Good friends come through with the goods.
It appears that I left my camera at my friend's place and they returned it to me. I am so lucky that this is actually a friend and not some dirty hipster claiming to be my friend who would steal it or try to swap it for drugs.
I'm just saying...
So, with collaboration with my sister's photos...here is the damn birthday banquet that was actually good. My crazy grandfather who is also a gambling addict must have come through with a good week, because when we finished the meal, he just threw a few hundred dollars on the table and hobbled down the stairs. Oh, he's 95 and on a pension, I sat there, swapping looks with my sister because we've seen him throw two hundred dollars down on a table and loose it in one game, and rejoin us.
He's a strange man.
We ended up going to No 1 Cafe, on Carrington st in Box Hill. They recently bought out a place called No 1 cafe and changed them name in Chinese but kept the English name so they wouldn't have to pay legal fees.
They specialize in seafood and are a true sign of being dodgy Asians...the ones I like to cook for me.
We ordered the six person banquet because my grandfather wanted crab.
Yeah, he's crazy and amazing.
I also learnt during this dinner that he was a butcher in HK. I want to take him meat shopping with me and he's become so much more valuable.
It explains why he always catches pigeons on his window sill, kills them and then cooks them...
The waitress serving the first course. A gingery soup with pigs intestine, bean curd roll and gingko nuts. The broth was made from the pork bones being stewed for hours and it was amazing.
I would say the best dish of the night...if you could call this a dish.
Soup lined up on the lazy Susan.
I am still confused about why it is called that.
Gingko nut. I have never encountered a whole stewed one before, it is incredibly rich and has the texture of egg yolk.
I am addicted.
Next up, the steamed oysters, served two ways. One with garlic and the other with a ginger and spring onion mush.
I loved the garlic one, but I found the ginger and spring onion with oil overpowered the oyster, which was very fucking good. The oil in it was also a little much.
I remember my brother-in-law's mother buying great oysters from Box Hill market...so, woot.
Then, the crab dish. Crab cooked in a ginger sauce and served on top of fresh egg noodles. Always a winner, and it was perfectly cooked.
I deliberately didn't eat that much crab though and fought for more of the crab roe in the head of the crab. It is my favourite part.
My only complaint with this dish is that they put too much corn flour in the sauce and made it too gluggy. Not good when your dish cools down a little and you're facing a starchy road ahead.
My second favourite for the night. This is the mixed mushrooms on bak choi. Abalone mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, straw mushrooms and shittake mushrooms cooked till they kept their bite in a savoury oyster-sauce based gravy. Perfectly textured with the steamed rice.
This is basically a whole deep fried chicken rubbed in five-spice, chopped up for a heart attack.
Because I don't normally eat fried things, I found this really heavy and difficult to get through, if not tasty. My sister ended up finishing off my chicken skin.
It wasn't greasy, and was good, but my insides weren't used to it.
It also seemed a little dry when eaten with the rice.
And finally, a steamed barramundi with spring onion and ginger in soy sauce, which has had hot oil poured over it. One of my favourites, and very easy to make. It can never go wrong, especially when they fish it out of a tank in the front window.
And I took it apart for everyone to eat the flesh. I had given up way before this, but my sister persevered with my father.
I wanted to take a photo of its skeleton, fins and head all attached, but my grandfather grabbed the head before I could take a photo and started eating it.
My father sucked all the flesh off the bones.
Yeah, we're uber-Asian.
No 1 Cafe
1 Carrington St
Box Hill, 3128
(03) 9898 9680