Crystal Jade

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Located in Chinatown, Crystal Jade is a popular eatery for Chinese cuisine. They offer Yum Cha (Dim Sum) for brunch/lunch and your typical Chinese cuisine for dinner and of course seafood amongst many of their dishes. Bookings are essential for weekend Yum Cha but luckily they have two sessions available.

We had Yum Cha at Crystal Jade based on reviews on Zomato, and pretty much picked all our usual dishes to compare it against other Yum Cha places we have frequented.

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The Chee Cheong Fun (Rice Noodles with Prawns) at Crystal Jade was decent, it was lacking in a lot of flavour in the filling, and you kinda needed chilli sauce to add some punch to it.

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Not being of Cantonese background, I don’t actually know the name of this one but it was like this prawn dim sum, that also needed some extra seasoning, even a bit of salt to enhance the flavours would be good.

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The Century Egg Congee (Rice Porridge) on the other hand was great! I love the crispy things they added on top with the fresh spring onions. Great Century Egg flavour, and just how I like it.

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The Har Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) was actually again a bit bland. Goes well with the chilli sauce though which is on the salty side of things, so I guess it balances out. The pastry was also a bit thicker then I’d like.

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This particular dim sum was one of their specials at Crystal Jade, so you do pay a premium for it as it is topped with scallops. It had a nice seafood flavour to it but nothing spectacular.

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Siu Mai is probably my second favourite dim sum item, seems like you can’t go wrong with making it. Or I just haven’t come across a bad one yet.

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Lo Bak Go is my favourite dim sum item, I love this turnip cake and how I know it’s done right is the consistency. Shouldn’t be dense, and shouldn’t be too flour-ry, and with just enough salt, sugar and pepper seasoning and Chinese sausage pieces throughout it. Lastly, it should be crispy outside. At Crystal Jade, it pretty much checks all the boxes apart from the uneven frying which I can overlook because taste-wise it’s pretty good.

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We also ordered the Tofu Fa, it’s one of these desserts that you can have warm or cold. The lady that served didn’t do the proportions correctly, as we found it just needed quite a lot more of that sugar syrup otherwise it can be quite bland. We had to request for a small bowl of the syrup to adjust it to our liking, but at least it wasn’t too sweet as you wouldn’t be able to rectify that!

Last words

Overall, dining at Crystal Jade doesn’t leave a lasting impression. A few dishes seem to be lacking in flavour, and the other dishes, while are good, aren’t any better than the other places I’ve been to.

Crystal Jade Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crystal Jade
154 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Nine Taiwanese Dessert House

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Nine Taiwanese Dessert House located on Swanston St is similar to Dessert Story, serving a variety of ice-y sweet treats and Bubble Tea drinks. What I love about Dessert Story is their ice machine for some of their “snow” menu options, has this delicious slightly sweet and milky shaved ice. This dessert house also has the same but is it as good?

Their Green Tea Snow Ice, comes with red bean, jasmine jelly, taro and sweet potato balls topped with a scoop of green tea ice cream. It’s decorated with this green syrup of sorts. The snow ice here isn’t too bad, it lacks the same creaminess that the Dessert Story ones have. It’s also very sweet all over, with this sort of odd fake taste to it. The jasmine jelly is nice though, and is the reason why I tried making Ooolong Tea Jelly, not too sweet but with this subtle tea flavour to it.

I liked their Taro Bubble Tea though, but the one they gave us was warm because they just cooked the taro so that was a bit disappointing. At least it’s real taro!

Last words

Maybe their other dessert options are better? First impressions weren’t too great, I might come back again but for now I’d still go to Dessert Story if I had the choice.

Nine Taiwanese Dessert House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nine Taiwanese Dessert House
268 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Chin Chin

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Chin Chin, popular as ever, is located on Flinders Lane in the Melbourne CBD offers Thai and South East Asian flavours with a Western twist. For tables under ten, it’s walk-in only and queuing to put your name down on the list! It’s a very vibrant place and that always seems to be buzzing.

The menu offers something for everyone and what I like about it, is that while sharing is ideal because you can try a bit of everything, these dishes also are great for one. If you’re undecided on what to order, Chin Chin’s offer their Feed Me menu, where they will select various dishes from the menu on your behalf.

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The Kingfish Sashimi is amazing. I love the acidity of the limes, slightly punchy chilli with the Thai basil. The fish is lovely and fresh as well.

