Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant

We usually celebrate Chinese New Year at this restaurant because the first time we came here in CNY 2003, we got to know Jasmine, the owner. Jasmine like myself comes from Singapore and she was extremely excited to know of this the first time we went there. At the time, she was the only Singaporean in Cowra. Her husband Kevin, the head cook, is Malaysian but they met and got married in Singapore.

This year, we were just reflecting on how Cowra now has 4 Singaporeans! There is a new male doctor at the large medical centre, a female doctor who has been there since late last year and myself. That has been a population growth of 200 percent in 3 years *grin*. Richard was joking that at this stage, we would soon have a hawker centre/ food court down in the main street.

This is the picture of the outside of the Hong Kong. It is one of the first blocks you see on the right when you drive into town from the Sydney side. As you can see, it was built as Parris's village plaza owned by the Parris family. They own one of those ubiquitous milk bars I was talking about two posts ago on the right. This was a fifth one in Cowra but shut down in May last year after the matriach of the family passed away at a ripe old age. She was a lovely lady and always had time for a chat if you ducked in for a drink or the paper. They used to own the Hong Kong as well but it was sold to Jasmine in 2000. On the left of the restaurant is a laundromat and over beyond that is the town fire station.

We started the meal with a traditional CNY celebratory dish, sharks fin soup. This is usually enjoyed with a dash of white pepper and red wine vinegar. It had a really tasty seafood and crab broth and lots of crab meat. Richard did not really fancy sharks fin soup at our wedding dinner but he really enjoyed this one.

For our next entree, we tried the chicken and ham rolls which were minced chicken and ham patties, made on premises and deep fried. They were very tasty and not overly processed. They were served with the usual Aussie-chinese entree complement, sweet and sour sauce.

Jasmine gave us a bottle of local wine to enjoy with our meal. It was a really tasty red, the 2001 Bushranger's Bounty Shiraz. We learned that it was from the Mulyan winery and have made a mental note that it would be one of the places we need to visit before we move.

In the forefront, is a dish concocted by Jasmine and Kevin themselves, pork fillet in tomato-garlic sauce. It rates very high in the yumminess factor and has the perfect blend of sweet and tasty. In the background is a dish I have actually grown up with, seafood in a basket. I am used to it being served in a rice vermicelli fried basket (you know the white shredded stuff normally used to decorate the bottom of plates?). Jasmine has somehow sourced a shredded potato basket instead, making it extremely tasty, especially after soaking up the stir-fried seafood sauce. It tastes kind of like a crunchy rosti. This variation was even better than the one I know and love.

On the whole, even though the food here has westernised items on the menu like sweet and sour, mongolian etc. It is done really well as it is not oily and has a home cooked freshly made taste to it.

We have been really fortunate getting to know Jasmine and Kevin as they have been kind and generous to us. We have always expected (and tried!) to pay for our meals. But sometimes, when things are going well for them, as Jasmine insisted this time it was, the meal is on the house. My estimate is that it would have cost about $43 for the lot (wine not included - no idea what that would have cost). Jasmine said that our friendship was priceless and this was but a token. I will definitely miss her and her family and knowing them has helped me appreciate how hard they life of a restauranteur is. They typically wake at about 8 am to make wontons, spring rolls and other appetizers, get ready for the lunch crowd, have lunch at about 3 pm, prepare and cut veggies and meat and marinate it, have the dinnertime crowd, eat at about 10 or 11 pm and clean up, washing tablecloths etc and going to bed at about 1 or 2 am. We babysat their youngest Zoe when she was newborn and it was a busy weekend at work and now she is almost 3! I will also miss our DVD/movie swaps, local and S'pore gossip and recipe exchanges. She sometimes even brings homemade soups to the surgery and leaves it at the reception desk for me :~)

I wish her and her family, and all of you out there:
Gong Xi Fa Cai (or Gong Hei Fatt Choy in cantonese) - Congratulations and many happy returns for a prosperous new year,
Wan Shi Ru Yi- May ten thousand wishes go your way,
Long Ma Jin Shen- The energy and health of horses and dragons,
Xin Xiang Shi Cheng- may anything your heart desires come true

Yes I'm a bit late but its still the fifth day of the fifteen day celebrations!



At 1:33 AM, Blogger Dentist Down Under said...

Cowra looks dead. What's the population?

At 4:14 AM, Blogger KirkK said...

Hi Rachel - I was wondering what you had for New Year!

Xin Nian Kuai Le!

At 10:27 AM, Blogger milgwimper said...


HUGZ Friendship is definitely worth its weight in gold. You will just have to make some trips to Cowra to visit. The food looks really good, and the good will and love that went with it priceless... (Boy do I sound all sappy, and some what like a mastercard commercial) HUGZ :)

Happy New Years!

At 8:54 PM, Blogger RON said...

yes....using a potato strips in place of long-rice, for the seafood basket sounds something something....can't find the right word....

At 12:34 AM, Blogger Flatfeet said...

Rach, do you MSN? Or email addy please? Guess what, I salivate on your blog. This is what happen when one tried to surf ya blog during supper time. Hurhur.

Yours truly in feet.

At 3:47 AM, Blogger Dr. Mommy, D.D.S. said...

happy belated chinese new year!
your blog is NOT helping me with weight watchers, that's for sure...

i, like rob, have been salivating too. and it's been forever since i've had chinese food. luckily i have an "eating out" guide for stuff like that, but maybe i'll just screw it...

At 6:42 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:36 PM, Blogger Rachel said...

LOL Dentist down under. The population is 10000 and its the most alive town for 70kms

Hi kirk!! more celebrations yet to come I just had mine kind of delayed this year ...

Milly you're so sweet. Yes you're right I will be visiting to keep in touch !

Dr Feet, you can email me at dr_rchan (at)yahoo (dot)com (dot) au I don't use the evil msn because I think microsoft puts bugs in to spy on what you are doing hehe I don't know if I am just paranoid :) And I just put my email like that coz I hate skimming bots getting my email and sending me spam *sigh*

Doc mommy!! You need to meet some of my friends in the food blogging circles then! Kirk does a fantastic job of reviewing lots (we are concerned he might actually go through the whole lot) of restaurants in the San Diego area as well as placing recipes on his page. And Clare and Casey from Eatstuff place recipes on their blog too. LOL Although I intended it to be dentally and country related, it has been ending up more about food. Well, I believe to enjoy your food, you have to have healthy teeth right!! so maybe this is also a promotion for good oral health ;)


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