The restaurant was completely filled when we arrived (without a booking). The staff politely informed us it would be about a 10-15 minute wait until an available table, so we entertained ourselves in the mean time by perusing the impressive menu on diplay in the window.
Soon enough, we were ushered in and seated , the eight of us hunched over a table intended for a much smaller party. Never mind. We were hungry, there was still a long queue waiting outside, and we were just grateful to be out of the cold.
An artistic self-portrait, taken on an iPad 2 - the perfect answer to when a food blogger forgets to bring her camera to the restaurant (doh!)...
We rattled off a selection of hot and cold dishes from the laminated menu, and within minutes they arrived at our table...all at once!
The jellied pork ear was perfectly crunchy and chewy with cartilage. I kept going back for more despite the searing heat from the tiny, red chillis.
Think the following one may have been tripe. It was very spicy. We Northerners sure love our chilli...and offals!
Some hot dishes to warm the gut: dumpling noodle soup, and mutton broth with 'mo' (a type of Chinese bread)
Sweet and sour lamb (I think...or maybe pork?). Absolutely loved the sauce. I was mopping it up with my share of the 'mo' :D
We ordered some green shallot wraps, not really sure what to expect. They turned out to be filled with cooked vermicelli and thin slices of fatty beef. A bit tasteless, really. It could have done with some sort of sauce, or seasoning. Guess that was why there were squeezie bottles of soy sauce at each table.
And, my personal favourite of the night: hand-made noodles, the "xi bei" way! Tiny, springy pellets of gluten-rich dough in a rich, meat sauce - yum!
The bill came to around $20 per person. Yes, the seating was really cramped, and there was a baby screaming constantly from the left-hand corneer, but you know what? It's dining experiences uch as this that bring back the fondest memories of my home land. I'll take unpretentious, quality food over a Michelin experience any day!
(Well, may be not if someone else paid for me to eat at the latter :D)
Sea Bay Hand-Made Noodle Restaurant
181D Burwood Road, Burwood 2134 NSW
Phone: (02) 9745 2238