[CLOSED JULY 2013]
There's been a fair bit of turnover of stalls at Dixon House this year. Bijou China is now Anna's Kitchen. The signage and menu have changed but many of the dishes are the same. Every dish name now starts with 'Dongbei' or 'Dongbei style'. According to Google, Dongbei translates as 'North East' and refers to the North Eastern corner of China. In the olden days we Westerners called it Manchuria. It's bloody cold up there bordering the former USSR, so they like a bit of spice and stodge in their tucker.
We reckon the crowd-pleasers are the lamb kebabs and the cumin laced fried bbq prawns. There's some great winter hunger busters, stews with big hunks of meat and sorta baked potatos. And of course there's some of the usual dishes required by popular demand: sweet'n'sour, chicken'n'cashews etc.
Lamb kebabs (large) - $2.50 each or 6 for $10. We love the strong cumin flavours and the two little fatty bits on each stick that dissolve in your mouth, these are worth fighting over. These are cooked over coals to order, one of the best morsels in the food court.
Dongbei raw beef mala chili soup with flat rice noodle - $8.50. The kway teow flat rice noodles go perfectly with the lil-bit spicy, lil-bit oily broth. The beef arrived cooked, perhaps it cooks itself in the broth. The soup grew on us as we got through it.
Dongbei beef (or chicken or prawn) noodle soup - $6.80. A massive serve for the price. The broth is very plain, something you'd have to be in the mood for.
Tender chicken and mushroom - $6.50 with a bowl of rice, insane value. A homely dish that's like a mashup of Chinese soup and Western stew, wonderful and hearty on a winter's day. There's half a dozen or so chicken pieces on the bone, with potato, mushies, onion, capsicum and Chinese veggies. The potatoes are a surprise treat - they taste like they have been par boiled and quickly shallow fried, a nice naughty dish. The soup is brown and thin with a light spicy kick, perhaps a touch of cumin.
Dongbei style special chicken $8.80. Similar to the previous dish including those very moreish potatos, but without the mushrooms, and the brown sauce is mild and sweet, heading towards sweet'n'sour territory. Another huge serve, comes with rice, a lot of folks could get two meals out of this.
Dongbei fried whole fish - $8.50. A whole fish for eight dollars freaking fifty, with rice, that's incredible. The sauce is sweet like the Dongbei Style Special Chicken above, kinda like sweet and sour but richer and deeper in flavour. Yum!
Dongbei Shan Dong Chicken Steamed (or fried) - normally $7.80, now $6 on special, amazing value. A steamed quarter of chicken, plain and simple. The rice is pleasant surprise, steamed rice with some salt and pepper and maybe a little garlic through it.
Dongbei fried bbq prawns - $9.50, including rice. An absolute winner - prawns stir fried with just the right amount of cumin, enough to give it a pleasant zing without overpowering the prawn flavours. We see a lot of folks ordering this one.
Dongbei fried bbq lamb - $8.80, including rice. Stir fried tender lamb strips with a lovely cumin zing, and enough oil to give it lots of flavour without overdoing it. A top choice if you feel like something a little spicy and not too filling. Thumbs up.
Donbei spicy rice noodle soup wirh priawns $6.80 (or chicken $5.80). We think the chef forgot to to add the spicy, it was a very plain soup but it suited our hangovers. A big serve.
Back again, January 2013....
We come back to Anna's because Mr Shawn has a mad craving for the 'tender chicken and mushrooms' dish we had earlier, it's just as good as he remembered, incredible value at $6.80.
We also try some stir fried veggies with tofu which were about $6. All up a substantial and balanced dinner for two with protein, potatoes, veggies and rice was just over $12. Incredible.
Dixon House Food Court is on the corner of Dixon and Little Hay Street's Chinatown.