Tai Pan – Yum Cha
239 Blackburn Rd
Established for over 20 years in the Eastern burbs, Taipan has a strong reputation for its yumcha. Despite now offering up to 3 seatings on weekends and public holidays, it is still a constant hustle and bustle, with most people without bookings being turned back. It’s one of the few yum cha places that our family frequent regularly on a lazy Sunday morning – partially biased possibly by its vicinity and the perks we have at this place. So what perks are these? 1) We usually get chauffeured to the best tables in the house – right alongside the kitchen door on the upper level (there’s probably around 4-5 tables in this vicinity) which essentially equals to always having first choice from a full trolley. 2) Mum is usually able to get us a booking very last minute, despite a full house. Surely this gives them few extra points – well for me at least =).
They offer an extensive variety of Hong Kong style dim sums – deep fried, steamed, meats from the roast counter, heaps of desserts both cold and hot.
Char siu so – crispy pastry with tasty BBQ pork inside
Fish ball soup (Grr, wonder who ordered this… I could make it myself in 2 minutes)
Lotus leaf rice – the glutinous rice traditionally comes wrapped in lotus leaf thus the name, but these days a lot of places don’t use them anymore. Regardless there is a good balance between the stickyness, savoury flavours and oil required in a good rendition.
Pan fried rice noodles – nice and crispy skin.
Crispy prawn rolls; Pan fried beef buns
Braised chicken feet – I love gnawing on this; Shark Fin dumplings.
Chinese spinach and pork dumplings – yummy!
Chiu zhao fan guo (Teo Chew dumplings) ; Gao choi gao (Chinese leek and pork dumplings)
Prawn rice noodle rolls – slippery rice noodle with lucious prawns inside.
Eggs Tarts – I was rather disappointed today at the Egg Tarts. Though they had a creamy texture & lovely egg aroma in the middle and a crispy pastry, they weren’t fresh out of the oven. It must be FRESHLY done and SCALDING HOT – I’m picky like that. =)
Sesame glutinous roll with red bean and green bean paste – mum always orders this.
Things we didn’t have but you should definitely try here: Mango pancakes (juicy seasonal mango wrapped in a delicious eggy crepe – these aren’t usually wheeled around and must be ordered), Dao Fu Fa (Bean Curd / Tofu in syrup soup – was already too full to have a bowl of the super smooth beancurd), Guai Fei Gai (Royal Chicken).
You might have noticed we didn’t order any of the usual Ha Gao, Siu Mai etc. This by no means is a suggestion that they aren’t good, quite the opposite rather. We often attempt to try different things and also avoid various fried dim sums (for our fear of ‘HEAT’ – I’ll explain this on another occasion) and overly simple things that mum can easily make at home. Anyways, overall the dim sums here are authentic and of high quality (most of the time). Though like many other Melbourne-Yumcha’s, it lacks a certain level of subtlety-and-complexity of ingredients and skill that one would find at say Tim Ho Wun. But one has to remember we are in Melbourne and not Hong Kong.
Rating: most of the time yummy+1 (ie. mouthwatering). There certainly is a sporadic issue with quality control, but when they get it right it’s so right.