Saturday, January 08, 2005

East Ocean in search of Good Fortune

On the second day of 2005, we decided to start the year (we slept through the first day *yikes*) with wholesome meal. We headed to East Ocean Restaurant for yumcha because of its auspicious relation to chinese proverbs: fu ru dong hai , meaning to have good fortune as immense as the East Ocean.

East Ocean Restaurant has always been a popular yumcha spot for students. Back in the care-free uni days, we would head to East Ocean for Sunday yumcha not only for the less waiting time but also for the quality food with a much affordable price. We have not been back to East Ocean since its refurbishment and were amazed at its transformation from the dim yellowish interior to a bright and more contemporary interior. The restaurant clearly feels spacier and much more vibrant than pre-refurbishment.

However, we weren't too pleased with their seating allocation services. We were told we had been allocated a table after a 20 minute wait on the stairways leading to the restaurant. After whirling through the tiny paths in between tables, we found the manager had decided to give our table to a couple. We were then allocated another table near the first table only to find the manager had again decided to give the table to a party of four person who came in much later than us. We came in a group of three. Clearly odd numbers are not welcomed. We had to stand admidst the many full tables, waiting and feeling rather humiliated. Of course there was also the worries that we might have been forgotten and left waiting until we starved.

Apart from this tiny episode, the brunch was clearly enjoyable with good company and good food.

♥ tabeshimashita @ East Ocean Restaurant on 2nd Jan 2005
Steamed Pork Ribs with black bean and chili
Pai Kuat - Steamed pork ribs in chili and black bean sauce
The first cart offered the more common dimsum dishes: pai kuat (steamed chinese-style pork ribs)and fung jao (phoenix claw). We ordered pai kuat. For a picture of fung jao, check out Grab Your Fork's post on East Ocean!

The pork ribs, according to ShinChan, was a tad too flavourless. I had no comment since I didn't eat my share of the pork ribs. The hands you are seeing are another food enthusiast's: Ah Meaow~ She holded up the bamboo steamer so I could take a clearer view of the pai kuat. How sweet!

Shanghai-style mini steamed pork bun
♥ Xiao Long Bao - Shanghai-style steam pork-filled dumpling
This dish was marked under the chef-special column (A$6.50). Juicy succulent minced pork-filling wrapped in paper-thin dumpling skin and bursting with rich broth on biting, served with a sauce of chinese dark vinegar and julienned ginger.

Chinese cruller wrapped in rice paper sheets
♥ Zar Leong - Chinese cruller wrapped in rice paper sheets
This is one of my favourite dish at yumcha. It must be the amazing contrast between the soft and smooth rice paper sheets and the crunchy deep fried Chinese cruller that got me hooked. I much prefer this than any other cheong fun (steam rice paper rolls, usually comes with a filling or prawns or beef or bbq pork).

Har Gao & Siu Mai
♥ Har Gao and Siu Mai
Here comes the most common dimsum dishes: har gao (prawn dumpling) and siu mai (pork-filled dumpling wrapped in egg dumpling sheets).

Panfried Cheong Fun & Vegetarian Dumpling
Jin Cheong Fun and Fa Sou Gao
ShinChan had never tried Jin Cheong Fun; pan-fried rice paper rolls; so we ordered one. It is served with 2 sauces: peanut sauce and sweet bean sauce.

We order Fa Sou Gao (Vegetarian dumpling) by mistake. It was more like the cart lady misled us. She told us she had "lo hon zai guen" (luo hai zhai juan in mandarin) so we ordered that but what came to our table was actually fa sou gao (hua su jiao in mandarin, literary flower vegan dumpling). Inside the chewy transparent skin was a mixture of carrots, black fungus, chinese mushroom, chinese pickled cabbage (xue cai) and mung bean noodle (dong fen).

BBQ Pork Pastry
Char Siew Sou - BBQ Pork Pastry
This is my other favourite dim-sum: sweet puff pastry with BBQ Pork fillings.

Juicy & succulent BBQ Pork inside the sweet puff pastry
♥ Sweet succulent bbq pork filling with flaky pastry
The pastry is sweet and flaky with a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The bbq pork filling has flavour between sweet and savoury. I am really a sucker for anything that has both sweet and savoury taste.

We didn't order another yumcha must-eat: char siew pao (steam bbq pork bun) because we ordered char siew sou first. We didn't want two bbq porkThis bbq pork pastry is rather filling so best to eat later during the meal.

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Ye Zhap Gao - sweet coconut jelly/pudding
This is sweet, soft, light and fluffy with a rich coconut flavour. I still have to find a recipe for this. I am having a craving for pandan-flavoured ye zhap gao, one of my favourite dimsum dishes as a little girl in Brunei. That's when my family would head to the famous chinese restaurant in Bandar (Brunei Town Centre) every sunday for yumcha. My friend and I would order the pandan ye zhap gao every single time we went. And there was also pandan-flavoured ling yong pao! Those were the good old days!

Egg Custard Tart
♥ Daan Tart - Egg Custard Tart
No yumcha can be completed without a warm delighful chinese egg custard tart. You have to order the big egg tart and not the tiny one. They have different pastry shells. The bigger one has rich meal-in-your-mouth flaky pastry while the smaller one is of shortcrust pastry. The big one comes in two on a plate. The smaller one in three.

It was a very satisfying brunch. All of us had a bulgy tummy after the not-so-light dimsum meal and taken to a slow stroll and shopping exercise through Sydney City. It's sale season in Sydney right now and we headed to David Jones om search for cheap Christmas leftover goodie yummies, most of them 50% off. Pity the panettone wasn't on sale.

The yumcha came up to around A$47 for a total of 11 plates - approx A$16pp. Very reasonable I would say since the three of us were complaining about a slight stomachache from our gluttony!

♥ East Ocean Restaurant
Entry from
421-429 Sussex Street, or
86-88 Dixon Street
Haymarket, Sydney NSW 2000
tel. 02 9212 4198
fax. 02 9280 0172