Any yum cha regulars will be familiar with cheung fun – a dish delivering delicately steamed rolls of rice noodle filled with prawn, pork or beef, and doused with plenty of sweet soy sauce right before it’s served. Cheung fun is the headline dish at Zetland’s Taste of Canton, and it’s attracting weekend queues.
“It’s food from my hometown,” owner Lingqi Yang tells Broadsheet. “I grew up in the Cantonese area of China in Foshan, Guangdong. I would eat rice rolls with soy sauce for breakfast before I went to school.”
It’s this memory of home that Yang has looked to recreate at her new eatery, which occupies a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it corner spot on Epsom Road that’s also occupied by a car wash.
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“I noticed that in the area there’s no one making fresh cheung fun, and I really miss the taste of it,” she says. “I thought, why don’t I start selling traditional Cantonese street food in Sydney?”
Unlike steamed rice noodle rolls found under stainless steel cloches at yum cha, the slurp-inducing plates of cheung fun at Taste of Canton are made to order. Yang’s thin sheets of rice noodle are made using a runny batter of rice flour, tapioca starch and wheat starch, which is poured into a shelf in a steam cabinet and cooked for a minute and a half. According to Yang, you’ve got a good rice noodle roll if “it’s thin enough, it’s soft and it’s chewy”. She adds that it took 40 trials before she perfected her recipe.
Opt to have your serve of cheung fun as is, with no filling – which is Yang’s personal preference – or with minced pork or beef, egg, prawn or Chinese barbeque pork, then additional toppings like spring onions, lettuce or corn.
After choosing a filling, diners make their way to a self-serve station to decide between ladling a classic sweet soy sauce or Shenzhen-style garlic and mushroom soy sauce over their silky noodles. (We recommend asking for the vibrant house-made chilli sauce too, which brings soybeans, garlic and the slight tang of pickled chillies to the mix.)
Along with cheung fun, there’s a small selection of other Cantonese dishes, including steamed siu mai, lotus-leaf-wrapped sticky rice with chicken, black bean spare ribs, pork and preserved egg congee, and a range of fluffy white sweet and savoury steamed buns.
Yang shares her love of Sydney’s plentiful Vietnamese food scene – specifically the casual atmosphere, affordability and quality. “I just think we can do the same when it comes to Cantonese food that’s not yum cha, which is a bit more refined.”
Taste Of Canton
76 Epsom Road, Zetland
0478 057 049
Mon to Sun 11am–midnight