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The bright and airy space is regularly packed with Chinese, Hong Kongers and adventurous eaters who are keen to delve into steaming bowls of noodle soup with flavoursome sides.
The menu is short and simple, there are 20 dishes to choose from – which is a good thing, as not only has your dish been perfected by chefs, but it will be served within minutes. And like all typical Hong Kong restaurants, the food is a fusion of different cuisines.
Zen Corner serves authentic Hong Kong dishes. The eatery is most famous for creating traditional noodle dishes.
Try one of Zen Corner’s popular noodle dishes and be transported to the streets of Hong Kong.
This popular Hong Kong dish features a fragrant and delicate chicken, pork and dried fish broth, egg noodles and juicy wontons filled with succulent minced prawn, pork and fish roe. The soup is topped with strips of egg omelette, seaweed and shallots. Zen Corner’s famous broth is made from scratch in-house each day and is boiled for 10 hours to extract the perfect flavours. The wontons are hand-made by chefs each morning.
This dish is made with slow cooked beef brisket topped with sauce, egg noodles and served with steamed greens. This dish comes with a side of broth that can be enjoyed by itself or poured on top of the noodles.
This rice noodle soup comes with three different dishes. The first dish is filled with rice noodles and topped with slices of bean curd and egg. A pot of broth is served with the dish and comes in four different flavours - barramundi, sliced ham, beef or spicy barramundi. All of the different broths are served with mushrooms, two quail eggs and black fungus. The third dish is shallots to sprinkle on top.
“That’s just like back home,” says Fion Wan, who opened Zen Corner four years ago with her husband, Alex Liu. “Hong Kong is a very multicultural place and so is the food.”
The most ordered item on the menu is their signature wonton noodle soup – a flavoursome dish that features a fragrant and delicate chicken, pork and dried fish broth with a sea of perfectly cooked egg noodles and juicy wontons filled with succulent minced prawn, pork and fish roe.
The deeply developed broth is all made from scratch in-house each day from chicken, pork, dried fish and spices and is boiled for 10 hours to extract the perfect flavours. The wontons are hand-made by chefs each morning using fresh fillings and wheat flour dough.
To add to the flavour and texture of your noodles, the eatery serves traditional Chinese side dishes like their braised pig ear with hot chilli oil, chicken feet with vinegar and hot chilli, beef shin and tripe with Sichuan sauce and bean curd noodles with vinegar and garlic.
Once your bowl reaches the table, the flavour is up to you. Like your wonton soup spicy? Add some chilli oil. Dial up the saltiness and sourness with a splatter of soy sauce and vinegar and top it all by adding vegetable pickles. You can also choose from four different kinds of noodles including egg, wheat, clear and rice noodles.
Along with wonton noodle soup, the eatery serves other authentic Hong Kong dishes like their Hainanese with rice, hot and sour clear noodle soup and slow cooked beef brisket.
“We opened the restaurant as we wanted to create dishes exactly how we cook them back home,” Fion said.
“In Australia many Chinese restaurants are very different to the food we eat back in China and Hong Kong. We wanted to focus on well-made dishes that reminded people of the food they ate in their homeland.”
She said while the majority of their customers were from China and Hong Kong, there were some Westerners who dined at Zen Corner regularly.
“Some people travel to China or Hong Kong to work and live. They come back to Australia and they find the dishes they loved to eat while overseas, in our restaurant. They become very loyal customers.”
The husband-and-wife team are passionate about creating traditional dishes as well as experimenting with different ingredients and flavours.
Fion said they are always on the lookout for new recipes to tweak and make their own and head back to Hong Kong regularly to check out what the locals are doing.
The most popular cuisine of Hong Kong
Hong Kong food is a melting pot of different cultures and cuisines. It is mainly influenced by Cantonese cuisine and food from other Chinese regions, especially Teochew, Hakka and Hokkien. As the island has a long history of being an international place of business, there are influences from Japanese, Korean, Southeast Asian, Malaysian and western cuisines. There is also a strong British element to menus, from when Hong Kong was under British rule. Hong Kong is famous for food, and in just this one big city, food enthusiasts can indulge in all kinds of authentic cuisines from around the world. From street food to exclusive restaurants, Hong Kong has an unlimited variety of food for all tastes and class. Dishes are influenced by Cantonese cuisine, which is traditionally created so flavours of a dish are well-balanced and not greasy. Spices are also used moderately to avoid overwhelming the flavours of the main ingredients of the dish. Besides pork, beef and chicken, Cantonese food uses almost all edible meats, including offal, chicken feet, duck’s tongue, frog legs, snake and snail. Hong Kong is renowned for its yum cha (dim sum), wonton soup, roast meats, char siu and noodles.