Food Republik

Box Hill is full of culinary delights and many are cheap. About a month ago, a new culinary delight joined the town. What is Food Republik? It’s a bit hard to describe, its like a mini food court where you are given one menu and you get to order from many subsidiary restaurants and you receive one bill to be paid at the end.

For Dessert Story, it’s a separate menu but the same bill. The food here is all Taiwanese and its’ meant to replicate “Taiwanese street food”. Restaurants involved in this mini food court includes Toast Box, Crystal Jade, Dessert Story, Taiwan Cafe and a few others.

Since day one, there have been very long lines at Food Republik. Luckily, three out of four visits, I managed to find it without lines! The idea is to go at non-peak hours where entry could easily be made without lines or just a very short line.

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A line forming at 5:30pm

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Making dumplings

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Two Menus – one for dessert story and other for Mains

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The ordering system is similar to Pappa Rich where everything you ordered is noted down of the writing pad. Easy ordering system.

On the first visit I went with Ms Peach Water. Ms PW managed to arrived at 6pm on Tuesday Night and got a table within 5-10 minutes. We knew looking at the overwhelming menu that The Xiao long baos from Crystal Jade are a must order. The Xiao long baos are amazing and very comparable to Din Tai Fung. Thin skin, very soupy and tasty – everything you wanted in a Xiao Long Bao. Only problem on the first visit the soup was a little lukewarm however the visit after when I went with the Mr it was piping hot. The Xiao Long baos aren’t cheap for 8 it’s about $10-$11 but it’s along the same price as the XLBS in Sydney’s Din Tai Fung.

I was feeling really under the weather so I went for the Pork Ball Noodle Soup from Taiwan Cafe – I found this very comforting but sadly the only downside was the soup was a little too oily. Ms PW chose the hot and sour noodle soup which I have been eyeing but sadly could not have!

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Pork Ball Noodle Soup

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Hong Kong milk tea from Toast Box

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Horlicks from Toast Box

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Xiao Long Bao

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Hot & Sour Noodle Soup

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I also went back with the Mr to have Dessert Story. I went for the Taro balls, honey bean, pearls and Herbal Jelly, the hot version from Dessert Story. I know it does not look good and usually the cold version tastes better but it definitely hits the spot when you are still under the weather

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Mr picks the black glutinuous rice with coconut milk which he happily ordered on the three visits we went together. It must be good!


The other time, I came back to Toast Box to have Kaya Toast. Look at that thick slab of toast with Kaya. Oh and those gooey eggs! Love this but the Kaya a bit too sweet for me.

The concept of Food Republik is great but may be worth your while to visit when the hype dies down a little bit. I having been hearing hit and misses from this place.

Box Hill Centro South
Station St
Box Hill VIC 3128

Food Republik on Urbanspoon

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Wealth garden

Sorry guys, I was meant to blog about 2 weeks ago! I am afraid I had few recipes I worked on and had an intention to share. Sadly they didn’t turn out good enough to share. I hate this happening when you are making your own recipes. Plus I don’t share anything I don’t like, I need to test and test before sharing. I’m going to lay off the recipe creation for a while, just too much disappointing results 😦

Moving along Ms D and I went to yum cha at Wealth Garden. I am so happy because I haven’t had yum cha for a while close to a few months! Definitely satisfied my craving. We ordered so much food between 4 people and best thing is it came with a small price tag. What’s convenient about Wealth Garden is they have their own car park and there is also a bus stop right in front (279 goes by).

What really bugs me about the yum cha I experience in Melbourne is that most dim sums places seem to come in threes. Back in Sydney it usually comes in fours. Its frustrating when you have a perfect yum cha table of four! What are you guys thoughts about this?

I couldn’t fault any of the food here here at Wealth Garden. We ate our food so fast :). Not much I can say about the food but I love every dish we ordered!

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pork ribs

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Chicken feet

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bean curd rolls

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Gai lan

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“ma-lay cake”

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har gow

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siu mai

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cheong fun with char siu

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sticky rice with lap cheong

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deep fried taro dumplings

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“low sah bao”

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prawns + quail eggs

Thank you Ms D for introducing us to Wealth Garden and I can’t wait to return soon :). I recommended making a booking as it gets packed during lunch hours.

866 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East, VIC 3109

Wealth Garden Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Steamed Chicken with black fungus

I was craving this dish so badly that I knew I just had to make it. Before when I used to live with the folks back at home, I wouldn’t crave this dish since I would normally eat it about once a fortnight. Just recently it just hit and I felt the craving for my dad’s steamed chicken. I rang my dad and asked him for the recipe. Dad being dad stated to just cut up chicken and just add soy sauce. So helpful -_- but that’s how dad and older generations cook without recipes just everything within their heads and they somehow make it happen.

I played around with the flavouring and I had a clear idea what the taste could be like and deduct this recipe. I am not sure the exact origin of this dish. I think it might be Cantonese dish (please correct me if i’m wrong). This dish is very comforting and it’s lovely on a perfect cold night and great for winters. I am actually not a huge fan of chicken unless it’s deep fried or coated with some super sauce but this dish is comforting and makes me happy. It’s my reminder of home and makes me miss my father’s cooking heaps. Believe it or not my Dad wears the chef hat rather then the mother unit. Bless dads! They are truly under appreciated!

