Din Tai Fung is customarily the first stop for us when arriving in Sydney, conveniently located a few short blocks from Central Station where the
cattle car bus leaves us. However, I’d been told of another central city Chinese yum cha joint, located in the Regent Place arcade next to Town Hall. We came across it quite by accident after leaving Kinokuniya and decided to fortify ourselves for the trip home.
It was quite busy, so we were given seats at the counter. Fortunately, this gave us primo views of the kitchen, where the noodle-makers, wonton-makers, and wok cooks were industriously practicing their crafts. In particular, the noodle maker’s graceful tossing, spinning, twisting and rolling made him look weirdly balletic, a Nureyev of flour and water.
First up were some charsiu buns: those steamed breads filled with a mouthful of sweet-sauced barbecued pork. We ate these so quickly that I honestly forgot to photograph them. Oops.
The rest of our dishes arrived in quick succession.
Dan Dan noodles, seductively fragrant of sesame and floating in a luridly orange broth, declared by the Mr. to be even better than Din Tai Fung’s version. High praise indeed. The noodles were just, just right. I tipped my chopsticks to Nureyev, but I’m not certain if he saw me.
Oblong potstickers were crunchy once from the crust, and crunchy again from the miraculously not-gloopy cabbage filling. Dipped in a little soy/vinegar and slurped down with alacrity.
The odd-looking thing above is a pork floss roti. It’s a roti (of the Southeast Asian flaky/crunchy variety, rather than Indian), topped with a heap of…well, pork floss. What the heck is that, you ask? Imagine cotton candy or candyfloss. Now imagine it made of meat instead of sugar. Seriously. Same dissolving-fibrous texture and everything. If I sound incredulous, well I am. I have seen this in Asian supermarkets but I never tasted it before, and now I wonder why I waited.
It’s like cotton candy! But it’s PORK!
Will wonders never cease?
Anyway, it’s extra-tasty when piled into a freshly cooked roti.
Finally, the fried bread. Because the words “fried” and “bread” exert numinous powers over me. I can’t say no.
Four golf-ball-sized fritters of deeply crunchy and barely sweetened dough. The green stuff in the dish turned out to be sweetened condensed milk for dipping. I don’t know why it was green.
Unfortunately we were too full and too pressed for time to try their famous “piggy” dessert buns. But that’s okay, because sure as sugar this won’t be our last visit to Chef’s Gallery. I look forward to many more of their delights.