When I first brought the SO to meet the parentals in Singapore, it was over a homecooked Chinese dinner and I had been feeling pretty good about it. The SO knew how to hold a pair of chopsticks, had good manners, had already been given the stamp of approval from one of the siblings and I had already warned him of the family quirks (ie. Topics and mannerisms to avoid or ignore at all costs).
Once the dishes were laid down the middle of the table, the parentals, as good hosts, invited him to take the food first. I was mortified when he picked up a dish and started shovelling a heaped portion onto his own plate, before proceeding to do the same for everything else. Then it dawned on me he might have never had a traditional Chinese meal in Australia before and that dining etiquette between our cultures were significantly different.
The multi-course nature of the Chinese meal means it is customary and considered good manners to reach out and spoon a bit from each dish, leaving plenty for everyone else to pick at as well. Thus the purpose of the quintessential lazy-Susan, which allows everyone to have a go at the food. Chinese hosts also order or prepare more food than is usually necessary to prove their generosity and graciousness. To shovel heaps of food as a guest is insulting, because implies your host hasn’t prepared enough food to go around and you fear going hungry.
Needless to say, the SO got an earful after dinner and a crash course on Chinese eating etiquette. Thankfully the experience didn’t tarnish his reputation with the parentals and I dare say he’s fairly doted upon by my parents – often to the point, I get jealous!
That Chinese tradition of sharing food is something the recently opened Peng You Restaurant and Bar in Teneriffe is trying to encourage locals to enjoy. Peng You, pronounced PE (like purr, without the ‘rr’) – ng (like sing, without the ‘s’) – yo (as in yo-yo) is Chinese for ‘friend’. It is an appropriate moniker for a restaurant trying to encourage that social atmosphere where people can gather around food and drinks.
Well, any joint that provides Srircha hot chilli sauce is starting off on the right foot in my opinion.
Peng You Restaurant and Bar‘s menu is meant to be shared, so what some other Asian restaurants might call ‘entrees’, Peng You Restaurant and Bar have labelled ‘tapas’. I think it’s a rather inspired way to get those who are not familiar with Asian dining to understand these are meant to be shared. Afterall, the Spanish have done a good job getting diners to associate ‘tapas’ with ‘sharing’.
I won’t talk about the dumplings, cuz… well, they’re dumplings. The spicy sichuan was hot for those who have no chilli tolerance, but it only teased my tongue buds a little. And a number of the vegetarian ones arrived with split skins, so I wonder what is different in the dumpling skin composition.
The spring rolls were a little different. We were instructed to wrap each spring roll in a lettuce leaf with the sauce to add a fresh crunch – Peng You Restaurant‘s twist on the classic to compliment the warming weather we have in Brisbane. It did make for neater eating and my fingers were spared the coating of oil, but I could’ve happily eaten my spring roll without the leaf.
Peng You‘s menu surprisingly reminds me a lot of my mother’s cooking, especially the crispy marinated chicken, Steamed baby barramundi and slow cooked pork trotter - perhaps a little less spiced than my mum’s versions. It’s simple food, where even the garnish is meant to be eaten and it doesn’t have too much fuss about it. It is a nice change from those fancy-smancy Chinese restaurants one might find an intricately carved carrot pagoda or watermelon Chinese garden scene hogging half the platter.
And what’s an Asian restaurant without deep fried ice-cream? Peng You Restaurant‘s version has a really thin coating, yet the crumb texture still had crunch. Topped with the butterscotch sauce, this was da yum!
But the sorbet selection was my fave, particularly the lychee sorbet. Lemon lime was a good palate cleanser and really refreshingly tarty – my mouth could only bear a teaspoon at a go. My least favorite of the trio was the rosewater sorbet – I just couldn’t shake off the idea that I was eating perfume. It just tasted… pretty.
Admittedly if you’re Asian and know your way around Sunnybank, you might find Peng You Restaurant and Bar‘s prices a little steep for what you get. But for those who would rather not brave driving and parking in Sunnybank, Peng You Restaurant and Bar is a worthy addition to your list of Asian places to hit up for chillaxing with friends.