Monday, May 27, 2013

Shyun, Carnegie

Special: Salmon Lover -- $15.90

Miso Katsu Don (Pork) -- $9.90

Sukiyaki Hot Pot -- $14.90

Kaki Frai (Deep Fried Oysters) -- $10.00 

Chef's Rolls (special of the day)

Photo taken from my Instagram: @winceeee

I honestly do think that we are spoilt for choice in Melbourne when it comes to awesome Japanese food. Shyun is definitely one of them. This was another place that I took my family to when they were here for a visit last month. Needless to say it was truly enjoyed by all.

One of Shyun's most notable value proposition is definitely it's affordable pricing. They are run by Japanese people who give a damn about good quality Japanese food and this is the kind of Japanese food that I want to eat. Fresh ingredients, good variety (with constantly updated specials board), faultless execution and easy on the wallet. Overall, value for money. And this is really what I'm all about (VFM) whenever I eat out. Not how much or little I spend.

The price is so affordable that you don't feel guilty for ordering everything that is calling out to you from their extensive menu. It was a cold Autumn's night and that sukiyaki hotpot was perfect for the occasion. Massive portion for the price of one. The kaki frai (deep fried oysters) were one of the best we've had. Super crunchy, piping hot and creamy/fresh flavours on the inside. So good we ordered two. Always order the Chef's Rolls everytime I come, in anticipation of what the chef might whip up for us that day. Honestly, even the staff wouldn't be able to tell you what the chef is making.

Shyun really is one of my favourite Japanese joints in Melbourne (in the Cheap and Affordable category). Thanks again Thanh for sharing this great jewel to all of us, your friends and followers on your Instagram =)

Like I said, Shyun is just one of the many Jap places that I love in Melbourne, including:

Pabu Sake and Grill (for Izakaya and Sake)
Komeyui (for amazing quality Japanese)
Ibuki House Restaurant (for special occasion and banquet)
Ume Sushi House (for decent Jap in the CBD)

... And I'm sure there'll be more to come. Possibly in the Ramen or Sushi Train category? 

So, fellas. Do share with me where YOUR favourite hot spots are for Japanese food in Melbourne as I'd be really keen to try. I love going to places that people recommend. Hope you're all having a fantastic start to the week. Happy eating! =)

Shyun on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Wealth Garden, Doncaster

Pork and Prawn Dumplings

"3 Coloured" Siu Mai

Beef Balls

Beef Tripe

"Har Gao" or Prawn Dumplings

Pork and Century Egg Congee

"Lao Sar Bao" or Salted Duck Egg Yolk Custard Bun

Mango "Sai Mai Lou" or Sweet Mango Dessert with Sago Pearls

Osmanthus Jelly with Goji Berries

"Gao Choi" or Prawn and Chive Dumplings


Prawn and Corn Balls


Winter Melon Topped with Prawn Paste and Dried Scallops


Photo taken from my Instagram account: @winceeee

Photo taken from my Instagram account: @winceeee

Oh WOW! I cannot believe that it's been almost 3 weeks since I last blogged. To say I've been flat out at work almost seems like an understatement. So knackered every day and night. At the same time, there's been so many catchups happening the past few weeks, which was fun. Anyway, hope I find time to blog more often again.

Anyway, Mum and Dad were here in Melbourne for a month and every day seems like a food adventure for us. Parents LOVE cooking everyday. Although, weekends we would eat out a bit because there's so much they want to enjoy in Melbourne too. One of their favourite places this trip has definitely got to be Wealth Garden in Doncaster. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the food here so much. Such a huge relief to finally find a yumcha/dimsum place in Melbourne that we truly enjoy. Big thanks to Daisy and Julie for their recommendation. Now, our family now can't get enough of this place! =D

For me, I judge a good Dim Sum restaurant by their prawn paste. It's used in SO many Dim Sum dishes, which makes it highly significant. Just like how I judge a good Chinese restaurant by their simple fried rice. Sounds simple but it's true. You can tell a lot about a restaurant's abilities by how well they master their basics. Wealth Garden definitely nailed it in this department. 

Another reason why I like this place is because the portions are VERY big and generous, compared to most. Not only quality, but quantity. I really do like how we've all got our own favourite dishes from here, there's just much too enjoy. Also, the service is super QUICK and FRIENDLY (which is rare in most Asian establishments). There's a wait staff walking past your table every minute, you can definitely count on your plate to be cleaned, tea to be poured or food to be served in close to no time.... With a friendly touch.

Wealth Garden really ticked all my boxes for a good Dim Sum restaurants. So much so that we were back there two weeks in a row and would've been back for a third, had we had the time. Personal favourites were definitely the Prawn and Corn Balls, Prawns and Chive Dumplings and also the Winter Melon Topped with Prawn Paste and Dried Scallops. YUM YUM!

