Saturday, April 25, 2009

Melbourne Day 3 & 7: Ann's Bistro, Family and Cousins

On our 3rd day in Melbourne, Greg needed to work again and I went entertaining myself. I met up with Aunty Linda and both my cute little cousins who just migrated there. Well, Sheila used to be little but now she's turning into a pretty young lady.

Meanwhile Megan remains the same - the little chili padi with horsepower.

The two gals actually came all the way to the city on their own to meet me on Bourke St from North Balwyn with their GPS. I dont know what to say, am touched for sure! Impressed definitely with their boldness and ingenuity, and the technology.

We then ended up for dinner at Ann's Bistro in Chinatown which is located past Russel St on the 1st or 2nd little lane on the left. Roger likes this place cos it was actually serving pure China Chinese Food not Cantonese Chinese Food. Because Greg was working late till almost 7 pm, he did not have his camera with him - a blogger's worst sin. It's unfortunate cos the food was really good at a very reasonable price. We ordered a smoked tea duck with gravy, red cooked pork hock, ma po tofu, szechuan brinjals and Peking roast lamb. All the dishes were well cooked and balanced. Not too salty like the typical chinese food. The serving was big as well so there's really nothing to complain about. We did think about going back there again to eat just to take photos. Blogger's tenacity!

So this post will be without food pictures . Maybe a quick update about Aunty Linda and the two gals for family and friends. Aunty Linda has some part time private nursing going for her now. This lady has unfalteringly settled themselves down here. I am all respect and kow tow to her for coming here alone with two gals in toll yet no complaints and totally taking life in a zest albeit the fact that she does look a little tired. Must have been tough for her moving overseas and into a new home and getting everything ready in the span of 4 months. Their home in North Balwyn is cosy and Aunty Linda is still putting her touches to it.

Sheila and Megan are enjoying themselves. As how Megan puts it, "There's no homework anymore." They are certainly eating more than usual unlike in Malaysia where they hardly eat anything. Sheila just got her grand piano so music is back. Megan is still as 'dangerous' as ever and we finally found someone to control her. Of all persons, Roger! He had practically rendered her speechless with his sarcasm and remarks on her but she is still hanging all over him. Talking about girls liking not so nice guys.

See how fatherly Roger looks. Mothers with
single daughters, for your consideration.

We met up again on Sunday for a potluck at Aunty Linda's. Aunty Selina and her brood (Michelle, John and Sharon) were present together with Uncle William and family. Nothing better than spending a nice sunny afternoon with family. Here are some pictures taken by very our own family amateur photographer, Greg, from Aunt Linda's backyard to a nearby park (Boroondara) later in the afternoon.

William's youngest son Jason. This guy is super cute, always quite, always observing from the background.
William's pretty daughter Ashley. See the dimples? It runs in the family. Cannot escape one.

And little salsa Megan.

And Sheila, with a bit of Vogue fashion photography there.

And not forgetting cousin Sharon who doesn't really fit in with the rest of the little ones, but she's still a cousin. The girl with infectious joy & unbreakable spirit. She looks like she's about to fly.

The trio at the park, doing crazy photography stunts.

You should have seen how Megan rides a bicycle. She rides like there's no tomorrow. She makes both the Ghost Rider & the Hells Angels look like sissy boys.
Megan, I think you need to slow down. Let the boys catch up a bit.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Melbourne Day 5: Quan Ju De

We used to visit this Peking Duck place called Old Kingdom whenever we're in Melbourne. Then last year, someone called KittyCat suggested another place called Quan Ju De, which Roger also knew. So when we had a concensus of more than two, we knew we had to eat this duck.
Quan Ju De is located at the corner of Queen St and Victoria St in the City. This place is supposedly an overseas outlet chain of the oldest Peking Duck place in China established in 1864.
The whole place is decorated with much pomp and flair in the traditional Chinese way. You know, the usual royal yellow, red and gold which tends to make you feel like descendents of the Emperor (very far & distant ones). Ok, maybe not descendents. Maybe more like guests of the royalty.
The waiters and waitresses were very polite and were always serving quietly from a distance. No throwing of plates like frisbees here.

The Qun Ju De group claims to have over 60 restaurants & has served 5 million people every year. Imagine the number of ducks from Peking that ends up on the plate.

For some unintentional reasons that night, we ordered like a whole duck. When it came, we felt a bit guilty of being so indulgent, like we were slowly turning into Greg & Nee on the Go-bblers instead.
By the way, this place actually kept count of the number of ducks slaughtered, uhh, I mean sold. The whole thing was done very systematically, much like the Nazi's tenacity for efficiency. We were awarded a certificate with actual serial numbers. Ours was the 115,202,818th duck.

As with most Peking duck place, a Peking Duck restaurant is not a Peking Duck restaurant if the chef doesn't appear with his death-defying sword-wielding stunt show.

Cripsy skin with moist tender meat. Quan ju de duck is all that and it does not have a ducky smell to it. But somehow, it's a little bland and there's not enough skin to go around in a healthy sort of way I guess. It's still a little disappointing cs we love the meat and skin combination, the crispy & the soft together. Here they kinda separate the two from each other.

The pancake was served in a traditional looking bamboo steamer.

They were paper thin as claimed to be. Soft and warm, very the good!

The leek and cucumber comes free flow unlike Old Kingdom where they charge you for every refill, which was a bit annoying.

The soup comes with the set. We get one little pot per person of slow cooked duck soup. Very clear and bland in a good way, without the excessive oil (like the ones at Old Kingdom). Greg just couldn't take the soup there, but he finished his here like a good boy.
In our madness and overestimation of the stretchability of our stomach we had a whole duck plus these:

Spinach with crab meat. Heay, this is really crab meat. No joke. Fresh ones not your canned type. Result: Fragrant and smooth. Really tasty sweet!

Qianlong Seafood hotpot~ They don't scrimp on ingredients for sure. Good pot, generous helping ofeverything that's supposed to be in there, tasty without being salty and oily but we were just too full to finish the whole thing.
We find that Quan Ju De cooked very balanced dishes. They are not the typical oily chinese dishes. Duck wise, we think Old kingdom is comparable but dishes wise, Old kingdom is your typical greasy chinese food (the ones that can make both Roger & Greg hit the toilet immediately). But for that, we had to pay at least 1/3 more here in Quan Ju De. I guess there is a price when people treat you like royalty. If you pay me well, I can treat you like anything that you want.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Melbourne Day 4: Korean-Chinese Restaurant

If you can't make up your mind, or if you have Caucasian friends who can't tell the difference, this is the place to go. This was supposed to be our first stop straight from Melbourne airport upon arrival. However the kitchen was already closed by the time we got there at 8.30pm. Anyway, on our third night, we went back on a vengeance. This place is at 13 A Victoria St., a little small lane off Victoria St in the City.

This was the first thing that we saw upon entering the shop, Nee's eyes fixated upon it like it was an LV or a GUCCI. It turned out that it was the shop's specialty, although not Korean, Sweet & Sour Pork, Chinese. It turned out pretty good. Yes, a little floury and corn starchy but hey, we were hungry.

Fish Egg and beancurd hotpot. ~ Yummy! Nicely spicy!

Beef Bulgogi ~ Nicely done as well with a hint of sweetness.

Chinese black bean noodles ~ delicious and it is not salty at all.

With good food aplenty, the rest of the night was spent with thoughtful conversations with Roger & his new housemate Anson, who's taken up the task (without much choice) to help find Roger a girlfriend.

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