on Rice is nearing towards small for its price, but the curry sauce here is actually quite pleasant. It has a aromatic spiciness to it, and the chicken was well cooked but I’m really not fond of fried chicken. A lot of the dishes that Ho Chak serves is mostly fried so it’s just a caution for those that are like me and don’t like deep fried meat all that much.

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Their Fish Fillet Congee can serve a few people too, or one if you’re particularly famished. The congee was on the plain side, you do need some fresh chillies or  soy sauce to add the saltiness and kick to the dish. I guess it’s a good thing for those that want to add enough flavour to their liking but if you’re paying for food, you kinda want it to have some taste.

Impressions

Ho Chak impresses with its different dishes that departs from the norm, but also retains the common Malaysian cuisines to cater to the majority. I have slightly mixed feelings about Ho Chak, but overall I think it’s earned its place in Glen Waverley. They also have fried durian, for those wanting their durian fix. Ha!

Ho Chak Malaysian Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ho Chak

25-27 Railway Parade North

Glen Waverley VIC 3150

Pandan Snow Skin Mini Mooncakes with Peppermint Lotus Paste and Pumpkin Seeds

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Mooncake Festival is one of those Chinese traditions, where you eat a considerable amount of mooncake to celebrate well, a full moon. There are a number of Chinese festivals and it’s hard to keep track of them all but the Mooncake festival is one of those bigger occasions other than Chinese New Year. Lately I’ve become fond of the “snow skin” mooncakes and staying away from those traditional mooncakes which are golden brown in colour and have a wonderful fragrance to it. It’s probably due to my affection for mochi. We decided to give this a try using Christine’s Recipe. Check it out below

Pandan Snow Skin Mooncakes with Coconut Mung Bean Filling (Christine’s Recipes)
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 60 mins
Yield: 16 mini mooncakes (50 grams each)

Ingredients
55 gm glutinous rice flour
45 gm rice flour
25 gm wheat flour / wheat starch
60 gm caster sugar
190 ml milk
30 ml condensed milk
25 ml vegetable oil (such as sunflower oil or canola oil)
40 ml pandan juice
2 to 3 drops of pandan paste / pandan essence, optional
320 gm peppermint lotus paste (or any other filling you like!)
2 Tbsp cooked glutinous rice flour, for coating

Method
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine glutinous rice flour, rice flour, wheat flour and sugar well.

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2. Mix milk, condensed milk, pandan juice and oil together. Pour into the flour mixture and stir to combine. Drain through a fine sieve into a large and shallow pan.

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3. Steam the batter in a wok over medium-high heat, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Try a bit of the dough. If it doesn’t have any raw flour taste, it’s cooked through. Remove from wok and let it cool down.

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4. Scrape the dough out onto a plastic board or a kitchen benchtop lined with plastic film. Lightly knead by hand until smooth. Cut dough into 16 portions, 30 grams of each.

5. Divide mung bean filling into 16 portions, 20 grams of each. Roll each into a round shape.

6. Wrap each filling ball with a dough portion. Roll with your palms and lightly coat with cooked glutinous rice flour. Shake off any excess flour. Place into a mooncake mould. Press to print the pattern. Repeat this step until finish all the dough and fillings. Store the mooncakes into an air-tight container. Put kitchen paper on top to prevent any condensed water dropped on the mooncake surface. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy.

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Notes (Christine’s)
– How to prepare cooked glutinous rice flour: Simply cook the flour in a frypan without any oil over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When smoke releases and the flour turns light yellow, it’s cooked. Remove from the heat and let it cool down completely. Then you can use it to coat your mooncakes.

– When the dough is still hot, it seems to be quite oily. Don’t worry. It won’t be greasy at all, when it cools down completely.

– The snow skin mooncakes can be stored in freezer up to a few weeks. Before serving, just transfer the mooncakes to fridge for about 3 hours, until they become soften a bit.

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Impressions

I used a peppermint lotus paste for this recipe which I kindly received from a family friend in Malaysia. It had quite an interesting flavour to it but I’m not quite sure if it would be too many peoples’ liking.

For this recipe I used a bit more pandan essence as when I tasted the mixture, it was almost non existant but YMMV. I found I could only make 10 mooncakes with this recipe, I’m uncertain if it’s because the mixture evaporated or Christine used smaller moulds. I thought these were quite small anyway.

Eaten fresh, these mooncakes are soft with a bit of bite to them but once left out in the open for sometime they seem to harden up. I’m unsure if that’s just normal with these snow skin mooncakes because I’ve tried a Hong Kong variation which is stored in the fridge that was very soft to the touch and absolutely delicious (Mango flavoured).  I’ll probably try a different recipe next time but these turned out relatively so it’s not a bad recipe by any means.

Wong’s Lucky Bar

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Wong’s Lucky Bar is an extremely popular eatery in Box Hill, right next to the tram stop. They serve Chinese food, but one of their main attractions is their cheap Crab. I believe it’s around $13 dollars a pound, and $5 extra for noodles for each person. Bookings are essential for dinner as seats fill up quickly and queues can start to form early. You’ll find the interior to be slightly strange with seating placed anywhere possible. They even use the next door’s cafe for seating!

Wong’s Crabs’ can be cooked a variety of ways, we ordered the Singapore Chilli Crab with noodles as I love Chinese Crab with noodles. While it looked mouth watering, the taste of the crab was lacking. You could hardly taste the crab meat but the Chilli Crab sauce was decent. I wished it was more flavourful and spicy but the sweetness of the sauce was there and it accompanied the crab well. I think you basically get what you pay for so don’t go looking here for the freshest, most tasty crab meal as you won’t find it here. We tried the Crab at All People Chinese Restaurant in Burwood East, and that was incomparable to here. Extremely tasty but the price difference is also world’s apart.

