Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Madam Kwong’s Kitchen

1025 Whitehorse Road
Box Hill VIC 3128
+61 3 9898 8108
madamkwong.com

It’s been a while since my last post. Blame essays, my need to finish off the Breaking Bad series to date and the three-day Urban Remedy detox program I did over the weekend. Although I came out of the detox unscathed and with a greater appreciation for fresh and healthy foods, there was no way I was going to be blogging about all sorts of yummy food (and reading food blogs) while I was disdainfully sipping my lettuce, spinach and something-else-that-made-it-gross juice.

Unfortunately, like detoxes, technical writing assignments and Collingwood’s home and away season, all good things must come to an end. This includes hibernation from blogging and so I’ll be back churning out blogs like a mofo before I fly off for my trans-Tasman adventure.

Tonight, I’ve decided to take it easy like Sunday morning – much like the Sunday I finally got to meet Daisy, Melbourne’s queen of desserts. We had conversed via each others’ blogs and on Twitter for quite some time so we decided that it was time to catch up IRL over a meal. Because we live literally a few minutes from each other, we didn’t have to travel far for our brunch; good ol’ Box Hill was where we agreed to meet.

Even though I used to go through Box Hill every afternoon on the way home from school and even though I used to do a lot of my Asian grocery shopping there, it’s been quite some time since I’ve been back. Thus, I was amazed to see all these new and wonderful shops and eateries when I walked through Box Hill Central and along Whitehorse Road. Cheap and cheerful Malaysian eatery, Madam Kwong’s Kitchen, was one of those newbies and our destination for the afternoon.

It’s very small and utilitarian with only a few tables in the middle of the narrow canteen-like space and shelves and fridges full of Malaysian (and other Asian) foodstuffs for diners to buy if they wished to try their hand on some Malaysian (or, I guess, other Asian) cooking at home. I had heaps of food at home so I was very good and left Madam Kwong without buying anything to take home. Next time, you’ll be seeing me with several shopping bags of stuff though…

I love that everything at Madam Kwong is so simple. The menu is essentially divided up in three: rice dishes, noodle dishes and desserts, with a few sundry items thrown in for good measure. You order and pay at the counter, then grab whatever empty seat you can find and wait a good few minutes for your cheap as chips $2.50 teh tarik to come, followed by your dishes.

You can’t go to a Malaysian restaurant without trying their nasi lemak and at Madam Kwong, the default version is only $4.50. It’s a spartan dish with only a sprinkling of crunchy anchovies, peanuts and sambal over coconut rice. However, it’s cutely wrapped in banana leaves and would be extremely filling so I can see myself buying this if I was on a budget. Daisy, however, did it the proper way. For an extra $6, she also got some curry chicken, cucumber and hard boil egg for a complete treat. The rice was wonderfully fragrant and the delicious, and the curry so beautiful. We were both pretty impressed.

Meanwhile, I had a bowl of chicken laksa ($10.50), which came with a generous serving of mixed (that is, egg and vermicelli) noodles, chicken pieces, bean curd and fish cake. The broth was full of flavour, body and had a bit of bite; I enjoyed it immensely. Although I still think that Laksa King makes the best laksa in Melbourne, this version comes pretty damn close. It definitely suffices for those in the east who can’t be bothered crossing town for Laksa King.

Daisy’s boyfriend arrived later on (yes, THE Mr Bao!) and he ordered the chee cheong fun ($7). Madam Kwong advertised it as a rice noodle dish in ‘special mix sauce’ so I really had no idea what to expect. I’m not much of a sweet tooth so I was not-particularly-pleasantly surprised to find that the sweet Hoisin-like sauce overpowered the barely-there shrimp paste flavour and the nuttiness of the toasted sesame seeds. I did, however, love the texture of the little rice noodle rolls. They were so silky and so smooth, yet so firm at the same time. 10 billion props to Madam Kwong if they were hand-made.

Finally, it didn’t seem right to dine with a girl whose blog title is ‘never too sweet for me’ without sampling some sweets. Daisy ordered a tau foo fah, a steal at $3 which I got to nibble on. Although I thought the ginger syrup was a bit heavy on the sugar, I did love biting into the soft, silky sheets of tofu.

It was a wonderful meal with great, cheap food and excellent company. Daisy and Mr Bao are two of the most beautiful and loveliest people one will ever meet and I look forward to seeing them again. I also look forward to going trying some fried noodle dishes at Madam Kwong as well as their $2 chicken curry puffs that seemed to be a hit with the patrons. As for raiding their freezer and taking home five bags of frozen pandan leaves to make all sorts of mind-blowing three-hatted quality desserts? Yeah, that’ll happen too… the day when Collingwood supporters stop being dickheads.

