Category Archives: Asian

Rice Workshop, Raw Trader

Rice Workshop
238 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 6663
Rice Workshop on Urbanspoon

rice workshop

Sometimes all I’m after is a quick no-frills tasty meal that is easy on the wallet and super satisfying. Rice Workshop is one such place where the food ticks all those boxes for me.

The concept is simple: choose your staple of rice or noodles, add on the seasoned meat and toppings (ontama egg for me), and if that’s not enough, pick from a selection of deep fried goodies to complete the experience.

beefbowl
Regular kimchi beef $8.50, add ontama egg

My comfort meal at Rick Workshop is the kimchi beef bowl with an added soft-boiled egg. The thin slices of fatty beef are marinated in a sweet soy with slight hints of maple. Paired with slightly spicy vinegary kimchi, it’s a sucker of a combination that gets to me each time. An ooey-gooey egg is cracked over the ricebowl and coats everything with a gelatinous slurpy egg blanket, yum!

Complimentary sides of pickled ginger or radish are available and I always pile my bowl high with the radish. The piquant crunch is irresistible!

A simple soft serve of matcha or black sesame is available for those needing to round up the meal with something sweet.

Raw Trader
10 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 4 7869 2008
Raw Trader on Urbanspoon

raw trader

For myself, I was hankering for a healthier sweet treat after gobbling up my meal. I crossed a couple blocks to Raw Trader, a healthy café situated near Short Stop Donuts that offers raw, unprocessed, vegan dishes. I indulged in a chai “cheesecake” and enjoyed the fragrant hints of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The texture of the cake was creamily smooth and made for a wonderful guilt-free way to finish up my day in the city.

chai cheesecake
Chai cheesecake $10

Tummy satisfaction doesn’t always need to be in the form of a fancy degustation. I find that simple pleasures of delicious fuss-free food warms the soul. What’s your go-to meal for a quick soothing?

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Filed under Asian, CBD, Chai, Japanese, Korean, Raw, Sweets

1+1 Dumpling Noodles

1+1 Dumplings
84 Hopkins Street
Footscray
Vic 3011
+61 3 9687 8988
1+1 Dumpling Noodles on Urbanspoon

1+1 dumplings

A dinner with my brother’s family has us reliving uni days of driving into Footscray. My brother introduced me to 1+1 Dumplings 4 years ago. Ever since he left Melbourne after graduating, I hadn’t returned to the restaurant. There isn’t a lack of want but with Melbourne and too many new restaurants on the ever-changing food scene, it just slid further and further down my eating wishlist.

soy milk
Homemade soy milk

1+1 Dumplings specialises in Xin Jiang cuisine and we were specifically after the lamb skewers and ‘big platter chicken’. The dishes here seem to include a lot more spices than in typical Chinese dishes, with aromatic cumin, cinnamon and star anise giving flavour and fragrance to the food.

cucumber
Pickled cucumber

We started off with a tangy appetitser of chilled cucumber. The julienned vegetable was pickled in vinegar and tossed with garlic, chilli and coriander. It was the perfect palate cleanser, refreshing and zingy all at once.

lamb skewers
Lamb skewers (4) $10

The lamb skewers were a favourite amongst the table. The meat was tender and seasoned with just the right touch of ground cumin and chilli. Not much of a fan of lamb, even I thought these were pretty good.

BPC
Xin Jiang special chicken noodle $25

An impressive platter is quickly set down and this is my favourite of the lot. The literal translation of the dish is self-explanatory. Accompanying the chopped up bits of chicken are braised vegetables like potatoes, wombok and capsicum. Dried chilli, cinnamon and star anise contribute a sweet fragrance to the mix. The starchy flat broad noodles are coated in this wonderful sauce and gives a comforting oomph when slurped and chewed.

dumplings
Panfried pork dumplings (15 pieces) $11

We ordered a plate of dumplings only because we thought there wasn’t going to be enough food. These were alright, not the best I’ve come across, but decent in their own right. The filling was juicy although could use a tad more seasoning.

