Lan Yuan

Rebecca Varidel
18th Jun 2015

Big fat juicy prawn dumplings. That's how we started our Lan Yuan Top Ryde Cantonese a la carte dinner. The new restaurant is open from 11am to 10pm each day, so those same dumplings serve as part of the dim sum classics that are available from 11am to 4pm every day. That pictorial yum cha menu shows some other usual suspects like pork buns, chicken dim sum, glutinous rice, spring rolls, turnip cake, pork ribs and chicken feet. So why did I like these dumplings so much better? The big fat juicy ones? They're not bought in. They are hand crafted in-house. And they are bloody delicious!

For a la carte the paper menu is replaced by a laminated double sider that is easy to follow - with little chilli markers 1, 2, 3 that indicated heat. And there's a little bit of contemporary oomph in your traditional. You can start with an entrée or two if you want to: the two courses of authentic roast Peking duck, or just choose the four pieces of Peking duck pancake. It's back to tasty as the rule. Big thick generous duck slices and lots of sauce in the hand held. You might guess some of the other offerings chicken or vegetable spring rolls, seafood or chicken san choi bao, marinated jelly fish, char siu pork, steamed white cut chicken, Tasmanian salt and pepper prawns, hot & numbing dry wagyu beef, or three selections on the Lan Yuan BBQ Platter.

While there are masses of choices across soups, seafood, poultry, pork, beef, lamb and live seafood, that's what we think goes down a treat here, the glistening generosity of the overflowing large platters. Mud crab and rock lobster come with six choices for sauce such as our pick wok fried Singaporean style. If you've had those Singapore chilli crabs before, there's no need to be brave. Lan Yuan delivers on flavour without the fire. Make sure to add the sensational crusty noodle base. We bumped up our seafood factor and added the next piled high platter as live pippies wok fried with XO sauce. Ditto noodles.

Another signature is Lan Yuan's Crispy Skin Chicken (half $25, whole $42) to feed an army of friends from the skilfully presented and pretty oval share plate. For the same price you could choose Cantonese style BBQ duck, half or whole, with plum sauce. And there is a feast of seven other chicken and duck options in between.

I had a lesson in noodles here. These from Lan Yuan are the first I've tasted that aren't greasy. The long noodles are cut in the kitchen, my friend from Hong Kong summised, and also asked if I could taste the char. They were thick and dry, like they'd caught on the wok. They were friendly and made good eating. Apparently there's a term for it - 'wok hei' or 'the breath of the wok'.

The Hong Kong style rice noodles were, by the way ($19) wok fried with wagyu beef, bean sprouts and garlic chives. We also feasted on the most luscious Lan Yuan fried rice laden with fresh prawns and scallops and topped with crab roe. And more. And yet, I couldn't eat here without trying the Lan Yuan deep fried ice cream ($8) and I am committed to report with its creamy soft centre, it is indeed, the best fried ice cream I have had. Yet, with what had gone before, and will surely come again another time, the fried ice cream hardly seems important. Make a booking for a whole seven nights in a week is my suggestion and see if in that time you can eat your way through the menu. I'd like to give that a try...

The casual space is on level one of Top Ryde Shopping Centre, with light coloured timber tops, green imported bamboo, and fabulous friendly, inclusive and prompt service, with a smile.

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Shop 4005 level 1, Top Ryde Shopping Centre, corner of Devlin Street and Blaxland Road
+61 2 9808 1030

Mon – Sun 11am – 10pm