I finally made it down to Nan Yang for lunch again the other day and boy was it delish! This little gem of a cheap eat is tucked away in the Renaissance arcade and is always bustling with people and chatter around about lunch time. However if you don’t fancy lining up for a table, try and time your lunch visit a little earlier, about 11.30am or a little after maybe about 1.30pm.
Nan Yang serves up basic Malaysian style hawker food, and as you approach the cafe you will see the beautifully laquered ducks and chickens hanging from silver hooks in the window waiting to be devoured. You will also hear the clang and clatter of bowls and chopsticks and the bustle of lunch time crowds and staff, all testament to the popularity of this cafe.
This time I felt like dry wonton noodles, not sure why but it happens often. I’ll go for weeks just eating dry wonton noodles. It may have something to do with the simplicity of this dish, plain dry egg noodles served with a soy sauce base. I ordered the barbecue pork wonton noodles and my mum had the duck version. So simple yet so full of flavour. This dish is usually served up with dumplings and soup, but at Nan Yang they load it up with your choice of meat and a little bowl of pickled green chilli to add a zingy bite to the meal. Both the duck and pork were nicely cooked, tender and juicy with a nice crunchy, crispy skin.
Also on the menu was Har Mee, which translates to prawn noodles. I used to love this dish growing up, the tasty prawn flavoured broth filled with egg noodles, boiled egg, chives, chicken and prawns. Another really simple dish lifted by the depth of flavour in a good prawn based broth.
My friend tried the char kway teow, which in my opinion is always a staple menu item at most hawker style cafes. This one was really good, beautifully smoky, with that ‘char’ flavour through the noodles. The addition of lap cheong, which is a chinese sweet sausage added to the authenticity of this dish.
If you are looking for a quick and cheap lunch in Adelaide, give Nan Yang Cafe a try, the staff are quick and efficient, if at times a little abrupt, but I guess it is a hawker style cafe after all, so you wouldn’t really expect too much in terms of service. The food however is always fresh and outstanding. Most meals are priced between $8-$12 and with a drink, you could get away with a satisfying lunch for under $15. I’m already planning my next visit as I hear my tummy calling out for lobak and the hainan chicken rice.