Mr Meng Chongqing Gourmet
Mr Meng was the first opening of Market City’s food court, 1909 Dining. But the name’s probably more familiar to you because it’s owned by Meng Fei, the host of Chinese dating show If You Are the One.
Meng grew up in Chongqing, a Sichuan city famous for its spicy noodle soup. Like his other restaurants (nine in China and one in Melbourne), the Sydney Mr Meng serves the traditional Sichuan-style street food Meng grew up with. Although the restaurant is in a shopping centre it doesn’t feel like it. The space has moody lighting, lots of timber, and along one wall an illuminated screen of Meng and his trademark smile.
The Chongqing spicy noodle is the city’s most famous culinary export. The soup base is pork and chicken bones cooked over many hours, and it has semi-firm, ramen-like wheat noodles. A choice of pork ribs, chicken giblets, stewed beef, intestine and mince pork is then added.
The Zhong shui jiao (Sichuan-style dumplings) are filled with minced pork and topped with a sour, spicy sauce made with soy, chilli and sugar.
There is also the rice ball with sweet rice-wine soup. The glutinous rice balls inside the pudding are chewy, like mochi or balls of unbaked dough. It’s tangy and wine-like even though most of the alcohol has been cooked off.