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDSC02089-1  Caramelised Sticky Pork with herb salad and chilli vinegar is very bold in flavour. The pork is ever so tender. 

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The Chin Chin Pork “Roll Ups” are another winner. I love the tender, and flavoursome pork with the very thin pancakes and the sweet and salty Peking Duck like sauce.

//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsDSC02113-1 The Pork ribs here are a stunner. It’s probably my favourite dish of the night. The meat just comes straight off the bone, so good. So tender, like butter. A must.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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The Crispy Barramundi Salad with Green Apples, Pork, herbs and chillies, is lovely and fresh.

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The Jungle curry with braised pork shoulder is very spicy! I prefer a curry with sauce to be honest, but this isn’t too bad.

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To finish off the meal, this Coconut Sago with Sweetcorn Ice cream and puffed rice is delicious. Lovely coconut flavour and the crunchy puffed rice adds a nice texture to it.

Last words

Chin Chin makes some incredible dishes, with bold and fresh flavours. Service could be better and especially for the price, plus they added on extra dishes on top of the “Feed Me” menu last time we dined there.

Chin Chin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chin Chin
125 Flinders Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000

DonToo

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DonToo, part of the Don Don’s family is like their other outlets where they serve a selection of Donburi dishes during lunch time. However interestingly, during the evening it offers a number of different ramen to choose from. With ramen stores rising in popularity, DonToo’s ramen still is a fine place to go to.

One of their ramen’s is their Laksa Ramen with a creamy curry laksa soup base. It’s quite a generous serving and with the lovely Japanese style eggs as well. Laksa Ramen isn’t too common and it would be one of my first choices!

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Their Miso Ramen is also very tasty, flavourful and the addition of corn is a nice touch. I found they add just a bit too much bean sprouts but that’s a small negative.
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Seafood Ramen

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With this store, beers are on the menu so what goes well with beer? Fried Chicken, naturally. Try it with the chilli sauce!

DonToo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Last words

DonToo does lunch well, like Japanese fast food and it does ramen even better.

DonToo
330 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

OldTown White Coffee

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OldTown White Coffee opened its first restaurant in Melbourne earlier this year. Old Town already has a presence in Australia through its 3 in 1 White Coffee sold in quite a number of Asian grocers across Victoria. Originally from Ipoh, Malaysia, it has spread across Malaysia and into parts of Asia as well. It’s similar to PappaRich with its prominent drinks menu and wide variety of Malaysian dishes to choose from.

Oldtown’s Nasi Lemak comes with a number of sides, such as fried chicken, satay skewers and seafood sticks and of course sambal. The sambal is quite fragrant, although is sweeter than I would like. I still would say PappaRich’s sambal trumps it but it’s not far off. I found the satay to be warm, and not hot, which indicated to me that they pre-cook it. I suppose that’s to be expected as to speed up the order to serving time. The fried chicken, however, appears to be cooked to order. The coconut rice leaned towards the mushier side of things, and the fried seafood sticks were interesting things but I wasn’t a big fan of it. Overall, it’s a nice dish with many accompaniments which is a plus!

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Their Balacan Seafood Fried Rice is delicious. It has that lovely fragrance of spices and it was spicier than expected.

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I simply adored the Roti Canai, it’s fluffy and crisp. It’s my favourite Roti Canai in Melbourne. Every other Malaysian restaurant does it the typical square shape and although it’s crispy when cooked on the stove, it lacks this lightness to it that Oldtown’s has. It’s served vegetarian with a Curry, the typical Dahl curry (without the Dahl) and sambal. Mamak’s curry probably beats it in terms of flavour but its all pretty similar in my books. I’d go back just for this Roti though, it’s that good.

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Their Ice Kacang looks exceptional but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of taste. It’s overly icy, the shaved ice is too rough for my liking. It lacks the red syrup (usually like a rose syrup), but does have the brown sugar or palm sugar syrup. The cendol jelly is a nice bonus but once you get the syrup, condensed milk mixture wrong, it really lets everything else down.//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

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Oldtown’s Ice Teh Tarik has a wonderful strong tea taste, though just a tad too sweet for me. One of the better ones in Melbourne.

