The act of eating is best appreciated with others.
The Italians have Cicchetti and the antipasto platter, the Spanish, tapas, in the Mediterranean it’s Mezze. They are often served with drinks or as a starter to the main event in these cuisines.
The Cantonese have Yum Cha. A weekend tradition that brings people together over shared plates.
Yum Cha in Sydney’s Chinatown can be a fast and furious event. Vast halls are crowded with round tables topped with a lazy Susan. Trolleys career past the diner with the names of the dishes called out rapidly. She who hesitates can miss out. Without insight into to this way of eating, it can be a little intimidating.
Not at Hobart’s Me Wah.
Me Wah is one of Hobart’s best restaurants, known for its fine food, wines and service. This translates to the Yum Cha experience. A professional team is led by Maître de Stephen Tso, a man who excels at his role and who has been nominated a number of times for best in the country by Gourmet Traveller magazine.
Prawn/Pork Sui Mai; prawn, pork, shiitake, crab roe $7.80
Yum Cha, literally ‘to drink tea’, is an occasion. On this occasion, The Two Girls and friends celebrated a birthday with mojitos, margaritas, long island iced tea, rose and sparkling.
Me Wah is attention to detail. Each trolley approaches and is patiently described. Chose each plate or none. Your table attendant will mark the card on your table to record what you’ve chosen for the purpose of your bill. Water arrives and is topped up before you notice you need another. When your cocktail glass is empty you’ll quickly be asked if you care for another. And then there’s Stephen, gently spoken, always smiling, and for whom, nothing is too difficult. Under his benevolent eyes, the restaurant full to capacity quietly hums, delivering plate after plate of exquisite morsels.
Ginger Shallot Prawn Dumpling; baked then steamed, prawns, pork, black fungus,
shiitake, oyster sauce $7.80
Mushroom Dumpling; fresh Huon Valley assorted mushrooms, black truffles sauce $9.80
Yum Cha is ripe for a special celebration and it’s perfect for sharing with loved ones and friends. It generates its own conversation, spinning the lazy Susan, negotiating the remaining dumpling, comparing favourites. This Girl adores the Chinese pork bun, a fluffy white bread filled barbeque pork and steamed.
Roasted Duck; a quarter of duck served bone in tangerine plum sauce $12.80
Duck Sang Choy Bao; stir fried, diced breast of duck, shiitakes,
water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, onions, hoi sin sauce, served in iceberg lettuce leaves $14.00
Other favourites where the white radish, crumbed and fried, and the mushroom dumplings. The dumplings are a talking point, they are loaded with their fillings. Plump parcels neatly packed with luscious prawns, scallops or vegetables.
The desserts are a credit to Me Wah. Mango and cream pancake parcels, fried custard and taro balls and crème brulee were all a perfect end to the meal.
Seven lunching women were full to the brim. The meal was around $300 including a drink each, and several for the birthday girl. With the Entertainment Book discount, we paid $40 each and felt that we had had excellent value.