15 May 2012

Zhou Mum Cafe ~ Chinese - Kingsford\Kensington

We're super food nerdy excited to find Zhou Mum Cafe in Kingsford, it's a style of eating we saw a lot of in our recent trip to China, but circumstances didn't let us try it nearly as much as we would have liked. So we're over the moon to get another stab at it back home in Sydney. 

Zhou Mum Cafe is a "3-choices-on-rice-from-the-bainmarie-of-love" type joint, feeding Chinese students from the University of New South Wales down the road. This isn't your shiny sticky Aussie bogan Chinese buffet, this is the real deal. The food is very Chinese, dang tasty and cheap. A huge serve of three dishes and rice is only $7.50 lunch, or $6.80 for dinner. With a free drink and free extra rice if you can possibly fit it in.

Dishes are pre-cooked and ready to go, just as you would find all over Asia. If anyone could tells us what the Chinese name for this type of eatery is we'd love to know. In trying to find out we found this funny guide to eating the Singaporean equivalent, economical rice.

The food is simple and homely. We arrive just before midday when everything is super fresh. The counter is split halfway between cold and hot dishes. Grab your free drink from the fridge.

Minced pork and veggies with blackbean; eggplant and lovely little bits of chicken on the bone. It's not photogenic but dang it tastes good.

Pork meatballs, spicy tofu with seaweed and some kind of pork ear terrine thingy with pickled veggies.

The free drinks are soy milk (still warm, yum!) and 'green bean drink'. We're not sure what green bean drink is, but we like it, refreshing and not overly sweet.

The student canteen vibe is fitting, with UNSW just down the road it pretty much is a student canteen. The food is great and quite healthy depending on what you choose, it's so cheap it's like a community service.

Zhou Mum Cafe Menu

Zhou Mum Cafe Menu

Zhou Mum Cafe is at Anzac Parade, right on the border of Kingsford and\Kensington. Phone 9662 8656. Sorry we didn't get the full address, it's kinda across the road from 85 degrees bakery :-) Note there is another Zhou Mum Cafe further up Anzac Parade towards UNSW that has a different menu.

Zhou Mum Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. Can't quite make out the smaller writing on the signage, but I think it reads Zhou mum special/unique pick'n'mix rice".

  2. While you're on the theme of "university-chinese-bainmarie-of-love", there is a similar kind of place at USYD, in the bottom of the Wentworth Building. Not as much variety, but seems popular with the international students.

  3. That second Zhou Mum cafe that you guys saw was their original cafe before they moved to the larger premises. We used to go there all the time for dumplings and shallot pancakes because it's all honest to goodness home-made stuff.

    It's really good to see that their business has grown :)

  4. Ah that explains it, thanks so much! We're keen to hit the original too.

  5. OOOooo yum....i am going home soon...so can't wait to dig into some hawker feeds again.

    In Singapore, its economical rice or mixed veg rice. And we have it across all 3 food types ie Chinese, Malay and Indian. I guess it gives a very home cooked feel so we get the warm and fuzzy feeling while eating. =) Hey that guide to economical guide is good!! It's usually what I do too!! Hahaha.

  6. We wanted to try it in Singapore too but alas no stomach room...

  7. "If anyone could tells us what the Chinese name for this type of eatery is we'd love to know"

    "Shi Tang"

    1. I'd say "kuai can" meaning fastfood.

  8. I used to live next door to that building! Corner of Anzac Parade and Barker St right? In Cantonese slang we call that kind of meal "but but" (after the action of scooping the dishes onto the plate, or referring to the name of the scoops used to put the food onto the plates)

  9. My boyfriend and I tried this canteen last week and we were overwhelmed with the good value of the meal! The green bean drink was made from raw green bean. You can buy dry green beans from any Asian grocery shop and leave in water for a few hours so that the beans absorb the water and become easier to cook. I then use pressure cooker to cook this in water with a bit of crystal sugar. Then you get the yummy green bean drink. Perfect for summer!

  10. Green bean drink is normally a dessert soup made of mung beans. It's quite nice but I find the drinks at Zhou Mum are often too diluted that they're practically tasteless. But then again they're free, so I guess you win some, you lose some!

  11. "If anyone could tells us what the Chinese name for this type of eatery is we'd love to know"
    "Shi tang cai" I guess, or in English, "canteen dishes"? All those dishes are typical in any of the university canteens in China

    Zhou Mum is such a nice place to feed me especially during the stuvac period before final exams every semester :)

  12. This place is the king.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it. Think Maeve O'Meara, not Masterchef :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).