Category Archives: Noodles

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

 

 

 

 

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Basement
27 Russell Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 3708
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I were invited to attend to dine at Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. A chorus of “Irrashaimase” hailed upon our descent into the restaurant. Unlike a couple of other basement Japanese restaurants, Ikkuryu Fukuoka spares no expense with lighting. It’s bright, spacious and welcoming.

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Ikkoryu Original Tonkotsu – Ikkoryu original hearty tonkotsu ramen garnished with charshu, green onion, bamboo shoots, woodear and dried seaweed $15

We randomly chose a table to peruse the menu. The ramen offers plenty of customisation: the type of soup, the hardness of noodle, the amount of ramen oil, the amount of shoyu and so on. I decided to have hard noodles in original soup, with light ramen oil and light shoyu. The Angmoh was intrigued by the yuzukosyo spice and had his ramen with the yuzu tama tonkontsu broth and his noodles cooked to the original degree of hardness. As we were one of the first to arrive, we got to enjoy our noodles pretty early and were ushered to sit at the counter to dine on them. Accompanying the noodles were some gyoza which were excellent. The skins were crisp and thin, and the filling juicy with some sweetness coming from the pork.

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Yuzu Tonkotsu – yuzu tama tonkotsu is flavoured with yuzukosyo, one of the spices that the Kyushu region of Japan is known for. A spice experience in ramen like no other $17

Back to our ramen, these were pretty good. The soups were well-balanced with both savoury and sweet notes. The yuzukosyo in The Angmoh’s soup gave it its green appearance and a good kick of peppery spice. The noodles were of good quality, although I thought mine had the exact same bite or hardness to that of The Angmoh’s. The pork was fall apart tender and the shoyu-seasoned soft boiled egg had a gooey yolk. The only let down was the absence of bamboo shoots in both our bowls, one of my favourite ingredients when having ramen. I also thought the portions were a tad small for the price stated on the menu. Perhaps due to the nature of the evening, portions sizes were meant for sampling.

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Apple sake

We were also offered some complimentary apple sake, which was basically apple juice with a shot of sake. It was light and refreshing.

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Gyoza (5 pieces) – $11

However, once we were done with our noodles, we had to give up our counter seats. This got a little awkward as the restaurant had now filled up and not many table seats were left. Guests started shuffling about, so we decided to avoid the chaos and left (which also meant we didn’t get to sample the rest of the sides).

The Angmoh and I thank Ikkoryu for having us on the night of their soft launch. I’m looking forward for a revisit to devour their excellent gyoza and trying out the rest of the ramen menu.

Disclaimer: The Hangry Bitch and The Angmoh were invited to attend Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen’s soft opening of their first Australian Restaurant in Mebourne.

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Filed under CBD, Japanese, Noodles, Ramen

A weekend in Sydney

Once a year, I dedicate a weekend to Sydney. One weekend of pure gluttony, where getting full is not an option and optimising every last bit of space in that second stomach is very much mandatory. Last year Fakebooo and I flew up for a weekend of pastries, cakes and brilliant Argentinian food and you can read all about it here. This year my itinerary was pretty much the same, except this time round, The Angmoh came along as my dining companion.

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His only request food-wise was to have yumcha. That’s how we found ourselves in The Eight Restaurant, gorging on prawn dumplings, steamed pork ribs and glutinous rice as soon our plane landed. The restaurant was quiet when we rocked up close to 11am, with trolleys piled high with steaming bamboo baskets. By the time we left though, it was packed and rowdy, the way every reputable yumcha restaurant ought to be. The food was pretty good: slippery fresh prawns housed in silky translucent skins, smooth beef balls with the delicate crunch of water chestnut and velvety soy curd in a gingery syrup.

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We walked out lugging our backpacks and hiked across town towards Woolloomooloo, for the one and only and my Sydney-must-have Flour and Stone. Here I indulged in a rich chocolate tart while The Angmoh nibbled on some fruit toast. Deciding against the panna cotta lamington to save space for dinner, we headed towards our hotel for an afternoon siesta.

