The perpetual problem: so much to eat, so little time. Here are three places worth checking out if you haven’t already.
Mom Dumpling House, Willetton
I’ve written about the original Mom Dumpling House in East Vic Park before. Mom Dumpling House serves much more than dumplings, and its cuisine is Northeastern Chinese, which has its origins in the region of China known historically as Manchuria, next to Russia and Mongolia.
We’re regulars at East Vic Park, which can get pretty busy for dinner, but lately have been eating at their second location in Willetton, which is more spacious than Mom in East Vic Park and nowhere as busy (I’ll be optimistic from Mom’s perspective and say not yet). The Willetton location on Yampi Way used to be Roxby Thai Restaurant, which is now in O’Connor.
The Mom menu is big – in physical size (a bit unwieldy at the table, to be frank, but with very helpful full colour photographs) as well as content – we’re still working our way through it, though we have a shortlist of favourites that bring great delight and comfort, which we order again and again. As far as I can tell, it’s the same menu at both restaurants. My previous blog posts about Mom Dumpling House in East Vic Park provide more details: August 2012 and October 2014.
If Mom Dumpling House has a weakness, it’s its deep-fried dishes. We’ve had the salt and pepper pork, which was very dry, and most recently with friends, the salt and pepper squid, also dry and loaded with searing hot green chillies but otherwise strangely bland.
Mom Dumpling House
1 Yampi Way, Willetton WA
The original Mom Dumpling House is at 687 Albany Hwy East Victoria Park.
Pacific Rim Plate, Applecross
We’ve been to the Pacific Rim Plate a couple of times now, a Hawaiian fusion cafe. Its address is Canning Highway but it’s actually just off the highway. If you’re driving along Canning Highway, look out for the Chinese restaurant with the words ‘Applecross SK Cuisine’ emblazoned across a black roof – Pacific Rim Plate’s front door (with burgundy awning) opens onto Willcock Street next to the Chinese restaurant.
Most meals can be ordered as W or P. W (wiki wiki) is served with only one side (rice is the default, but you can ask for salad or pasta salad instead). P (plate) comes with rice, salad and pasta salad, a nod to the ‘plate lunch’ in Hawaii, which usually consists of meat or fish plus rice plus macaroni salad. There’s clearly a Japanese influence which you see in little touches like the squeeze of Kewpie mayonnaise on the plates. The chef’s got a talent for sauces, and you are encouraged to select from a tantalising list: Huli Huli BBQ, Tarragon, Spicy Pele, Honey Garlic, spicy sweet Wasabi, Ginger Miso, Teriyaki, ‘The Mix’ (Tarragon and Spicy Pele), Spicy Citrus, TNT (Teriyaki and Tarragon), and Luau Sauce.
We were warned the huli huli BBQ chicken and spare ribs are extremely popular, only available on certain days (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) and tend to sell out, so get there early for those. I’d suggest getting there early anyway, as it’s a pretty small place that fills up quickly – they do a roaring takeaway trade. The huli huli BBQ chicken and ribs combo was the perfect way to enjoy both. Quite maddeningly, there’s a photo of ahi poke included with the other pictures next to the counter where you order, but they haven’t had any on the occasions we’ve eaten there. Looks like I’ll be taking my ahi poke craving back to Hawaii in the next year or so (though I think Jac’s game to get some sashimi grade tuna and have a go at making it herself).
Don’t let the frumpy burgundy awning, cramped entrance, cluttered front counter and the tacky palm tree mural stop you from giving this place a go. This is casual dining at its comforting best.
Pacific Rim Plate
Shop B, 755 Canning Highway. Applecross WA 6153
Closed Sundays, Mondays and public holidays
Ah Beng Kopitiam, Langford
Ah Beng Kopitiam doesn’t have the best location; you can’t really see it from the street when you’re driving by. It’s tucked away in a small quiet shopping centre called Langford Village, with a tiny sign sticking up from the roof. We’ve eaten there a couple of times and it’s been a pretty desolate atmosphere – there’s never been more than two tables occupied each time – including ours.
There’s a lack of refinement, just like home, where the priority is a hearty feed and no one cares that the sliced chicken isn’t neatly lined up on the plate, and you’d be stoked to have homemade durian ice cream for dessert, even if its texture is more ‘ice’ than ‘cream’. We appreciated the cheap and cheerful simple fare and will be back, though we’re truly spoiled for choice with so many good, well-priced Malaysian restaurants in suburban Perth these days.
Ah Beng Koptiam
8/68 Langford Ave, Langford WA 6147
It’s worth noting for my Muslim readers that Ah Beng’s is a halal menu.
Langford Village Shopping Centre is home to another of our favourites, Kanta Japanese Kitchen.