Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sunny Harbour Seafood Restaurant- Hurstville

One of the yum cha restaurants I've always liked is Sunny Harbour Seafood restaurant. We used to come here quite often on weekends, depite it taking more than one hour to drive there (which meant long waits) and even despite the fact that the employees would let in the people they knew quickly, whilst the rest of us watched in frustration. The restaurant was small and cramped but the food was good, which is really what mattered. But the one thing that set the yum cha apart from others in Sydney was the fact that they'd often have seafood dishes- such as prawns, lobsters, crabs and my favourite, steamed eel. They'd brought out on the small yum cha standard dishes, often stacked so high they'd almost topple over- and they'd be as hot and yummy as they'd be if you ordered it from the menu at dinner. The only difference was the price- it was really cheap! This meant that we would often be able to eat luxuries which we'd normally eat on special occasions (i.e. birthday dinners, new year dinners etc etc). Somehow, this made it taste especially good.

However, as restaurants do, it grew and moved to a much larger building (with three levels!) which meant a few changes. Unfortunately, this meant the end of such dishes and they turned 'normal' and only served yum cha dishes. As good as they may have been, it was not good enough to keep us coming back as often as we used to- especially as the restaurant became busier than ever, the wait did not shorten and the employees STILL 'pushed in' the people they knew. Eventually we stopped going there altogether.

What brought us back was an advertisement in the chinese magazines, advertising that they had employed a new dim sum chef from Hong Kong and that there was a 15% discount on weekdays. So, on a weekday when I probably should have been studying for exams, my parents took me here to give it another chance. Although the quality of the dim sum was still not as good as the Hong Kong standard, there was quite a large variety of things to choose from and the quality was good, compared to others in Syney. The 15% discount also meant that it was really cheap, compared to other yum cha restaurants- especially as yum cha seems to be getting more and more expensive these days.

Now, you might be wondering what I'm doing taking a picture of teapots. The teapot on the left was really small and cute! Yes, I know, they look the same size. =[ The smaller teapot is for water, so you can distinguish between the two- I only ever drink water because I don't like tea (Or coffee.... if anyone wanted to know). Infact I dislike it so much that on the rare occasions that water is not ordered, I'll only drink the tea when it's dilute and will refuse to drink it once it goes past a certain shade of brown...... tehehe....

Gosh. I'm so mature =D

Steamed Pork Ribs

I never know what the food is called in english! Steamed pork ribs is one of our all time favourite yum cha foods because the meat is so soft and tender (or rather, the fat is). This one is no exception and the fact that there are a couple of pieces of taro in it gives it a bit of authenticity. The taro is actually the highlight of this as it is surprisingly good.

Chicken pie

I love chinese chicken pie- I love how the pastry is almost opposite of normal 'western' pies which use puff pastry for the top and shortcrust for the base. This chicken pie uses puff for the base and the top is sort of like short crust only it's much crumblier, and biscuit like. The contrast between the savouriness of the filling and the sweetness of the top makes this pie so distinct and delicious.

The chicken pie is good but not my favourite (that would be the one in Eastwood...)

Pan fried buns

The buns are wrapped in cling wrap, and are obviously cold, or at the best, warm . Neverhteless, they have got the taste right. The slightly sweet pillowy bun with the delicious chicken filling (like that of your normal steamed chicken pie) is really good, and I wouldn't mind having all three to myself! The bun is awfully soft, like the steamed ones but with a fried bottom which give it its slight crunchyness, and that extra bit of texture. I can't help but imagine how good these would be if they were just hot!

Har Gow

These cute little dumplings are not only cute but delicious too! I can never really tell the difference between good and bad har gow, although this may have to do with the fact that we don't order it much. These are pretty ordinary, but they taste good!

Beef Tripe
Mixed innards of a cow (I'm sure there's a better name for this!)

This is wheeled out in a huge hot trolley, alongside various congee. The large amount of liquid means that the trolley is awfully heavy and we notice the yum cha lady finding it difficult to manouvre it through the tight spaces. We ordered this and whilst the lady scooped it out from the trolley and into the bowl, my mother started a friendly coversation with her ( Something along the lines of 'wow, that trolley looks really heavy!') and so they talked . And talked. And she kept scooping stuff out, until it was pretty much overflowing! Which was awesome because I love this =]

Lotus Paste Buns

The lotus paste buns are smaller than the usual ones, which is why they give us 4 of them instead of the usual three. Personally, I prefer larger buns but I don't really like lotus paste buns anyway (I'm not a huge fan of lotus paste) but since there are four buns, I help out and eat the bun of one of them. THe bun is soft and yummy- I don't know about the paste though, I leave that for my parents =]

Pan fried Rice Noodle Rolls

These are a little underfried for my liking- i like my rolls extra crispy but other than this, the dish is really good.

Crystal Skin Dumplings

Ideally, a meal would end with dessert, or something sweet. However, our choice of dessert, these crystal skin dumplings, are rare and we end up asking a lot of the ladies whether or not the trolleys they are pushing have these. When we finally come across a lady who answers yes, we order it immediately, although we have not finished yet. These crystal skin dumplings are best eaten hot, so we I eat it straight away (burnt tongue.....I know) and the filling is so hot that it almosts oozes out. This restaurant must stock u ppon a good supply of taro because the taro crystal skin dumplings (the purple ones) have a really nice taro taste. The normal custard ones are good too but the taro one is definitely better =]

Afterwards, we stop by a bakery which also sells drinks. Freshly squezed sugar cane juice is something we get almost everytime we visit Hurstville. The old Sunny Harbour Seafood Restaurant was situated next door to this shop, and we would buy it almost everytime we were waiting for yum cha. Although the quality of this drinkis pretty bad, it doesn't bother me or my sister, since we love sugar cane so much and we quickly finish it.

Sunny Harbour Seafood Restaurant
9-11 Crofts Avenue
Hurstville NSW 2220

Sunny Harbour Seafood on Urbanspoon


SteelCityFlan said...

Oh my God. This made me so hungry. Dumplings + buns + sugarcane? Yes please, sign me up. And tripe?? I think I'm the only person my age that I know that loves tripe and can't get enough of it :D I think I have to go out for lunch now and eat myself silly x)

MaryMoh said...

Oh my gosh...everything looks so delicious. I have not been to dim sum restaurant for a long time. It's very expensive here.

Steph said...

That place looks gooooood. Hahah I love sugar cane juice tooo! But how can you not like cofffeeee :O:O:O or tea for that matter :O:O:O Coffee is amazing haha :)

Enjoy your holidays Von :)

Xiao Yen Recipes said...

Aside from the shrimp dumplings, steamed ribs, and beef tripe everything else looks new to me. We don't have the other dishes in SF or at least the restaurants I've been to don't carry these dishes. My friends who visited HK all tell me that HK dim sums are waaayyyy better than any fine dim sum restaurants in SF. They said that the dim sums in HK are so like made in a art form, so beautiful and delicious.

tangerine eats said...

I sometimes walk past this place and wonder if it's any good (it used to be Centrelink lol). I will give it a try :)

Anonymous said...

don't think the quality in hk is that much better than here. On average, it's probably better yum cha in cabramatta than hk though I missed out on the michelin star yum cha over there. Maxim's city hall was probably about the same quality as Rhodes Phoenix here but about 25% more than phoenix

Von said...

@Anonymous Really?? I find that I enjoy yum cha in HK a lot more than here.....And in HK we usually go in the morning or afternoon so it's much cheaper than Aust =) I've never been to Rhodes Phoenix before- I've gotta try that one some day!

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