06 May 2010
Happy Chef Review ~ Chinese - King Street Newtown
We are going to Hong Kong in a couple of days so we shouldn’t really be eating Chinese food…
Tonight we planned a huge celebratory feast at Happy Chef in Newtown with our entire readership, ie Mel, but she was feeling unwell and went home. Miss Chicken & I drowned our sorrows in schooners then ventured bravely forth to Happy Chef, it's what Mel would have wanted.
We hadn't been to Happy Chef for a while but we are glad to back. They recently updated the front of the shop but thankfully they didn't touch inside, it is still gloriously basic. It's an eat and run kinda joint, a place you can feel comfortable eating on your own. The menu is standard Cantonese fare (sweet and sour pork etc) plus noodle soups and a few interesting choices.
I'm not usually a fried chicken kinda guy but the Emperor Chicken is divine. We think the chook is poached before being lightly fried. It is lovely and moist inside and lightly crunchy on the outside. The sauce is served on the side, you can dip or pour it over the chook. The sauce completes the dish: it has a sweet soy flavour, reminds me of kecap manis (sweet Indonesian soy sauce). It is topped with chopped ginger, shallots and chili, maybe some herbs. It has a real zing and I wonder if there is a Chinese Malaysian influence. It also comes with a small bowl of clear soup. The rice at the end qualifies as food porn. Very happy. $12.30.
Miss Chicken chooses mushroom and beancurd soup, a wise choice. A standard chinese noodle soup with egg noodles, excellent vegetable broth, hunks of fried tofu and dried mushroom.
The dried mushrooms are divine. How do they make them taste so much better than when we use them at home? $9.50.
Happy Chef is licensed, $5 for a Tsingtao is a sweet deal.
The insides have barely changed in the 15 odd years I have been coming here, hopefully it won't change for another 15.
Happy Chef is at 266 King St Newtown.