Chin Chin – respect to whoever can tell me where “Happy Happy Joy Joy” comes from

November 19, 2011 at 7:39 pm (Malaysian, Melbourne CBD, Thai, Victoria)

I finally made it to Chin Chin!  (Given the ever-increasing popularity of no-booking policies, I am in no way averse to eating meals at odd times to avoid the queues).  The hype has been continuously building since Chris Lucas (of two-hatted restaurant, Pearl) opened this pan-Asian diner earlier this year and I have to go with the crowd and say that the food is fantastic.  With the likes of Andrew Gimber and Ben Cooper on the team as well though, I guess that’s a given.  Thai flavours dominate  the menu, which also draws on Malaysian, Vietnamese and Chinese influences.

The dishes on the menu are made for sharing, which is fine with me because I always want to try a bit of everything 😛  If you can’t make up your mind, there is a ‘Feed Me’ option for $66, which includes 7 courses selected by the kitchen.  There were some specific dishes I wanted to try, so we went à la carte.

First up, grilled roti madtarbak filled with Indian spiced beef and a cucumber relish – a twist on a Malaysian hawker dish.  The beef filling was very fragrant and vermicelli was added to the mince to make it lighter than the usual meat/onion/egg murtabak.  I really liked the addition of the fresh, sweet and spicy cucumber relish as a flavour contrast because the traditional murtabak and curry combo can be a bit overwhelming.

Chin Chin pork ‘roll-ups’ – rich, red braised suckling pig with pancakes, slaw and sour herbs.  Imagine Peking duck pancakes but with pulled pork instead of duck and a sweet and sour coriander and bean shoot salad in place of cucumber and plum sauce.  Yum 🙂

Barramundi wrapped in banana leaf with coconut red curry, lime and thyme basil.  Very similar to a snapper dish served at Longrain and just as delicious.  Delicate fish smothered in a rich, fragrant curry sauce, loaded with ginger and herbs.

Dry red curry of soft shell crab with asparagus, thai basil and kaffir lime leaf, recommended by the waitress.  The crab was first deep fried, allowing it to soak up the delicious, sweet, sticky curry sauce.  Baby eggplant was an interesting addition- the individual eggplants were so small I initially thought they were peas.

Onto dessert! The palm sugar ice cream sundae with salted honeycomb and lime syrup is really popular.  The ice cream was delicious but I think it could have done without the lime syrup which was quite tart but sickly sweet at the same time.

Loved the grilled banana roti bread with condensed milk and cinnamon sugar.  Sort of like a cross between sweet roti and Vietnamese banana cake.

Chin Chin also has a massive drinks menu.  Unfortunately, I’m not much of a drinker and it was a bit early in the day for alcohol.  A delicious non-alcoholic option is the coconut ice; we had the apple and ginger version but the flavours change daily.

Would love to go back to Chin Chin to sample their drinks menu and just enjoy the space.  It has a fantastic, laid-back and quirky, retro feel .  The restaurant name and address are featured in some form or another on the wallpaper, bar, just about everywhere haha (somehow it doesn’t crowd the room though- must be the high ceilings).  And check out the  fluorescent bunny!

Go Go Bar has also opened in the basement.  Will definitely have to go and check out their ‘Little Black Book’.

On a side note – I am certain that I have heard “Happy Happy Joy Joy” before but, for the life of me, cannot remember what it’s referencing.  Any ideas?


Chin Chin on Urbanspoon




  1. Hussain said,

    I’m told it is referencing Ren and Stimpy…

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