Old dog, new tricks

Tuesday, August 19, 2014 Permalink

I just spent an extended weekend in Brisbane, my State’s capital and before my sea change, my own hometown. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been surprised at my antipathy to visiting since my departure almost two years ago. Indeed, my only two visits in the last year have been for birthday celebrations – my (MUCH OLDER!) brother’s 50th in March and this past weekend for my niece’s 18th.

Both sets of grandparents and yours truly were invited to share a family celebration and when I asked my niece what was planned I almost fainted with joy.

“We’re going to the crab shop,” she said.

I initially thought she was toying with my vulnerable emotions, but no… indeed we were to go to the crab shop.

Of course it’s not really called ‘the crab shop’, but it’s a chinese restaurant her parents and I frequented WAY before her birth. And, when they lived nearby it was my niece’s favourite haunt. We still torture regale her (endlessly) with stories of her taking her fishing rod when she was a youngster – to catch some of the crabs or other sea creatures dwelling in the restaurant’s tanks.


The restaurant (the Pine and Bamboo) has been in Cannon Hill for yonks. It hasn’t changed a lot in the over 20+ years we’ve been visiting, it’s popular and renowned for its Peking Duck.

In 11 or so years I had back in Brisbane after returning from overseas ‘the crab shop’ was my favourite takeaway. When my niece was little and had sleepovers, we always dined there and it was an easy ‘family birthday dinner’ option for me each year.

After being diagnosed as coeliac I was relieved my favourite dish (satay beef) was gluten-free and therefore still devour-able. Of course spring rolls, steamed dim sims and the like were off the agenda, but… I was just happy I could still partake in the place’s delights.

Indeed, I’m a creature of habit so whenever I called I’d just give my name and they’d know what my order would be. Plus… I got a ‘regulars’ 10% discount!

Source: brisbane.concreteplayground.com.au

Source: brisbane.concreteplayground.com.au

And then I moved.

Although I’ve found a local Thai place I’m yet to find a chinese restaurant / takeaway which can cater to my coeliac requirements (ie. use GF soy sauce, oyster sauce and corn flour for eg) and meet my lofty taste expectations. (Actually that’s not true… I’m not that fussy – just something ‘authentic’ would be nice!)

Dining there for Miss Em’s birthday on the weekend reminded me of how much I’ve missed the food. I did ponder whether I could afford 52 takeaways and the freezer space to allocate myself one a week, but the two takeaways I ordered to take back to Hervey Bay disappeared before we even left Brisbane so…. (Moderation is not my friend!)

As we were dining I mentioned that it was my first chinese food in two years and it occurred to me – while I complain about the lack of options locally – I haven’t exactly trawled the chinese restaurants of Hervey Bay looking for a replacement for the love of my life my old fave. Could it be that I’m *ahem* a little stuck in my ways and not open to trying something new? Or perhaps I’m apathetic and it seems just too hard to start from scratch; ringing around or visiting and asking about GF options before some taste testing?

I’m a big advocate of change and hate when people whinge about something without trying to change it themselves, and yet…. here I am – doing exactly that. But… having again broken my chinese food cherry, I’m gonna make it my mission to find a new takeaway option locally. I know I know… my goals should be less lofty – world peace and all of that… but I might as well launch into the biggies straight away.

Are you resistant to trying new things and stuck in your ways like moi?
Most importantly, can you understand my need to find a decent Chinese restaurant / takeaway?

  • Deb @ home life simplified
    August 19, 2014

    I have never heard of that place but will keep it in mind. I have loads of food issues/intolerances (a tangled web that so far is a giant pain in my ass). At an Indian restaurant I actually paused to ask what I could eat (both dairy and gluten free) and the waiter came back with a hand written list of things from the menu. Amazing. I try to remember to ask now instead of assuming things are not ok Maybe when you find a place where they make you feel welcome you could even ask if they would make some stuff GF (they may not know how many customers would appreciate it). Hope you find some good Chinese food soon xxx

    • Debbish
      August 19, 2014

      I get really excited when menus are labelled with GF etc or… as I’ve seen a couple of times – there’s an entire GF menu!

      It’s hard when people don’t know what you’re talking about so it’s great to find places where the staff understand.

  • Lee-Anne
    August 19, 2014

    As one completely obsessed with food, yes Deb, I can relate to your anguish over your fav restaurant. And there are worse things to be shallow about (in my not-so-humble opinion). Restaurants, cafes and food in general are a good antidote to a bleak political stage here in Australia, and a whole lot of misery internationally.

    Good luck with the hunt! 🙂

    • Debbish
      August 19, 2014

      Oh yes, I was surprised at how comforting it was to have my old favourite satay beef. It didn’t taste any different to what I remembered (and hasn’t changed in 20 years).

      The chicken with garlic sauce was as yummy as I remembered also!

  • Pinky Poinker
    August 19, 2014

    I completely understand Deb. What is really bad is when you find the perfect restaurant and then they change chefs. The menu gets changed and nothing tastes as good. It’s very disappointing!

    • Debbish
      August 19, 2014

      Oh yes… I was a tad worried that the recipe might have changed for my fave satay beef – thankfully it hadn’t!

  • Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradiction
    August 19, 2014

    Ph Deb, I am so the same. And it is really hard to find decent Chinese takeaway because they are not all the same! I’ve lived in my area for about 10 years now and I am yet to find one that lives up to my standards. And I am totally a creature of habit when it comes to takeaway. When I find a good thing I stick to it and that will be all I will ever order form there until the end of times!
    Visiting on behalf of #teamIBOT today x

    • Debbish
      August 20, 2014

      Yes, I think if I’d stayed in Brisbane I would have driven across town to the Pine & Bamboo! My SIL talked about people she knows doing that!

  • EssentiallyJess
    August 19, 2014

    I complain about not being able to find a good pizza place since we moved, but I haven’t really checked out all the places, so I’m in no position to advise you here. Maybe we should both step out of our comfort zone?

    • Debbish
      August 20, 2014

      I know… it just seems so hard though! 🙂

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