I wasn’t sure if I was ready for lunch right now, but I knew I’d definitely be hungry again by the time I got home; maybe I should get something takeaway to eat at home. I decided to walk into Northbridge to the Asian bakery called New Life Bakery to get some buns for later – a ham and egg bun, sausage bun and red bean bun. We got goodies from New Life Bakery back in April when we went to the William Street Festival.
A notice in New Life Bakery’s window says they are moving from Northbridge to 4/800 Albany Highway in East Victoria Park. They will be closing up the Northbridge shop from mid-August and will reopen in the new location on 20 October.
So I did buy the buns, and a chicken curry puff too. I fully intended to walk straight back up William Street to Perth Train Station to catch the train home, but something made me change my plan. It was this:
Well, maybe not everything in the window – I wasn’t so keen on the octopus – but I love roast duck and hadn’t eaten any for a while.
I stopped and gazed at the Chinese roast and barbecue meats hanging from metal hooks and watched the cleaver-wielding chefs as they chopped up the meats to go on plates or in styrofoam containers with rice and steamed Chinese green vegetables.
Should I go in? The thought of roast duck noodles was getting more tempting by the second. Was I just being greedy? I was holding the plastic bag with Asian buns that were supposed to be my lunch. I walked away, but didn’t get very far. I turned around and walked back to look again at the roast ducks in the window.
I don’t get to Northbridge very often these days. I had to do it. I opened the door. As soon as I stepped into Good Fortune Roast Duck House, the delicious aroma of roast duck hit me and I knew I’d made the right decision. I felt excited by the sound of cleavers on chopping blocks, crunching through skin and crackling, meat and bone. I caught the eye of the woman who looked like the manager, gave her the sign for “Just one” and waited near the entrance until summoned.
It’s a tight squeeze as you wait – there’s a neverending flow of customers and there are always people bunched up around the front of the restaurant – standing at the cash register to pay, waiting for takeaway meals and meats, or waiting in line for a free table so they can join in the eating. I stared into the jaws of a shark on display as I waited.
Good Fortune has the cluttered, brisk, bustling sticky floor-feel of a popular Chinese restaurant that’s been there for years (Billy Lee’s Chinese Restaurant on Roe Street has the same, perhaps “stickier”, feel). You know it’s good because Chinese people eat here, and there’s usually a queue. We all come for the food, not the service.
The decor is vintage Chinese restaurant: the wooden chairs; murky fish tanks; special menu items plastered all over the walls, in English and Chinese – chilli pepper special crab, sea cucumber chicken claypot, lobster with noodles, panfried tooth fish. Waiters are constantly pushing carts loaded with roast meats from the kitchen out the back to replenish the supplies of the chefs chopping non-stop at the front of the restaurant.
I was seated at the only large round table on which three other couples were sitting, strangers awkwardly doing their best not to look at each other. The old Chinese couple to my left slurped noisily on their noodles and sucked vigorously on their duck bones, un-self consciously leaving a pile of bones on the table as they worked through the duck. The couple to my left was enjoying a feast, chopsticks click-clacking as they dug into roast pork and barbecue pork piled high on a dish, with rice, soup and a plate of visibly crisp golden spring rolls. No talking, just eating.
I ordered boneless roast duck noodles, dry style (AU$12.50).
It didn’t take long for my food to arrive, and I knew the awkward moment would come when I started to photograph my food. And now, as I did so, I could feel the people sitting around the table all looking at me curiously. The old Chinese lady sitting to my left stopped eating for just a moment and laughed, though not unkindly. I’m used to it and it doesn’t bother me. As long as no one stops me taking the photos, they can laugh, stare and point all they like.
So…my roast duck (boneless) noodles, dry style – this is gloriously good eating.
I love these toothsome yellow noodles. The boneless duck was more skin than meat, and it glistened with the sheen of delicious duck fat. The duck meat was tender and full of flavour. Hidden under the noodles was steamed Chinese vegetables, mostly choy sum, with still-crisp stems and juicy, slightly bitter leaves. I joined in the noodle slurping. For those who know how much I dislike coriander, yes – I picked out all the coriander.
The roast duck noodles were delicious – they always are – but when I was finished I felt just like how I feel after eating KFC: greasy-lipped and a little guilty. This is definitely not an everyday dish!
As I waited in line to pay at the cash register, I couldn’t help watching the chefs at work again, chopping up more roast duck, roast pork and barbecue pork. The chef on the left was busily chopping up meats to go into the takeaway containers. The chef on the right was chopping up meats for rice and noodle dishes being served in the restaurant. I love watching chefs at work. It’s mouthwatering and mesmerising, even with a full belly. The sight of the succulent chopped pork and duck and all meat juices left on the chopping blocks made me wish I had ordered roast pork and barbecue pork too. Now THAT would’ve been greedy!
With a full tummy, it was time to go home and do some writing. My days off work tend not to be restful, but they are enjoyable. Jac and I ate the savoury and sweet buns later.
I will definitely be back for more Good Fortune.
Good Fortune Roast Duck House
344 William St
Northbridge, WA 6003
Telephone: (08) 9228 3293
Open 10am to 10pm daily – closed on Tuesdays
I had a great day off!