Saturday, March 28, 2009

A typical suburban Chinese…

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about this particular dining experience because it is so typical of many restaurant meals that I have with my family. In fact, it’s probably very similar to dozens or hundreds of such family outings that happen each weekend in the suburbs of Sydney.

Hurstville is in the southern suburbs, and until about 10 years ago, was pretty much a traditional, red brick, meat and 3 veg type of town. Then, property developers moved in, highrise apartment blocks went up, and a large Chinese and Asian population moved in. As did the Chinese restaurants and grocery shops.

The imaginatively named Hurstville Chinese Restaurant is a very popular eatery on Forest Road (corner of Park Rd). Together with Sunny Harbour Seafood, it’s probably the most crowded on weekends, ie. filled with Asian diners, so it must be good! The food is the usual, above-average Cantonese, with a fresh seafood emphasis that draws in the local diners. The service is also better than average, with helpful waiters and a fairly fast kitchen turnaround (good if you hate waiting for your food, like me).

Chinese menu; pickled carrot and radish; complimentary pork bone and watercress soup

This time, we had a special of steamed ginger and shallot scallops in shell, with another something else in shell ($4.80 per serve, excellent value). I really don’t know what the other mollusc was, as the entire transaction was conducted in Chinese by my mum. She didn’t know the English for it either...

Then we had a fried tofu with some prawn embedded in the middle of it. Apparently, they form the tofu into a roll shape and slice it before frying, hence the circular shape.

Steamed scallop and 'other' shell thing; fried tofu with prawn
More seafood in the form of a steamed ginger and shallot fish was next. Again, the type of fish escapes me, except that the flesh was white, soft and very tasty. After this came a duck topped with taro and deep fried. This was okay, with some of the duck a bit dry.

Steamed fish with shallot and ginger; fried duck with taro; complimentary fruit and red bean soup
I like restaurants that provide the gratis stuff, and Hurstville Chinese gives you lai tong (free soup) and pickles to start, and red bean soup and fruit to finish. The soup this time was piping hot (good) though a bit watery (not so good).

Outside the restaurant; it must have won some award...
Overall, it’s a reasonable place for casual weekend dinner. If you live in the area, you really are spoilt for choice. I don’t live around there, but luckily have relatives who do!


  1. It's nice that they give you complimentary starters and sweets.


    the owner has a good memory he always knows my dad by his surname "MR KWAN Mr KWAn welcome welcome" LOL

    I loveeeee theirrr fishhhh!!! omGgg i always look forward to going their for fish dishess Mmm oOoOoo anddd their combination noodleeeee is one of the bestttt evaa!

    ooo have u been there during lunch on a weekday??? ITS SOO CHEAP I SWEARRRR their SOupSSS are too dieee for you'll be rolling out of the restaurant..feeling all souped out! i usually go here when i'm sick with the flu.. (my dad take sme there) mmmm

    awesome review


  3. hi Arwen - it's come to be expected that you'll get some freebies, thank goodness.

    hi Leona - gosh, you do like the place, then? I really wish I lived near one of these cheap, good, authentic places. I'll tell mum about their weekday lunch - hopefully she'll take me there one day!

  4. ahhh! the complementary starter soup! and the red bean and fruit at the end! they're probably my favourite bits of eating at a local chinese place (so different from grabbing a meal at a chain restaurant).

    looks like a great fallback heading-out-to-dinner-but-not plan :)

  5. I wish I lived near a Chinese area so I could have easy access to these goodies. The food looks great and hehe at the name-no "golden", "dragon" or "lotus" for them!

  6. hi shez - you feel ripped off at normal Chinese places, if you don't get the soup and fruit. Makes it good value compared to a food court, though.

    hi Lorraine - I wish I had a local like this as well - trendy suburbs mean trendy, overpriced restaurants, eh?

  7. Oh my! Wonderful history and story and I lovey all your photos - that fried tofu looks delish and the steamed fish is one of my favorites!

    I'd be delighted to see your scraplift of my page...would love it!

  8. Hurstville is great! We usually goto 'Yummy' Chinese restaurant but I've been to this one a few times and it doesn't dissapoint. We usually go restaurant hopping if either is too packed which can be the case on a Fri or Sat night!

    If you get a chance, pick up the Chinese newspapers. In the magazines they usually advertise the specials of the week which usually apply to crabs and lobster if you dine on a weeknight but I'm pretty sure they also go for the whole week.

  9. Hi Tiffany – thanks, hope you can get a good meal, too, where you are.

    Hi Howard – bookings are definitely necessary at these 2 restaurants, though Yummy’s is usually better because it is larger. And yes, I think my relatives always check the specials in the paper, which is why they know what the good dishes are! I’d like to do the same except I can’t read Chinese...