We left happy and full although The Angmoh needed a quick pitstop at 8Bit for a milkshake. He didn’t dig the chicken noodles the way we did, and I for one am very happy to have caught up with 1+1 dumplings after all those years.

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Filed under Asian, Chinese, Dumplings, Footscray, Noodles, Xin Jiiang

Northern Light

Northern Light
102 Smith Street
Colllingwood
Vic 3066
+61 3 9416 0698
Northern Light on Urbanspoon

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Fakebooo wasn’t my first gay boyfriend. I had a wonderful solid relationship with Juds during our pre-uni days. Movies after school, KTV sessions on public holidays, heck, we joked about marrying each other if we were still single by the age of thirty. But of course, The Angmoh came along and I was a goner. Anyway, when Juds finally announced that he would visit me in wintry Melbourne, I was elated! And to make it even more exciting, he was getting into the food scene, having watched the American, Canadian and Australian versions of Masterchef and experimenting and learning from his mum in the kitchen.

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(Left) Freshly shucked oyster, Yuzu sake $4
(Right) Whipped tofu, broad beans, soy, edamame, gai lan $16

I wrecked my brain trying to come up with a dinner location to take him to. I wanted it to be simple yet well-executed, easy to comprehend yet delicious and stylish without the drama. I had come across many a positive review about Northern Light and decided that yep, that would be it.

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Smoked eel, sushi rice croquette $6

There’s a never ending list of eateries along Smith Street and Northern Light is amongst them. A handsome bar occupies most of the narrow space of the restaurant, topped with a maze of twisted wires and lights. The menu leans strongly towards Asian fusion with most of the dishes designed for sharing.

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Pork crackle, warm cheese curd, togarashi $9

Juds left the ordering up to us but he did insist on a serve of pork crackle. The Angmoh, as usual, had a lone oyster to start his dinner. Typically laconic when it comes to describing his food, he simply slurped it up and nodded in approval. The whipped tofu with Asian veges came next with a heady scent of sesame oil. Dressed in light soy, it was an elegant yet humble Chinese dish. I thought the broad beans had been cooked beautifully, for they were soft and lacked bitterness. Juds described the whipped tofu as “squashed tofu that’s been whipped, lor” and almost had me snorting out the light airy soy curd. The smoked eel croquette was a stunner. The slivers of eel provided a mild smokiness and the dill gave the rice an unexpected but pleasant aroma. Juds couldn’t get enough of the lush rich mayo that came along with the croquettes.

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(Left) Xinjiang style lamb ribs, bbq peppers, chilli $25
(Right) Wild mushroom okayu, WA truffle, comte $32

Our mains of lamb ribs and mushroom okayu were set down, shortly followed by the pork crackle. The ribs were finger-licking good and fell off the bone without much effort. The flavour of the lamb was sealed within the charred edges, making it one very tasty dish. The okayu turned out to be similar to congee. It was salty and could possibly use more truffle, or at least truffle oil for a bit more pizzazz. The crackle had Juds full attention. It was the most sinful keropok I’d come across, with the deep fried pig skin covered with lashings of mayo. It was good but I’d rather a plate of roast pork belly crackling anytime.

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Broken ice cream sandwich $15

For dessert, we decided to sample the broken ice cream sandwich and the tteok (pronounced “tok”). The former turned out to be vanilla ice cream topped with velvety chocolate mousse surrounded by shards of cocoa biscuits. I loved every bit of it. Juds was really interested in the tteok as he had been living in Korea for a little while. Usually a savoury dish, he reckoned the rice cakes had been steamed and then fried to achieve a soft and fluffy texture, while retaining the expected chewiness and crisp outlines. It was drizzled with maple and topped with sesame seeds for a savoury contrast.

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Fried Tteok, maple syrup, sesame $7

Dinner at Northern Light was extremely enjoyable. The food, although lacking a wow factor, is consistently pleasant. Service is exemplary and makes the overall experience a night to remember. We capped our evening off with a stroll while checking out some of the art works from the Gertrude Street Projection Festival. This was my favourite.

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Filed under Asian, Collingwood, Modern