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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Kamikaze Parrot sinks Golden Boat

The King Parrot is at it again! Following on from last years notorious lamb shank beat up, he has now sqwuarked on Chinese food in Cairns with a correspondent complaining about the cost of a meal at the Golden Boat in Lake St. Yes, it is the Golden Boat, which can be confirmed from the menu KS has among the collection in his bottom drawer.

Now when it comes to Chinese food Kitchenslut is of an era when Chinese food was breaking out. Sydney's Haymarket was transforming into a more upmarket Chinatown. The Old Tai Yuen remained a classic with students and somehow KS still asocciates the best Chinese with bent greasy spoons and chipped laminex tabletops.

However, when  it comes to the menu comparison  below one can't help but think it is stuck in an aspic timezone before that era. I can imagine a debate over whether the sweet & sour pork has enough pineapple! As far as I am aware Golden Boat is regarded by many as the best Chinese in Cairns.

We took a couple of friends to lunch at a Chinese restaurant in town, as a good Chinese meal is one key to the heart and soul of most Australian families. While we will not specify our actual menu – our bill for four people amounted to $157.40 for limited “picky style” dishes and included 2 beers each – absolutely outrageous. We were so incensed over the cost that we have compared a suggested mainstream Chinese meal for 2 people at this Cairns CBD Chinese Restaurant as compared to an award winning Chinese Restaurant on the Gold Coast.


CAIRNS GOLD COAST

ENTRÉE (2)

Prawn Toast 6.10 3.50
Won Ton (6) 9.15 2.90


SOUP


Chicken & Sweet Corn 6.10 4.80


MAINS (2)


Sweet & Sour Pork 19.60 12.80
Prawn in Black Bean 25.90 17.60

RICE

Large Fried 15.10 7.00


TOTAL 81.95 48.60

A difference of $33.25 or 40.2% more expensive in Cairns than the Gold coast. WHY?

 OK, so lets look at what googles for Chinese restaurants on the Gold Coast and these throw up as typical:
Yum Cha Robina: Won Ton (4) $6.80; Prawn Toast (4) $7.80; Sweet & Sour Pork $19.80; Prawn Stir Fry 23.80; Special Fried Rice $12.80;

China Pier: Won Ton (6) $5; Prawn Toast (3) $5; Chicken & Sweet Corn Soup $6; Sweet & Sour Pork $15.50; Black Bean King Prawns $21; Fried Rice $10.50.
So is that very different from the Golden Boat? So lets look at the Casinos and the highest profile Chinese:

Zen at Jupiters: Won Ton (4) $10; Sweet & Sour Pork $25; Prawn Stir Fry $37. Special Fried Rice $16.

Cafe China at Reef Casino: Prawn Toast $7.80; Chicken Sweet Corn Soup $7.90; Prawn Stir Fry $29.80; Sweet & Sour pork $24.50; Large Fried Rice $13.50.
Zen doesn't even have Prawn Toast so can be discounted as an ordinary place, eh? I have no doubt the King Parrot's correspondent from the Gold Coast has a fave value Chinese there. However, is that a valid comparison or more a reflection of asynchronous information and local knowledge? As posted here recently, worldly visitors are astounded at the value at places such as Lilypad.

However, as also posted here recently the proliferation of Indians in town recently is interesting and if there is an area where we fall well short it is Chinese which one would have thought should be a growth focus?

2 comments:

CBD Warrior said...

Since moving to Cairns six years ago, we have been appalled at the complete ripoff that Chinese food is here. The so-called "leaders" are grossly, stupidly, ridiculously overpriced. I've seen both of them charging $125 for two mud crabs! Chinese food in mass-food establishments like these is supposed to be affordable. And it's an even bigger rort knowing that most of the help is getting paid off-the-books, cash in hand. And the history has been they're used to "sell" residency visas.

And the "package meals" they're selling Mainland tourism groups are also a bigger rort.

Alas, all of this is considered normal in Ripoff Cairns, as many tourists describe us.

KitchenSlut said...

CBD Warrior, I don't disagree with your sentiments on Chinese food but rather the exagerations of the King parrot and where the focus should be!

Clearly the King Parrot's comnparison is not with a typical Gold Coast Chinese! There are always bargains, there will always be more in larger centres with voliume. We do have a few here such as Lilypad and the ristafel at Bay Leaf.

As stated I think we do poorly for Chinese in Cairns. Alomst all my Chinese experiences have been in Sydney including quite recentky a Chinese New Year a few years ago with my brother which included way too much ym cha and some brilliant duck at the curioulsy un-chinese-named Barbecue King just up from Dixon St, also a Sydney establishment.

More recently during a stop at Central YHA earlier this year the takeaway window at Emperor's Garden was always interesting .... not sure I will go back for another serve of intestines!

However, the question remains not why Cairns Chinese is a rip off, as compared to the Gold Coast average it is only modestly so if anything. Yes, there are big ripoffs in touristy stuff like mud crab, crocodile,and kangaroo!

To go back to the King Parrot's correspondent and Chinese food as something almost Australian. The question is why given our current economic focus and historical Chinese community background, why do we have such a poor offering?

I have previously been told that the very tacky looking Kee Kong on Spence may be worth a visit which would fit my theme that any Chinese that looks upmarket should be avoided?

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