Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gold Leaf Sunshine

The weekend could have gone either way.  It started with me getting up at 5.00 a.m. to study, just as Mr Baklover was getting home from a big one.  Nothing says "I love you" like a big, snoring lump on Saturday morning, while the kids clamour for pancakes and the paper sits accusingly in its plastic wrap, unread.  Rather than become bitter, I decided to meet Dad for yum cha.  This had the unintended and wonderful effect of raising Mr B from his slumber, and we headed for Gold Leaf Sunshine.

Get here early if you want a parking spot.  To enter from the parking lot, you walk down a covered walkway that hugs the building, which reminds me of a serene Buddhist temple.

The atmosphere inside is far from serene, though.  It's warm and full of life, and the low ceiling bristles with chandeliers.  The trolleys duck and weave through the narrow aisles between the tables, dodging the constant flow of patrons in and out as the tables turn over as fast as you can say...

Duck tongues with jellyfish

... quack?  Dad loves these.  Eating the placenta of an embryonic duckling recently was enough duck for me, though.

Har gow

These prawn dumplings are supposed to have very delicate, translucent wrappers, but these were too thick and mushy.

The thing I love about Gold Leaf Sunshine is that they have a lot of interesting thing that are unique to them.  I had never seen these before - it was a kind of prawn dumpling mince wrapped around the tail, and enveloped in a won ton wrapper.  I didn't think they worked, but Mr Baklover loved them.

Mixed offal

Speaking of which, his hangover breakfast this morning was a duck tongue followed by a big piece of tripe.  Now I remember why I married him!

Shu mai

Many of my Sundays as a child were spent nibbling at a shu mai dumpling, impaled on a chopstick.  My girls have recently woken up to the delights of yum cha and they are now continuing in the tradition.  I've had much better shu mai than these, though, and in fact, Gold Leaf Sunshine really let itself down with the calibre of its dumplings today.

This was a gentle dish of braised mushrooms atop balls of minced prawn.  It was OK; nothing memorable.

Prawns in fried beancurd skin

I hang out for these deep-fried beauties.  They are hard to stuff up, but again, I've had better.

Sticky rice

This sticky rice was, again, pretty good but not amazing.

Crispy pork and jellyfish

But oh, the crispy pork!  Glazed and bubbled skin that shattered like candy in your mouth.  The meat underneath was succulent, and the hoi sin dipping sauce entirely superfluous.  This was served with more jellyfish, which is mild, chewy, and sweet.

Crispy squid

The squid was fantastic, crisp yet tender.  I love the way the batter adheres to the suckers and provides textural variation to the smoother top side of the legs.  Whitebait is often done in the same way.

This was eggplant stuffed with the same nondescript prawn mince that kept featuring in this meal.  The sauce it was in was glutinous and bland, and the eggplant was oily and unsalted.

Chicken's feet

Another of Dad's favourites, and a must if you are bringing a baby to yum cha - they love to gnaw on the big bone.  They all eventually develop a "gross factor" though, it seems, and refuse to eat chicken's feet any more.  I know - I was that baby once!

Pig's blood

I know, you want to know what it tasted like, right?  Erm, I was full, just had NO room to fit a piece of wobbly, grey blood jelly in.  I mean, I totally would have eaten it otherwise.
Ham sui gok

Oh, so I guess you don't have any room for ham sui gok?  A crispy torpedo of sweet dough, enclosing delectable, savoury pork and mushroom?


The troops were growing restless, but the dessert cart kept hovering around the outer edges of the restaurant, like a mirage.  Thankfully our waiter was kind enough to see us looking at it yearningly and brought us over a bowl of jelly.  See the wooden "bucket" on the left?  That is silken tofu, which is served with a sweet ginger syrup.  Do try it, it's absolutely delicious.

I've had far better dumplings here - it must have been an off day.  So far, I still think Gold Leaf Sunshine is your best option in the west.

And the rest of the day?  Nothing says "I love you" like an uninterrupted afternoon of study and a mango pudding.

Gold Leaf Sunshine
491 Ballarat Rd, Sunshine (map)
Phone: 9311 1863
Yum cha prices: $5, $6, $7, $8.50, $10.50


  1. Chicken feet and mango pudding yum yum I need to have yum cha again soon! Yep I agree Gold Leaf Sunshine is the best yum cha place this side of town. It will give many yum cha places in the CBD a good run for their money too.

  2. I'm heading to Gold Leaf Preston this weekend. Lookng forward to revolving chandeliers and plenty of haam sui gok! And the frid taro dumplings - those two are my favourite.

    I gotta say, that jellyfish and the tripe have me salivating. And while I'm a huge fan of blood jelly in soups, congee and curries, I don't think I'd be that into eating it as a dish on its own...

    Anyway, thanks for adding the whet-ness to my already whetted yum cha appetite!


    Sincerely, Sister

  4. Wills - it is good, isn't it? I wish we had more choice like the easties though.

    cloudcontrol - yummmmmmmmy!!! I know, the jelly was strange all on its own like that. First time I've ever seen such a thing on a yum cha trolley.

    Sister - sorry! Come to the grand opening of Yummie in Barkly St with me instead? This Sunday. Ball gown optional.

  5. Be careful what you say or I WILL turn up in a ball gown complete with whaddyacallthem, padding underneath.

  6. Yum cha places are starting to bore me now as they tend to over the same thing over and over, hence why I give props to restaurants that offer new and exciting goodies like that cute prawn dumpling with the tails attached. Awesome!

  7. Lizard - oh, I totally want to do it now!!! Savers 10 a.m. Sunday for ball gown shopping?

    Libby - I love the fact that they offer the same thing over and over! But then again, I am one of those boring people who will go out for breakfast, totally ignore anything on the menu that is even slightly avant-garde, and just go with eggs, bacon and mushrooms every time.

  8. I know this is an older post, but was looking for a yum cha recommendation. I like Yummie in Footscray, but want some more interesting dishes. I have an Asian sister-in-law and have noticed that the bill for a similar sitting (at Plumes Maribyrnong for eg.) is always much less when she is with us. Jill

    1. Hi Jill, I do recommend Gold Leaf Sunshine - you can see a newer post here:

      Regarding the bill, but everything is circled (according to "super", "deluxe" etc price points) and totalled at the end - so not sure what is going on there.


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