Impressions

The reviews for Oldtown make you really question whether you would want to try it out. Maybe, I dined on a good day when service was pretty fast, although not particularly friendly but that’s pretty much expected at most Malaysian/Asian restaurants. Taste-wise it’s definitely above average and I can’t really understand the poor reviews it has received apart from the pricing which is a $1 to $2 more than most Malaysian restaurants. I’d go back.

Old Town White Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Oldtown White Coffee

303 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Hakata Gensuke

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The ramen at Hakata Gensuke on Russell St, Melbourne CBD is very reminiscent of what you’d find in a ramen restaurant in Japan. Signature & Black Tonkotsu are a few of their soup bases, but they also offer a red hot spicy soup to go with your ramen. What sets Hakata Gensuke apart from other Japanese noodle restaurants, is its add-ons. Pretty much all ingredients are add-on such as the Japanese style cooked eggs, Bean Shoots, Cha-Shu, Bamboo Shoots and Seaweed. You can also select the amount of noodles and even their softness if you like noodles with a bit more bite or etc, which is a first I’ve seen appear on their order menu.

Their Signature Tonkotsu is quite pleasant, their pork soup seems creamy yet its still light. Cha-Shu and eggs are the perfect additions to the Tonkotsu, and I do feel like I’m in Tokyo.
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If you want the lot, a meal can set you back $20 plus, though it is very appetising. It has all the ingredients you’d want in a ramen, but just for a bit extra.

Impressions

You can see why Hakata Gensuke is so popular, commonly with queues at the front and it is justified. You don’t frequently find Tonkotsu on many menus, however value for money for me is still Momotaro Rahmen in Richmond.

Click to add a blog post for Hakata Gensuke on Zomato

Hakata Gensuke
168 Russell Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Oppa Kitchen

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Oppa Kitchen minutes from Melbourne Central is one of the many Korean eateries popping up all over Victoria. Located on Swanston Street, it offers a range of dishes such as Bibimbap, Bulgogi and of course KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).  Stylistically, I like Oppa Kitchen with the wooden tables and bright colours but of course it’s the taste that counts.

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Their Sweet and Spicy Boneless Chicken is quite tender and moist, and the slightly spicy coleslaw is probably one of my favourites, the dressing is delicious.

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Original Korean Fried Chicken (Gong Dak) on the other hand, I found to be crunchy but dry and deep fried too long. A miss

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The Spicy Pork Bulgogi Dorisak comes in this cute Meal Bucket with salad and potato croquette, with a very spicy pork bulgogi which I loved. Great combination!

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Impressions

Taste wise it has its positives and negatives, I probably like the venue more than the food though. However, I find their meal buckets to be great value and would definitely try their other offerings when I get a chance.

Click to add a blog post for Oppa Kitchen on Zomato

Oppa Kitchen

271 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Gami – Lt Lonsdale

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Eating at Gami is best with those to share the meal with. With its appeal of Korean Fried Chicken and Beer, it can make for a tasty evening meal. Now with 3 locations in the CBD, and another in St Kilda, it’s great environment just to relax and have some Korean food with a few drinks.

Gami have 4 options to choose from their Fried Chicken menu, Original, Sweet Chilli, Soy Garlic and Spicy. If you’ve never tried the spicy chicken here, be warned it packs a huge punch. I love a bit of spiciness but I couldn’t take more than a few pieces!

Their original chicken flavour is my preferred option to be honest, it’s crispy, with a bit of sweetness and tender. The spicy version lacks the crispiness of the original due to the sauce its coated with.

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Other than Fried Chicken, Gami also has a few other menu options such as Kimchi Pancake, Spicy Seafood Soup, and Tteok Bok Ki (Toppoki) which we ordered. Toppoki is usually spicy and here is no exception, but with the noodles in the dish, the sauce no longer overwhelms the rice cakes. Probably one of the better Toppoki’s in Melbourne that I’ve tried.

Impressions
I wouldn’t say their Fried Chicken is the greatest I’ve ever had, but it’s tender, crispy and with enough flavour and goes down well with a beer! What more could you ask for really.

Gami – Official Website

Gami - Chicken and Beer on Urbanspoon

Kitchen Inn

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Funnily enough, I never even knew Kitchen Inn existed until earlier this year. I’ve probably walked past the shop numerous times on Elizabeth Street and yet never has caught my eye unlike Coconut House which seems very prominent towards the Queen Victoria Market side of Elizabeth St. Kitchen Inn serves Malaysian cuisine but more with a focus on Sarawak dishes as they offer Sarawak Laksa and Kampua which you may not find in other Malaysian restaurants.