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At 5pm, we were the first in line for Porteno. Having inadequate figures for a table booking, we decided to be kiasu and started camping an hour before the doors opened. Was the wait worth it? Hell yeah! Porteno panders to every carnivore’s wet dream where meats are grilled to perfection. Served in generous portions by cute waiters in leather aprons, every dish a sight for sore hungry eyes. My absolute favourite item, ironically, is a vegetable one. The grilled peppers are an absolute delight. Their skins blistered from high heat slip off to reveal soft flesh, succulent and sweet. Desserts here are excellent too, and I split an alfajores with The Angmoh. This was an amazing dish with crumbly buttery shortbread sandwiching a sticky caramel-like dulce de leche, all smothered in chocolate and then topped with an incredible brown butter ice cream. I was in dessert heaven.

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IMG_9417The next morning, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny café. Room 10 is a hole-in-the-wall which we’d chanced upon during our brief stroll in Kings’ Cross. We were counting the number of strip joints where a turn led us onto an unassuming laneway which had a handful of cafes and bistros. The morning crowd built quickly and we were lucky to get a table right away. The coffees were served hot and leant towards bitter. While The Angmoh enjoyed a slab of homemade banana bread with Pepe Saya butter, I worked off my morning gym session with a protein-heavy sandwich of smoked ham, triple cheese and smashed egg. Both dishes ticked all our breakfast boxes.

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Next on our agenda was another of my Sydney must-haves: Blackstar Pastry’s strawberry, watermelon cake with rose-scented cream. This has to be one of my all-time favourite cakes. Feminine in description and appearance, this cake is pure heaven with just the right amount of sweetness and perfect combination of floral and fruity flavours. It’s not only this cake that excels at Blackstar. The pastries too, are sensational. The Angmoh, after sampling the sausage roll, declared it to be “the best sausage roll of his life”. The flaky pastry is loaded with butter and filling was packed with flavour and spice, and even retained a resilient chewy texture. We took a couple of these bad boys back to Melbourne and The Angmoh’s dad proclaimed the very same.

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To kill time before dinner, I catched up on my zzz’s while The Angmoh enjoyed “Locke”. These odd arty-farty movies aren’t quite my thing but our final meal totally is. Gumshara Ramen sits in a foodcourt in Chinatown. The broth here is one of the best I’ve come across, with depth and stickiness achieved from boiling pork bones till kingdom come. The noodles and egg are cooked without any fault, retaining bite and wobble respectively. I enjoyed mine with a hit of black garlic and less salt. Needless to say, it went down a treat.

Sadly this concludes our weekend in Sydney. I’m already anticipating another foodie trip that will challenge the waistline and loosen the belt. Please hit me up for any mouth-watering delectable recommendations!

The Eight
9-13 Hay Street,
Haymarket
NSW 2000
+61 2 9282 9988
The Eight Modern Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Porteno
358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills
NSW 2010
+61 2 8399 1440
Porteño on Urbanspoon

Room 10
10 Llankelly Place
Potts Point
NSW 2011
Room 10 on Urbanspoon

Black Star Pastry
277 Australia Street
Newtown
NSW 2042
+61 2 9557 8656
Black Star Pastry on Urbanspoon

Gumshara Ramen
211/25-29 Dixon Street
Hawmarket
NSW 2000
Gumshara Ramen on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Argentinian, Brunch, Chinese, Coffee, Japanese, Noodles, Pastries, Ramen, Sweets, Sydney, Travels, Yum Cha

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Quick Bites: Pho Nom, Cacao Lab, Depot de Pain

pho nom

Venturing into Emporium feels rather surreal to me. It’s super bright, enhanced by a lot of white, stark in a sense and the myriad of elevators that do not connect directly with each other contribute to a general feeling of stepping foot into a sort of spaceship. But never mind all that, for when there’s food, all is good.

