Dickson is famous as Canberra's Chinatown and the jewel in its crown is the Tak Kee Roast Inn. A no-frills restaurant with an enticing display of golden roast duck and pork hanging in the window, Tak Kee Roast Inn is the oldest Chinese BBQ restaurant in Canberra. The years in business make for efficient service and a quick and delicious meal guaranteed.
The first time I visited, the night was bitterly cold and I managed to get the last table. The place was buzzing even though it was still early but the tables turn over fast so if you don't have a booking, don't despair. While I waited to order, I sipped my complimentary tea and watched a lady ruthlessly wielding her cleaver over the roast ducks and crackling pork chopping the seemingly never-ending portions. Along with the roast duck and pork, Tak Kee's other specialties are Gow Gee and Won Tons so whether you crave duck or dumplings, you're covered.
Duck and wonton noodle soup at the Tak Kee Roast Inn
It's almost impossible to resist the duck so for entree - I ordered the Peking duck rolls. They came out fast and while they aren't elegantly plated, they are succulent and delicious. Next, the roast duck won ton noodle soup is the perfect winter dish. Generous, warm and with the duck flavouring, the simple broth to perfection, this dish could transport you across the world if you closed your eyes. The scrambled egg with prawn and rice arrives glistening and laden with fat, juicy prawns and crisp snow peas. There are no bold, punchy flavours yet this dish is comforting and delicious. The tofu and mixed vegetable hot pot came out piping hot and jam-packed with fresh vegetables, perfectly cooked and with a broth that adds a subtle flavour. This dish is like a warm, healthy hug that just keeps giving.
I have it on good authority that the food here is authentic Cantonese food and you'll be hard-pressed to find the usual Anglo-Chinese restaurant favourites doused in neon-bright sauces. Instead, the meals are comforting and down to earth and best of all, if you can read the language (or if you ask nicely), there are some chef's secret dishes, favourites of ex-pat customers wishing for a taste of home, included on the specials board.
This place is definitely not a fine dining venue - it's busy, crowded and the service is minimal but the food speaks for itself and the constant line of takeaway customers combined with the packed restaurant are a sure sign of how good it is. The prices are very reasonable and the portions are large enough that you'll most likely end up with some food leftover to take home. Its popularity and reputation are well deserved.