Arthur Kuan-Lung Chu’s family founded Mother Chu’s, a tiny and once-loved vegetarian Taiwanese restaurant in Haymarket. His grandma, mother Chu, and uncle Paul Chun-Po, left the business some years ago, but Chu continues their legacy at Hungry Paulie. Chu’s Eastwood market-stall restaurant (in Eastwood’s new outdoor food market) has a reputation for the same things that made Mother Chu’s great.
At seven every morning Chu wheels the restaurant’s cart down to the street. By this stage he’s already spent three hours handling dough and pots of stewing rice, and the cart is stocked with a bubbling pot of congee, sushi-like glutinous rice rolls and a variety of Taiwanese bready snacks.
If you’re ordering congee, get Chu’s homemade youtiao as a dipping tool; it’s a “Chinese doughnut”. If not, try shāo bǐng (unleavened, flaky sesame-topped bread buns) or one of Taiwan’s most popular street snacks: hújiāo bǐng (a doughy, crunchy-edged bun filled with heavily peppered pork and shallots).
Once the morning rush is over the roaming cart retreats to the market space where Chu switches his attention to his beef broths and noodle making. Chu’s soup recipe is based on those of Taiwan’s modern soup makers; he uses pork tail bones, chicken feet, beef shin bones, apples, carrot, tomato and white radish.
Chu’se don-like rice bowls are made with pork-fat-infused rice topped with shards of crackling and shallots. And there are sides of pungent seaweed, garlicky beef stomach and chilli-oil-braised pork ears.