Prahran, VIC 3181
Ph: 9533 7022
Website: Pan Asian
While Tom Cruise had Renee Zellweger at "Hello", Anna and Penny had me at "Suckling Pig". As an added bonus, they threw in some Peking Duck as well. How could I refuse a massive feast like that, to be held at Pan Asian. The feast was so popular that when I tried to add a few more friends a day later, I was told it was completely booked out. The Melbourne food blogging community really do love their feasts.
So it was on an extremely hot and humid night that 60 eager bloggers and their friends packed into Pan Asian, ready to eat till their hearts desires. Pan Asian is run by Li and Robert, who are extremely generous with their food and their time, constantly interacting with bloggers via Twitter. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with some classic Asian styles, mixed in with some modern twists. I like the feel of the room, with the high ceilings giving it that touch of class. The four large paintings of strong women near the bar were Li's idea, giving a focal point and also showing the strength of Asian women.
For the Chinese New Year feast, we started with some lucky Yee Sang. Look at that glorious mix of fish and crispy vegetables. The idea of the dish is for everyone to heartily mix the food up, as a sign of fresh beginnings in the new year. The words Yee Sang translate to Easy Beginnings. We tossed the salad so hard that it flew everywhere and everyone laughed joyfully. The dish was a very refreshing start and whet my appetite for more food.
The Peking Duck was next, and it was beautifully coloured. It was served with a spring onion, cucumber, hoi sin, and due to my advice, some pickled vegetables. I love my Peking Duck with pickled vegetable, and Li helped provide it. The Peking Duck was good, although the skin could have been crispier for my liking.
The duck is traditionally served as two other dishes, a soup and a noodle dish. Li miixed it up by serving a Duck Consomme. I really really loved this, with a clean flavour that helped to cleanse the palate. The next dish to utilise the duck was a Duck Salad, again it was very different and I liked it. Crispy wontons were served with duck meat, salad, and some walnuts. I loved the contrast of flavours and textures.
The moment of glory arrived next, with the Suckling Pig. It looked superb and I was holding my breath in anticipation. When the pig's head was brought out, we all admired it with delight. Billy helped model the pig's head for all to see.
While I went out to take a phone call, the wonderful I-Hua and Simon helped save me some suckling pig. And look how beautifully they plated it up for me. I tucked into the pig with the hoi sin and man tau. The flavour combo was great, but the skin definitely lacked the needed crunch. Li was so apologetic, but you can't help these things sometimes. The weather was so humid that night that it caused the skin to be softer than it should have been. However, I quickly forgot about that when I ate the Pork Bakgua. Pieces of thin crispy pork meat was grilled to delicious consistency. I ate it so fast I forgot to photograph it. I was getting really full but when the Pork Stew came out, I found some more space in my stomach. While some didn't like the leeks in the stew, I found the flavours really exciting, and kept eating while everyone stopped.
By dessert time, I could hardly move. Luckily, there was a break between the savoury dishes and dessert, giving me time to rejuvenate and eat the beautiful Sugadeaux Green Tea Cupcake, served with Mandarin Sorbet. The cupcake flavour was brilliant, so intense with green tea flavour but without the bitterness. I need to know how to do that. However, I did find the cupcake texture quite dry.
And that, my friends, ended an insanely enjoyable meal. I had a wonderful time chatting with my fellow food bloggers, eating good food and drinking lots of good wine. I even got a delicious bottle of home brew beer from Mr Off The Spork, aka Alastair. Thanks to Anna and Penny for organising the event and inviting me, and a huge thanks to Li and Robert of Pan Asian for hosting such a great meal.
For other reviews of this meal, check out the following blogs.