I must be getting old, seriously. Two Sundays in a row, i slept for 4 hours and wake up to play futsal at 9 in the morning. Last Sunday, i knocked off before i had the chance to even eat dinner. The next day, i walked all over the city showing a friend the city and when i got back, my muscles were screaming to me to stop moving. So i did, wrapped myself in bed with an overdose of Voltaren, suffering from cold shivers for a good few hours. Gosh don't let me fall sick.
At that precise moment, i wished i had some of the marvelous cooking that we had last week at Asian Gourmet Hut, owned and run by a none other than the food blogger, Precious Pea and her brother in law.
Admittedly, this place is quite a pain in the bum to visit, if all you have is access to public transport. Situated at Doncaster East, which is approximately 22-23 km away from the city, which is your equivalent of having to travel from KLCC to Shah Alam, you can take a train to Boxhill and probably take a cab for the remainder of the 4km journey.
Asian Gourmet Hut is a nice small cozy restaurant that whips up a number of ala carte dishes or individual portions of noodles and rice. Whilst most is Hong Kong influenced because of the chef's background, there are small little surprises like "pan mee" or "mee hon kueh" and a kick ass sambal that reminds you of good old Malaysia.
For one, you get a series of double boiled soup, from ginseng chicken to dried sea coconut & pork (AUD 6.80 each). Warms up your stomach instantly and is full of flavour.
Do look out for their daily specials, this was a fusion between salt and pepper and salted egg yolk, the shell was fried to a crisp and i had it whole. Brilliant appetizer.
I am told this is one of the best seller in this place and it deserves that kind of title. True, that one can find a wholesome bowl of Mee Hon Kueh in Malaysia but how about Melbourne? Ivy has already perfected her own recipe since her days in Malaysia and this can stand against any of the good hawker's version anywhere. One of the key ingredients is the imported anchovies or "ikan billis". If i could have this every night, i be a happy man. It comes with a tongue numbing chilli that is so good too! All for AUD 9.50.
Well, one can't wish for everything, the Hokkien Mee, well isn't exactly the hokkien mee we get in Malaysia. Still, it deserves special mention for trying to be as original as possible with the pork lard (we asked for extra, sprinkled on top) and has a load of ingredients ranging from squid, prawns and chicken. AUD 9.80
Other than noodle dishes for those who dine alone or in pairs, you can try some of their ala-carte dishes like the french beans with chicken giblets in XO sauce (AUD 14.80). Effort is made into cutting the giblets into a flower like shape, which help makes it taste crunchy and not chewy, we almost thought we were eating squid!
Looks like my friends know i love salt and pepper squid and they sure do dish up a decent version here. Light on the batter with some heat from the chilli, this is awesome with some beer.
A dish that screams for rice, the lamb brisket stew with pieces of bamboo shoots and beancurd stick ("foo chook"). The tender pieces of meat and the hearty sauce is a perfect combination for cold weather. AUD 14.80 for the beef version, i can't seem to find the lamb version in their menu.
To soothe the body down, we had the double boiled desserts, this one comes with papaya. Refreshing as a hot or cold dessert, depending on season.
The dried tong yuen (either with a black sesame or peanut filling) with mung bean and green tea powder is also another option for a sweet ending. The slightly better topping counters the sweetness of the filling.
Address and contact details:
12 Mitchell St
Doncaster East, Vic 3109
Weekdays - 12 noon - 3pm (Lunch)
5pm- 9pm (Dinner)
Weekends - 11.30am - 3pm (Lunch)
5pm - 9pm (Dinner)
Closed on Wednesdays
Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars (i am probably keeping the other stars because there are so much more to try from their menu!). A meal that helps reminds me of home and at the same time, it is wholesome and not overly expensive. If only i had a car and a driving licence..