Golden Dragon Palace & Lantern Garden

I love food. Adam loves food. Both our mothers love food. Therefore, our present to both our mothers was to take them out to eat on this so-called special day. Even though one big meal consisting of both of our families would’ve been the most economically feasible option, Adam is still sht-scared of introducing both parents to each other and so separate meals had to do. Yum cha with Adam’s parents (plus his aunty and grandma) and then dinner with my parents.

LUNCH
Golden Dragon Palace
363 Manningham Rd
Lower Templestowe VIC 3107
+61 3 9852 4087

The yum cha venue of choice was Tai Pan restaurant, just down the road from where I live. However, they were pretty much booked when I rang to make a booking so we decided to go to Golden Dragaon Palace instead which was also close by. Now, GDP serves pretty good yum cha dishes but they also charge a bit more than Tai Pan does. The only thing that bugs me about this place is that they tend to go too overboard with the whole dragon theme as is evident with all the wooden dragon statues and carvings all around the place. Of course, that has nothing to do with the food and the service but all those scary dragons gawking down at me while I eat just give me the shivers. Yes,  this is Golden Dragon Palace. We get it.


We booked a table for 6 about two weeks ago and the lady called me a few days beforehand to confirm our 12:05 session (they have 3 yum cha seatings). We all rocked up at around 12 and had to queue up behind all these people or about 20 minutes. Not happy. I understand that the 10am session might’ve still been eating or that the waiters/waiteresses were still cleaning tables and setting cutlery which is okay, but if they were not going to be done on time, why not tell us to come at a slightly later time? Knowing that we had to be out by 1:45 didn’t help either. Anyway, enough about that. Onwards to the food!
We got the usual suspects…


… including my favourite! How I will rate a yum cha restaurant will largely depend on how nice their har gows are. Luckily, GDP passes the test with flying colours. They were big. They were filled with plump juicy prawns. And the dumpling skin was not too sticky. Two thumbs up!


We also had a few unconventional yum cha dishes including salt and pepper tofu. Okay, so this dish isn’t exactly “unusual” but this was the first time I’ve seen this being served at yum cha. Anyway, this was yum – probably one of the best salt and pepper tofu dishes I’ve had so far.


Some dessert made with lotus seed. I didn’t try it because I was full by the time it came to dessert but doesn’t it look pretty?


Okay, I lied. I DID manage to squeeze in room for one strawberries and cream-filled crepe. Such a gui lao dish but it was a great end to a very nice (and expensive!) lunch!
Adam’s parents + grandma. For some reason, I love this photo. Now, if only I can master portrait shots…


Adam’s parents + grandma + aunty


The two of us!

Total cost was just over $200 which, for 6 people, Adam thought was rather expensive as he is used to paying around $150 at Tai Pan or in one of those city yum cha restaurants and even though the service could use a little help, it wasn’t too horrendous and hey, the food was nice.

DINNER

Lantern Garden
608 Station St
Box Hill VIC 3128
+61 3 9890 7696

The original plan was to take my parents and my siblings to Lantern Garden, a humble Cantonese restaurant which has been a local favourite with our family for years. Adam and I had set aside just over $200 for the dinner so that we can order some seafood dishes. The night before the dinner, mum suddenly decides to invite my cousin Jess and her parents along (the parents are visiting from Indonesia) as she thought that they’d get pissy if they find out that they weren’t invited. Now, I love their company but I panicked because Adam and I only thought to bring enough to cover the 6 of us, not 9 people! However, mum told me that if we run out of money, she would cover the rest of the bill. Of course, that defeated the whole purpose of “mother’s day” but she told us that it was important to have the others along and so I let her win.

Okay, so dinner was supposed to start at 7pm. Adam and I rocked up at 6:55pm (after all, I am not the #2 most punctual person in my facebook network for nothing!). At just after 7, my sister Janice texts me to say that the family will be running late but did not state a reason. So we wait. By 7:20, I’m starting to get a little pissy before Janice rings me to notify us that they’re just walking across the road. FINALLY. Apparently the reason why they were late was because they had to wait for my cousin Jess to get back from the city. Or something. Trust. But at least we were all here. So here’s the cast list:


The Chinese equivalent to bread and butter – those herby soups with unidentified objects floating in them. I think this one had bits of chicken feet in it or something. I just drank the soup and gave the carcasses meat to Adam, hehhhh!
We had ginger and spring onion mud crab with noodles! Okay, so we weren’t planning on having this dish when we found out that three extra people were coming. But dad insisted on it and told us that he’d pay for it as he was so desperate to have crab. So we ordered about 4.5 pounds of mud crab (I think they charged us $20.80 a pound). It was damn good mud crab – very sweet, very juicy, and very flavoursome. Yum!


