Until visiting New Bo Wa in Moree, I’d never seen people eating spring rolls with knives and forks before. I’d never imagined this as a possibility.
Here I was in northern New South Wales carrying out serious investigative journalism (“Do you eat with chopsticks or a fork?”) for ABC iview show Chopsticks or Fork?, and I’d been bested by diners who’d introduced knives into the Chinese food-eating game. Knives.
One reason why you don’t need knives when you eat Chinese food is because the food has been chopped, sliced and diced into bite-sized pieces before cooking. I try not to psychoanalyse this too much (did our parents not trust us to have knives at the table?); it clearly didn’t matter to the happy table at New Bo Wa who’d “carved” out some time to celebrate a 70th birthday, and had been dining there for 30-something years.
Did you know there’s such a thing as roast-pork laksa?
Maybe you’re from Darwin, and you’re like, “That’s such old news! Everyone knows that Happy Garden’s been doing roast-pork laksa for years!” Well, it’s new to me, and it makes me so happy that at least once a day I take a moment to acknowledge this wonder.
You might’ve heard before that laksa is big in Darwin, and I’m not just talking about the portions. Cafes serve laksa, and you can even have it for breakfast. That’s all well and good (great, actually – there should definitely be more breakfast noodle action), but when you pair laksa with fresh, made-in-house roast pork, complete with crackling… Seriously. Why do I live so far from Darwin?
As well as roast pork, Happy Garden roasts its own barbeque pork and roast duck, which you can order alongside its East Timorese-Hakka-Portuguese-inspired Chinese dishes.
Eating a deep-fried ice-cream can make you feel eight years old again
When was the last time you had deep-fried ice-cream? If it’s been a while for you like it has for me, I’m here to report that eating deep-fried ice-cream is the closest I’ve ever come to time travel.
At New Bo Wa, I tapped through the deep-fried-cake-crumb crust with my little teaspoon, carefully scooped out some ice-cream, and dipped it into the syrupy strawberry sauce. With that first bite, I felt like I was eight years old again; it had been that long since I’d had one.
Also, did you know there are two types of deep-fried ice-cream? There’s one made with cake crumbs, and there’s one made with A SLICE OF BREAD. You’ll be happy to know that if you like yours made with a slice of bread, Raymond’s at Malua Bay has Nutella as a topping option. It’s an invention of Emily Ng, Raymond’s daughter, who left a 10-year marketing job in Sydney to help him run his restaurant after it burned down in the 2019 bushfires. Emily’s logic? “I like bread, and I like Nutella.” Who can argue with that?
Comedian Jennifer Wong is the presenter of Chopsticks or Fork? a six-part series on Chinese restaurants in regional Australia, now showing on ABC iview.