Shop 24, Pinelands Shopping Centre, Sunnybank Hills
A couple weeks after I got back from Europe, dad suggested that we go out for lamb soup for lunch. I had never heard of lamb soup before and I wasn't working at the time so I figured, why the hell not. He started explaining the history to me before we even arrived at the restaurant. Apparently, this style of lamb soup is local to Xi'An in China. Because I was trying to cut back on carbs, I asked if there were noodles or rice involved and dad replied that "no, but there's mantou". Mantou means steamed bun in Chinese so I was really confused. How are steamed buns and lamb soup connected?
Kung Food Noodles is located in Centro Pinelands, Sunnybank Hills. The shop front is small but they clearly focus on noodle dishes. Most of the menu and photos on display featured beautiful soup noodles and stir-fried noodles.
Interestingly, the lamb soup my dad was talking about wasn't on the main menu but when grandpa asked about it, the waitress brought out a special menu, written only in Chinese. The dish in question is called yang rou (lamb) pao mo in Chinese. We ordered 3 servings of it and a starter too.
Bun burgers with cumin lamb
The starter was a hard steamed bun stuffed with cumin lamb. I thought this was really delicious because the filling was flavoursome and saucy, which is necessary to counteract the tough and dry bun. I shared with dad but would have happily eaten a whole one to myself.
For our pao mo, the first thing that was brought out was empty bowls with the hard steamed bun. I needed instruction here and dad explained that I should tear the bun into pieces and place them in the bowl.
These pieces would then be taken back into the kitchen and cooked with the lamb soup. If I wanted softer pieces, I should tear them smaller. If I preferred more bite, I could leave them bigger so they wouldn't break down in the cooking process. Our bowls were numbered so that there would be no mix-up between each person at our table.
Lamb po mou
When our completed pao mo was placed on the table, I saw that it was a lot different to what I expected. When I heard of lamb soup, I pictured a thick and creamy stew. This was more of a broth. The broth was very salty and has a strong lamb flavour but we all detected large amounts of MSG. There were pieces of lamb meat too. I found these to be surprisingly tender but would have liked more than just a couple pieces. As for the floating pieces of steamed bun? It was interesting and I suppose, a different way of getting carbs in our diet (if that's something you want) but overall, I don't really get the point. Grandpa, who is the authority on po mou from our group, said that this version had nothing on the original. He also noted that the presence of vermicelli was an embelishment.
So there you have it: my experience with Xi'An pao mo in Brisbane, Australia. It was unusual but in this case, not entirely successful. The quantity of MSG made us all really thirsty for a long time after our meal. I haven't been put off trying Kung Food Noodles for their other dishes. The photos on their wall did look appealing! If I do try them again, I'll be sure to post an update.