As you walk through certain parts of the Melbourne CBD day or night, there is always the feeling that you are just at home in Malaysia; the people on the streets have the same hair and skin colour and the way they speak English is undeniably Malaysian / Singaporean. Of course as soon as you embrace that feeling, you get the a different crowd of people using slang like "what are you doing this arvo?" or the infamous "g'day mate", while another bunch of people start muttering mainland mandarin. That thought vanishes away like a flash.
Step into the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne like Boxhill and you don't get that feeling of being home, rather you wonder what on earth did they put in your coffee earlier as you find yourself in the horde of chinese people, minding their own business. For a split second, to guess that i was in one of the train stations of Hong Kong or China, wouldn't have been such a bad guess.
So i was desperate last week for some good food, even though i knew my bearings back in Malaysia, when it came to Melbourne, i had to ask a local foodie, blogger and fellow friend, Precious Pea for a recommendation. She said, come lets go to Golden Dragon Palace, but first, you have to take the train to Boxhill.
In Malaysia, you will never catch me taking a KTM alive or unless i had a gun or knife behind me. Chances are i rather stay at home then to take the train with that kind of notorious reputation. Here though, i unwillingly drag myself onto the train for a 35 minute sort of scenic ride.
Take the train that goes in the direction of "Belgrave" and stop at Boxhill.
From Boxhill, jump on a cab for the 5km ride. If you are lucky, you get a friend to pick you up from the station.
Now, the recommendation is not unwarranted, the Age (local newspaper) had an article about dim sum in Melbourne and Golden Dragon Palace was one of the "to eat place" as the best all rounder. Now whether it was judged by the same people who think that honey chicken, sweet and sour pork and fried rice is the equivalent to chinese food, who knows?
Dim Sum in Melbourne or any parts of Australia are slightly different from Malaysia, as it is heavily if not fully influenced by the Hong Kong tradition. Items like the beef stomach is almost unheard of in Malaysia but quite readily available around this area. I enjoyed this.
I loved the Char Leung in Adelaide and was disappointed with the one served at Shark Fin House in the city. This fared much better, the Yau Char Kuey was slightly crisp but could have tasted fresher and i welcomed the extra layer of cheong fun wrapped around kai lan.
Another uncommon dish, is the satay squid. Whether the satay sauce was invented in Australia as it is quite common on the menu, who knows but i know it tastes good and i do have something for squid.
I was told that the scallop siu mai was a huge hit when they first introduce this variation but since the size of the scallop have shrink into a smaller circumference. That being said, the natural flavours of the scallop is the first thing you taste when you bite into it and for that i love it.
The normal pork and prawn siu mai was pretty good too, more plain jane than the others.
No complaints about the har gao too, the skin isn't overly thick, the fillings are nice plump prawns.
The San Chin Bao has somewhat a filling similar to a "wor tip", wrapped in a bun, pan fried than steamed. Shanghainese if i am not mistaken.
The Sang Chao Lor Mei Fan was ok but the grains were all lumped up which made it look like loh mai kai minus the moistness of the dish.
Overall, the food and the place screams old school Hong Kong dim sum and unless i find something as good as today in the city, i really don't know how long before i succumb to that craving for decent dim sum and take the train down to Boxhill.
Total price of the meal was a tad under AUD 50. Thanks to Precious Pea for the treat, since i was technically unemployed (and still am).
Address and contact details:
363 Manningham Rd
Lower Templestowe / Doncaster
Verdict: Don't compare to the finer ends of dim sum that you can get in KL, this particular meal deserves 4 stars for me, until i find even better ones out there. A perfect dim sum brunch on a cold, dull, windy winter afternoon.