Every single episode of If You Are The One (on SBS Viceland) has a viewership of more than 50 million. The cult Chinese dating show revolves around one hopeful male suitor who presents himself before 24 women single women in the hope of scoring a date – while host Meng Fei mercilessly roasts him.

Meng, born in the south-western Chinese municipality of Chongqing, opened Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet in Nanjing in 2014. Now the chain has opened its first international store, in Melbourne.

Visitors to the restaurant are hit with the strong aroma of chilli oil. It’s a petite venue, with booths, timber tables and banquettes seating two and four, all surrounded by a warm palette of reds, purple and tan.

The signature Chongqing spicy noodles; a braised pork rib noodle soup; and wontons in spicy soup all come in at under $15. A collection of imported Chinese soft drinks and tea is on offer. Meng’s favourite dishes are burning dry noodle, and noodles with peas and pork mince.

Helpfully, dishes have a codified spice rating from one to five stars. Chongqing, famous for its hotpot, churns out some of the spiciest noodles in China. And we really mean it: even the one-star dishes at Mr Meng have quite the kick.

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Updated: January 28th, 2022

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