On Broadway, among all of the restaurants that seemed to be aimed at university students, some from Taiwan, one Malaysian, Indonesian, really a melting hotpot of mostly Asian cuisine, is the Chulin Chinese Cuisine & Deli. I hunted it down after eating at Gingko in Darlinghurst, reading that the owners are the same. But this is night and day.
This is a very casual spot with humble food and prices to match, rather than the high-end Eastern Suburbs interpretation of food from the same city, Harbin, in the far north of China, near the Russian border.
My dining companion had actually visited there and said it’s not really a foodie hotspot. But between him, and the internet, we ordered a few dishes that seemed more typical of the region.
Also, I was thankful he speaks fluent Mandarin. My attempt to ask whether the restaurant was BYO was met with absolute incomprehension. I was pretty impressed that the restaurant is so clearly targeted at Chinese students that the staff seem to speak almost no English at all.
So, I love a sausage, and these are obviously influenced by the Russians. They weren’t identifiable to me as Asian or Russian, just a tasty plate of red-coloured sausage. The dumplings are typical apparently, and they were fine too.
I have to say that the green onion pancake was one of the tastiest I’ve had lately. Very savoury. Very crispy. And finally a typical dish from the region is stir-fried potato, eggplant and peppers, the name I think translates to Three Treasures of the Earth.
It really was quite interesting, the eggplant and potato are fried so hot they have a light and delicate texture, combing in the sauce nicely with the peppers. The specialties that we missed seem to be smoked meats (chicken, beef and pork) and pork knuckle. I’m not sure I’ll be rushing back though. It was interesting, but didn’t excite me.