Billy Kwong – Surry Hills, Sydney

IMG_3242My view on eating insects has been completely changed after this eating experience at Billy Kwong with L. I have never been an adventurous eater – things like deep fried starfish and goat’s testicles never really appealed to me… But Billy Kwong has changed me.

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After looking at the extensive menu at Kylie Kwong’s Surry Hills eatery and being hopelessly bad at decision-making when it comes to food, L and I decided to go all out and just get Kylie’s Banquet ($95 per person). The banquet is a complete surprise – you don’t know what you’ll get, or how much you’ll be getting. However, you can be pretty certain that some of the staple dishes will be on it. Another choice you get is whether or not to include fried crickets in your meal. After a quick deliberation via eye-contact with L, we both came to the conclusion: “Go for it. What’s there to lose?” And this is the part where I admit to you that crickets are actually really quite tasty.

  • What we ate:

Our meal began with Home-style Chinese pickles with crispy wonton and sichuan pepper. The flavour of the pickles wasn’t overwhelming, a great palate cleanser to prepare you for the meal. Next came the Steamed oyster with ginger and shallots. As I am not an oyster fan, this wasn’t my favourite course but I love the Cantonese way of cooking with just soy, ginger and shallots. Works well with fish and scallops as well!

Next we had the crickets!!! Fried wonton with crickets (inside and perched on top of the dumpling) with sweet chili sauce. If you go to Billy Kwong, I really do recommend having the crickets and being adventurous! Another dish of dumplings followed: Steamed vegetable dumplings with tamarind and chili – always a good staple. The crunchy salt bush pastry with chili sauce and tamarind is a variation on the typical pastry you’d find at yum cha. Salt bush is a native Australian plant.

To begin the more main-course-style dishes we had the Beef Brisket rice noodle roll with black bean. Super tasty, like an incredible spring roll with long stringy meat. San Choy Bao is always a fun dish – try and eat it without spilling it all over yourself! We also received a generous portion of the Steamed filled of snapper (fish of the day) which came with sides of rice and steamed greens. And finally – the famous Crispy-skin duck with quandongs and orange sauce – definitely the signature dish of this restaurant. By this time we were so full we could hardly eat much of this! But it was great to see a degustation menu where each course was larger than bite-size. To finish off, we were served some fresh fruit.

I definitely recommend getting the banquet menu to try out all the best dishes at Billy Kwong. The meal lasted over 3 hours, but to be honest, with great company and such great food you hardly notice the time pass.

Billy Kwong
Shop 3, 355 Crown Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010
http://www.kyliekwong.org/BillyKwongs.aspx

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