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Friday, January 27, 2012

Kam Fook, Bondi Junction

lion dance kam fook bondi junction

Everything happens in threes, right? It was a hattrick of back-to-back dinners for Chinese New Year feasting recently, culiminating in a ten-course banquet for media at Kam Fook in Bondi Junction. It sits on the top floor at Westfield, above the food court, with large windows letting in plenty of natural light.

suckling pig kam fook bondi junction
Suckling pig and jellyfish cold meats platter

The cold meat platter is a traditional start to any celebration, especially wedding banquets. Our waiter uses a small serving table to dish out individual portions for guests.

suckling pig kam fook bondi junction
Suckling pig and jellyfish cold meats platter

No, you can never have too much suckling pig. This one is commendably good, the crackling an even golden colour with small and uniform bubbling. It splinters with a loud crack in the mouth, giving way to juicy young pork ribboned with fat. The jellyfish is cool and toothsome, and provides some relief against the richness of the pork.

snow crab kam fook bondi junction
Serving the snow crab

snow crab kam fook bondi junction
Snow crab with ginger and shallot Menu price $88/kg

There is no way to eat crab elegantly, but rolling up your sleeves and wielding a nutcracker with a gleam in your eye has its own charm as well. The snow crab has a finer texture than mud crab, with a softer and more delicate flavour. It's stir fried with ginger and shallots, and the orange crab roe in the main shell is worth extricating.

seafood soup kam fook bondi junction
Mixed seafood soup supreme 

We're assured that the mixed seafood soup supreme contains vegetarian shark's fin, and indeed the clear threads do seem a little too uniform and firm to be the genuine article. It tastes more like a crunchy green bean noodle, in a heady broth filled with slivers of mushroom, dried scallop and sea cucumber.

It is interesting to note that although there are four types of shark's fin soup listed on the menu, a vegetarian option is not offered.

lion dance kam fook bondi junction
Lion dance

The entire restaurant is treated to a lion dance performance, always an impressive display of acrobatics, showmanship and rhythmic drumming.

lion dance kam fook bondi junction
Lion dance musicians

lion dance kam fook bondi junction
The lion 'plucking the greens' or 'cai ching', a lettuce holding a lucky red envelope

Central to the performance is cai ching, or plucking the greens, where the lion must reach a lettuce holding a lucky red envelope of money. The lion always 'eats' the lettuce and then sprays out small pieces of it all over the crowd.

The lion takes its time to visit most tables, much to the delight of everyone. At our table, the lion even stops to help pour a glass of red wine!

beef stirfry kam fook bondi junction
Beef cube stir fry with goose liver Menu price $28.80

The beef cube stir fry is tender, mixed through with small cubes of rich goose liver. Lengths of asparagus and sugar snap peas provide crunch.

roast goose kam fook bondi junction
Roast goose Menu price $88 whole goose (must be ordered in advance) 

This is my first time trying goose and it's a phenomenal introduction. It's a young goose we're told, about ten months old so the flesh is still tender and the flavour is not too gamey. The goose is dried in front of fans so when it is cooked, the skin becomes deliciously brittle, just like a Peking duck.

roast goose kam fook bondi junction
Roast goose 

The glazed crispy skin, the juicy flesh and the tantalising flavour of star anise combine to make this a glazed-eye spine-tingling food lovers' moment. It tastes much like a duck crossed with quail, but it's the succulent meat and the toffee crisp skin that has our eyes rolling to the back of our head.

Alan Yeung, the General Manager, tells us that goose supplies have improved significantly in the past three years. Unlike Hong Kong, where goose is commonly eaten, Australians are only just discovering the joys of goose, in part because goose used to be old, tough and chewy. A raw goose costs $42 (raw duck costs $17) so the $88 diners' price tag seems more than reasonable.

pork and pumpkin kam fook bondi junction
Pan fried minced pork and pumpkin cakes Menu price $20.80

Pan fried minced pork and pumpkin cakes are on the specials menu, but these remind me of a home-cooked dish, more like pork rissoles with the sweetness of pumpkin and shallots.

roast chicken kam fook bondi junction
Kam Fook special roast chicken Menu price $22.80

The Kam Fook special roast chicken can't compete with the roast goose, but the skin is still delightfully crisp, smothered in a layer of deep-fried garlic chips.

fried rice in lotus leaf kam fook bondi junction
Fried rice in lotus leaf 

We're struggling by the time we reach the fried rice in lotus leaf, a touch soggy in consistency from the steaming in lotus leaf, and confusing my mind because I kept expecting sticky rice, not long grain rice with every mouthful.

egg noodles kam fook bondi junction
Stewed egg noodles in abalone sauce 

The simple appearance of stewed egg noodles in abalone sauce belies the expertise of cooking the perfect al dente noodle, subtly flavoured with abalone. We also relish the fresh stalks of gai lan Chinese broccoli, bright green and crunchy.

chef kam fook bondi junction
Head chef Liew Boon Dee

"Would you like a tour of kitchen?" We can barely get out of our chairs fast enough!