I have tested it about 4-5 times since I couldn’t get the seasoning right. It was quite bland and watery in the beginning. I realise the large amount of cornflour definitely helped with the thickening in the end. I think because its gets steamed over a long time lots of water runs into the chicken. Sourcing the ingredients is quite easy as a trip to the Asian grocery. In the end I am quite happy with this recipe and hope you will get to try it as well.

Serves 2-4 as a side dish

Ingredients:
6 black fungus/woodear mushrooms/dried fungus
3 large or 5 large dried shiitake mushrooms
10 lily flowers/buds – cut off woody stems – you can also tie these in a knot I usually don’t
4 boneless chicken thighs – chopped into 2 cms cubes. Make sure it’s not the “chicken chop version”
ginger about 5cm in size – cut in matchsticks or sliced

Marinate sauce:
1/4 cup of cornflour (use a little less if you prefer the sauce to be watery rather then thick)
2.5 tablespoons of water
1/4 cup of soy sauce (use a little less if you prefer it to not be so salty)
1 tablespoon of shao xiang wine
2 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon of brown sugar
a dash of white pepper
salt to taste

1. Soak black fungus, Shiitake mushrooms and lily flowers for at least half an hour with hot water separately . Usually if I plan this dish in advance, I would soak them a day beforehand, this makes it very soft to eat.
2. Mix the cornflour and water together.
3. Add the cornflour mixture to the rest of the marinate sauce and pour over the chicken. Leave to for about 30 minutes – 1 hour to marinate.
3. After 30 minutes wash the fungus,shiitakes and lily flowers.
4. Cut off stems from Shiitakes mushrooms and sliced the fungus and shiitakes mushrooms.
5. Place the chicken on a plate of a steamer on medium heat and add the black fungus, mushrooms, lily flowers and ginger on top
6. About 20 minutes into the cooking process – lift the lid of the steamer and carefully start mixing everything together.
7. Steam for another 20 minutes and serve with rice

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Lily flowers and black fungus

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Close up of the lily flowers

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Close up of the black fungus/dried fungus

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Chicken on the steamer

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The end result 🙂

Shanghai Street

I hope you guys had a fantastic and great New Year. Once again I haven’t disappeared off the radar. Long story short I made a decision to move from Sydney to Melbourne. It was one of the biggest decisions I have ever made. I am also thankful my company has allowed me stay and transfer to the Melbourne office. I am not sure how long I will be here for, just seeing how this city is and might just decide to stay here permanently.

Moving along, the oven is busted at the new place which meant I can’t even bake or cook things in the oven. I am completely heart broken because my itch to bake needs to be cured. On the good side I am looking forward to exploring many eats of Melbourne (tight budget! yikes). I got a lovely list happening and hope to add more to it. I been reading a number of Melbourne food blogs and I’m very thankfully there is many great blogs out there that has help me in the direction where to go =). What would our lives by without blogs? Nonetheless traditional media has still been my reference point so I love we have the best of both worlds.

On my previous visit to Melbourne I stayed in a hotel called City Garden off Little Bourke st. Everytime we walk back to the hotel we pass this small restaurant called Shanghai Street. It was always packed with lines. The restaurant can probably sit around under 35 people with a few outdoor tables. I admit, if I see a restaurant with a queue, I would think it’s good.

Now we are back and living here so we finally get a chance to see how good this place is. I find myself making comparions back to Shanghai night back in Ashfield, Sydney.

We got seats along the bench against the window (seats 4). It is thursday night around 6:30pm and about 3 couples are in front of us. The wait was about 10 minutes

I spotted hot and sour soup with dumplings on the menu – wanted it so much! Mr himself hates vinegar and anything sour so its a no go zone tonight. I love all things sour, tom yum soup, vinegar, assam laksa, even those evil warheads. I guess another visit some other time.

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The wonton soup does not stand out too much. Slighlty above average these are still comforting on a cold day.

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The xiao long baos upon arrival are large in size. They meet the mark of xiao long baos soupy and luscious.

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The plate of Shanghai noodles I find a bit small in comparison to what I normally see. However it was full of oily goodness and fulfilling the way I like it. Just lacks the size.

Service was a bit rushed but the line was quite long when we left. The bill left a tiny damage on the wallet which is a win in my books.

342 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
03 9600 2250

Shanghai Street Dumpling on Urbanspoon

Nuffnang Food bloggers yum cha @ marigold

I won’t say much in this blog post (letting the pictures do the talking). But it was lovely to meet everyone and I’m sorry if I didnt get to talk you. I am a little on the shy side! BIG gigantic thanks to nuffnang for the event.

To much of my dismay, I got forced into photo taking! How did this happen! Hope those pictures won’t show up *shudders*. Ps sorry for ruining your photos. Photos and me = not friends. I much prefer to be behind the camera then in front of it.

and the small sample of the food…
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683 George St
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 9261 8988

Marigold Citymark on Urbanspoon