Well it is back to the routine of putting on my shirt, tie and shoes again with the addition of a jacket too and kiss goodbye to the comfortable jeans and t shirts for the time being.
Certainly not comparable though is the feeling of not having eaten food from Malaysia for quite some time. While i am happy exploring cooking and eating out, a part inside me is screaming, i want some good old Malaysian cuisine.
Which brings me to Jade Kingdom at Heidelberg Heights. The perks of having friends who owns cars. After the first welcome to Melbourne lunch we had together, no one figured out that the second meal would be the farewell lunch.
So when he offered to drive around for food, it was a toss between some good dim sum at Doncaster or this place that my friends had been telling me about; Jade Kingdom.
It didn't disappoint despite the shabby appearance from the outside and the obscure location. Step inside and you feel right at home, the shouting from the lady boss and the hustle and bustle that they create among themselves. Flipping through the menu was like previewing how heaven was like. If Malaysia could be compressed into a menu, this was like a first cut. From curry laksa, nasi lemak, roti canai, hokkien mee and bak kut teh, the list goes on for a few more pages.
Finally settling for 4 dishes between the 3 of us, we were stuffed to the brim.
The Hokkien Mee was the bomb, the thick noodles are said to be very hard to obtain in Australia. The familiar flavours are all present; the lard, the seafood, the cabbage and the dark sauce. The only difference is probably the price of the dish; it was between AUD 15-18 (enough to buy hokkien mee for 8-10 people in Malaysia.
My friend who judges the quality of food based on their laksa commented that this was rather good even for his high standards. Despite not having real cravings for laksa even in Malaysia, this was a joy to dig into. The special version comes loaded with ingredients; rendang chicken, prawns, egg, eggplant, tofu puffs and like how it is served in Malaysia, it is a combination of yellow noodles and vermicelli. Not cheap either at AUD 13.80.
For this who have been reading some of my recipes, you would have known about my attempt of making Bak Kut Teh. Not happy with that outcome, i had to give theirs a try and i must say i was more happier digging into this one. Not comparable with the Klang version but certainly on par or better than the KL versions we get at home. How to make me a happy man? Order me Bak Kut Teh for AUD 18.80.
Intended to be an entree to share, the assorted yong tau foo came last. Essentially items like eggplant, chilli, tofu and foo chuk that are stuffed with minced meat. The take on this dish is similar to the Hong Kong version, the black bean sauce and the minced stuffing comes with prawns too. If you want food that strictly reminds you of Malaysia, this is sadly not it but not to say it wasn't tasty.
I can see why some people who have come here may not have liked it, there are dishes that are clearly winners while some have been put in there to satisfy a bigger crowd. Just choose the right ones. Service reminds me of Malaysia, meaning not the most polite of staff unless you are a good friend or a frequent customer.
Prices are not cheap with the whole meal coming to AUD 70 for the 3 of us, for what are actually very affordable dishes in Malaysia but hey after a few months away from it, its cheaper than a flight ticket back home.
Address and contact details:
233 Waiora Rd Heidelberg Heights
Tel: 03-95483188 (Do call and book in advance, i hear it can get quite crazy at dinner)
Verdict: 4 stars out of 5 stars. Call me bias, i miss food from back home and the place can certainly replicate a good few dishes, a pity i am not at Melbourne anymore!