Are you adventurous enough to try some real Chinese food?
Fans of Chinese and Asian food are always on the lookout for new things to try. Claypots are a traditional way of slow-cooking stews and soups and Claypot Fusion in Sunnybank Plaza serves these and other delicious southern Chinese street food.
There are a lot of different types of Claypot food in China. You will find two main types in Brisbane, claypot stews and claypot rice, though Claypot Fusion focuses on the stews. These traditional pots are a great way to slow cook food, with different styles and flavours around China.
For people who speak a little Chinese, you might get confused here, because 煲仔 (Bāo zǐ ), which means little pot, sounds like 包子 (Bāozi) which is a steamed bun. Both "bao" have the same tone and the 仔 and 子 essentially have the same meaning.
About Claypot Fusion
While the name in English is Claypot Fusion, its name in Chinese is 煲仔王(Baozi Wang) or Claypot King, which is a much cooler name. This little restaurant in Sunnybank is one of several restaurants that serve claypot stews, but this one mostly focuses on claypot dishes, including claypot stews, claypot soups, and claypot congee, as well as some southern Chinese street food such as rice noodle rolls. They also do egg noodle soups as well.
While the meals are served in traditional claypots places in a woven cane bowl, they are probably not cooked in them - but they do taste like they have been slow-cooked.
The food is all mostly Cantonese in style, but remember that much of this is going to taste very different to what you might have eaten before in Hong Kong or Cantonese style restaurants. This is food that is more traditional, which is why it attracts mostly Chinese customers.
These slow-cooked stews taste nothing like many people would expect Chinese food to be, with options like braised lamb ribs, stewed beef and braised pork. These taste more like a classic western stew, with a few extra things added in, like tofu skins. Of course, there is sweet and sour pork for people who do want that famous Cantonese flavour.
Most people don't associate a stew of lamb and carrots with Chinese food
If you are ordering ribs, it will include bones, which you just have to eat around and it is not impolite to spit out your bones. If you are polite, you will spit them into a bowl. But the idea is, the harder you have to work to eat something, the more delicious it is.
You can ask for extra meat or vegetables to be added to your stew if you want. Each stew comes with a bowl of rice, and if you want to share your stew with someone, you can order another rice as well.
Congee is one of the classic Cantonese dishes, and they prefer it as savoury dish. This is not my favourite part of Cantonese food, though for many Cantonese people, it is something they really love. It is a great way to warm up in winter and something to eat when you don't want to eat solid food. Remember, Cantonese mothers cook their sick kids congee, not chicken soup. What you will experience, if you want to try them, is a lightly flavoured, rice porridge, that probably won't wow you.
In terms of flavour, fIrst of all, I really don't like congee with seafood, so I personally would avoid the fish fillet congee, but maybe the pork, beef or chicken will be the way to go. Just to explain my bias, here, I love congee for breakfast, but just never got into it for dinner Cantonese style.
In Cantonese cuisine, soup is eaten with every meal as a digestive. It is as hard to imagine a Cantonese person eating dinner without a soup as it is to imagine a French person eating dinner without a glass wine.
A classic Cantonese soup might not be to everyone's taste
But these lightly flavoured soups are pretty small and again, think, digestive aid, not a meal in itself. In fact, for many people, the taste might be a turn off, so skip these both for the price and the flavour if you don't need an authentic Cantonese dining experience.
We went to Claypot Fusion because it had been a long time since I had a claypot stew, and the reason I insisted on trying this particular restaurant was because they had the traditional Cantonese style rice rolls 肠粉 (changfen), or more accurately, rice noodle rolls. These are not spring rolls but made by taking the key ingredients and wrapping them many times in long wide flat rice noodles before cooking. Ingredients include prawns, pork, beef and egg, with my favourite being prawns.
Prawn rice rolls of served hot, sticky and delicious
They are served hot, sticky and smothered in soy sauce. Now, this might be good or disappointing, depending on your palate, but the sauce they use at Claypot Fusion is lightly flavoured. I prefer the lightly flavoured sauce, but some other restaurants serve these rolls with a stronger sauce.
They also do egg noodle soup, for people who want to eat noodles. They have 3 types on Wonton soups, as well as beef and pork trotter noodle soups. This is not really their speciality, so you might keep away from these.
Street Food Favourites
There are some street food options as well. They have tea eggs, which are eggs stewed in tea, then the shells are lightly cracked before being stewed some more, to create a beautiful marbling effect. You can order these to eat on their own or have them in a stew. Another great option is sticky rice dumplings steamed in bamboo leaves. Then there is liang pi, which is a type of cold noodles.
Are you looking to try something different when it comes to Asian food, then Claypot Fusion is the place to go. Reviews of this restaurant are divided between people going "Hey, this is like real Chinese food, it is great." and "I was expecting Chinese food, and this was not what I was expecting".
Yes, Claypot Fusion is not what most people think of when they think of Chinese food, but then there is a lot of Chinese food that isn't. Head here if looking to try something different and authentic when it comes to Chinese food.