Time has flown since The Flying Winemaker started production mid year. We’ve popped the cork on 1983 vintages in Victoria, pre war bottles from the 40s in Hong Kong, played Bocce and raised ‘prost’ with Prosecco in the King Valley and caught up with inspired winemakers in India. So I guess it’s time I caught up on writing about it!
Before we get to the craziness of India and jet setting across the globe, Victoria was the first adventure for The Flying Winemaker Series 1. But it didn’t start with wine at all but rather mountains of food with the very entertaining and endearing Asian food guru Tony Tan.
Tony took us on a gastronomical eye-opening excursion in the eastern suburb of Box Hill, where a diverse Asian community has laid down roots and brought with them a diversity of cuisine that transports diners across the globe plate by plate.
And there was no shortage of plates at Dumpling King where their pastry wrapped morsels of goodness were indeed fit for royalty. Xiao long bau, Beijing dumplings, Spring onion pancake (sounds strange but it was amazing), spicy Szechuan dumplings… oh so good my mouth is watering. Authentic and not expensive either, I love places like that (and it seems Tony does too, he goes to the best restaurant around the country and the world but I really love that he takes us to a local place like this).
Just when we’d waded through the delectable dumplings, tough work we happily set out stomachs too, there was more food – seriously, so much food. The very kind owners were showing us true Chinese hospitality. They brought out a phenomenal roasted duck with an amazing glaze and a salt like sprinkle that would make you weak at the knees, BUT the best dish was something they called Dragon Head meatballs, I think, holy mother of cooking these were to die for – go there, order them, enough said. I didn’t even get a photo, I just devoured them, actually I did get one of the window advert so I wouldn’t forget, the might look like rissoles but Dale Kerrigan from The Castle never tasted anything like these!
The trials and tribulations of filming meant no afternoon naps after obscene amounts of steamed and fried food parcels – there was more work to be done and TV to be made. So off it was to Dainty Sichuan a place that has received cult like status at it’s other restaurants and this was their newest establishment specializing in hot pots.
The aroma as soon as we walked in the doors of Dainty Sichuan was intoxicating, they go through chilies here quicker than pasta in an Italian restaurant or beer at Aussie pub. The produce is nothing short of top notch, the highest grade Wagyu beef and an array of meats and vegetables that was simply mind blowing.
Needless to say when filming was done and Eddie had chatted to Tony about his passion for food, the authenticity of Asian food in Victoria and the intricacies of burning and numbing sensations brought on by the Sichuan chilies… the crew destroyed the hot pots! Oh if only I lived closer this place would definitely be a regular haunt for me, divine!
But like a home shopping network ad, wait there’s still more… no not steak knives or a double order if you dial now but another restaurant. Dinner was yet to come and it was at one of the most amazing Cantonese restaurants in Australia.