Hey, where did all the UNSW chinese exchange students go? Actually, I don't know if they even left. It's not even my uni. But if they did have a hideout, this would be it. In the land down under- a place so unfamiliar, it's nice to have a place to call home. And that's what Chairman Mao tries to achieve; to replicate the Xiang cuisine of the Hunan province. Located near Central China, the food there is as hot as the weather is cold.
Okay let's get that over and done with. The food is bloody hot, nearly everything on the menu has the adjective: hot, spicy or chilli . Get your game face on cause it's not going to be an easy night. They say you won't leave without a runny nose or watery eyes. Challenge accepted.
|Smoked Celery in Chilli Oil on the house|
These are damn good. Really good. I know it's celery, but it's the smokiness and the incredibly spicy chilli sesame oil that punctuates it with a wonderful nuttiness. It's hot but refreshing at the same time. It's brilliant and I'd happily have these again and again.
|Green Onion Pancake 4 each|
These were crisp, unoily and light yet boring in flavour.
Braised Beef Noodle 10.80
Yeah... It was gone when I got to it again. Seriously. Actually that's a lie. I just forgot to take a picture this time. It had so much Szechuan pepper, the outside of my mouth was actually numb. Weirdest sensation. Besides that, it had a real thump of chilli and the flavour was nice.
|Hunan Style Dumplings 19.80|
The soup was wonderfully aromatic and fragrant and I found myself actually having more and more despite the chilliness. Dumplings were nice and plump, the casing held and were quite delicious.
|Stirfry Harbour Shrimps with leeks and red hot chilli 19.80|
Every ingredient got a good licking of the wok which gave it a really pleasant smokiness. Leeks were beautiful and soft but 19.80 seems a bit dear for something on the end of a fishing line.
And yeah. My nose did end up getting runny. Good thing there's a box of tissues next to you. Like the tobasco ad, if a mosquito were to just suck my blood then and fly off, it would explode. Stir Fry? Goooood. Chilli? Gooood. Sesame oil? Goooood. But altogether, it takes some getting used to but. The pools of oil, the liberal use of salt and the heat (which all are apparently authenically Hunan) might be a big turn off to many. But that doesn't stop its loyal following. The locals who just shoot out mandarin like a machine gun, the exchange students with their laptops going on and even big time chefs I hear like Matt Moran, Tetsuya, Dan Hong and Neil Perry. Me? I'm still on the fence but come winter time, that might be a whole different story.
Note: I ordered everything in mandarin. Pretty proud of myself.
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