I can't explain how much I love yum cha. The idea of spending hours with my nearest and dearest, sipping tea and sharing lots of little dishes of dumplings and deep-fried goodies... There's no better way to spend any morning!
But as a first generation Australian-born Chinese, this experience always comes with much awkwardness. For example, the ladies pushing the yum cha carts around would take one look at me and start barking all the names of the dishes at a rapid pace in Cantonese! While I have a conversational understanding of Cantonese, I can barely speak it, so I often have to resort to asking them to show me what's under each lid. In English of course.
Thus over the years, I've frequented more yum cha restaurants with English speaking staff, than those without. What I'm referring to, are a breed of Westernised yum cha restaurants, that offer authentic Asian dishes, minus the translation chaos.
It's no secret why I love the Phoenix restaurants so much. It just makes yum cha so much more pleasant!
More recently, I was invited to check out Kam Fook at Bondi Junction... And to be honest, I think we have a new favourite here guys!
There's another Kam Fook in Chatswood but the one at Bondi Junction offer unique dishes which aren't available else where. As you're about to see, they're a refreshing change from my usual haul of har gow, chicken feet and prawn toast.
First up are these deep fried mango and prawn parcels. There's such a rich taste of whole prawns, you'll definitely feel like you've gotten your money worth with these. The sharpness of coriander cuts through the sweetness of the mango and the beautiful crustacean flavours of the minced prawns really well. The batter is light and crisp too!
Yum cha wouldn't be complete without my most favourite yum cha dish - fried bread sticks in rice noodle rolls. These offer the ultimate texture contrast between silky soft rice noodle sheets and crunchy yet fluffy deep fried bread sticks. The sweet and salty dipping soy sauce binds it all together so indulgently.
We also have these Peking style deep fried shallot cakes. The pastry is simply magnificent!
I was craving lau sa bao (which translates to quicksand bun and features runny salted egg yolk!) but I'm advised they don't make it here. However, the custard buns turn out to be a satisfying substitute.
And because one prawn roll isn't enough, we also have an order of the asparagus and prawn roll. This is minced prawns with fresh new season asparagus, rolled up in a bean curd sheet, then deep fried, and served with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. This reminds me of my parents' Teochew beancurd prawn rolls except they're much bouncier and lighter.
The steamed corn and seafood dumplings are delicious as well! The dumpling skin is the perfect thickness - translucent and just thin enough to firmly hold the filling. The filling combination really lets the natural sweetness of the corn become the highlight of each mouthful.
Lastly, while there are many other tempting desserts, I find myself lusting for a good old egg tart. The flaky pastry shell is absolutely divine and the egg custard is irresistibly luscious!
I'll definitely be back to see how their more traditional yum cha dishes rate!
Shop 6010, Level 6, Westfield Shopping Centre, 500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, NSW
Phone: (02) 9386 9889
Also at Level 6, Westfield Chatswood, Anderson Street, Chatswood, NSW
JENIUS dined as guests of Good Business Consulting and Kam Fook