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