Saturday, January 2, 2016

Lao Tuo Jia, Malvern by Bureaucrat

The overwhelming aroma of mutton smacks you in the face when you walk into Lao Tuo Jia - a family run restaurant in Malvern that specialises in Xinjiang food.  If you can get past the heady mutton smell (which clings to your hair and clothes) then you're in for a real culinary treat.  And surprisingly for Ms No Meat (and the rest of us), we were very pleased that there are enough options for vegetarians to eat quite happily here.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, eggplant
For the eight of us, we shared the following dishes.  One of the favourites among us all was this glossy, silky and luscious eggplant dish.  Imagine thinly sliced eggplant that's been cooked (I think it was steamed or braised - I'm not sure) and smothered in this gorgeous salty, umami-rich gravy. This was fantastic with a bowl of rice, and I could easily wolf down this dish on my own.  We also loved the presentation of the eggplant.  I would go back just to eat this again.
Another crowd favourite was the egg and tomato handmade noodles.  Again, the simplicity of the ingredients belies the flavour and enjoyment you're going to get from this dish.  A dear reader had previously commented that this dish was like "carbohydrate crack" and I couldn't agree with her more.  Lovely chewy al dente noodles with a soupy-ish egg and tomato topping.  Ditto with the eggplant, I would come back to order this again all for myself.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, lamb ribs
Onto another crowd favourite was the spicy salt deep fried lamb ribs.  Big Fil loves these and I can totally understand why.  They're an absolute calorie bomb.  You can imagine a Xinjiang farmer, who's spent the day out in the fields, hunkering down with these fatty ribs to keep him going through the bitter winter.  Pleasantly fatty with a nice amount of meat, the ribs are incredibly moreish.  The batter is thin and crispy and the salty coating (plus the optional aromatic chilli powder) just makes you want to eat more!  (Lemon water and fasting to follow the next day).

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, vegetarian noodles
This was a vegetarian stir fried rice noodle dish.  The topping including sliced potatoes, capsicums and scrambled egg.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, lamb skewers
These grilled lamb skewers were tender and full of flavour.  Definitely worth trying.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, stir fry, potato
The stir fried potato and bean shoots was also nice.  The potato was tender but wasn't falling about and the shoots gave it a nice fresh crunch.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, stir fry, vegetables
Last but not least was the stir fried green veg with shiitake mushrooms.

Lao Tuo Jia, Xinjiang, Malvern


We loved it


Wow, for my first Xijiang cuisine experience this was pretty amazing!  I love the mix of the strong, punchy flavours and the subtle but equally tasty dishes.  There's quite a few dishes that I would love to order again, and I definitely wouldn't mind trying out more of the menu.  Also have a gander at Big Fil's review back in October 2012.

Find it at

Lao Tuo Jia
19 Glenferrie Road
Malvern 3141
Tel: (03) 9500 1919

Lao Tuo Jia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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