With New Years looming ahead, the shopping centres are more packed than ever as eager shoppers try their luck with the stocktake sales. I endured it for Christmas but I'm still in post-Thailand mode and I want my peace and quiet. Instead, I ventured out to Top Ryde City at nighttime for dinner and a relaxing movie.
I've passed by Da Wan Lai many times but never thought to try it. This night, I felt adventurous to try this new restaurant and ignoring the massive line at Hurricane's next door, me and the Man snuggled up on the pillar seat.
Complimentary prawn crackers. Better quality than most places, it was crunchy and salty. They were also huuuuuuuuge!
San Choy Bow. This wasn't as oily as other places. The duck was beautifully flavoured and was very tender yet chewy. The fried noodles on top and the fresh lettuce leaf made up for the missing crunch.
Multicoloured capsicums and the fried noodles make the dish look very pretty and colourful. It was stimulating to the eyes as well as the palate. I could never eat this neatly. My hands were wet with the oil and by the end, the san choy bow exploded from my hands so I had to eat it from the plate. Embarrassing, but I never quite mastered how to eat this yet!
I expected this to be spicy but it was a little bland and boring for me. The noodles itself were stiff and had no flavour. The meat disappeared off to somewhere after mixing so weren't really helpful with the much needed flavour. Normally, the soup is the best bit of a noodle soup but this one really didn't make me want to drink it. I left more than half and just ate the quail eggs instead, which were soft boiled.
Chef's Special Lamb Cutlets. Spiced, juicy lamb cutlets fried and arranged in a crunchy pyramid. It's set on a bed of chili onions, which really didn't have much chili flavour. Still, the lamb itself had enough flavour for us to enjoy this dish. If you don't bite it hard enough, the fat will rip off by itself so bite carefully!
However, it didn't feel like a side dish you eat with rice, instead it was like fried chicken. The Man held it by the bone and ripped it off with his teeth as they only provide you with chopsticks. I guess we could have asked for a fork and knife set but it's always more fun eating with your hands!
The overall quality of the food was better than most Chinese restaurants and wasn't as greasy as other places. They also had a specials menu with unique dishes designed by the chefs here so when Chinese food gets a bit boring, you should try Da Wan Lai and see if you can reach that poetic epiphany with their food.