Saturday, February 16, 2019

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne by Obelix

Shark Fin Inn, in the city, is one of those ubiquitous restaurants along Chinatown - tables crammed in; big fish tank of groupers awaiting their fates; noisy patrons; pokey staircase.  Not that any of that was bad - it's all part of the ambience.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, peipa tofu
Peipa tofu

We were there for family dinner - fourteen of us in total, comprising of teens with bottomless stomachs and hangry adults. It was not one of those meals where you get to savour the food over convivial chatter.  We were bolting down our meals, squabbling among us as we fought for control over the spinning lazy Susan. The problem with fitting such a large party on the one table, the dishes we ordered may not all come with enough for one morsel apiece.  Kids were arguing over their sibling 'hogging all the steak' and missing out on the fried prawns. Despite the survival mentality that besieged us, once I stepped out into the cool night air to reflect on the meal, I was actually replete and satisfied.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, drunken chicken
We started off with the recommended drunken chicken.  It was not a favourite of mine although connoisseurs of the dish, proclaimed it to be suitably soused.  I find it too onerous to wield chopsticks when nibbling on bony chicken parts and I was seeking out the chicken breast, however I was disappointed that our chicken seem to lack a breast but had more than a pair of bony wings...

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, deep fried pork ribs
The next dish was decidedly better.  It was deep fried pork ribs with five spice seasoning.  What's there not to love?  It was deep fried with a crunchy coat with rib meat melting off the bone.  As there were not enough ribs to go around, we resorted to hacking the ribs with a chopstick to break it up between us.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, deep fried calamari
Still in the deep fried vein, was the deep fried calamari.  Once again, what's there not to love, I mean it's deep fried, right?  It was not the most generous of serving sizes so with chopsticks snapping, we duked it out among us.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, pipis on Chinese doughnut
An old family favourite was the pipis on a bed of, you guessed it, deep fried Chinese doughnut.  The fun was sucking the little pools of cornfloured sauciness out of the pipi shells.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, green beans and pork
Taking a break from the deep fried trail, was a somewhat healthy sauteed green beans with pork.  I would term this as a 'sensible staple'.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, Mandarin steak
Then we threw red meat to the hordes (read: teens) with the Mandarin steak on the sizzle steak.  The beef was juicy and tender, and of course it incited a lazy Susan/turntable stand off for the last few morsels.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, beef and mushrooms
To placate those who felt that they did not get their fair share of steak, we ordered another steak dish (steak and mushrooms).

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, salted egg fried prawns
One of my favourite is the salted egg coated fried prawns.  Anything coated in salted duck egg is awesome and my only complaint is that I wished I had more than one of these.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, Sichuan fish stew
Next came the rather unusual Sichuan fish stew.  I'm not a fan of the old Sichuan pepper - it makes my mouth numb but I'm told that that is part of its charm. My nephew guzzled the spicy broth with floating bits of basa fillet and logs of zucchini and garlic shoots.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, silken tofu with dried scallops
The next two dishes were my picks of the night.  The silken tofu on a bed of greens and dressed with a gravy laced with filaments of dried scallops.  Yummy comfort food.  And it made me feel slightly less guilty for scarfing down the deep fried taro duck.

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, deep fried taro duck
Ah, the said deep fried taro duck.  Picture a breast of duck, coated with starchy taro and deep fried into airy crispiness.  One is suppose to dunk it into a mushroom based sauce but I don't bother with that as it would turn the flaky crunchiness into a soggy mess.  I could eat the whole plate by myself.  In fact, I think I will one day treat myself, and dine solo, ordering this one dish.

My sister in law's standing order at any Chinese restaurant is peipa tofu (see first pic).  Little balls of mashed up tofu mixed with mushroom and sometimes with lap cheong, deep fried (of course).

Shark Fin Inn, Melbourne, tong shui
Dessert was complementary sago tong shui which I passed on.


We really liked it
We really liked it.
Mid value
Mid value.


Shark Fin Inn has been around for long time - if you've got a hangry horde, Shark Fin Inn would be a good option.  Also have a gander at Benny's review of Shark Fin Inn's yum cha offerings.

Find it at

Shark Fin Inn
50 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: 9662 8681

Shark Fin Inn 食為先 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

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