March has rather been an exciting month for those who love food - from the vineyard to the hyde park for NSW wine week; from 15 best restaurants in Sydney to Centennial Park for Taste of Sydney festival; and of course not to forget March into Merivale that is still going on until the end of the month. I am sure a lot of people will argue there is no such thing as "too much of a good thing"; but too much of a good thing does lead to a very thin empty pocket, especially in my case.
When Shez and I are deciding a venue for food, "cheap and cheerful" comes to my mind, or "moderately priced" as how Shez nicely put it. Obviously even the foodies are being hit hard by the economic crisis. After much consideration, Sea Bay chinese dumpling restaurant on Pitt Street is where we are heading to.
Sea Bay restaurant has undergone a major renovation last year and the place now is humbly modernised with mirror walls on both sides to create the visual illusion of twice the space. The place is clean, bright and noisy with chatters and clink clank of china. People who come here would know what to expect - cheap, substantial Chinese food from the North-West region in China.
We first share a dish of Jellyfish salad. The jellyfish is cut in big chunky strips and served with shredded cabbage and fresh cucumber slices, then drizzled with soy sauce, sesame oil and green chilli for the extra kick. I rather enjoy the chewiness of the jellyfish in contrast with the crunchy cucumber and cabbage.
We simply can't go past the dumplings since is one of the most popular food from the northwestern region. We order the Xiao Long Bao which arrives with 10 dumplings in two tier steamer baskets. I grab a Xiao Long Bao and put inside my bowl, poke with the chopsticks and expecting the hot broth gushing out like the ones I had at Din Tai Fung. To my dismay, there is no broth inside at all.
The skin of the dumpling is rather thick, and inside is filled with mince pork and garlic chives. It is tasty nevertheless, with conversion of heavy dipping into soy sauce and chilli oil which ended up with burning lips and snotty nose.
The last dish we share is the pork pancakes. The pancakes are filled with pork mince and chives, then flattened and pan fried until golden brown. It is not as greasy as I would have imagined, with a nice crispy skin while the filling inside is moist and flavorsome.
I was absolutely stuffed by the time we finished the meal. The damage for two comes to a mere $28.00, with the bottomless hot tea which is absolutely free of charge. The food is not very exciting but definitely best value for money. It is clearly why Sea Bay restaurant is always so busy after work hour.
Sea Bay Chinese Dumpling 372 Pitt St
Sydney 2000 NSW
Phone: (02) 9267 4855
In the mean time, please head to Helen's blog and listening to what she has to say about foodblogging on ABC radio over the weekend with Simon Marnie. A Table for Two also got a little plug during the interview. (Thanks Helen!)