When I first moved to Hobart from Sydney, I was looking for good Chinese and Asian places to shop and eat. It is not an easy task, especially for those who have lived in Asia or bigger cosmopolitan cities like Sydney and Melbourne. Eventually I managed to sniff out a handful of Asian supermarket and spice shops as featured in an earlier post.
I have tried several of the Chinese and Asian places but none of them excites me as much as Me Wah Restaurant in Hobart.
The grandeur entrance of Me Wah is located at 16 Magnet Court, Sandy Bay Road, Hobart, Tasmania. It is guarded by a pair of stone “Fu Lions” (Chinese guardian lions), which is believed to possess mythic protective powers. The pair of lions is a Chinese tradition dated back to the Han Dynasty of 206 BC-220 AD. I was told that the stone lions were specially crafted and imported from either China or Hong Kong, including all the other interior authentic Chinese craftwork; such as rosewood and mother of pearl furniture, glass walls, screens and paintings.
As I walked up to the restaurant and opened the frosted glass door designed in Chinese motif, I was immediately greeted by “Kuan Kung” in a beautiful rosewood altar. Kuan Kung is also known as Kuan Ti, is the Chinese god of war and Chinese gods of wealth. His presence at the front of the restaurant is to protect and defend against all evils, and attract wealth and prosperity to the business.
There is a large bar section separated from the main dining room by a frosted floor to ceiling glass wall in Chinese motifs, specially designed and handcrafted overseas. There are 3 separate private function rooms and a main dining room. Our table of eight was reserved at a far end near the kitchen. I have organised this dinner for work. Most of my guests have never been to this opulent Chinese restaurant before and was delighted with the experience of an authentic Cantonese style cuisine.
I had the pleasure to order and structure an eight course dinner for my guests with the exception of a first course, soup, chose by each of the guest. Stephen Tso, the Restaurant Manager, assisted with the selection and professionally explained to me each of the dishes.
Our first course is a soup; choice selection included Szechuan hot and spicy soup, chicken and sweet corn soup, crab and sweet corn soup and superior shark fin soup. Everyone was very pleased with the soup. The superior shark fin soup was a generous serve with pieces of crab meats.
Szechuan Hot and Spicy Soup
Superior Shark Fin Soup
The second course was steamed Crab Dumplings. The dumpling was soft, smooth and moist with the crab fillings, dipped in Chinese red wine vinegar. A lovely appetiser.
The third and fourth courses was Peking Duck served in two ways. The third course was served with a piece of pancake wrapped in a thin layer of duck meat with skin, a strand of spring onion and cucumber, dipped in sweet Hoi Sin sauce. This was a first experience for all my guests, and they love it! The duck meat was tender with a sweet roasted flavour of the skin, matched with a nice crunched spring onion and cucumber. The pancake was soft that blended well with the ingredients.
The fourth course was San Choy Bow with finely diced pieces of duck meat, chinese shiitake mushroom, bamboo shoots stir fried with onions and sweet Hoi Sin sauce. The ingredients were served in a cup shaped fresh lettuce leaf. The proper way to eat this (which I showed to my guest) was to fold the leaf with the ingredients inside and eat with the hand. That was why, a fresh hand cloth was provided with both the duck courses, to wipe the hand when finished. I found the ingredients too starchy and gluey for holding the ingredients together. I would have preferred less starch being used. However, the flavour of the duck was beautiful.
The fifth course was Sauteed King Prawn in XO Spicy Sauce served on top of homemade egg noodles. This was my favourite course. The king prawn was large, fresh and crunchy. The egg noodles dressed in the XO spicy sauce was blended well, sweet and not too spicy. The flavour and focus was on the fresh prawn and noodle, not overpowered by the XO sauce.
The sixth course was the Double Braised Abalone in Oyster Sauce. The focus on this dish was on the fresh abalone flavour. It was a generous size abalone, soft in texture and yet a bit firm to the bite. It was sweet in the oyster sauce. The abalone was accompanied with a piece of braised shiitake mushroom and a strand of Bok Choy green.
The seventh and eighth courses were served together, Wagyu Beef in Garlic Wasabi Sauce and Special Fried Rice . This was the highlight for my guests. It was a rich dish and a great way to finish up the eight courses. The beef was tender with a nice mild flavour of wasabi. Everyone at the table commented that was the best beef they have ever tasted.
This was not the first time I have been to Me Wah. I chose this restaurant for my work colleagues to celebrate the completion of a project phase for the culture and experience that they would normally not go on their own. I was not disappointed. As a matter of fact, I was very pleased with the entire experience and the experience was no different from the first time I have been there when they were newly opened.
The service provided by Stephen Tso and his team was exceptional and professional to every little detail, including the wine selection and the way they were served (which is normally associated in a fine dining Chinese restaurant).