I'm a teacher, musician, blogger and uni student living in Sydney and always dreaming about living & experiencing a new corner of the world. Visit my blog at www.youngoldtraveller.wordpress.com.
Published September 4th 2015
Go on a expeditionary dream in Taiwan
A perfect little gem hidden near Chatswood's busy Victoria Ave is Hu's Inn- a Taiwanese restaurant specialising in Xiaochi, or what we commonly know as 'snack food'. Nevertheless, my friend and I found the perfect opportunity to eat at this place for dinner. What pleasantly surprised us was that Hu's Inn still had a substantial amount of customers (though the Inn seats only up to around 20 people, turnovers are very quick!) on a chilly Tuesday night.
Upon walking in, we immediately noticed their street-style decor, from the counter that resembled a food truck to their range of boutique utensils including a post-box. Hu's Inn definitely drew us in with their eccentric yet inviting ambience.
What always happens when I go out to eat is that I struggle to decide on what to order, and Hu's Inn definitely continued my dilemma. Note: They've recently updated their menu too, so there's more endless options to choose from. Mix n match. $9.90 lunch deals. Hu's Inn has it all.
quirky cup, but i had to keep pouring water into it...
Luckily, our food arrived soon after my nose detected aromas from the kitchen. Honestly, the waitress was without a double the most polite and sincere waitress I have ever come across. Every time she delivered food, she would say: "Excuse me" and "Thank you" without hesitation. It didn't even feel like a facade.
We ordered something from their mix n match options, which allowed us to choose either Lu Rou Fan (Traditional Taiwanese Braised Pork Rice) or their Signature Vegetable Rice a range of meats and dairy options. We both opted for Lu Rou Fan. He went for it with fried chicken cutlets, and I chose it with fried tofu. However, what we were forgetting was that other than our rice dishes, Xiaochi is normally shared, which we were both more than happy to do.
The Lu Rou Fan was superb. Having been to Taiwan numerous times before, I hope I can confidently say that I'm an aficionado of fine Taiwanese Xiaochi. Although they are not the healthiest thing to eat (being mildly resembling of pork belly), a rare indulgence in Lu Rou Fan is never harmful. A perfect balance between the meat and the sauce was struck, to the extent that the tantalising smell brought me back to my memories in Taiwan. Lu Rou Fan is sold literally everywhere in Taiwan, but here in Sydney, that was a pretty damn good version too.
For some reason, I can never find the right words to describe Taiwanese-style fried chicken. They contain more spice and are less crummy than our typical pub-style chicken schnitzel. This one was no different. The crunch that filled the air as we took each bite. The piquant flavours that melted in our mouths. This dish was perfect on its own or to accompany rice.
As a dessert dish, we shared a 'Silver Bun with Condensed Milk,' which bore resemblance to mantou. We both enjoyed it as it wasn't as sweet as most dessert dishes at restaurants. In fact, the condense milk was the sweetest part of the dish! Nevertheless, it was a generously filling dish that capped off the night with its aromatic and home-made flavours and smells.
I should also mention that upon walking out, we were farewelled by the waitress AND even the chef. I walked out nodding incessantly, knowing that it was such a welcoming experience that brought me back to the heartiness of Taiwanese cuisine. I'm sure to come back here soon to tap into my nostalgic memories of Taiwan.