Thursday, July 30, 2009

First Taste Restaurant, Campsie

There's a new Chinese place in town called First Taste Restaurant. I reckon they've got a pretty good concept going with their specialties being double steamed soups and claypot rice aka rice in hotpot as it's called in this restaurant.

I had to search online for the term "double steamed" as I hadn't the faintest clue of what it was in English. Here's a little wiki description for all you people still in the dark. I'm not too sure if double steaming and double boiling are the same thing as I'm seeing it being used interchangeably on Chinese sites with dogy English but I'll stick to the term "double steamed" in this post.

What's the difference between double steamed soups and normal chinese soups? In my opinion if you took two sets of identical ingredients and double steamed one set and just boiled the other you would definitely come out with two different tasting soups. The double steamed soup would have a more delicate flavour and you'd be able to taste every single ingredient - this would be the 'higher class' option. If you just boiled it normally you'd end up with a stronger gutsier flavour and the flavours of all the ingredients would integrate and you'd have to look at the soup remnants to distinguish all the individual ingredients used. Most chinese households just boil their soup and double steaming - as it requires more time and effort - is reserved for soups with more higher end ingredients.

The double steamed soups at First taste are only described as being "stewed with herbs" in English with only a few brief words about its ingredients. The Chinese description however not only states the ingredients but it also says what the soup is good for eg. sore throats, poor digestion etc, which is one of the main reasons why Chinese people make soup in the first place. Soup can be used to accompany a healthy diet and medications to help adjust bodily imbalances.

Pork and mushroom stewed with Chicken feet soup $3.80

I need a little help with translating the beneficial properties of the soup so I'll post that up a little later. This soup is not the "delicate" soup I associate with double steamed soups but I attribute this to it coming from a restaurant as homecooking as always more lightly seasoned. The pork was very tender and there was a hint of ginger which was not overpowering but enough to warm me up. The chicken feet could have been a bit more tender but still good.

Plum sauce spare ribs rice in hotpot $8.80

Beef tenderloin rice $8.00

Hot and sour noodle soup w/ chicken $7.80

My dad and I opted for the rice in hotpot whilst my mum had the noodles. Both the rice dishes were good but my mum wasn't as happy with her noodles - not because they weren't good but because it wasn't what she expected.

Unscraped bottom of hotpot

Scraped bottom of hotpot

To me, the whole point of eating rice in hotpot is to eat the hard rice stuck to the bottom of the pot and that's exactly what I did. My dad on the other hand did not eat any of the rice stuck at the bottom which I thought was a complete waste! I would have scraped the whole thing squeaky clean if my parents stopped me because I was seriously full to bursting point!

We also ordered chinese broccoli just so we had some veggies, a durian dessert aswell as a mango dessert, none of which I have pics for. Actually my dad ordered the two desserts for HIMSELF and they took aaages to come out. When they came out they looked like bowls of yellow muck! Both bowls were overfilled and the waiter probably had a hard time getting them out as both had spilt onto the plate underneath. Even though they'd already spilt some it was still so full that we spilt MORE when we put our spoons in. The desserts were pretty good despite their unappetising appearances but they weren't coldd enough. The mango dessert also had chucks of grapefruit and rockmelon in it which I'd loved. Oh yeah I know I said my dad ordered the two desserts for himself but of course the waiter didn't know that, so he'd placed the durian infront of my dad and the mango infront of my mum and I. Since the dessert was right infront of me I couldn't not try it right? Hehehe so my mum and I ate the mango dessert whilst my dad looked at it whilstfully after finishing his durian one in what was probably only 2 minutes! He managed to get his hands on the mango dessert in the end! LOL

First Taste Restaurant
233 Beamish St
Campsie NSW 2194
Ph 8065 3679
Please visit their website for other Sydney and Melbourne Locations


Betty said...

i'm in campsie quite often, so i might give this place a go. it seems perfect for winter as i am battling the flu and all the wonderdful symptoms that come along with that. And good work scraping the bottom! I would've done that too. It's all about the bottom on those claypots!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I had no idea about double boiling! Very interesting indeed. I wonder if this is why some soups just taste better than others despite similar ingredients.

I also love the crunchy bits at the bottom of the pan! :D

Amy said...

you should of came visit me!!! xDD... i had claypot rice there last time, it want that good tho....
we must go fins good food soon! xDD
p.s. ramen gumshara was yummy, but ull feel full for like 5 hrs after ><"

K said...

@ Betty: yeah! go the scrappers! I went back another time not long afterwards and the guy sitting at the table next to us was a pro scrapper! He got every single last grain of rice of the pot! I was in awe =]

@ Lorraine: yeah it might be the double boiling. One way you v=can tell whether a soup has been double boiled or not is that double boiled soups are usually presented in the small individual servings while the normal soups are the ones that are for free and come in the massive bowls that you share with the whole table.

@ Amy: yeah it wasn't as good the second time round for me but i still really liked it. Maybe coz i'm a noob for claypot rice hehehe

Anonymous said...

Double boil or not, I found the beef tenderloin the fattiest dish I have ever attempted to eat. The rice was so burned and hard that it was inedible. The chicken laksa was absolutely tasteless!! If a restaurant is going to specialise in "double boiled" foods, it should be made very clear, especially to westerners. I will not be going back and will not be recommending this restaurant to anyone.

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Anonymous said...

Ola, what's up amigos? :)
I will be glad to get any assistance at the beginning.
Thanks in advance and good luck! :)

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