When I glance back over the first half of this year it appears I’ve taken a bit of a liking to northern Chinese food. I just love the point of difference it brings with its hand-leavened noodles, grilled and slow cooked meats, breads and buns and of course the dumplings. If you were to ask me five years ago what I thought about the restaurants in Chinatown I probably would have said they were all the same. Back then I didn’t eat a great deal of Chinese food as I thought, with complete ignorance, that it was mostly gloopy stir-fries full of msg and glossy thickening agents and meat tenderised to the point of not resembling meat at all. Those beautiful ducks, roast pork and the occasional soup are the few things I’d ever bother eating.
Fast forward to the present and I’ve grown to appreciate the varied dimensions of this cuisine (excluding gloopy stir-fries) however it seems lately it’s all about northern Chinese and one such place I’ve been frequenting in Haymarket has been keeping me very happy every time I visit. Yee King Noodles, located on Sussex Street in the centre of Chinatown. The two-level space resembles any other place in the area: brightly lit, extensive picture menu, uncomfortable stools at small tables and a complimentary pot of very weak tea. I’m really loving the pan-fried dumplings (8.8), heavy in meaty flavours and copious amounts of garlic chives. The condiment pot of oiled dry chilli sparks these up a tad, not that they really need it. Some of the better northern dumplings I’ve had in Chinatown.
The first time I came here I ordered the delectable deep-fried pork ribs (15.8) that are delivered in a foil cocoon which is torn open by the staff and scissor-cut into manageable pieces before you get to tuck in. The waft of sweet and smoky aromas gives you a wonderful nose-bath from the supremely tender meat wading in a shallow pool of juices heavy in star anise, soy and chilli. The richness can be a little overwhelming and the meat-to-bone ratio is in your favour due to the virtual lack of bones. Sensational.
Just in case you didn’t think the pork ribs were rich enough, go for the equally sensational eggplant with pork mince (12.8). Once you get past the excessive amount of amber-coloured oil you can’t help but enjoy the silky, spicy, garlicy, velvety and sexy eggplant. Mmm … aubergine. This is definitely not one for the oil-phobe.
I chose the bradysia homozygous (8.8) purely for the wacky name and also for it being another type of oversized dumpling with the most perfectly formed pleats I just can’t help but be envious of. I wish I could pleat like that. I watched the lady do it with such speed and precision I almost applauded her on completion. The moist filling of egg, garlic chives, glass noodles and gravy is sublime and the pastry is perfection. It seems I’ve only scratched the surface with the dishes I’ve already tried and thoroughly enjoyed as the menu is full of many such delectable snacks and meals. This is a definite goer for repeat visits.Yee King Noodles 408 Sussex Street Sydney 2000 9211 1138 Sun-Thurs 11am-10pm Fri-Sat 11am-11.30pm BYO $5 per bottle