Madam Kwong's Kitchen on Urbanspoon

25 Comments on Madam Kwong’s Kitchen

  1. Daisy@Nevertoosweet
    October 2, 2012 at 22:20 (2 years ago)

    It was SO wonderful to finally meet you in the FLESH Libby :) I can’t believe it has taken us so long hehe but all good we finally made it in the end! WOO HOO! LOL i’m not sure that i’m Melbourne’s Queen Of Desserts, I’m sure there are also other dessert lovers out there :P Maybe there are in the closet dessert queens hahaha

    I think Madame Kwong was a great decision :) I loved the simple, cheap yet authentic Malaysian food hehe i can’t wait to go back for the Ondeh Ondeh next time ~

    You are so sweet and kind to say those lovely things about us :) We’re really not that lovely when we fight like cats and dogs :P Can’t wait to meet up with you again! Good luck with assignments and when are you going on your holiday? xox

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:18 (2 years ago)

      Thanks, Daisy! I’m flying on 22/10 but I’ll be seeing you (and Ricky! and Dave!) the day before for lunch. Can’t wait! :) xo

      Reply
      • Daisy@Nevertoosweet
        October 4, 2012 at 08:38 (2 years ago)

        Me too :) it’ll be super fun ~ to catch up again hehe and this time with Dave too YAY!

        Reply
  2. threehanns78
    October 2, 2012 at 22:33 (2 years ago)

    I miss Box Hill so so much. Bulleen food shopping is blah boring. But this place sounds alright.
    I to had a chance to meet and greet “Queen Daisy, but was to shy. maybe next time. :P

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:16 (2 years ago)

      Agree with you re: Bulleen. But hey, Box Hill isn’t that big a drive :)

      Yeah, definitely say hi next time!

      Reply
  3. yummychunklet
    October 3, 2012 at 00:42 (2 years ago)

    That tofu dessert does look good!

    Reply
  4. Choc Chip Uru
    October 3, 2012 at 05:39 (2 years ago)

    Haha I bet an outing with Queen Daisy would have been awesome (and wow delicious by the photos!) :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply
  5. Em
    October 3, 2012 at 08:34 (2 years ago)

    $2 curry puffs?? That sounds like my kinda place.

    Reply
  6. Sophie Wang (@aecliss)
    October 3, 2012 at 10:03 (2 years ago)

    Nasi Lemak. Mmmm, I’ve only tried Melbourne versions but this looks really good!

    Reply
  7. Catherine
    October 3, 2012 at 10:58 (2 years ago)

    Mm cheap and cheerful! Now you’ve got me craving asian food. I’ve heard there’s a really good place for assam laksa in Box hill but yet to go, I wonder if it’s here?

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:15 (2 years ago)

      They do serve assam laksa here but I don’t know if this is the place that people are referring to – could be, though!

      Reply
  8. lizzie - strayed from the table
    October 3, 2012 at 11:43 (2 years ago)

    I don’t mind chee cheong fun, though like you said it can’t be to sweet. The rice noodles are my favourite part. Great photos.

    Reply
  9. Julie
    October 3, 2012 at 11:51 (2 years ago)

    I love living so close to Madam Kwong such an amazing place. I need to compare the Laksa, im yet to try it!

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:15 (2 years ago)

      Lucky you! I’m definitely going to give their assam laksa a go next time … and go sick on the curry puffs! :D

      Reply
  10. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    October 3, 2012 at 14:00 (2 years ago)

    Aww what a great meal to meet the gorgeous Daisy and Mr Bao over! And how good is Breaking Bad? Which season are you up to? :)

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:14 (2 years ago)

      Season 3 at the moment. So, so addictive!

      Reply
  11. squishymonster
    October 3, 2012 at 15:35 (2 years ago)

    fab grubbin on a budget—I love it!

    Reply
  12. Ming @ sweetandsourfork
    October 3, 2012 at 18:58 (2 years ago)

    Oh good lord, the chee cheong fun. I loved it to death when I ate it (every single morning) as a kid in China, and I didn’t know you could get it here in Australia. I feel the urge to bow in your general direction *bows towards doncaster-ish area*

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 3, 2012 at 20:14 (2 years ago)

      I think there are a few other places where you can get CCF but this was the first time I’ve seen it. I have no idea how it compares to the ones you can get in China/Malaysia but I’d be curious to know!

      Reply
      • Fil
        November 4, 2012 at 07:17 (2 years ago)

        Chee Cheong Fun = good. I am sure I’ve seen it before in Melbourne served like in Malaysia, just with the sauce and a few seeds on top, but will have to think where…

        When we visited the best thing here was the Kueh.

        Reply
        • libishski
          November 6, 2012 at 14:25 (2 years ago)

          Let me know where once you remember!

          I need to try their kueh next time…

          Reply
  13. theragingcook
    October 3, 2012 at 21:28 (2 years ago)

    The dreaded exam period. Stressing, writing, reading, typing. Tired eyes, lots of caffeine be it tea or coffee. A laksa is one of those things that would definitely hit the spot, and maybe even beyond during the coming week and a half! Mmmmmmm mmm wanna do some slurping right now bahahaha

    Reply
    • libishski
      October 4, 2012 at 16:11 (2 years ago)

      Haha the ironic thing is that we’re supposed to be eating HEALTHIER during the stressful study times. But does anyone actually listen? NO. That said, a laksa sure beats rabbit food any day :D

      Reply
  14. Collingwood
    November 2, 2012 at 21:34 (2 years ago)

    COLLINGWOOD SUPPORTERS ARE THE BEST, YOURE THE DICKHEAD

    Reply

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