A lobster feast at Golden Globe Seafood Restaurant, Burwood

by Forager on May 9, 2010

If you saw my last post, you’d know that it was my birthday recently. Well, it was also my mother’s as this year her birthday fell on a date 2 days before mine. How is that possible? Well, she celebrates her birthday by the lunar calendar – the traditional Chinese calendar that shifts every year in relation to the Western calendar (which explains why Chinese New Year is on a different day or even month each year). There are complications with this method, as I don’t follow the lunar calendar and every year I come perilously close to missing my parents’ birthdays. What makes the inevitable guilt-trip even worse if I do miss their birthday(s), is that there is no hope for redemption since they consider it very unlucky to celebrate the birthday after the day has passed. You can celebrate it in advance, but never, ever, once it has passed. I learned this the hard way when, one year, I missed my father’s birthday.  My father waited until I realised my mistake, then announced loudly to the rest of my family that from that day forth he would change his birthday traditions and celebrate it by the western calendar, for my sake, since I can’t get it right. Well, their lesson worked as now make sure I consult the lunar calendar every year.

But for all the complaining I do about my parents, they’re really not that bad. But if you read this post, or this one, or even this one – you’d be forgiven in thinking they’re awkward, antisocial, semi-sadistic traditional Chinese folk with more belief in superstition than science. And in many ways, that’s true. But, really they’re not that bad – they’re just really different. They don’t share emotions openly through conversation. They’re true Chinese folk through and through and they converse and embrace using the subtle language of food.

Take for example my mother’s birthday. My father announced that he wanted to treat her to a feast and specifically, lobster. Why is this unusual or even special? Well, because neither of my parents like lobster. My mother isn’t much of a fan and is worried about the cholesterol content and my father is mildly allergic to all the tasty crustaceans. But guess whose eyes light up at the mention of lobster? So, without explicitly saying so, voluntarily choosing lobster is my parent’s way of saying they like seeing me happy. Not that they’d say that though – that’s just not the done thing.

So my parents, the Co-pilot and I all convened at Burwood for lobster at Golden Globe Seafood Restaurant (which incidentally is just a few doors down from Golden Stream Chinese Restaurant… I can’t help but chuckle every time I see their sign). We’ve chosen this restaurant because the last time we came, they has a crab special that impressed our taste buds and our wallets.

Like most typical suburban Chinese restaurants, the decor is predictable with starched white tablecloths, liberal splashes of red and gold everywhere, and a love affair with fluorescent lighting and fish tanks. We spot the lobsters immediately, and there are some enormous specimens peering at us from the tanks. But luckily for the nervous critter in the photo below, we were after a smaller lobster.

Despite my father’s insistence that there were crab and lobster specials at the restaurant, I couldn’t spot any in the menu. Then he pointed out the specials written in Chinese: “lobster $28/500g” (weighed in the old Chinese measurement “jin” which is roughly 500g). That’s barely any markup from fish market prices. That is a bargain and a great incentive to learn to read Chinese!

Lobster stares back

The one that got away

We chose a small 1.2kg lobster, enough for the 4 of us and sent him away with the waiter to be cooked with ginger and shallots. Minutes later, the transformed lobster re-appeared on out table. The flesh was perfectly cooked and tender – another reason why we chose a smaller lobster as the larger ones tend to get tough with size and age. I dived in and slowly savoured each delicious bite, my parents smiling at our combined murmurs of satisfaction.

Lobster ginger shallots

Lobster with ginger and shallots, market price ($28/500g)

The next course was roasted pigeon. We cast aside jokes about the possible origin of the pigeon and tucked in. The skin was amazingly crispy, savoury and tasty without any of the gamey flavours that can sometimes accompany pigeon. For those not familiar to pigeon (or squab as it’s called in English cuisine), it’s not too dissimilar to quail.

Roasted pigeon

Crispy roasted pigeon, $18.80

The sauteed cod fillets with vegetables that came next was excellent. The cod fillets were sweet, juicy and flaked away with the lightest touch. The vegetables were amazingly fresh, the snow peas crunching audibly in our mouths. But for almost $30? Tasty, but not the best value.

Stir fried cod fillets and veges

Sauteed cod fillets and vegetables, $28.80

The setup of a tabletop cooker signaled the imminent arrival of the lamb hot pot. The bubbling and spitting hot pot was the perfect antidote to the cold wintery weather beyond the restaurant doors, so it’s not too much of a surprise when my parents explain that the Chinese eat lamb because it warms the blood and increases circulation. The hot pot was so moreish – the lamb being still on the bone and full of marrow goodness was very tasty and the soup laden with meaty and aromatic flavours was rich, thick and savoury – more like a curry than a soup. This was served with a generous heaped plate of fresh, raw vegetables and a pungent but tasty fermented white bean curd dipping sauce.

Lamb hot pot

Lamb hot pot, $36.80

The last dish was mixed braised vegetable and mushrooms with bamboo piths – one of our family favourites. The flavour is subtle and simple, but it’s the melee of contrasting textures – the soft champignons; crunchy baby corn, bamboo slivers, and bok choy; delicate, crispy white, wood ear fungus and bamboo pith that is the most delightful. Especially the bamboo pith. I love that stuff! It’s soft, squishy, crunchy and holey – like a fishnet stocking.

