Sunday, 25 August 2019

Return of the dragon yum cha and beer tasting

One Welly on a Plate event I hoped would return after an epic event two years ago was an evening of yum cha and beer tasting. Although most people wouldn't see these as a natural pairing, I was really excited to see Return of the Dragon in the festival events programme. On Friday night, Dragons Restaurant and Garage Project had a full house serving four courses of delicious regional yum cha dishes with matching locally made beer.

A lot has changed in two years and this is now a well organised event. Each course was made up of 3-4 regional dishes and served with a matching beer. There were top ups available, which Mr Weka enjoyed, and entertainment provided by some very cute dragon-style Chinese lions.

Onto the food. The first course was Sichuan themed and waiting on arrival. Here's what we ate from left to right in each photo and the Garage Project beer match. My favourite for each course is marked with an asterisk (*).
  • Hot and spicy shredded chicken salad
  • Chinese style canape with beef, Chinese sausage and vegetables
  • Mixed nuts with spinach *
  • Beer match: Hazy IPA with Mosaic and Motueka 7.2% (not bad for an IPA)
Spicy Sichuan starters
The second course was Cantonese-style dumplings and a delicious mushroom and pork mince bun.
  • Mushroom and pork mince bun
  • Prawn dumpling with golden garlic sand *
  • Pork and peanut dumpling with squid ink
  • Cumin chicken dumpling
  • Beer match: Shaolin Sour dragon pearl jasmine aged sour 6% (pleasant at first but tasted more like vinegar with each sip)
Cantonese dumplings
The third course featured Beijing style food.
  • Crispy jumbo prawn and cuttlefish ball
  • Shredded duck bean curd roll
  • Sweet as BBQ pork bun
  • Crispy prawn beetroot rice rolls *
  • Beer match: Spezial K Kellerbier, unfiltered lager 5.1% (heavy bitter malt flavour - no thanks)
Beijing third course
Finally, dessert. I saved the best for last; the warm sweet cocoa bun was heavenly and the beer match sublime. I also regretted being the sober driver (yes, I literally just sipped each beer twice to sample it) as I could have easily finished off a glass of the 12.5% Super Deluxe beer. It which was rich and warming - the highlight of tonight's beer tasting.
  • Walnut and white chocolate cocoa bun *
  • Sweet-scented osmanthus and coconut jelly (we had to Google osmanthus)
  • Beer match: Super Deluxe bourbon barrel aged dessert stout infused with organic bananas 12.5% (tasted like a rich porter or even a glass of port)
Hong Kong dessert
A great evening of food and beer enjoyed with friends. We'll definitely be back next time.

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