The Slow Chef has spent the last few days working in Sydney. Sadly, he missed 9 year old Holly’s 10th sleepover Glee party (he timed that well). And he missed seeing the birthday cake that Holly decorated herself.
To celebrate Nick’s arrival home, Holly’s birthday (tomorrow) and my desire to get out of the house, we headed to Sunshine Beach in search of Sunday lunch. Within the village we stumbled upon a relatively new Asian restaurant, XO Embassy, serving Yum Cha. Perfect. Finding a restaurant to satisfy the five of us is often difficult. Holly is a bit fussy and she offers two options if we mention eating out;
Holly: Can we go to Lindoni’s?
Me: No, it’s a bit too fancy for Sunday lunch. Let’s keep it for really special occasions.
Holly: Can we go to McDonalds?
Me: Not in this marriage.
Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to drive thru Macca’s on a road trip but the thought of “dining in” is not an option. When eating out I like real food.
Zach has champagne taste on a beer budget. He thinks nothing of ordering a $36 crispy confit of duck but refuses to get a job (he is almost 15). 16 year old Hannah is particularly keen on Asian food while Nick and I choose based on how we feel on the day but I stress more about the financial side (Nick happily handed over the role of accountant to me years ago).
So, upon spotting Yum Cha we suspect we will all be happy.
XO Emabassy is not a classic Chinese restaurant, as I would have expected for Yum Cha, in fact it looks more Thai than Chinese. There are no fish tanks crowded with clambering crabs or frenzied fish. Instead there is a small reception area with a buddah and a cosy bar with a fireplace. A tad confused in it’s decoration but definitely made up for in the food.
Holly limited her choice to the soy chicken drumettes then proceeded to lose a tooth on a delicate steamed pork dumpling (it has been expected for a week). 14 year old smiled for the first time that day when a basket of steamed duck buns was presented to us. Steamed buns was the highlight of a recent trip to Vietnam for Zach. We all loved the deep fried chicken pieces:
Hannah: What’s that flavour? I know it but I can’t put my finger on it.
Me: That’s the eleven secret herbs and spices.
I haven’t eaten KFC since high school when we used to catch the 136 to Dee Why beach, but I’ll never forget that flavour.
It was at this point the Slow Chef declared that as San Choy Bau was missing from the menu, he would step up and make it for dinner.
That afternoon he Googled the recipe and shopped for ingredients. As I swore over Macrolon polycarbonate roofing that I was preparing for our builder to install the next week (but that’s another story), the Slow Chef began preparing our dinner.
“Surely it’s not that difficult,” I declared, in a (poor) attempt to be sympathetic.
Alas, he was chopping onions and trying not to drop tears in Mr San Choy’s bau.
“Contact lenses will fix that,” I offered because I am also helpful.
He chopped the onions, crushed the garlic and grated the ginger and fried them up with the chicken mince (his recipe was different to the one on the Taste website). Using his initiative (I was impressed), he substituted the suggested stock cube and water for chicken stock and added five spice powder, which was not mentioned in his recipe. Finally the chopped water chestnuts were added and the mix simmered. After a struggle with the iceburg lettuce the leaves were finally separated into cups without tearing.
The result was a delicious, light dinner, perfect after our big lunch.