San Choi

300 High St
Kew, 3101
03 9852 9119

This was a smallish gathering – and by small I mean a table of 10 or so – of family friends.

A fact of life: I don’t think we will ever deviate from dining at Chinese restaurants for these kinds of get-togethers. For one – we are too loud; two – there are too many people, which makes for booking at any remotely hip-popular restaurant impossible; and three – for anything not Asian you will never hear the end of complaints regarding how expensive and not value for money it is. Just think two Asian parents, then multiply that by 4…

The rambles aside, here is a quick rundown of our feast in Kew.


Chef’s specials plastered all over the crimson red walls; and waiting for the food to come…

Something to get the conversation going.

Complementary chicken broth, and crispy prawn crackers.

Deboned duck tongue and jellyfish, dressed with a light vinegary-sweet sauce. A crunchy and cartilaginous bite, minus the oral-exertion required to debone the tongue – the luxuries of hand processed foods. I love jellyfish, and despite only eating my fair share of it, that is an understatement of how much I like it. It is always such a pity that only a tiny portion of this gelatinous goodness is ever served at restaurants.

The sweet and sour pork had a light and firm crispiness, lathered in a film of pineapple sweetness, vinegar tart, and caramelised stickiness. The morsels of pork were juicy, and sauce well balanced.

(left) I think this was a stir fry of crocodile… but can’t be certain of that.

Chinese broccoli (right) stir fried with pickled cabbage. It is quite difficult these days to source quality juvenile kai-lan that doesn’t have the thick chewy stems of mature kai lan, so it is always pleasing yet frustrating that restaurants have the best in town… SIGH!

Eight treasures duck – stuffed with the hearty goodness of chestnuts, lotus seeds, juicy Chinese mushrooms, slithers of meat and a whole list of other ingredients which escapes me. The tender duck meat is infused with the fragrance from within, and gleams with the caramelised sweetness from the external cooking. This item is generally prepared well in advance – generally a day or so before – so be sure to reserve your duck before you come. P.S. apologies I didn’t manage to take a shot before the beautiful duck was sliced open for serving.

We – and by ‘we’ I mean mum – always somehow manages to order the pumpkin pot filled with a creamy broth filled with the juiciness of king prawns and crunch of broccoli. Actually the prized part of this dish is actually in the walls of the pot – soft flesh of melt in your mouth pumpkin.

And finally we have the requisite fish of the night – steamed barramundi with a light soy, ginger and spring onions. The freshness of the live flesh translates well onto the palate: moist, tender and sweet.

Rating: Yummy+1. This is one of the few Cantonese places in Melbourne that we have returned to on a multitude of occasions. Whilst, in truth I wouldn’t say I was mouth watering per se, but one must remember we eat this all the time both at home and out. It is only fair that I give this place a yummy+1, since the execution is modestly more refined than what is on offer in mum’s kitchen, and is perhaps one of the better places in Melbourne.

You may also like: Simon’s Peiking Duck, Purple Sands, David’s, Eating in Hong Kong.

San Choi on Kew on Urbanspoon

7 Responses to “San Choi”
  1. msihua says:

    Nice to know that such a place exists! We use (family) go to Abacus on Glen Ferrie Road, but that seems to have disappeared 😦

  2. Hannah says:

    Okay, you just blew my mind. There are bones in tongues? You learn something new every day! 🙂

    P.S. I really want the pumpkin dish!

  3. Fatbooo says:

    Totally agree w you on Asian parents and their ‘value for money’ needs!

    And you like jellyfish… high five!

  4. Now, kew is a reasonable distance away. 🙂

  5. Ashley says:

    Oh this is just up the road from me! 🙂 Never had the pumpkin pot though, that looks awesome!

  6. Thanh says:

    You hit the nail right on the head. For all those reasons you stated, an Asian family gathering will always be at a Chinese restaurant. Can you even imagine having it at somewhere like Vue de Monde. OMG you will never heard the end of how it’s so expensive and also the noise generated during the dinner will get you kicked out I think 🙂

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  • Food RATING scale

    Unpleasant: damn upset my desire to eat

    Average: palatable but many shortcomings

    Yummy: a pleasant experience

    Yummy +1: mouth-watering like rain

    Yummy +2: exquisite flavours that hit all the right notes

    Divine: sheer culinary perfection!

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