North West China Food Trail

1. Lamb skewers at Lamb & Cumin

Level 2, Hawker Lane Westfields Chatswood. 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Westfield Chatswood has a couple of tasty options in Hawker Lane on level 2 of the shopping centre. There's Lamb & Cumin which serves, you guessed it, lamb and cumin on skewers. Order a serve of lean or classic lamb on skewers and some flatbread (basically flour tortillas) and fashion yourself a delicious rolled up sandwich. These lamb skewers come in lots of five and in three levels of spice (non-spicy, mild and hot). The lamb is wonderfully juicy and tasty. Lamb skewers come from the Xinjiang area of Chian in the North West and a popular street food. If lamb isn't your thing there's also chicken, beef, tofu and squid.

Tip: Add more chilli once you try it, if you like it super spicy.


2. Mo Burger at Noodle Warriors

Level 2, Hawker Lane Westfields Chatswood. 1 Anderson St, Chatswood NSW 2067

A few doors down Noodle Warriors sells "Mo burger" which is short for "Roujiamo" burger, a filled sandwich from the Shaanxi region of China in North West China. While you may know Shaanxi for the terracotta warriors, it is also famous for street food like Roujiamo. Some say that Roujiamo is the world's oldest sandwich and it dates back to the Zhou dynasty in ancient China from 1046 BC. Pork is the traditional filling for roujiamo but there's also lamb and beef. It’s soft pork belly is the most popular and is served chopped up, along with green onions and just the right amount of sauce. At $6.50 each they're the perfect snack or light lunch!


3. Noodles at Xin Jiang Hand Made Noodle

1/84 Archer St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Our next stop is Xin Jiang Hand Made Noodle which is a destination in itself as you up the stairs to the rhythmic thudding of noodles being made and chopped. All of their noodles are proudly handmade and cut or stretched fresh to order. The dining room is straight from a Wes Anderson movie with green curtains and a charming, retro interior. Help yourself to cutlery from the buffet table of equipment and go wild on the noodles and dumplings here.

We're back in Xinjiang here with big bowls of noodles topped with lamb. The owner tells me that everyone that orders these noodles loves them. She's not wrong, they're absolutely delicious and are like biang biang thick belt noodles that are handmade and each noodle is different. The lamb just melts in the mouth, and the noodles have a delightful, chewy texture.

For something different try the Ding Ding Chao Mian chopped noodles. These are like tiny gnocchi style noodles that show the influence of Xinjiang's place on the Silk Road. Here they chop the noodles up fresh with a cleaver for every order. The chewy texture is the key to their appeal and they're paired with lamb and vegetables like onion, celery, tomato for a delicious sauce.

Tip: They take a break in the afternoon and open back up at 5pm (despite what the signs say)


4. Skewers at Skewers Go

77 Archer St, Chatswood NSW 2067

Skewers Go on Archer Street specialises in meat skewers. The menu is a choose your own adventure – for the adventurous you can try aorta, ligaments or feet or for the less adventurous its chicken wings, prawns and teriyaki chicken. I started with ox tongue with its springy texture and work my way around beasts. I ordered everything hot and it was all hot and spicy, so just a little warning about heat levels.

I love chicken knees for their crunchy white bone texture. They're not for everyone but they're tasty with some juicy meat and white bone. There's two types of lamb kidneys, with the smaller ones that are wrapped in meat. They're absolutely tasty and you're talking to one someone that doesn't really like kidneys at all. The flavour isn't too different from lamb, and kidneys usually have a smell that I don't love, but these are very tasty and luscious.

A must-order is the grilled beef bone marrow served split in half and with two pieces of toasts and a flavour-intense spicy, salty soy dipping sauce. One suggestion is to order one serve of the bone marrow per person because you do end up with two small toast's worth and it's so delicious you will want more. Don't be alarmed by the grilled corn cheese that comes with colourful cupcake sprinkles and a cheese concoction that is super tasty side to your meat skewers.

Tip: The bone marrow is a must order. The plastic tray that they give you is for them to place the cooked skewers on. The little plastic lined mini metal canister is for the spent skewers.


5. Peking Duck at Mr Fat Duck Peking restaurant

172 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067

Technically Peking duck originated in the former capital Nanjing, in the province of Jiangsu in the East of China. When the imperial court moved to Beijing during the Ming Dynasty they brought this duck with them and now it's most commonly associated with Beijing where countless restaurants offer this wonderful dish.

Make sure to book at Mr Fat Duck. It's not a huge restaurant but it's consistently full even on a Sunday night. The Peking Duck is $88 and for that you get 2 courses. The first course is a whole duck carved up with the meat and skin, a dozen pancakes, cucumber and spring onions and a very delicious sauce that really brings the whole pancake together as the duck itself is quite lightly seasoned.

For the second course you can choose between stir fried noodles, fried mixed vegetables or duck bone soup. I choose the noodles and they're chewy and tasty and a perfect place to finish off our food tour!


Written by Not Quite Nigella
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