After being away from home-cooking for over a week, I found myself hunting down a Chinese restaurant. Claypot King sits on Swanston Street and immediately grabbed my attention because... well, how often would you find a Chinese restaurant with alfresco dining?
With appetites which had been expanding over the duration of the flight down from Sydney, we decided to start with plenty of entrees. The xiao long bao (steamed mini pork bun) was enormous and meaty. No sight of soup at all though! The har gow (prawn dumpling) were pretty average as well and I was fooled into thinking the pandan dumpling was a savoury entree! The pandan essence and sweet mung bean filling were delectable, nonetheless.
Then out came the peking duck; crisp skin on a thin slice of meat, cucumber, hoisin sauce and a shallot stick were wrapped inside steaming hot pastry sheets.
Xiao long bao a.k.a. steamed mini pork buns a.k.a. soup dumplings
Hargow a.k.a prawn dumpling
Pandan leaf dumpling
Its pretty hard to find traditional herbal soups in Summer so we were thrilled to find a whole menu full of authentic variations.
Herbal soup of dried scallop with watercress and duck kidney
I decided to play it safe and had the chicken and mushroom claypot rice which seemed to be their hero product. If you've never had claypot rice, it's a bit like getting a warm Korean bimbimbab or eating overcooked rice (but this is somehow more pleasant). The soy and ginger based marinate was so hearty and comforting.
Chicken and mushroom claypot rice
Combination seafood claypot rice
We finished off with a ice kacang. There was plenty of peanuts, corn kernels, grass jelly, rose syrup, red beans, condensed milk, lime jelly and a mountain of shaved ice.
Inside the ice kacang
The small damage :)
Then off we went to discover the back streets of Melbourne.
View of street from our table
209 Swanston St, Melbourne, VIC
Phone: (03) 9662 3222
Trading Days: 7 days, 10 am - 11 pm