Oops, I did it again.
I often say that I'm too old for buffets. Those university days of maximum value on student budgets are far behind me now, I say. And yet, still, the offer of the all-you-can-eat bounty will still draw me in at the weakest of moments.
Admittedly we'd been drawn to Yummy Chinese BBQ in search of the rotating skewer buffet I'd enjoyed at its sister restaurant in Ashfield. A sign advertising a $12.80 lunch sounds too good to be true. It is - the skewers are only available at dinner we're told, but we do a quick lap of the dishes that are available and agree to eat there anyway, loosening our belts as we take a seat.
Hainan chicken, fried rice, pork skin in jelly, omelette and red bean bun
Because that's the thing. A buffet doesn't have to be involve all-out gluttony. Surely one can maintain self-control, eating only enough to eliminate hunger and sufficiently fuel the body until the next meal?
Mapo tofu, seaweed salad, pickled vegetables, potato shreds and mantou bun
For how can I exercise restraint when there are pork hocks with szechuan pepper, mapo tofu, deep-fried chicken wings, spring onion pancake, soft glistening eggplant, strips of simmered pork belly, pan-fried dumplings and duck wings to explore?
Bamboo steamers with buns
Bamboo steamers are packed with plain mantou buns, corn buns in polenta yellow, pork buns and dessert buns willed with red bean. A lack of labelling is the only downfall, my dining companion biting into sweet red bean paste mid-way through her meal, causing tastebud confusion.
White chicken feet
I end up taking a shine to the white chicken feet, a dish I don't normally favour over the black bean, garlic and chilli version. They are a little chewy but the vinegar dressing is sweet, providing a welcome antidote to the plateful of fried food I'd just eaten (guilty, as charged).
Pigs ear terrine is a textural delight of cartilage and gelatine, and we find ourselves eating more than a few cubes of pigs skin jelly, curls of crunchy suspended in a savoury brown jelly that tastes of soy.
Sago in sweet coconut milk
Dessert is not terribly exciting. Green bean soup and sago in coconut milk both taste watered down and bland and a display of sponge cake cubes topped with mock cream remains relatively untouched. We finish with fresh rockmelon and honeydew instead and I return to the buffet for a red bean bun. Because I can.
And because surely I'm not the only one committed to selfless research?
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Yummy Chinese BBQ
761 George Street
Haymarket, Chinatown, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9280 2800
Lunch Monday to Friday 11.30am-3pm
Dinner Monday to Sunday 5.30pm-10.30pm
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11/09/2010 01:28:00 am