I look at my phone and I see that its 7:13 pm and panic sets in, we’ve been lost in conversation and beer for too long. My friends gingerly finish their drinks as they see me rush them, I quickly call the restaurant to let them know we’re running late, I couldn’t bare the disappointment if we missed out on a table. The staff are always friendly and accommodating in Prahran, a little different to their sister Dumplings Bar in the city which is always hard to get a table.
Like herding sheep with a potato gun I manage to get my friends across to Hu Tong’s, it had been a big week for everyone and the weekend wind up was well in action. My friends hand control of the menu to me, which suits me just fine because I already know what to order.
Words can not express the love I have for dumplings… tiny parcels of meat, herbs and veggies that come together in such an awe inspiring way that has me drooling over my keyboard as I type, I’m sure there is a work safe message in there some where…
Soon the table is filled with platters and steam baskets with a culinary array of flavours.
Wontons with Hot Chilli Sauce, Deep-fried Prawn in dry bean curd pastry, Pan fried dumplings, Pork dumplings, Peeking Duck dumpling, Spicy Chicken ribs and my personal favourite Shao-long Bao. It had been a heavy night of drinking to kick off the weekend already so we had a couple of gluttonous rounds of engorging ourselves with these delectable delights. These traditional styled dumpling which span from province to province across china makes the taste and flavours almost seem like a food journey in itself spanning from dumplings from the North, East and South China
The food was winding down but the drinks continued to flow like an ocean, the only thing left on the table was a bed of dried chillies that adorned the chicken ribs we had destroyed earlier. Boys being boys and slightly intoxicated ones at that, an eating challenge was set to eat a tablespoon of the atomic chilli that laid in front of us like a smouldering pit of lava. The deal was set, the first to eat the spoon of death would have the evening graciously sponsored by the rest, and was to be awarded a trophy proudly named “the Danny LaRusso Sweep the leg appreciation award”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Danny LaRusso he is the original Karate Kid…
I also offered a side deal to another friend to pay for him to only have half a teaspoon of chilli knowing that his chilli tolerance of a zinger burger from KFC is too hot. He leaped at the deal and spent a good few minutes trying to get the paper like consistency down only to be hit with a burn that had him finish every drink on the table and leap across 6 guys to run next door to the convenient store and smash a 2L bottle of Chocolate Big M. But that wasn’t the original challenge so he didn’t win the already elusive trophy.
Perhaps it was several beers I had consumed, or maybe it was the knowledge that I already had to pay for 2 meals but I sure as hell wanted that trophy!
I took on the spirit of Danny LaRusso and with the soundtrack of “you’re the best around” playing in my head in what could only resemble an 80’s montage I took on the spoon… the dried chilli had a way of sucking up every last bit of moisture in your mouth, making watering it down a waste of time, and chewing was not an option so like a Seagull devouring a chip that is far to big I began to let it slide down my gullet. the heat and pain was well worth it to walk away with the factitious trophy but I like to imagine it looks something like this…
Be sure to wax on, wax off your way to HuTong Dumpling Bar and you to could earn your very own “All Valley Karate Championship” trophy… Sweep the leg Johnny!