Everyone loves Char Siu – or Chinese BBQ pork as it’s probably more well known around Australia. Seen hanging from hooks in Chinese takeaway shops glass displays, dripping with sweet, sticky maltose, char siu truly is an iconic Cantonese dish. Char siu is so beloved, it’s easy to see how Char Siu Bao (fluffy white steamed Chinese barbecue pork buns) is one of the most popular items to be ordered at yum cha around the world today.
After doing some Christmas shopping around Castle Towers, my husband and I were hungry… hungry for yum cha! Problem was, there weren’t many yum cha places nearby that we knew of and we felt like trying a new place. Google revealed Jin Yan (a nearby Chinese restaurant) had good ratings — so off we drove.
I’ve been meaning to visit Green Gourmet for their yum cha for some time now. I’m a huge fan of their restaurant and have visited many times for dinner as it’s the perfect place to go with vegan or vegetarian friends, but if I’m to be completely honest with you, their food is so good that I often go by myself or con my meat-eating friends into going and 9/10 times, they are never disappointed — you will not miss the meat at all!
Green Gourmet serve Chinese cuisine — completely vegan and all their food is cooked without garlic or onion (I’m not sure of the exact reasons behind this — I believe it has something to do with Buddhist cuisine for health reasons?). I’m constantly surprised at how delicious their food is without garlic and onion (two of my fave cooking ingredients!!)
Well enough of my banging on and let’s get to the important part — the food!
Vegan rice paper roll – Vietnamese rice paper, seaweed tofu, lettuce, pickled carrot and turnip and crumbed soy protein.
I loved the freshness of the crunchy veggies and the vermicelli noodles with the sweet sauce. I need to learn to make these at home!
Savoury potato dumplings, crumbed and deep fried
These reminded me of those KFC deep fried potato ‘mashies’ I used to be obsessed about until they stopped making them (probably a good thing lol) but slightly softer.
Mushrooms wrapped in nori with fake fish meat and deep fried
Just wow. The mushrooms were soo juicy and delicious and who knew they tasted so good with nori? Oh the fact that they were deep fried probably helped too, heh.
I kept sneaking bites of these amazingly flavoursome mushies in a savoury sauce.
Savoury potato and vegetable dumplings, deep fried
Fake prawn gow gees
One of my old faves — these did not disappoint! I couldn’t get over how much they tasted like real prawn gow gees.
Snow pea and mushroom dumplings
Vegetarian spring rolls wrapped in thin tofu wraps
Another old fave of mine, I used to order these at yum cha regularly. I really enjoyed the contrast between the thinly sliced tender veggies and the chewy thin tofu wraps. Soooo good.
Fake char siu pork
This was a popular dish and did not take long for us to finish! Love that moreish char siu sauce, and this had a very similar texture to meat.
Steamed gai lan
Who could say no to this one? I’ve been known to polish off whole plates of this myself before. I think I saw JJ’s eyes light up when she saw this one hehe.
One of my absolute faves – cheong fun – crispy fried rice noodles topped with a peanutty hoisin sauce, crushed peanuts, chilli and coriander — such an amazing blend of flavours. Another one I would love to learn how to make at home!
Sweet sesame red bean paste balls.
Green Gourmet also serve a tempting array of decadent sweets — just look at this list! And all of them completely vegan — good news for vegans with a sweet tooth!
A bunch of delicious vegan treats for sale as well!
I really loved the yum cha at Green Gourmet and would highly recommend it to anyone who is vegan, vegetarian, or does not eat pork/shrimp but still loves yum cha! Meat eaters definitely give this a try for something different — I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! Despite my love of meat, I would happily eat here any time of the day — maybe even twice in a day! 😉
My fave dishes from this outing were definitely the fried cheong fun rice noodles with hoisin sauce and coriander, the vegetarian spring rolls (with the thin tofu) and… all of the steamed dumplings. Oh and the shiitake mushrooms. And char siu ‘pork’… Need I go on? If it didn’t get any better, their yum cha presents fabulous value. The five of us ordered so many dishes and yet it came to a tiny $14 each. Unbelievable value!
If not for their yum cha menu, their dinner menu is also jam-packed full of traditional Chinese dishes with a vegan spin. They also serve a dinner buffet that I’m totally crazy about. You enter, grab an empty plate, load it sky high with all their buffet choices and pay by weight. Then stuff your face. Repeat plate piling until full. (P.S. If going for the buffet, DEFINITELY try the honey ‘chicken’. Its my fave by far! I could eat a plate of that stuff!)
One last bonus of Green Gourmet is that it’s next door to Vegan’s Choice Grocery (post to come!) — an amazing shop packed full of goodies a vegan dreams about, as well as all kinds of cakes, slices, the BEST brownies I’ve ever eaten (GF, DF AND egg free to boot!) as well as a tasty selection of homemade tofu ice-creams. Honestly, I challenge you to go in there and NOT spend a packet of money. It’s too hard, I tell you!
Hope you’re all enjoying the cooler weather. I don’t know about you guys but I’m seriously over this ‘heat-wave’ bizzo. At least we all have the long weekend to look forward too, woohoo!
Happy Monday! Only five days until the weekend 😀