Shop 22-23, Sunnypark Shopping Centre, Sunnybank
A Hang Zhou style restaurant opened up in Sunnypark where Soman used to be. As a keen tester of new Chinese restaurants, my grandpa actually scouted the site a few times to be amongst the first to try it once the restaurant opened for business.
Unfortunately for him, my parents and I beat him on that one. We walked past by chance (grocery shopping perhaps) and noticed that there were already customers inside. We lost no time in popping in ourselves to see what the go was.
I find it hard to explain when my friends ask me what Chinese food is like in China. For one thing, the notion of 'Chinese food' here is either the Westernized takeaway variety or what you get at yum cha restaurants which is predominantly Cantonese-style Chinese food. In China, the restaurants don't tend to serve food that is classed as generally 'Chinese'. I'm normally in Shanghai when I get back and I'd go to restaurants that serve Shanghainese food, Szechuan-style food, Cantonese food or perhaps Hang Zhou-style food. Because China is so large and diverse, the style of cuisine from each area can be very different.
For this reason, it was interesting to see a Chinese restaurant in Brisbane boasting of Hang Zhou cuisine.
We ordered a number of dishes to share.
The first was a smoked squid cold dish. I thought it was OK but not amazing. Mum and dad found the flavor overly sweet.
Red cooked pork cube
Dad chose the red cooked pork cube. I think that each portion is just a single serve but I wouldn't want to munch through a whole block of this stuff. Honestly it was very tasty (mum did think it was too sweet again but I didn't mind it in this case) but so fatty!
Salted pork and bamboo soup
The soup we ordered is a classic that I've had in Shanghai a few times. I only know the Shanghainese name and when translated, means there's both fresh and salted meat together. The third essential ingrediennt is bamboo shoot, which is hard to get in Australia. This soup was alright. The bamboo shoot component was nice and crunchy. The soup itself was much too salty. The bean curd skin knots are there to soak up the soup. I liked them.
Preserved vegetables, pork and bamboo
Dad also chose a pork and preserved vegetable dish that had a soupy consistency, not unlike the previous dish. They were actually quite similiar, especially in that they were both too salty to the point of nearly being inedible.
Kidneys in chili oil
We tried a chili kidney dish. The kidney pieces were tossed in a Szechuan-style numbing chili oil. I didn't mind this dish. It wasn't amazing but it was good compared to the others.
Finally, we also had a fried rice. The fried rice had an interesting short-grain, almost sticky texture. It didn't have much flavor on its own but I admit to liking the texture. Dad had saved some of the sauce from the red cooked pork and said that we're supposed to pour it over the rice. I tried that and it was amazing.
It's a shame the dishes from Jiu Wan Ban have to be modified to be acceptable. The soupy dishes were excessively salty and needed rice. A couple of the others were too sweet. The fried rice on its own lacked flavor. The service was a bit slow and unsure (maybe because they were just starting up). We thought it might've been because we ordered the wrong dishes but mum and dad went back again more recently, ordered different things and arrived at the same conclusion. Brisbane's Asian dining scene is getting too competitive for poor quality food so I don't imagine Jiu Wan Ban will stick around for too long.