Kitchen Inn’s Kampua Special is basically noodles with a light sauce served with crispy roast pork, and char siu (Chinese BBQ pork). I must say, aside from the generous use of oil in their sauce, it’s absolutely delicious. The sauce is subtle in flavour, reminding me of a slightly sweet soy sauce and goes well with the noodles. My only other disappointment is the char siu isn’t particularly appetising with its vibrant colouring, and overall fatty cuts of pork. Still, either the Kampua Special or Kampua is one to try here. Just be warned with the smaller serving sizes here.

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The Sarawak Laksa is also something I’ve never come across before as I never have visited East Malaysia when holidaying there. Typically, what differentiates a standard curry laksa with a sarawak laksa is it doesn’t have curry as its base but instead it’s a base of sambal belacan, tamarind, galangal, lemon grass and coconut milk. It’s also an acquired taste, but that may be because I’m so used to the flavours of a Curry Laksa or Assam Laksa. It is certainly interesting taste wise with a strong spice backing, so it may not be for everyone.

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Kitchen Inn’s Bak Kuh Teh is also slightly different to the typical Bak Kuh Teh that you can buy the pocket of herbs and spices in many Asian groceries in Melbourne. It has a stronger spice to it, presumably from the star anise and cloves and it definitely tastes more herbal. Their Bak Kuh Teh is also laden with oil, possibly from the fatty pork ribs or just added extra with the soup. It would be very welcoming on a winters’ day.

Impressions
Kitchen Inn overall is pretty good, I haven’t come across Sarawak food before so it may just be me not being used to the style of cooking. However, the standout is their Kampua Special and during certain hours, a few of their dishes are ridiculously cheap. So for something a little bit different to your average Malaysian restaurant, Kitchen Inn is here to serve.

Kitchen Inn on Urbanspoon

Kitchen Inn
469 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Woo Ga Korean BBQ Restaurant

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Woo Ga Korean BBQ Restaurant is situated on Victoria St, North Melbourne, quite close by to the Queen Victoria Market and along a stretch of a few Korean restaurants. Korean BBQ restaurants are aplenty in Melbourne and I’ve mentioned ChangGo previously which is probably one of the most popular Korean eateries in the CBD.

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We ordered the Combo B which is for 3-4 people/serves ($68) which comes with the pickled onions, bean sprouts and kimchi as starters. The sweet onions are really nice and flavourful, I’m not sure what they use to marinate it but it’s very refreshing. Combo B is beef heavy, and it comes with Premium Wagyu Chuck Eye Roll, “Top Grade” Beef Rib, marinated Beef Flank, Beef seasoned with salt and pepper and lastly Kimchi & Pork Spicy Soup.

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 The cabbage and carrots salad is super crunchy, and it has a light dressing that adds some flavour to it too.

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Combo B is all beef so those that may not be so fond of everything beef, you may opt for some pork as extra. The beef is very tender and can cook very quickly once it’s on the heat, so be aware to move it away or turn it over so the beef isn’t overcooked. It’s like your very own cooking class.

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This cut of beef is marinated with some onions and I actually quite like this cut/seasoning. Thin pieces of beef

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Beef Flank was probably my least favourite cut, as it can be a bit tough when cook (and if overcooked)
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Most of the cooking is DIY and the staff do switch the hot plates for different cuts of meat but I found it took longer for the meat to cook as it had to keep heating up the room temperature plates.

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The Spicy Kimchi and Pork soup was again delicious with fresh mushrooms, spring onions, mushrooms and soft tofu.

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The Korean seafood pancake was delicious, albeit a bit oily and very filling. The sweet and salty sauce they add on top along with the crispy outside makes for a great dish on a cold day (Not included in Combo B)

Impressions

Woo Ga does Korean food well but on a busy night, service may be a bit lacking as we had to request some things twice or it took quite a while for them to get back to us which does leave you a bit disappointed even if the food is great. I found ChangGo to be the better one of the two, better tasting soup and meat (although I am comparing beef to pork) and similar chaotic service.

Wooga Korean Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 

Woo Ga Korean Restaurant

270 Victoria St
North Melbourne VIC