Emporium houses 2 dining spaces, one in the lower ground level and a vast food court up on the third. Most of these are franchises of famous establishments. Each were approached by the higher-ups of Emporium, who were striving for a sense of exclusivity and quality. To name a few from the food court, there’s Earl Canteen for sandwiches, Jimmy Grants for souvlakis, I Love Pho Express for pho (duh), and Chinta Ria Soul for Malaysian food. Down below pays homage to established names too, like Dumplings Plus and Ramen Ya.

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Pho Bo Saigon – sliced rare beef, brisket, meatballs $12

My sole purpose one afternoon, however, was a new introduction into Melbourne’s dining scene, Pho Nom. Pho Nom offers popular Vietnamese street food, from banh mis to Vietnamese spring rolls to pho. It was the latter that I was after, a piping hot soulful bowl of slurpy rice noodles and tender slices of beef in a flavoursome beefy stock. This is comfort food at its best, especially in the heart of a bitingly cold winter.

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Due to its locality in a shopping mall, it’s pretty much a self-service set up. Diners place the order at the cashier, wait in line for their food and take it away to their seats. Even the basil and beansprouts are piled high at the end of the counter, take as little or as much as you need. Thankfully, the seasoning sauces are generously scattered around the dining tables, if not, I can imagine a never-ending wait during peak times.

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Being a fusspot for pho, I was quite ready to critique and dismiss Pho Nom’s pho. Instead, I was blown away and left to eat humble pie. And boy did I lick and slurp every bit of it, well, not pie of course. The soup, boiled from Warialda beef bones, was compressed with an amazing amount of flavour and the beef was of the utmost quality. I’ll be honest and say it beats I Love Pho Express hands down (The Express, I’m afraid, is just not quite as good as the I Love Pho mothership in Richmond).

Pho Nom’s pho is my absolute choice in the CBD. But given an option, I’d rather journey to Richmond, for there’s nothing like having it in true authenticity: Ethnic suburb, cacophonic restaurant and proper non-disposable cutlery.

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(Top Left) Madagasca single origin chocolate eclair with crispy rice puffs $5.50
(Bottom Right) Audrey Hepburn – vanilla rose $5.50

But of course, no true meal is complete without something sweet. I weaved around corridors and landed at Cacao Lab for a couple of eclairs. Normally having an aversion to creamed sweets, I have no idea why I was craving these delicate pastries. But I was and so I indulged. I preferred the chocolate one, with its deep cocoa tones apparent throughout the dessert. The Audrey Hepburn’s white chocolate portrait had overwhelmed the subtle rose cream, much to my dismay.

Depot de pain

However, these just weren’t as good as the 2 that I’d sampled from Pain De Depot in Hawthorn. Pain De Depot’s choux pastry was fresh, light and crisp, despite eating them half a day after purchase. The rose and raspberry éclair was delightful with the pink flavours marrying well.

So this concludes what is most likely to be a continued series of quick bites with the remaining of Emporium food stores awaiting my tums.

Pho Nom
Store 33, Lower Ground
Emporium
287 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 8609 8221
Phở Nom on Urbanspoon

Cacao Lab
Driver Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9662 4777
Depot de Pain on Urbanspoon

Depot de Pain
616 Glenferrie Road
Hawthorn
Vic 3122
+61 3 8803 7898
Cacao Lab on Urbanspoon

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Filed under CBD, Emporium, Hawthorn, Noodles, Pastries, Sweets, Vietnamese

Fina’s Vegetarian Cafe, Xiaoting Box

Richmond is fast becoming my second home. I’m there at least once a week for a meal and now that I’m getting physio done in the very same suburb there are even more trips to Richmond! This post involves some cheap quick Asian eats along Victoria Street.

Fina’s Vegetarian Café
268 Victoria Street
Richmond
Vic 3121
+61 3 9428 6765
Fina's Vegetarian Cafe | Vegan Café on Urbanspoon

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Goth Mum and I were waaaaay overdue for a catch up. She’s vegan and had her bub, Mr. Finch, in tow that day. That narrowed our dining options to a handful and Fina’s was a perfect choice. We were warmly welcomed, pram and all, and a baby chair was even whipped out for Mr. Finch to sit in comfortably.

