There’s a little hole-in-the-wall Chinese place I’ve been frequenting for lunch lately in the Hunter Connection Food Plaza. The people at Yi’s Kitchen make it terribly easy to choose what you want by limiting the number to about 10 cooked-to-order dishes and a handful of pre-cooked varieties in the cabinet fronting the walkway. The usual suspects such as stir-fries and rice can be found lurking and simmering in the baine marie with Chinatown-cheap prices attached but what I’ve been trying is a little more interesting and still takes less than ten minutes to knock up even if you’re on a short lunch break.
The pork & shallot dumplings (6.9) are lovely looking hand-made numbers that didn’t seem to get me too excited with the flavour. Verging on being bland, they really did rely on the black vinegar and chilli oil to amp up the appeal.
The fried rice cake (7.5) is much more exciting with its simple yet tasty stir-fry of onion, capsicum, black fungus, soy and chilli. The soft and slightly gelatinous discs of compressed rice cake are delicious but I’m not loving the semi-raw white onion interspersed throughout.
A cold and wet winters day calls for a big bowl of dumplings in broth such as the Shanghai wonton soup (6.9) I had here. The dumplings are pretty much the same pork & shallot variety I had above, but the warming bowl of soup and cabbage they bob around in makes them shine. All this doused with some chilli makes you forget about the cold outside and content until the last drop.