Taiwanese floaty things at Oden House in Chinatown.
[MOVED TO SUSSEX CENTRE FOOD COURT - SEE HERE]
We were most excited to see Oden House open in Chinatown.
We thought it was a Japanese oden joint. Oden is a big pot of bits'n'pieces cooked in a light, sweet dashi stock.
You pick out what you want and it is served on a plate, often with a swoosh of mustard. It's plain but cheap and hearty, available everywhere in Japan from izakaya pubs to Seven Elevens to supermarkets.
Oden House isn't the Japanese experience we were hoping for, it is in fact Taiwanese. With Taiwan being under Japanese rule from 1895-1945, according to Wikipedia, there are many Japanese inspired dishes in Taiwanese cooking. Hence a Taiwanese oden restaurant makes perfect sense. We're up for it.
The broth and ingredients are quite different to the Japanese oden we've tried. It's a bit of fun but we didn't find it super exciting, though there seemed to be plenty of Taiwanese folks who would say otherwise. We'll be back for the Taiwanese pork and rice bowls however, they were cheap and tasty.
A big shout-out to the lovely staff. One of whom called Alison over after we paid, and suggested we had ordered too much, took a bowl of rice off our order, then refunded the difference. Now how is that for caring service? Compare that to a posh restaurant where they try and upsell you everything at every opportunity.
Pick from a whole range of ingredients which are then served in a bowl with a little broth or in a cute takeaway bucket.
Oden house also does some great Taiwanese pork and rice bowls, we go for a small braised pork mince bowl, a great deal at only $5.90. Also available are stewed pork leg and a fatty pork bowl.
Sweet corn, mushroom and tofu oden.
Mushroom, pork ball and beef ball oden.
Extra bowl of rice and special boiled egg.
Condiments. The 'oden sauce' was a weird blend of ketchup, miso and chili, strangely nice.
The bill came under $20 after the lovely lady refunded the extra bowl of rice. Again, what great service.
BACK AGAIN SEPTEMBER 2012
A quick visit to Oden House for breaky...
Thousand year egg and pork congee $5.80. Love congee for breakfast, it's soothing and re-hydrating, easy on the system. Simply makes you feel good.
Oden House breakfast menu.
[BACK AGAIN MAY 2014]
Since we last visited Oden House we travelled Taiwan for three weeks eating everything humanly possible. Oden was everywhere in Taiwan, Oden House makes so much sense now. Now we get it! But, alas, there is no more oden at Oden House, but there's new dishes on the menu.
Braised Chicken leg bento - $9.50. This was one of my (Shawn) favourite meals in Taiwan: simply a hunk of flavoursome, moist braised chook with some veggies and rice. We'd usually get this at an economy rice restaurant. Google tells us this chicken is braised in soy sauce, rock sugar, rice wine, five spice, ginger and shallots, or some variation thereof. This meal took me straight back to Taiwan, giving me one of those magic 'holiday at home' moments. So happy.
Learn how to make Taiwanese braised chicken with the super tops auntie at Taiwan Duck (nb she is also on TaiwanCooking.
Beef noodles - $9.50. Noodle soup with a rich, sweet beefy broth and a few solid chunks of slow cooked beef. The fresh greens on top were amazing, cooked just-so with the beef soup flavours gently seeping in. Wonder if it's like this every time? Taiwanese beef noodle soup is a little different at each joint, try it also at Taiwan Ganbei in Dixon Street Mall, Sunflower Taiwanese Gourmet on Broadway and Noodles Your Way in World Square.
[BACK AGAIN MARCH 2015]
I (Mr Shawn) have had this on the brain for a while... It's still $9.80 (less 10% if for takeaway 12-2pm weekdays) and it's still my favourite stewed chicken leg in town, it takes me back to Taiwan.
Oden House is next to the corner of George and Goulburn Streets, opposite Supermeal, diagonally opposite Scruffy Murphy's. The same folks seem to run the bakery next door which is also Japanese inspired Taiwanese and has some unusual treasures.