2002 Cyber City
206 Wickham Street, Chopstick Arcade, Fortitude Valley
The first time I was taken to this place, I was drunk as a skunk and don't recall much. It's pretty much Byron's favorite place to eat and after my recent failures in showing him good Asian food in Brisbane (Big Gun and Bamboo Basket were both a 'miss'), he decided to take matters into his own hands. He nominated Cyber City as his guaranteed good, cheap Asian feed and we've since been twice (ironically, the second time was today, mid-writing this blog post so as a result, I have an extra dish to post).
Cyber City is located at the end of what I now know as Chopstick Arcade (thank you, Google). The adjacent shops are usually boarded up and closed when I go past so the area has a, for want of a better word, 'dodgy' vibe. What if I say 'authentically Asian'? Does that make it sound better? Just remember, we are talking about the valley after all.
Stepping inside Cyber City, I always feel like I've entered a cross between a preschool and a gaming arcade. You see an expansive, cafeteria-style seating area, lots of primary colors and childish decor.
The service is fast and the menu is worn but extensive.
The guys ordered grass jelly in crushed ice. It tasted like evaporated milk. We isolated a piece of grass jelly (with great difficulty) and decided it didn't add any distinct flavor to the drink. Still nice though. Very refreshing.
Byron has an insatiable crush on the Szechuan beef beef from Cyber City so that is always ordered without contention. On first try, it seemed too salty (this was Drunk Cora tasting). Second time, I was too taken by the satay chicken (read later on) to pay much attention to this. Today, the Szechuan beef caught my attention. Saucy and spicy. The beef is thin, tender and plentiful. I like the beans the most though. They have a slightly collapsed and bubbly exterior whilst maintaining a crunchy (but not raw) inside. And yes, I do feel like a bean connoisseur delivering that verdict.
Satay chicken was his second top rec. I went through a satay-obsession phase and subsequently terminated my desire for it through abusive intake. This is quite a normal occurrence for full flavored meal items, like curry, cream or too much cheese. This satay chicken reminded me how addictive it can be. I liked the sauce, not too chunky (hate satay that's basically peanut butter... gets stuck in your throat) and went excellently with rice. Also thumbs up to large wedges of onion.
Final dish we got on that day was ginger and soy chicken. This was a nice contrast to the other dishes which were very full-flavored and heavy. The chicken was simply prepared (boiled, I think), with a classic garlic, ginger and soy dressing. The chicken pieces weren't dry at all and this was a 'clean' dish that could be eaten without rice as an accompaniment.
Today we also tried a chicken claypot dish. Byron wanted to order it last time but we couldn't find it on the menu. Today, he made the effort of asking a waiter armed with nothing more than a description "it's a hotpot type dish with chicken, Chinese sausages and Chinese mushrooms". The first waiter had no idea what we were on about. The second guy was right on to it and pointed out "chicken in sizzling pot". We were first brought out something that looked like deep fried mini drumsticks and I had a brief moment of doubt that they hadn't actually understood us at all. However, after evaluating that this dish didn't contain sausages, or mushroom and wasn't in a pot, we recognized that it was the wrong dish and they rectified. Out of this dish my favorite was the mushrooms. Really soft and squishy and they soak up the flavor well.
Cyber City delivers good, reliable food fast. Lightening fast. It's cheap and the quantities are impressive. We took home 2 lunch boxes today. If you can get past the low survival rate of walking through the valley at night (just kidding), you can secure yourself a good feed.