The kitchen is bigger than you'd expect, although much of the space is devoted to prep areas. A gleaming commercial stove runs the length of one wall, and as we're coming to the end of the service, the mood is relatively calm.

bamboo steamers kam fook bondi junction
Prep station and bamboo steamers for yum cha

roast ducks and suckling pig kam fook bondi junction
Hanging roast ducks and suckling pig

My attention is immediately drawn to the back of the room, where roast ducks and a whole suckling pig are hanging from the ceiling.

roasting oven kam fook bondi junction
Roast chickens and the 'spaceship' roasting oven

This back corner is the barbecue section, including a special roasting oven affectionately known as the 'spaceship'. It's in here that the chickens, ducks and geese are roasted.

barbecue station kam fook bondi junction
The barbecue chopping station

chinese desserts kam fook bondi junction
Complimentary peanut biscuits, laughing sesame balls and fruit platter 

Dessert? You bet we did. Fresh fruit, biscuits and bowls of sweet red bean soup filled with chewy glutinous rice dumplings.

red bean soup kam fook bondi junction
Complimentary red bean soup with glutinous rice dumplings

Grab Your Fork dined as a guest of Kam Fook Bondi Junction.

View Larger Map
Kam Fook on Urbanspoon

Kam Fook Bondi Junction 
Shop 6010, Level 6 Westfield Shopping Centre
100 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9386 9889

Opening hours:
Yum cha 7 days 10am-3pm
Dinner 7 days 6pm-10.30pm

Also at
Kam Fook Chatswood 
Shop 600, Level 6 Westfield Shoppingtown
28 Victor Street, Chatswood, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9413 9388

Kam Fook Doncaster (VIC) 
Shop 2003, Level 2
Westfield Shoppingtown
619 Doncaster Road, Doncaster, Melbourne
Tel: +61 (03) 9005 1888

Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Bondi Junction - Kelly's Bar and Grill
Bondi - Hurricane's Grill
Bondi - North Bondi Italian Food

Chinese - Golden Century, Haymarket
Chinese - The Eight, Haymarket
22 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 1/27/2012 02:43:00 am


  • At 1/27/2012 8:36 am, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    Wow, a hat-trick of CNY feasts, I'm jealous. :-) This is the first time I've seen roast goose in Sydney; I hope it will overtake roast duck like it has in Honkers.

  • At 1/27/2012 10:24 am, Anonymous Eha said…

    What a fabulous meal beautifully served, accompanied with all the traditional celebrations! Pork and pumpkin cakes and the noodles in abalone sauce especially interested me. Being N European, goose is very familar in a different setting: but, oh dear, will have to win Lotto ere I dare to order that here :D !

  • At 1/27/2012 10:28 am, Anonymous Mary @ beyondjelly said…

    Yum yum yum! Gotta love a meal that includes 3 different roast meats. :)

  • At 1/27/2012 10:32 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    suckling pig! *cries* it looks so perfect and delicious and dammit i want it nowwww

  • At 1/27/2012 10:33 am, Blogger OohLookBel said…

    What a fabulous banquet, especially the suckling pig! Also, the last time I had sharks' fin was over a year ago, and the host suspected that we got 'mock' sharks fin but at the 'real thing' price. Hopefully the fake stuff will become the norm.

  • At 1/27/2012 10:34 am, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    definitely a wonderful meal! i love CNY feasts! still going, have my last one on Saturday....

    and i love the suckling pig and jelly cold meats platter!
    happy CNY Helen :)

  • At 1/27/2012 10:42 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Yum, looks delicious - lucky you!

    Isn't roast goose fabulous? Funny you mention the fan technique - the first time I roasted a goose (for Christmas), I had 2 fans and the aircon going to get the skin really dry, lol!

