Wealth Garden Chinese Restaurant
866 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East, VIC 3109
03 9840 7611
I love Instagram and Twitter. Once you’ve found your interest group, you become part of a community of like-minded people.
Couple of months ago, Liz (@cltyw) shared an Instagram picture of yum cha dishes at Wealth Garden. Having not heard of it, I asked whether it was good. She told me she liked eating there. I soon found out (again via Instagram) that Daisy likes Wealth Garden too. I trust both their palates, so a visit ensued not long after.
You gotta give it to Instagram. Through geotagged pictures, conversations grow and recommendations come. This is how it’s like today. We’re now in an age of social media and sharing.
I came here with Fakegf and her visiting grand aunt. And no, I won’t be calling her ‘fake grand-aunt’. In true Chinese spirit, I’ll still simply call her Aunty. And rightly so, because grand aunt or not, she looks decades younger than her age!
We arrived at 11am, not knowing that food service only begins at 11.30am, so we were the first in. I hope my venue photos speaks enough about this place, because I really liked the old-school atmosphere!
Fu Pei Har Qun (deep fried beancurd skin stuffed w prawn & bamboo shoot) | Pai Kuat (braised pork ribs w black bean)
Trolleys did not come out at the start because it wasn’t busy enough. But my companions knew what they wanted. They ordered, and I feasted. In a way it was good this way, because every dish came to us fresh from the kitchen.
The fu pei har qun came out really hot and crisp. Both fakegf and aunt really enjoyed it, while I thought it was quite salty. This is fakegf’s favourite yum cha dish.
Aunty really liked the braised pork ribs, a yum cha must-have for her. They used cuts of meat with lots of fat on and it was braised till very tender, with a gentle chilli kick.
Ha Cheong (steamed rice noodle roll w fresh prawn) | Steamed Ox Tripe
Next is my favourite yum cha dish. I enjoyed the ha cheong’s soft slippery texture. They also used decent prawns and good accompanying sauce. However, both fakegf and aunty thought the noodle roll was too soft.
Ox tripe is another Aunty favourite, and they do it to her satisfaction here. It was different… steamed rather than braised, meaning the tripe held a crunchy, resilient texture. The seasoning was gingery with a nice push of spices, very moreish. As the dish got eaten, it got even better because all the best bits were at the bottom, cloaked with delicious sauce.
So far all the dishes were pretty good! Around this point it started getting busier, at 12 noon. No more empty seats like this.
Har Gao (prawn dumpling) | Char Siew Pao (BBQ pork buns)
Both of these dishes were okay. I liked how everything came out so steamingly hot and nice.
And this meal was really odd, because it was me who found things on the sweet or salty side, while Fakegf thought they were okay. Usually it’s the other way around. For instance, I thought the har gao was quite salty and the char siew bao typically ‘Melbourne’ sweet, but Fakegf thought the seasoning levels were fine.
Maybe all the herbal soups I’ve been having lately is really resetting my palate…
Dan Ta (egg custard tart)
On to dessert. At first glance, the egg tarts looked a little radioactive with such a deep yellow custard. We were skeptical. But to our surprise, they were very good! Served warm with good eggy custard and a nice pastry… yum!
Tau Fu Fa (soy bean custard) | Lau Sar Pao (flowing sands bun)
I liked the smooth texture of the tau fu fa and the syrup had a sensible level of sweetness. However, I thought the actual custard lacked depth of flavour in the tofu. All that said, it was still reasonably enjoyable to eat.
The lau sar pao, however, was a bit of a disappointment. It’s a bun that should contain an oozy custard with salted egg yolk mixed into it. But the filling here did not flow as expected and it was quite dry, rather sweet, and without enough salted egg to counterpoint that sweetness.
What I liked about this place was how all the dishes were served straight from the kitchen, hot and steaming. It’s probably because we ordered mostly a la carte that day rather than have a trolley wheel to us slowly with food getting cool by the minute. Maybe that’s why Hong Kong has abolished the trolley system.
There were a few misses, but the three of us still seemed to like Wealth Garden as a whole. It’s a decent option for yum cha within the context of Melbourne. And it’s affordable too… this meal cost us $16.70 per person!