Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet, Haymarket (27th December 2011)

Ken and I caught up for another foodie adventure, this time heading to Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet on Dixon St in Haymarket for lunch, a place I've been eyeing on for a while but have never been in. Always filled with Asian diners, we were quite lucky to be seated indoors within 5 minutes of arrival. The smell of oil from the heated wok permeated the entrance of the restaurant, cooks busy preparing "you tiao" (literal translation from Chinese for 'oil strip', the "you tiao" is a deep-fried strip of dough). Ah, reminds me of the smell from the stalls at the morning or night markets in Batu Pahat that sells them (we called it "you char kuay" in the local Hokkien dialect). Waitresses donned in black t-shirts, pants and bright orange aprons flitted from table to table - one showed us to our table, another came to wipe the table followed by yet another Chinese waitress who handed us the menu - too many of them! 

"So, what are we having today?" I asked Ken as we both flipped through the pages of the restaurant's extensive dog-eared menu. I had barely finished looking at the first page and a waitress turned up next to me asking if we were ready to order, in Mandarin. Ok, I know that I'm in a Taiwanese restaurant but this is Australia - one should not assume a Chinese-looking person to speak Mandarin (in fact, most Australians of Chinese descent actually do not speak any Mandarin and this is pretty obvious by the number of them in my Mandarin class). Interestingly, the waitress spoke only to me, not Ken. Am I really that more Chinese than him?? Ken's part Chinese too! Besides, the amount of Mandarin I know is not enough for me to order in the language anyway so I still had to speak to the waitress in English. We sent her away since Ken and I haven't decided what we wanted. "Ready to order?" said another waitress who popped over in the next minute. Now this is getting rather annoying - we haven't even had the chance to browse the menu yet felt pressured to put in our order quickly as we got interrupted by a waitress every 2-3 minutes. We eventually settled for a Combination Pig Intestines and Bean Curd for the entree and got mains of Fish Congee and Stir Fry Pork Noodles to share. "The waitresses should stop hassling us now that we've ordered," I thought to myself only to be given a small plastic box with the bill by the waitress who was expecting immediate payment. Sheesh...

Our food arrived shortly and I watched Ken in slight disgust as he helped himself to the thinly sliced braised pig intestines - Ken really wanted to order the dish and though I love to try new things, I'm not very big on offal but went along anyway. "Try a small piece," suggested Ken. Eee...I'm eating pig intestines...Surprisingly it was nicer than I expected. The sliced intestines had a soft and chewy texture, and tasted slightly peppery. The braised tofu makes a nice compliment to the dish though I found myself eating most of the tofu than the intestines (sorry Ken!). The fish congee, which was what I was really looking forward to turned out to be rather disappointing - it tasted as bland as it looked and we had to add in soy sauce and ground white pepper to give it flavour. The noodles were ok but nothing much to rave about. Looking around, I noticed most tables ordering noodle soups - perhaps we didn't order quite the right stuff. Overall, our food was alright and reasonably cheap (cost us around $20 all up) but the place lacks good service, ambience and food presentation. Hmm, might come back to try the "you tiao" another day...

Combination pig intestines and bean curd

Inside Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet restaurant - always this busy!

Stir fry pork noodles and fish congee

Mother Chu's Taiwanese Gourmet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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