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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Floating Yum Cha

"Spring Rolls” into the Asian Food Festival in Melbourne for the whole month of September. This includes 30 participating restaurants and a myriad of events that further conspire to celebrate the great Asian cuisine.

One of the events was the “Floating Yum Cha” – lunch on a cruise around Melbourne rivers onboard the Lady Cutler Showboat. This boat particularly caters to entertainment, with a bar, club lounge and dance floor on the main deck, and a dining area on the upper deck, but for this event’s purpose all decks were converted to dining areas. Guests met up at the Waterfront City in Docklands at 12 noon where the boat waited patiently, even ran 30 minutes late for the last of the guests to arrive. The safety routine was demonstrated, then the cheerful captain led us on to the cruise.

The Yum Cha was quite a disappointment as it was not the expected typical way of having one. We were expecting trolleys with the dim sum being served around, however we were advised to go up to the main deck where the yum cha buffet table is. For good measure, table numbers were called up to take their turn for an organized manner. As there were quite a number of people onboard, the impulse is to avoid the subsequent queue and take as much as you can. And with the boat leaving quite late, the hungry ones are sure to devour quite everything in sight in one go. The selection is also quite limited, there were two small tables – one for the steamed dumplings, one for the fried. There were noodles, steamed buns, sesame balls, and jelly (with lychee, but the red jelly somewhat tasted of cough syrup) and mango pudding, which was not bad. Green tea was served and it came in tea bags in a pot as opposed to loose leaf tea, and were served lukewarm most of the time, but the pots that needed refilling were attended to immediately.

The cruise is quite relaxing and allows a good tour of Melbourne – Williamstown, St. Kilda, Port Melbourne all came to view at one point, but most of the time it is the industrial face with berths, sailboats, yachts, even the gigantic shipping liners with overhead chains creaking as the shipping containers were being transported from one point to another. The afternoon turned out to be quite chilly with a hint of rain, so one could either sit outside the deck to catch some breeze, or stay inside the deck.

Perhaps as a tourist attraction and for yum cha novices, this would be an acceptable experience. However, if you like your yum cha the usual way, better to head off to your favorite restaurant to have it. From this experience, it appears that a cruise and yum cha are best done separately.

[ On another note, (not in connection with the floating yum cha) someone wrote about his yum cha dining experience here ]


Those Who Stopped By

Scribe's Notes

This pitstop is where incoherent ramblings seem to have meaning, where things or events are thought of and assessed, where great things are documented and perhaps any not-so-good happenings are written down in attempt to be forgotten!

So from the diversely abstract to the intensely specific, it's off to making tracks, and it is here where it stops for a thought or two.

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