306 Flinders Ln
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9629 3038
Having had a fair few meals with Hao at his favourite places, I have more or less concluded that, as a broad generalisation, I struggle with appreciating food that my mainland Chinese friends enjoy eating. I have to be in the mood for it to be able to stomach it, because it’s often greasy, carby and stupendously salty.
Lots of beef mincey presence and very little eggplant activity here. I did not warm to the softish (bicarbed) texture of the beef and the marinade was many many notches too salty for me. I really wished there was more eggplant because that’s what I was looking forward to when I ordered this dish.
But the cross-bridge rice noodles $10 was what my friend brought me here for. Many things arrived on our table: a bowl of pre-cooked plain rice noodles, a big bowl of chicken broth, a plate of assorted slices of chicken, raw fish and prawn, a quail egg, bean sprouts.
There’s even a story behind this dish. It details the daily excursions of the faithful wife of a scholar. She travelled large distances from home everyday so that she can feed her husband, who lived on a lake island. Tsk… how patriarchal. The only dishes that stayed hot through the journey were meals that contained chicken broth with a thick insulating layer of chicken oil.
So I guess what she invented was a traveler’s hotpot. The broth stays hot during the journey, it becomes the foundation for the meal, and all the ingredients for the soup are kept separate. When you arrive, you toss the ingredients in, stir, and eat.