    Happy new year :)

  • At 1/27/2012 10:54 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    that suckling pig, special roast chicken and goose do all look pretty good. gotta love it when they get the crackling right and the skin crispy. i wonder if they do a good salt and pepper lobster.

  • At 1/27/2012 12:00 pm, Blogger Hungry Female said…

    I had roast goose for the first time ever this New Year too! Phenomenal first time it is. Very impressive looking roasting going on there!

  • At 1/27/2012 12:36 pm, Anonymous Dan said…

    I will never eat at Kam Fook after all the health violations they received fines for!!!! Gives Chinese restaurants a bad name!!!

  • At 1/27/2012 1:10 pm, Anonymous pigflyin said…

    Kim Fook have really pull out all the stops here! Goose is really something that should be more mainstream. $88 is expensive... but definitely not beyond the realm of imagination.

    The suckling pig is another story all together. I thought the one that you had at your family CNY was already amazing. But this one is off the charts. Just the right layer of fat under the crispy crackling. Drool worthy indeed.

    This is quite an eye opener. I always have the impression that Kim Fook at BJ is more catering for the non-authentic, easy going taste buds. But this feast have definitely changed my mind. Checking out the kitchen with Chef Liew is so cool!

  • At 1/27/2012 3:03 pm, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Oh wow, they roast in house. Impressive. I'm pretty sure I'm done with New Year eats... I'm ready for salad season :D

  • At 1/27/2012 5:56 pm, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    What a banquet to herald in the year of the dragon!

    I've heard good things about goose from a friend of mine fortunate enough to have it while travelling overseas. Been keen to try it ever since. Good to know you can get it locally :)

  • At 1/27/2012 6:03 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    @Dan, Hi Dan, In the last year Kam Fook was taken over by new owners with an award-winning General Manager coming in, staff replaced, a whole new kitchen set-up and new chef. The only thing that is the same is the name. That's why we're now giving Chinese restaurants a great reputation with high standards of service, cleanliness, freshness etc.

    Sun nien fai lok (Happy New Year)!

    -Kam Fook

  • At 1/27/2012 10:13 pm, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories said…

    Wow, the food does look good,Happy New Year

  • At 1/29/2012 11:41 am, Blogger BeyondBourkeStreet said…

    I'm a complete sucker for suckling pig! The BBQ platter is something I insist we order whenever we dine at a Chinese seafood restaurant, and I'm always guilty of eating way too much suckling pig.

    I drool at the thought of that delicious fat layer beneath the crispy golden tiles of skin. Oh my...

  • At 1/29/2012 11:42 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    I haven't roast goose in years!! Kind of forgotten what it tastes like!

  • At 1/29/2012 8:58 pm, Anonymous The Food Sage said…

    You hit the nail on the head with the sentence "you can never have too much suckling pig." Great shots, especially the behind the scenes ones ... a rare opportunity to see the maestros at work!

  • At 1/30/2012 2:14 pm, Anonymous Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    What a feast for CNY. I've been to the one at Chatswood and I think it's great!

  • At 1/31/2012 1:29 pm, Blogger Alison said…

    We tried our first goose this year in Guangzhou - a lot gamier and darker meat than duck, can't wait to see it on more Sydney menus.

    What a crunchin munchin feast!

  • At 2/10/2012 3:19 pm, Anonymous Diana said…

    Helen, I have been a loyal reader of your blog for years. But now every second post of yours is promoting comped meals, which kind of dilutes the validity of your reviews since you're getting VIP treatment on special invitation from the establishments. Honestly. Thank you for the years of enjoyment and knowledge, but I'm sad to see you going down the same path as so many other Sydney food bloggers.

  • At 2/10/2012 11:40 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Diana - Thank you for taking the time to comment. I wouldn't say that every second post is a comped meal. I do try and make sure there is a balance, and I do decline a significant number of invitations every week. I make it a point to only accept invitations from venues that I am genuinely interested in, and I have to believe that my readers trust me to give an honest account of the experience. It's for this reason that I rarely make a comment on service because I am aware that I'm not dining as an anonymous person.

    My blog has always been about sharing my dining experiences. In an ideal world I'd be able to blog fulltime and be paid for it, but for the past eight years it's been a largely unpaid hobby that I pursue after hours and every weekend. I view media events or comped meals as an avenue for exploring restaurants I may not have otherwise experienced, and I'd like to think these posts are just as objective as the others. I always disclose comped meals for full transparency.

    Thank you for being such a long term reader and I do appreciate your feedback.


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