Mushroom and bamboo fungus stir fry

Braised assorted vegetables with bamboo pith, $19.80

All the dishes we tried were tasty and we felt the freshness and flavours were generally of a higher calibre than most suburban Chinese restaurants. But almost all the restaurant patrons are here for the lobster – at least all the Chinese patrons are as they can read the prices on specials board written in Chinese. Word about the lobster special seems to have spread and all around us lobster is being ordered – lobster with ginger and shallots, salt and pepper lobster and lobster sashimi seem to be the crowd favourites.

And did it please us? It was tasty and met our expectations and I was certainly satisfied with my belly full of lobster. And that seemed to make my parents happy too.

Golden Globe Seafood Restaurant

206-208 Burwood Road, Burwood, (02)9715-5988

Open from 10am – 3pm for yum cha; till late for dinner.

Foodie in the know:

The restaurant has changed hands since we were there last, but it seems the restaurant has retained their standing crustacean specials board and the locals are well aware of it. If you’re crab or lobster fan – it’s worthwhile calling up and finding out what the daily special is and getting some fellow crustacean lovers together to make the trek out to Burwood.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 mademoiselle délicieuse May 9, 2010 at 9:44 pm

I love bamboo piths too! Something I always try to order when we eat out with family as it’s too laborious to prepare at home.
.-= mademoiselle délicieuse´s last blog ..Coco Chocolate, 30 Dec 2009 =-.

2 chocolatesuze May 10, 2010 at 12:43 am

aw <3 haha thats so cute that your parents ordered lobster for you!
.-= chocolatesuze´s last blog ..adriano zumbo’s 2010 winter collection macarons =-.

3 Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella May 10, 2010 at 5:46 am

So true, so true about Chinese families. They’re such funny entities! The lobster looks delicious – we like the order it with XO chilli sauce or when we really don’t give a damn about cholesterol and fat, in a garlic butter sauce. But that leaves us feeling a bit last supperish as it’s so, so rich!
.-= Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog ..Alice In Wonderland Cupcakes & 10 Tips for Cupcake Decorating from Planet Cake! =-.

4 Steph May 10, 2010 at 7:13 am

Wow that is really great value! I always knew I was missing out on something by not being able to read those chinese signs on the wall of restaurants! Love crispy roast pigeon and haven’t been able to find a good one in Sydney, might check this out!

5 Ellie (Almost Bourdain) May 10, 2010 at 9:31 am

Food looks delicious. We are spoilt of choice for places to eat in Australia. There are so many good places I have yet to visit.
.-= Ellie (Almost Bourdain)´s last blog ..Potato Croquettes (Crocchette di Patate) – Light of Lucia =-.

6 OohLookBel May 10, 2010 at 9:46 am

Your meal is just like the ones I have with my family, and aren’t they good (the meals, that is). $28/500g seems reasonable, and I think a lot of Chinese people have lobster when it’s cheap – it does look delicious, though!
.-= OohLookBel´s last blog ..Red Onion Jam with sausages and pseudo-mash =-.

7 Conor @ HoldtheBeef May 10, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Mmmm fishnet stocking, love that stuff too! I find your parents intriguing, and love reading about them. Might be too scared to meet them though, unless I can learn Chinese beforehand :)

Golden Stream! Tee hee!
.-= Conor @ HoldtheBeef´s last blog ..Subha Aluth Avuruddhak Wewa =-.

8 Sophia May 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm

This is so much food for four people! Haha but I’m sure you guys finished it off

9 Sara (Belly Rumbles) May 10, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Isn’t it funny, I wont celebrate a birthday before it happens, I regard it as bad karma.

All the dishes just delicious.
.-= Sara (Belly Rumbles)´s last blog ..Mothers’ Day lunch at Engima aka the riddle of the missing “lobster”. =-.

10 The Ninja May 11, 2010 at 7:02 pm

Shengri kuai le.

The language of food, like any other, takes time and nuance to learn. Sad the day will be if difference disappears…

11 L-bean May 11, 2010 at 10:54 pm

Mmm…sashimi lobster. I think I will have to celebrate my aging 3 months early this year for no other reason than to benefit from the good kharma.
I’m also putting a vote in for your parents. Different and great :)

12 foodwink May 12, 2010 at 10:29 pm

The crispy pigeons look amazing – exactly what I’ve been looking for! And the Chinese in me agrees with you that the cod and vegie dish is overpriced :)
.-= foodwink´s last blog ..8 Hours in Macau =-.

13 Forager May 16, 2010 at 12:10 am

Hey Madamoiselle delicieuse – You know what – I’ve never tried preparing them at home. I don’t even think I know what they look like in stores. Are they dehydrated? Will have to check this out now!

Hey Chocolatesuze – Yeah. They’re good with shoving food in my face in the place of love.

Hey Lorraine – Ah yes, sis. You’d know all about those crazy Chinese families.

Hey Steph – I know! I’m in the same boat. Discrimination against the Chinese illiterate!

Hey Ellie – There are so so many places I’d love to try. That’s just in the city! The suburbs have even more gems!

Hey Belle – Specials and lobster will definitely draw in the Chinese. We love a bargain!

Hey Conor – Hehehe – golden stream. Someone should do mandatory checks and suggestions when business names are registered!

Hey Sophia – Oh. We were stuffed, but of course it made for very tasty leftovers!

Hey Sara – No way! Why – you could be an honorary Chinese person!

Hey Ninja – er, excuse my phonetics but “xie xie ne!”

Hey L-bean – Woah. I wouldn’t say “great”, definitely different though :)

Hey Foodwink – Definitely. The value gene must be a universal Chinese one!

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