|Stalls set up along Liverpool Raod for Ashfield's Big Yum Cha|
|Cold noodles with spicy pork from Sky Mountain Hand Made |
Noodle Restaurant, Liverpool Road, Ashfield
After a couple of mouthfuls, the chilli soy started its burning path across the tongue and down the back of the throat, with the cucumber slivers the only relief among the sauce drenched noodles. It was quite the heart and palate starter, warming and rendering us thirsty for water and more.
|Deep fried chicken with dry fried chilli from Sky Mountain |
Hand Made Noodle Restaurant
The small pieces of chicken were mostly awkward wing bits, making for some nimble nibbling and finger licking. There was definitely lots of the latter as the darkened (reddish even), crisp outer had a fantastic flavour: salty, mildly spiced and ever so moreish, it’s no wonder the dish is a restaurant specialty. If only it used some slightly meatier bits of chicken – more flesh, less cartilage and bones, please.
|More stalls, more dumplings|
|A seafood shop on Liverpool Road - check out the inky cuttlefish|
|Beef and scallion steamed dumplings (small) from |
Shanghai Night, Liverpool Road, Ashfield
While the dumplings were nice with a blend of soy sauce and the black vinegar sauce, they were even better with Shanghai Night’s chilli sauce; a thick red paste packed with chilli seeds and skin, subtle in heat and packing a great, enhancing punch of flavour.
[Rant warning] We’d actually expected our soup to turn up first before any dumplings, so more than 10 minutes after finishing our first dumplings, the warnings bells started to ring. When more minutes elapse and other later-arriving, larger tables got their full orders before we got anything further, we enquired about the whereabouts of the rest of our order and receive no follow-up whatsoever.
The nearby table of six that came after us managed to get in and out before our table of two got our second dish (and I’m not saying that they were quick eaters). I don’t expect friendly service as I understand that they’re working in tough conditions with the packed shop and preparations for the stall outside. But the inefficiency here was nearly beyond belief; leaving me wishing that I’d gone to the cleaner, slightly more spacious New Shanghai next door.
|Spicy and sour tofu soup|
Wheezing a little, I really enjoyed the silky cubes of tofu, textures contrasting with the softened bamboo shoots and black fungus (or seaweed), and the firm strips of pork. With egg white mixed into the thick soup, it was really quite a pretty soup.
|Sheng jian bao - pan fried pork buns|
Not enough to save the letdown of the absent soup, but the dough was nice and fluffy with golden brown bottoms and the pork filling was acceptably tasty, making for safer and neater eating without the soup, but just not as good.
|Xiao long bao - Steamed pork dumplings|
The dumpling skins were probably double the thickness of the delicate ones of Din Tai Fung’s – the thicker ones great for holding in the soup in if there was any. The pork filling was again nice, but unspectacular without the soup. The ones that had soup were better, although I felt that the flavours were still diluted by the thick pastry skins.
|More food stalls on Liverpool Road, Ashfield|
We pick up a few final takeaway boxes of cold noodles and cold sliced beef for dinner, in addition to our leftover soup-less pan fried pork buns, and a quick visit to BreadTop and made the dash in the rain back to where we started. Rain, clouds, wet feet, bad service, great noodles – it was a day in Ashfield that had it all.