I am incredibly excited to have to inform you – that I may have found the best won tons in Melbourne. Of course this is an anecdotal evidence only. No scientific research has been conducted into the availability of won tons in Melbourne. But having had way too many won tons (Cantonese-style prawn and pork dumplings), I’m going to call this as being one of the best I have had.
Grain Asian is one of the many available Chinese cafes situated in the Centro Shopping Centre in Box Hill. It seems to start as a cafe on its own and become so popular that most of its tables spill out into the shopping centre area in the middle. As with the rest of Chinese cafes in Box Hill, it’s noisy and cluttered but damn, have I mentioned how good their won tons are?
(‘Dry’ won ton noodles – $9.80)
The menu seems rather short compared to your typical Chinese cafe menu – a few noodles and rice dishes They also seem to have all-day Hong Kong style breakfast set – including congee (savoury rice porridge) served with Chinese doughnuts (yau ja gwai), hot soy milk drink, steamed rice noodle rolls with prawns (chee chong fun), steamed buns (bao) and lotus sticky rice (lor mai gai). I have tried any of the above as the won tons just kept getting in the way, but one day. I just absolutely love the menu – it feels like being Hong Kong again (except no-one yells at you for failing to understand basic Cantonese or read the Chinese menu.) They also have luncheon meat and scrambled eggs sandwiches (no thanks!) and Hong Kong style tea and coffee. It seems like this is the only place in Melbourne where you can get a breakfast set for $4.50!
I ordered the ‘dry’ won ton noodles – i.e. the noodles were tossed with a soy sauce mixture and with soup served on the side. The won tons were massive (I would say it’s cricket ball size but that will be an exaggeration) and bursting with prawns and fatty porkiness. So good! The noodles itself had a firm bite to it, which I think makes it perfect. It also came with generous amount of bok choy. I recommend you get there very very hungry and plan to skip the next meal because the serving of this noodle is massive. Having said that I do have to pay what I come to think of as the ‘Mini Me Tax’ – which means giving up a portion of whatever I’m eating to Mini Me (who is now 2 and will eat demand to eat anything I’m eating) who will easily polish off about two of these massive won tons and a bit of the noodles. So it works out well.
(Braised beef and won ton noodle soup – $9.80)
Josh decided to go for the braised beef won ton noodle soup – which is very similar to mine – same noodles, same won tons and same bok choy saved for the addition of tender, braised beef cubes. So fatty, so tender and oh-so-delicious. The braising liquid was mild with just a touch of the five spice flavour (as opposed to the strong Taiwanese braised beef I have had at a few other places) but the over all dish was quite good. As mentioned earlier, we have been back twice and we both ended up ordering the same things twice.
Will have to give the other items on the menu a go. But oh the won tons!
Grain Asian (in Box Hill Centro)
Address:Cnr Main & Market Streets, Box Hill VIC 3128 (opposite to the Reject Shop)
Phone: 03 9899 6533
Getting there by Public Transport: Train to Box Hill Station (Belgrave/Lilydale line). The cafe is in the same building as the train station.