Wealth Garden Chinese Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 2, 2013

"Damn Good" Crème Brûlée

Finally... The perfect crème brûlée

To be honest, I actually enjoy sharing Recipes more than Reviews on this blog. Even though I've got SO many recipes in my drafts folder of food that I love to eat (and am pretty sure other people will like), I can't seem to bring myself to share them.... Yet. 

All because of the incredibly stubborn and pain-in-the-ass-perfectionist in me. For some annoying reason, I can't bring myself to publish a recipe unless I've made it at least 5 or 6 times, taken proper photos every single time (so I'll have more to choose from) before tweaking the recipe again and again and again (down to every gram, millilitre or teaspoon). Although, this has got to stop because:
1) The only person that is probably able to tell the difference is myself
2) There's no such thing as achieving a 100% perfect recipe because everyone's taste is slightly different and measurements will vary depending on the ingredient you buy on the day

That said, you can rest assure that every recipe that I post on The Hungry Excavator is true and tested NUMEROUS times without fail. After all, my hope is that people (especially new or non cooks) find inspiration to cook more often from this blog and that I can build a reputation for having recipes that are helpful and truly reliable to people. 

And I must say that I'm quite happy with every single recipe that I've shared on this site so far. I won't share food unless it's something that I personally LOVE to eat and am also sure that everyday/learning cooks like me can recreate easily.

*tap tap*

Anyway, back to this crème brûlée. I'm not one who normally enjoys dessert but boy, do I LOVE my custards or what. This really is one of my favourite desserts to eat, period. Even after looking at SO many different recipes for this online, I knew that I could trust the one I found on one of my favourite food blogs around: Hunger Hunger.

After reading the post, I was convinced that this was one of the most reliable crème brûlée recipes out there... And it's true. Terri has really done her research and compared the measurements for cream to egg yolk ratio from recipes by many world renown chefs (Alton Brown, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Nigella Lawson etc etc) before drawing her own personal conclusion, which is both impressive and helpful. Besides that, I've been a long follower of her blog and must say that I've made so many of her recipes and can vouch how good they've all turned out. I only hope my blog can be just as good of a source for reliable recipes as hers.

The perfect brûlée consistency

This recipe here seriously NAILED the egg to cream to sweetness ratio with my idea of the perfect consistency. Not too thick and "eggy" but still smooth and just set. Borderline liquid but still retains its shape. The custard is REALLY good. Although, I've modified it slightly and also added and torched 2 layers of sugar to give it that extra *CRACK* at the top before you dig in.

So, here you go. A "DAMN GOOD" Crème Brûlée recipe that you'll definitely want to try. Personally, I prefer making it in a big tray/pan to share with friends. Way more fun to eat that way, but that's up to you. Cheers!

Sharing a big tray of crème brûlée is WAY more fun than having them in individual ramekins


 "Damn Good" Crème Brûlée Recipe
(adapted from this recipe by Hunger Hunger)


6 large egg yolks
4 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla bean
500ml cream
Extra caster sugar to make crust *


1. Preheat oven to 140 deg C. Whisk egg yolks and sugar with a fork until well combined (about 2 or 3 minutes)

Tip: Don't overbeat by bringing to "ribbon stage" or using an electric beater as most recipes suggest. I find that this adds too much bubbles to your custard and makes it foamy. Custard will even expand as a result in the oven if too much foam

2. Run a small knife down lengthwise of the vanilla bean, scrape the pods and add to a small pot with the cream. Stir the mixture and bring cream to a boil

3. Pour the cream into the egg yolk, stirring continuously. Set aside for 15 minutes so bubbles can rise to the top. Skim some off if you find that there's too much bubbles

4. Strain the mixture into individual ramekins or a tart pan. Place ramekin/pan in a baking tray and fill with hot boiling water up to 1/3 high from the bottom of the ramekin/pan. 

5. Place in centre of oven and bake for 30 minutes. Take ramekin/pan out and give it a shake. If the sides are set and middle is still wobbly, it is ready. Let it cool slightly before chilling it in the fridge for at least 3 hours.

Tip: If you still find it too runny, turn up the dial of your refrigerator to the maximum coldness. Helps set the custard even more. Custard should still be smooth and silky.

6. Sprinkle caster sugar evenly across the surface. Use a torch to melt/caramelise the sugar. Let it cool for 1 minute (to harden) before sprinkling a second layer and caramelising it some more. Chill in fridge again for 5 minutes or until ready to serve (so melted custard from the heat can firm up again)

Tip: Some recipes specify sprinkling demerara sugar, but I personally think that it is highly unnecessary. Also, double layer of sugar gives it the extra *CRACK* that everyone enjoys!