Chinese Spicy And Barbie Kitchen
Moonee Valley 311 Racecourse Road Kensington, VIC 3031 03 9372 5218
We particularly loved this dish’s translation, saliva chicken. 口水鸡 does translate directly to saliva chicken. But really, it means “mouth-watering chicken”. While reasonably tasty with some spicy kick, I personally didn’t like this dish that much because the chicken itself was on the dry side. I didn’t mind the fact that it was a cold dish.
Pretty enjoyable cold dish of beef stomach. The flavours were light, spicy and piquant. And the tripe was soft yet springy. Because of my occupation, I actually know this comes from the omasum (second stomach) of the cow. Some pho places would call this ox bible. How lovely that we’ve managed to turn something that’s normally thrown away into a great dish.I always wondered why beef tripe has no strong offal smell. My only conclusion is that food higher up in the digestive tract still hasn’t digested towards becoming poo. So it’s still fresh and rosy, lol. Also cattle are herbivores, and I think plant matter isn’t as stinky as random bits of animals.
It’s not exactly all lung we got in this dish. It was more various cuts of pork (or beef…??) and a few pieces of lung (or not…!!!). What’s written on the menu was confusing, the main title says pork lungs, but the main ingredients listed all beef parts. . Penny and I both enjoyed this dish very much. Great flavours and spice levels, firm textured slices of pork/beef parts and a surprise lung that tasted spongy and softer ever so often. Tasting the meat, I think it’s really beef and the dish title was a typo. .I’ve just had Hao help translate the dish. 夫妻肺片 really translates into “Husband and wife’s lungs” and there’s a story about this dish. It’s a traditional Sichuan beef dish and it does not contain any lung at all.
These looked almost like fusion spring rolls. Crisp, hot and mildly flavoured, I thought they were a nice break from the stronger flavoured dishes. But I’m not sure if this dish was Sichuan-style cuisine.
. This dish was listed as 小笼包 Xiao Long Bao on the menu, but there’s a sticker over the English translation below with the Chinese words 发面包子 (which means “fluffy bun”). . None of us are sure whether this bun qualifies as a XLB or not, but we just called it XLB anyway. I’ve been told that each province and region in China has different Xiao Long Baos. So I was quite happy to see that this XLB was quite different from what we’re classically used to. It essentially was a regular bao with XLB-ish filling inside. Very good bao if I might add, fantastically fluffy skin, delicious meat filling and yes there was some soup inside! . After chatting with Hao, I now suspect the dish was once again a typo and really isn’t a variant of XLB. XLB’s should be small in size. So let’s call this ummm.. fluffy bun! (发面包子)
.Another dish lost in translation. Bundles of glass noodles with strips of beancurd in a cold vinegary sauce. Interesting dish, though I couldn’t say I liked it. The beancurd strips (think they called that konjac wire) were very odd in texture, crunchy rubbery…
.Billy liked this dish. Cuttlefish in Mandarin translates into ink fountain, lol. At first, I found the texture of the cold marinated cuttlefish to be a little scary because it was rawish, soft, and a little slimy. Even if this dish wasn’t really offal, it did challenge my mental bravado regarding food. I imagined raw slimy octopus-like things sliding down my throat. After sometime, I didn’t mind the texture of the cuttlefish. It was quite nicely marinated as well, and I soon found myself absentmindedly having more and more as the table conversation continued.
.A good plate of properly cooked string beans (aka runner beans) always satisfies me. I quite liked what was served here and kept picking for more.
.This was called a mushroom dish on the menu, but it turned out to be a pork and wombok in spicy sauce dish that we didn’t really enjoy. Look at the menu description.. baby food.. lol!
. It appeared quite a few on our table liked this dish. The offal was fried very well indeed, crisp and not oily. With the Sichuan type spices, it would’ve tasted awesome to me if the smell from the intestines weren’t that prominent. I don’t know why the others didn’t notice the smell. I half loved this dish because of the spices and seasoning, but the smell made my tummy turn queasy at the same time. I think we enjoyed the meal in general. The offal was interesting but the food quality was quite good. But it doesn’t end here! Billy organised for a revisit dinner a month later so that we could try the grilled items on the menu.
.I guess the good thing about food posts where there are many diners or repeat visits, you get to see so much more of the menu. The baked eggs were on the dry side, but the spices on top was interesting. Cumin-like and with reminders of Middle-Eastern cuisine.
.Of the 3 grilled dishes, the chicken hearts tasted the best. The lamb kidneys were too hard and dry and I also couldn’t stomach the latrine-like aftertaste in kidneys. It’s cute how they’ve translated cuttlefish into ‘fountain’. Again, the seasoning spices had what we thought was cumin and fennel seeds in it.
Billy chose a ‘cleansing’ non-spicy soup to help offset all the other dishes. Unlike the classic fish in an oil bath of dried chillies dish that you can find in many Sichuan places, the soup was actually drinkable. But it was still a little on the oily side and the fish pieces were quite rubbery. I noticed that Sichuan fish dishes always use rubbery fleshed fish, is it Leatherjacket? I remember I wasn’t that wowed by the flavour of the soup, but accidental sipping of a Sichuan pepper or two did bring about a few numb moments while I took them out of my mouth. . So #offalfest wasn’t as scary as I thought, in fact, many of the dishes were great! I’ve also learnt that my tummy is not as gung-ho as I’d always thought it was. Some of the dishes needed a bit of mental encouraging. I must say though, I’d quite likely want to come back to have more Xiao Long Baos. They tasted memorably good. .