Fina’s offers a vegetarian take on traditional Vietnamese fare. The menu can be adjusted to suit certain needs, including vegan, gluten-free and even the option to omit garlic and onion. We both felt noodley that afternoon, and Goth Mum had vermicelli with bamboo while I chose a spicy bun. Mr. Finch munched away on Goth Mum’s homemade banana bread and entertained himself with a dinosaur while the adults slurped and chatted away.

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Special vegetarian spicy noodle Bun Hue Chay $10.50

The soups were cleansing with a clean sweet taste. No MSG is added, instead the lovely ingredients gave plenty of flavour to the dishes. My noodle soup was essentially vegetarian bun bo hue. It came with the appropriate julienned purple cabbage and mint and plenty of delicious meaty soy products such as tofu, beancurd sheets and soy meatloaf which was really tasty. Goth’s Mum’s dish had fresh and marinated bamboo, crispy mock duck and mushrooms. I didn’t sample Goth Mum’s choice but she really liked it.

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Special vegan bamboo noodle soup Bun Mang Chay $10.50

I’ve always wanted to try Fina but every time I’m at Victoria Street, the lure and proximity of I Love Pho 264 beckons and sways me away. I’m glad I finally stepped foot into Fina’s. The food is great, the staff are extremely pleasant and it provides a great option for those wanting a healthier, lighter, meat-free version of traditional Vietnamese food.

 

Xiaoting Box
371 Victoria Street
Richmond
Vic 3121
+61 3 9428 9588
Xiaoting Box on Urbanspoon

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2 days later, The Angmoh and I found ourselves back on Victoria Street. This time, we were there for dinner. The Angmoh used to frequent Xiao Ting Box for his work lunch but hadn’t in a while. I tagged along, hoping for some comforting Shanghainese cuisine.

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It was quiet that Saturday evening. The yolk-yellow walls are decorated with Chinese paintings on 1 side and pictures of the chef’s specials on the opposite. Complimentary prawn crackers were set down as soon as we were seated. We crunched away as we looked over the menu and decided to get a rice dish for The Angmoh, a noodle dish for myself and a serve of dumplings to share.

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(Left) Diced chicken with chilli and peanuts on rice $9.50
(Right) Steamed pork and veg dumplings $8.50

The Angmoh’s gung pao chicken on rice was thoroughly enjoyed. It tasted the same as he last remembered and was glad to have relived the memory. My dandan noodles, on the other hand, were a let down. The noodles lacked bounce and bite and the sauce was a sad sweetened mess of gluggy mince meat. The dumplings were also a far cry from “Melbourne’s Best Dumplings”, which was a bold claim made in the menu. The skins were hard and thick and the filling could be more exciting.

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Dan-Dan noodles (dry) $9.00

I was thoroughly disappointed with my dinner at Xiao Ting Box. The Angmoh’s dish was the only saving grace. We found out that there had been a change of management slightly over a year ago and the food was much better prior to that. I’ll be sticking to Noodle Kingdom or Shanghai Street Dumplings in the futur

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Filed under Chinese, Dumplings, Noodles, Richmond, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vietnamese

Banoi

Banoi
807 Bourke Street
Docklands
Vic 3008
+61 3 8080 9699
Banoi on Urbanspoon

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A couple of seasons ago, a triple date at Banoi was organised. We had heard much hype about it over Instagram and thought to check it out ourselves. Located in Docklands, where free cheap carparking is unheard of, The Angmoh and I did the smart eco thing and strolled across the Seafarers Bridge from South Wharf.

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We were the first couple to arrive and started with an intense and sweet Vietnamese ice coffee and an icy custard apple smoothie, which could have used a bit more fruit. As we sipped on our drinks, I took in the décor and ooh—ed at the bar chairs made from bicycle gears.

