Crown Palace

495 Burwood Hwy
Vermont South, VIC 313

Happy Chinese New Year! To usher in the year of the dragon, which is seen by many Chinese to be the most auspicious year in the lunar calendar, dumplings must be pleated, phone calls to overseas relatives must be made, and a big dinner must be had. We were originally going to eat at The Treasure Restaurant just up the road from our house, which not only does excellent yum-cha, but delicious a la carte fare too. Shame they were closed. So we turned around and drove to Crown Palace instead. 
The interior of this big hulking (and pink) restaurant may seem empty, but don’t let that deceive you – the take-away section is where the action is at. Most people who come in don’t go further than the glistening ducks and slabs of pork hanging on the hooks by the entrance. Some of my mum’s co-workers drive over half an hour just to get the roast pork from this place. It’s apparently THAT good.
Seafood and Beancurd Soup ($5.5pp)
 As soon as we have ordered, the unnecessary cutlery on our tables were whisked away, and quickly replaced with a basket of prawn crackers, and steaming bowls of Seafood and Beancurd Soup ($5.5pp). Unsurprisingly, the soup was thickened with cornstarch and laced with wisps of egg and quivering cubes of tofu. Surprisingly, the soup was actually chicken-based, which honestly wasn’t a big deal considering that it was packed with umami goodness. I think we all would have liked to have seen more seafood, but it was still a joy to encounter the tender morsels of scallop and prawn.
Eggplant and Minced Pork in Fish Soy Sauce Hot Pot ($18.8)
Rice ($2.5pp)
 The dishes started parading onto the table very quickly at this point, which is to be expected given the emptiness of the restaurant. The Eggplant and Minced Pork in Fish Soy Sauce Hot Pot ($18.8) was the first to arrive. It was saucy and flavoursome, with slivers of pickled vegetables adding crunch and saltiness to the sweetness of the eggplant. It is best eaten piled on top of steaming mouthfuls of rice ($2.5pp), which came in a daggy yet cute plastic tub.
Sweet and Sour Pork ($20.8)
 We had originally wanted to try their legendary roast pork, but it was unfortunately sold out (though in hindsight we should have seen it coming). So instead we yielded to my sister’s request of Sweet and Sour Pork ($20.8). These weren’t bad; hot and crispy-enough, but hardly groundbreaking. 
Deep Fried Flounder in Spicy Salt ($25.8)
 No Chinese New Year meal is complete without fish, and our catch of the day was a whole Deep Fried Flounder in Spicy Salt ($25.8). The best part of this dish wasn’t the sweet chunks of fish under the deep fried exterior, but picking the golden crispy bits off the bone. The fried onions on top were good enough to eat with a spoon, and the scattering of red chillies provided a fiery nip if you happen to find one.  
The serving sizes here are good, and the food is decent and probably fairly reliable. Regardless, I think we’ll still be heading to The Treasure for both our yum-cha and dinner needs. I am still curious about their roast pork though.
Rating: 11.5/20 – 50% more average.

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