• Yum Cha at Tai Pan (Doncaster)

Amongst the hussle, bussle and muscle of the Chinese yum cha kitchen, I admit a vegetarian can be annoying.  I am an inconvenience for the trolley staff who need to write down my order and go to the kitchen specifically.  And for the cooks whipping up veggies in the wok.  But most importantly, I am annoying to my fellow diners who realise yum cha is for sharing and by being vegetarian, I am not taking part in the joy of delving my chopsticks into communal food and discussing which flavours taste best.  Yes, when it comes to yum cha I am a hated minority.

But everyone else wanted to eat yum cha the other Sunday, and with one down from Sydney, I could not decline their request.  After a little research (involving tweeting my blogging friends) we were at Tai Pan.  The car park and suburb are friendly than the lunchtime rush and queues of city eating, but this place still managers to attract a crowd of keen and knowing Chinese eaters.  Seated on the loft, it was a typical experience of noise, busy-ness, speed and much fried food.  There were only desserts as vegetarian options on the trolleys, but I ordered my favourite savouries.

Zhàliáng is one of my all time favourite yum cha dishes.  The fried doughnut-like bread is not at all healthy but it is so tasty wrapped in rice noodle and drenched in sweet soy.  The bread is called yóutiào translating to oily long cylinder... lucky for stylised translation.

Alongside zhàliáng, Tai Pan also suggested the rice noodle wrapping beancurd and veggies – only slightly healthier but just as tasty.

Both were delicious and fresh.  The soft texture of the noodles and crunchy texture of the bread were lost after refrigeration and reheating (as I discovered from the excess of food we had to take home).

The zhímàqīu were covered with crushed peanuts.  The black sesame interior was intense and the glutenous rice flour deliciously sticky.

I also enjoyed the baked flaky pastry filled with lotus root, although it was not as exciting as the other dishes.

As we ordered too much and struggled to finish, we were still hussled out despite the overflowing food still on the table.  Luckily, taking the rest home is not a problem.  It seems we have found a new favourite for yum cha.

Tai Pan
237-239 Blackburn Road
Doncaster East 3109
03 9841 9977
Tai Pan on Urbanspoon