Gary arrived at the party with a Donald Duck around his neck. It was one of our ‘famous’ fancy dress parties, after hours, on the coast, and this theme was Chinese New Year. I looked at the soft toy of Donald, swinging around Gary’s neck, and wondered, ‘What has that got to do with Chinese New year?’
But of course, I should have known, this was Gary and on closer inspection, the toy had little framed glasses that were sporting masking tape across half of each lens. Ha! “Peeking Duck”! And so it began, as the party got going, and wilder, as it did in those days.
I love Peking duck. Do you? I love its melt in the mouth tasty meat under a crisp, burnished layer of skin. And there’s only one restaurant in Hobart that actually has the ducks hanging in the window, and that’s Chinese Tasty BBQ in Sandy Bay, where Written on Tea used to be.
My Chinese friend Louis had recommended this place to me as for him, it’s got the best and most authentic Chinese food in Hobart. And he would know. He loves to cook, comes from Nanchang in the south-east, and has travelled widely.
This time I let him order for me, as the waiters seem to know him and delight in chatting in Mandarin, sharing their recommendations. Louis tells me there are 3 owners from Hong Kong, and they have 3 chefs in the kitchen, all ex-Flower Drum luminaries. Now I’ve been to the Flower Drum in Melbourne several times, and it was always spectacular, so my hopes are high.
We started with the ubiquitous San Choi Bao, or lettuce leaf wrapped around a delicious mix of pork and sprouts and good things in one tasty, healthy parcel. $6.80, perfect. Then arrives a large plate of “Chinese broccoli”, at $18.80, which was more like choi sum with lashings of soy, sesame, garlic and salt, but fresh and tasty all the same.
We shared a Mixed Roast Platter $26.80, which had a serve of their spectacular Peking Duck, Macao style crispy roast pork, and a light, vinegary sweet dip for the meats. Simple perfection.
The menu here, like most Chinese restaurants, always seems to me to be impossibly large, but somehow these guys turn the food out fast. I guess it’s that long experience of the wok, and 3 chefs who could probably do this food with their eyes shut. It’s traditional, and stays that way.
For me, the deep fried ice cream is a must visit, so we pin the ears back and dive in. The ice-cream itself is terrific, but we both decide the strawberry syrup that’s been thrown on top was cheesy. Such a disappointment after the perfection of the other dishes, and fresh strawberries in a little coulis isn’t hard.
Chinese Tasty BBQ is a welcome addition to the food scene in Hobart, and if you want really authentic, reasonably priced Chinese food, look no further. Just be warned about the ice cream. Never gild a lily.