With global ramen joint Ippudo and Japanese cheesecake shop Uncle Tetsu opening earlier this year and Japan's MOS Burger set to launch soon, Melbourne has seen a welcome wave of restaurant chains from Asia open of late — and the latest is TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie. It will open its fist Aussie restaurant in Carlton tomorrow, Friday, September 7.
TuanTuan focuses on French-accented Hong Kong comfort food — think pork buns, soups, congee and curries. It comes not from China, but by way of Manila, where its has launched five stores since 2014. The TuanTuan concept is apparently based off family-run restaurant Mui Garden, which operated in Hong Kong in the 60s and later in Canada in the 90s.
Out of its bright new indoor-outdoor space on Queensberry Street, Melburnians will get to taste the highlights of Hong Kong's culinary scene, from fish noodle soups to curries and pork liver congee, to Macanese classics like the Cajun chicken fillet on rice. You'll also find traditional turnip cakes, sugar-dusted fried milk bread and pink shaved ice desserts. Plus, it does a range of coffees, served Hong Kong-style.
But there's one true star of TuanTuan's menu sure to have fans flocking and that's the famed signature 'snow bun' — a riff on the Chinese favourite xue shan bao. Pillowy soft in the centre and topped with a crisp streusel-like layer, these beauties will be sailing fresh from the oven every hour. The Melbourne menu boasts four varieties, including barbecue pork, salted egg custard, almond cream and pineapple.
If that sounds like something you want in your life, head down to TuanTuan Chinese Brasserie's Melbourne store from midday tomorrow — the restaurant's handing out free three-pack snow buns to the first 100 customers that walk through its doors.