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As out accompaniment, we ordered Balachan Spinach. This had a lot of zing to it as a result of the addition of chillies. Nicely cooked and flavour was excellent. A tad oily but it’s like any Chinese restaurant.

Impressions

If you want cheap(ish) food, served relatively quickly and don’t mind the chaos and almost non existant customer service Wong’s Lucky Bar is the place for you. They have a wide variety of seafood dishes and other standard Chinese dishes to cater to many. Give it a try!

Wong's Lucky Bar on Urbanspoon

Wong’s Lucky Bar

921 Whitehorse Rd
Box Hill VIC 3128

T: 03 9899 8558

Homemade Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Poh’s Kitchen)

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Making your own dumplings is pretty simple. I’m the type of person that likes to make things from scratch to see if it tastes any better than those manufactured/processed ingredients. At least once anyway.

After watching Poh from Poh’s Kitchen/Masterchef Australia Season 1 make dumplings I thought what they hey, let’s do it. We made the dumpling skins, filling and sauce and it wasn’t too much of a challenge!

Pork and Cabbage Dumplings (Poh’s Kitchen)

Ingredients
Dumpling Skins
½ cup plain flour
½ cup wheat starch (wheat cornflour)
Boiled hot water

Dumpling Filling
2 ½ cups Chinese cabbage, finely shredded
½ tsp salt
250g pork mince
3 tsp ginger, chopped finely
1/3 cup spring onions or Chinese chives, chopped
1/8 tsp ground white pepper
¼ cup chicken stock or water
4 ½ tsp light soy sauce
3 tsp Shaoxing wine
1 tbs vegetable oil
4 ½ tsp sesame oil
½ cup shitake dried mushrooms, soaked and chopped

Spicy Dipping Sauce 
¼ cup light soy sauce (1/8 tsp of soy)
6 tsp Chinkiang vinegar (1/4 cup of vinegar)
1/8 cup sugar
2-3 tsp chilli oil
3 tsp ginger, finely shredded
2 tsp garlic, chopped finely
A sprinkling of fresh diced chilli (Optional)

Method
Dumpling Skins
1. Place flour and wheat starch in a bowl.
2. Pour a small amount of hot water into the flour and starch mix and stir with a fork until you can tip it onto the bench top and knead into a firmish, smooth ball. Poh’s recipe doesn’t specify how much water to add, so add maybe a tablespoon at a time because I accidentally added too much and had to re-add the flour and wheat starch to balance everything out.
If it feels a little sticky, add a small amount of equal plain flour and wheat starch and mix to the dough.
3. Wrap in cling wrap and rest for an hour.
Note: If you don’t have wheat starch the traditional way is to use one cup plain flour but follow the same method.

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Dumpling Filling
1. Mix salt with cabbage and allow to sit for 15 minutes so salt can draw liquid out of the cabbage. Wash cabbage briefly before squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible. You should end up with a heaped half cup of cabbage.
2. Mix together with remaining ingredients until everything is incorporated.
3. To make dumplings, sprinkle dough with some plain flour and roll into cylinders with a diameter the size of a 20 cent coin.
3. Cut into one centimetre thick disks and flatten with the palm of your hand. Tuck the disks under an overturned plastic container so they stay moist. With a dumpling rolling pin or 20 centimetre piece of dowel, roll ONLY inwards from the outer edge of each circle, so you maintain a regular circle. If you roll outwards, you will find the circle will become misshapen very quickly.
4. Once the dough has been rolled out to about one millimetre thick, spoon a teaspoonful of the filling onto the centre of the wrapper. When crimping, only pleat one side of the dumpling leaving the other edge straight. This will give the dumpling an attractive crescent shape and let it sit nicely.
5. There are two ways you can cook these. Firstly, you can just boil them in plenty of salt water. When they float, allow them to cook for a further ten seconds, then scoop out with a slotted spoon into a colander.
6. If you want a crispy bottomed finish, position the dumplings neatly in a frypan filled with about one centimetre of water and a dash of peanut oil.
7. Cover and allow the dumplings to steam for about eight to ten minutes. When all the water evaporates, the little bit of oil that remains will help crisp up the bottom. Serve immediately with spice dipping sauce.

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Spicy Dipping Sauce
1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve with dumplings. In brackets I’ve mentioned using minimal soy and more vinegar, I found it was much more reminiscent of the sauces you’d find in any dumpling house. Poh’s recipe uses way too much soy sauce that you can’t even taste the slightly sour/salty Chinkiang vinegar.

We also added diced fresh chilli that really gave it a kick.

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Impressions

The actual process of making the skins was extremely straight forward, and fun to make so that’s a definite plus!

The skin when cooked didn’t have the same bite to it as dumplings at a restaurant. Usually there is this slight chewiness   but nonetheless I found the dumplings to be pretty darn good.

With the changes I made to the sauce, it just made a good dish to a great dish. Loved the Chinkiang vinegar with chilli.

The filling was pretty much what you’d get elsewhere so I’d say that’s a good achievement.  What I liked about these dumplings is that it wasn’t drenched in oil. We used minimal oil or only as much as required so it didn’t stick to the pan and they came out well so I was very happy with the end result.

I might try a different skin recipe but I’d keep the filling and sauce (with changes) recipe for the next time I make it.