02 August 2010
Double Happy Hot Spicy Chinese Soup ~ Bijou Lane Chinatown (CLOSED)
Double Happy on Bijou Lane off Quay Street in Chinatown is tiny but gives double happiness on a cold rainy winter night. (CLOSED)
We stumbled upon this mysterious tiny little restaurant in Chinatown with no English signage and little clue as to whats on offer, we have to give it a try. We get lovely wafts of cumin when we walk in the door. The bloke running the show explains that it is a simple restaurant providing cheap meals for students, we get the feeling that not too many skips walk through these doors.
The boss is a very friendly and helpful and probably concerned that we are after sweet and sour pork and fried rice. 'The food is very spicy' he says. 'Bring it on' we say. We sound confident but we wonder if those chilis on the wall are some kind of warning...
The menu is all in Chinese however the boss is more than happy to explain the options. Basically there are three soups: #1 is super hot, #2 is medium hot and #3 is not spicy at all. You can choose between wheat and potato noodles and you also have the choice of protein: prawn, pork or chicken. Above the 1-2-3 soup choices are the ingredients in the soup including bean curd knots and enoki mushrooms.
There are also some side snackages and meal deals.
I choose the #1 soup which is hot and spicy with a very strong cumin flavour. At first all I tasted was cumin but the soup really came together halfway through as the flavours of all the ingredients melded. I was not excited as I started work on it but by the end of the bowl I was very happy. $8.50.
Miss Chicken chooses the #2 soup, not so spicy. The milder flavours of this broth are more influenced by the ingredients, particularly the kelp. Miss Chicken also enjoyed this soup more towards the bottom of the bowl when all the flavours seem to come together. $8.50.
While the soups had different broths the ingredients were the same: there some very tasty long strands of kelp, a little cabbage, cloud ear fungus, some greens, been curd, a fish ball, mushrooms and more.
Miss Chickens's 'potato' noodles, these are like glass noodles, slippery and and yum.
The boss gives us a roll to soak up the chilli sweats.
For sides we tried a spring onion pancake, $3. This was a perfect foil to the spicy soup, highly recommended.
We chose this side at random from the pictures. It turned out to be like a bacon and egg roll: a thick pancake with a fried egg and a slice of bacon inside. So unexpected but so tasty on a cold, rainy, winter night. These would be perfect for hangover breakfasts. $3.50.
Double Happy is on Bijou Lane off Quay Street at the Southern End of Chinatown. On the corner is the new flash Satang Thai restaurant. There is no English singage but you can't miss it on this tiny street. This sort of place makes you feel really lucky to have such a diverse Chinatown, where you can find out of the ordinary dishes that transport you to a back lane somewhere in the real China. Cheaper than a plane ticket.
Some stencil art on Broadway...