Stuffed beancurd. This is one of my fave Lantern Garden dishes.


Now, my brother is a gweilo and pretty much hates all seafood so we had to order some gweilo dishes to keep him happy. Honey peppered beef was one of them.


Ditto lemon chicken (granted, it was nice lemon chicken though. Crispy. Tangy. Fat trimmed. Meat juicy.)


And sweet and sour fish.The fish pieces were surprisingly larger than normal and one would have created a meal on its own at Verge. Heh, because we already had this one fish dish, mum wouldn’t let me order steamed fish but grrrr, next time…
Snow pea leaves + garlic. Apparently, they throw this bit of the snow peas away in Asian countries but they actually work well as an side dish (a HUGE side dish in this case!) in Chinese restaurants. Much lighter and tastier than Chinese broccoli or Bok Choy.


Mung bean and seaweed soup to finish off.


Family photo! Jess and I are at the back. L-R: Jess’ mum (my aunt), Jess’ dad (my uncle), dad, Janice (what an effing moron with her stupid wacky smile), Kenneth and mum


Same people as the previous photo but minus Jess and plus Adam

The total damage was… surprisingly very minimal (well, much less than what we expected anyway!). Even with three extra people and a huge serving of mud crab, we only paid $207 for dinner! Not bad huh! So mum didn’t have to pitch in money, we were all full and Adam and I walked away feeling good about ourselves. See, everyone’s happy!

That concludes another mother’s day. Phew. Both our mums were happy and hey, for once I’m not pissy to hear my mum brag to her friends about me for once “Oh, Libby and Adam took me to dinner. We had mud crab, nyeh nyeh nyeh!”

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7 Comments

  1. (You always manage to slip in another entry right after I’ve posted on your previous one. I am terribly slow.)

    You know for a minute, I thought you’d actually jumped from one place to another and had two humongous lunches or something, which would have been absolutely incredible and would have required the services of an iron stomach but anyway, obviously I misread. But STILL! What a massive day of glorious food!

    Any reason why Adam is scared to introduce the two sets of parents together? Actually, I probably have a fair understanding because I’m a bit scared to do the same with Phil’s. Mainly it’s because our dads are so opinionated and I’m afraid they’ll get off on the wrong footing or something. The mum’s are always lovely so that’s no real concern. One day, one day – and then I’ll end up posting something disastrous about it when it does 😛

  2. Thumbs up to both restaurants – thumbs down to the “Ghost Man” AKA Gui Lao food ahahahaha. Mung Bean and Seaweed desert aaaaaaaaaaargh, Mum makes it for us every weekend because it “detoxifies” us. Yeah right. It gets to the point where you don’t like it!

  3. Oh dude YUM!

    I’m actually against having Chinese food but when I’m forced to go for family outings I enjoy it plenty. I don’t know if that makes sense but I think it’s cos I’m so used to having it that I don’t get the urge to pay for it when I go out. Also I’ve heard too many bad things about dirty Chinese kitchens etc so yeah, I steer well clear of that except when we occassionally go out for yum-cha or have to have the obligatory Chinese New Year or whatever holiday dinner. Your food looks so good though! *salivates*

    Do you want your parents and Adam’s parents to meet? I think it would be funny if my parental’s met my boy’s cos neither would be able to understand the other cos they both speak Engrish, so me and the boy would have a really fun time being in the middle trying to translate both ways. And by fun I really mean excruciating.

    You’ve set off a craving for Chinese food in me now Like you setting off a bagel craving which hasn’t yet been set aside. Everytime my ma is going out I scream out “buy bagels!!” despite the fact that she isn’t going anywhere near that direction and despite the fact that I’m munching on a bagel at that exact moment and have 5 more on the table.

  4. Two of favourite places…. jin long gong (golden dragon palace) and zen zen (lantern whatever its called).. the missus is chinese and i’m a gwei lao and we enjoy reading your reviews… keep it up !!

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