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First Taste is one of my favourite restaurants in Springvale. I love the claypot rice, absolutely adore it. Being able to scrape the rice from the sides is just a treat. I never knew there was a First Taste in Box Hill, and now it’s even more convenient to dine and order my favourite Black Pepper Beef Claypot Rice.

What is noticed is slightly different from the Springvale eatery is that they use less or sometimes none at all of coriander and they don’t leave the claypot bowls to cook as long. What you have is less crispy rice but still ridiculously hot, and the lacking flavour from the coriander. However everything else is basically the same, the beef is nice and tender with a pleasant fragrance and taste of pepper on the tongue. First Taste also provides a generous serving of sauce on top.

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I’m not a big fan of First Taste’s other claypot dishes though. The chicken, Chinese sausage and mushroom with soy sauce isn’t too my liking. It’s one of those slightly herbal tinged dishes, and I’m not fond of Chinese sausage with soy and of course the big mushrooms. That’s not to say it’s not cooked well, I definitely say for those that like these kind of dishes would find this perfectly satisfying. Again, they don’t leave the claypots to cook long enough so the sides and bottom of the claypot bowl aren’t as crispy.

Impressions

First Taste Box Hill is much like it’s brother (or sister) in Springvale. Slightly varied but familiarity is key here and you can’t find better Claypot rice anywhere else. Yes even Claypot King.

First Taste on Urbanspoon

First Taste
604 Station Street
Box Hill VIC 03128

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Straits Cafe near Knox is a popular Malaysian eatery, mostly known for it’s tasty Char Kway Teoh and overall good food. It’s extremely difficult to get tables during the weekend as the place doesn’t cater to many people (space is small) and well, people just enjoy going there to dine.

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Sometimes Straits has specials on posted at the back whether it be main dishes or entrees. We ordered their Friend Chicken with Sambal seasoning. It was served fresh and straight from the fryer and was quite tasty. The skin was crisp and crunchy, and the chicken was cooked well. I couldn’t really taste the, I presume, spicy seasoning but for Malaysian Fried Chicken it was tasty nonetheless.

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I believe they are quite well known for their Char Kway Teoh because of it’s authentic Malaysian flavour and one of the more spicy offerings around. There is just something I can’t really put my finger on it, that gives it that extra hit. It’s that special “wok” flavour but it’s so vague and indescribable that it’s best not to talk about that any further. You really are hard pressed to find a Char Kway Teoh as flavourful, spicy and overall tasty as this. I’d say Claypot King in Glen Waverley had nearly or even just as good of a offering as Straits but they no longer operate so the crown goes to Straits.

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Their Char Hor Fun has stir fried hor fun noodles which are always a delight. The egg sauce is delicious, and I believe they put in the deep fried  diced lard but I can’t be certain. Everything here was tasty, the seafood and chicken cooked nicely, and a good serve of vegetables. My only criticism, even if, ever so slight, is that they put the preserved (vinegar) chopped green chillies on the plate as well. So if you don’t like your sauce a tad sour, it can make the sauce kinda strange as somehow the chilli flavour spreads throughout the whole sauce. Again, nothing to make a fuss about, but it may not be to people’s likings.

IMG_9110One of their main specials was the Tok Tok Mee, which is apparently Penang Style. I can’t vouch for that as I have never tried it in Penang but this dish sure looked delicious. It had a wide selection of toppings from the steamed chicken, char siu pork, crumbed chicken, boiled wontons and vegetables. It really had it all.

IMG_9106Straits’ Teh Tarik was a slight letdown as it was overly sweet and lacked the pulling tea flavour. It also wasn’t frothy enough but still may please some people.

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For a sweet warm dessert, Pulut Hitam hits the spot. My mother does an excellent Pulut Hitam, that is much less sweet and actually tastes better as a result (Go figure) but for a restaurant offering, it’s quite nice. It has those black sticky rice that give it that added texture and the coconut cream provides the creaminess that is much required. Overall, it’s a pretty good Pulut Hitam as many places don’t offer it, although slightly too sweet for my tastes but maybe I’m just spoilt with my mother’s delicious cooking.

Impressions

Straits Cafe offers a good variety of Malaysian dishes and most of them do hit the spot. The authentic Malaysian flavours is what people come back for and you can certainly see why. On weekends it was definitely is preferable to book ahead as without a reservation you may be waiting for quite some time.

Straits Cafe on Urbanspoon

Straits Cafe
241 Stud Rd
Wantirna South VIC 3152

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Claypot King in the bustling Kingsway street, Glen Waverley is another popular Malaysian and Chinese eatery. I believe there is one in the city too, with a slightly different menu.

One of the best things about Claypot King is their sizzling dishes. Which I just had to order of course.
I ordered the Black Pepper Beef Sizzling Noodles. I’ve ordered the Salmon one before, which was good but the salmon wasn’t that flavoursome so I didn’t really want to eat it again. Although, it was still nice, just that black pepper is always good in anything.

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I love it when it arrives and it is still crackling and sizzling about. It’s just one of those cheap thrills.
This dish had a pretty strong black pepper taste and combined with capsicum, Hokkien noodles and loads of beef. It was just an overall pleasant and tasty dish. However if you don’t like to have a black pepper overload, this is probably not the dish for you.

I’ve tried their Thai Fried Rice and that’s a pleaser too! Claypot King is definitely a eatery you’d want to go back for. Mind you, it’s slightly more expensive then the other Chinese/Malaysian eateries on Kingsway.

Claypot King on Urbanspoon
Claypot King
Kingsway
Glen Waverley
Victoria

03 9561 8884

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