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(Left) VN Iced coffee $3.80
(Middle) Custard apple smoothie $4
(Right) Fried salt & pepper tofu rice paper rolls with kimchi sprouts $6.80

The other 2 couples carpooled and not long after, Fakebooo and Fakebooobooo arrived, together with Damo and Kurt. They had come from dance class and were starving. Decisions were made quickly and it came down to a set of spring rolls, bun and pho for each couple.

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(Left) Kakuni pork belly rice paper rolls with pumpkin puree, candied chillies & roasted sesame $6.80
(Right) Prawn and taro fritter rice paper rolls $6.80

Banoi has a creative take on Vietnamese dishes. Rice paper rolls nestle ingredients such as kimchi, taro fritters and pumpkin puree while bun (Vietnamese vermicelli) strays away from the Nước chấm dressing.

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Soft shell crab vermicelli noodles with imperial spring rolls $13

My soft shell crab bun came with an interesting chutney-like sauce. The crab had a muddy taste and the dressing was thick and overwhelming. I did like the imperial spring rolls though, they were crunchy and really yum. My dining companions who ordered the bun had theirs with lemongrass beef and silken tofu. They really liked it.

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(Left) Lemongrass beef vermicelli noodles with imperial spring rolls $12
(Right) Silken tofu with wok tossed fried silken tofu & veg spring rolls $11

Fakebooo and The Angmoh decided to go with pho, with Wagyu beef as an added extravagance. The quality of the meat was top-notch, as expected, but the soup didn’t quite make the cut. Devoid of depth and dominated by an odd floral lotus-lime aftertaste, The Angmoh had to add a mountain of fresh chilli to his soup while Fakebooo declared “when all else fails, add Lao Gan Ma chilli oil!” and proceeded to do so.

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Beef pho with rare wagyu beef $11

I’ll be honest and admit that The Angmoh and I are extremely fussy with our pho. Banoi’s pho didn’t meet our expectations but the rest of the dishes were well-received and we demolished lunch pretty quickly, leaving a messy aftermath. Banoi makes a great dining option for the slowly expanding food network of Docklands.

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Filed under Docklands, Noodles, Vietnamese

MoPho Noodle Bar

MoPho Noodle Bar
1A/7 Yarra Street
South Yarra Vic 3141
MoPho Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I found ourselves wandering around South Yarra after watching a live taping of Channel Ten’s Are You Paying Attention. The show’s much better during the filming and we were disappointed by how much was cut out when we watched it on the telly the following day. My appetite for poultry was stimulated from the verbal insults between Tom Gleisner and Glenn Robbins in regard to their manhood.

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MoPho was a quick escape from the drizzling rain, a stone’s throw from the Como Centre where the taping took place. I love the portrait of the panda in faux crane stance but, surprisingly, the restaurant had nothing bad-ass about it. It was quiet that night, despite being a Saturday evening. There’s plenty of dark tones softened by the rolls of banners amidst the ceiling.

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MoPho’s menu offers dry, soup and salad noodles, with most of the items having a fusion twist. My chicken noodle soup came with a clear broth, decorated with 2 bunny ears of bokchoy leaves. For a dish that is typically meant to cleanse and soothe the soul, this was unfortunately a letdown. The soup lacked depth, the chicken was poached in an overtly sweet stock and a more generous serve of healthy greens could be offered.

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Shredded chicken, spring onion, sesame seeds, chilli oil, egg noodle $15

The Angmoh, on the other hand, ordered a tasty winner. The fried hokkien noodles were full of wok hei and the pork was crisp and delicious. There was a confident sprinkle of chilli that went well with the sweet sauce. I didn’t quite like the sweetness of the dish but it did suit The Angmoh.

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Hokkien noodle, slow roast pork belly, oyster mushrooms, broccoli stems, chilli and garlic $17

There were plenty of takeaway orders that night and I imagine MoPho to be quite pleasing for the local (angmoh) neighbourhood palate.

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Filed under Noodles, South Yarra