Food in Canberra that brings back wonderful memories of China
Last month my lovely Chinese friend Peter and his girlfriend Katie took my other friend Jon and I to a relatively new noodle restaurant just near my home in Canberra. It has a very small frontage on the main street in Canberra’s Chinatown. I am not sure if I should call it Chinatown as it is only one street but it has many Chinese restaurants and Chinese food stores and is frequented by many Chinese Australians so perhaps Chinatown it is. When you enter Chongqing Street Noodles restaurant you are greeted by a rather large statue of Chinese nana with cat like whiskers. I have no idea who this is but maybe my blogging friends (Marta/Sophie/Edwin) might be able to help. She is also painted on the wall and depicted on plates and bowls and printed on the paper napkins. The obligatory waving cat also welcomes you.
Since going to this restaurant with my Chinese friends I have been another six times both for lunch and dinner and have booked for a group of us to go tomorrow night. Yes it’s definitely my new favourite place to eat.I absolutely love the noodles. They are authentic Chongqing street noodles so are very spicy. There are options to have your dish mild (one chilli pictured on the menu) or incredibly spicy (five chillis pictured on the menu). I choose mild but still find the sauce a little bit lip numbing. I think you can see how bright the sauce is from my photo. But oh my goodness it is so worth that lip tingling!On our inaugural visit, my Chinese friends ordered a cold chicken dish [again with spice] and a couple of tea boiled eggs [for those of you who do no know what these are – they are hard boiled eggs which once cooked and cooled have their shells cracked and then are placed into a mixture of water, tea leaves, soy sauce, salt and other spices like cinnamon stick and star anise]. Peter told Jon to put the egg into the noodle dish which he did so the spicy broth seeps into the egg.Peter and Katie also ordered dishes of cold cucumber in a spicy Chinese vinegar, shredded potato in chilli oil and Chongqing street noodles with beef. The chilli theme comes out in nearly every dish on the menu.Jon said his Chongqing beef noodles were on par with those he had when we travelled to Sichuan Province last year which means they were mouth numbingly hot!
There were two additional dishes our Chinese friends ordered which were wolf teeth chips [crinkle cut chips with yep you guessed it – spicy chilli) and brown sugar rich curd (made with black sticky rice, black sugar sauce and yellow bean powder). I do know both of these dishes are not healthy but they are so delicious so I continue to order them. I think the sticky rice is a dessert but I put them into my chilli noodle sauce – fabulous!The beverage situation is a bit limited. Cans of coke, sprite and fanta are sold. There are also bottles of herbal tea, a prune drink, soy milk and a grass jelly drink [no idea what this is and too scared to try]. I always buy a bottle of cold soy milk – it’s quite sweet but lovely with the spicy noodles.
(source: courtesy of internet)
There is also a huge tea pot containing Chinese tea which is complimentary; great for lunch time meals. We brought our own wine on the first visit but they don’t have any wine glasses so we used plastic cups. Next time we were smarter and brought our own wine glasses and left them there. The owner and staff know me quite well now and I chat to them in Chinese so they enjoy that and guess it’s good for me to practice. It’s still funny seeing Chinese patrons staring whilst I am speaking Chinese – they seem to be very interested in hearing how well [or not] I speak.
I went to this restaurant last night with my friend Ray and the owner came straight out with my wine glasses (very kind that they wash them and keep them there for us).
The menu is four pages with only about two vegetarian/vegan dishes but that is ok as every time I visit I order the same noodle dish and now I don’t have to tell the staff; they tell me!
There are also pork and prawn wontons which my friends Jane and Natalie enjoyed one evening along with a small plate of combination vegetables. And with any Aussie Chinese restaurant there is a deep fried ice-cream ball – Chinese of course have never heard of this but I remember it fondly from thirty years ago living with my parents and visiting the local Chinese restaurant.
(source: courtesy of internet)
Looking forward to tomorrow night! Hopefully not last people to leave like on a previous occasion…but it was only 9.30pm.