Friday, November 28, 2014

Mom’s Dumpling House not your usual experience

Often Restaurants in Australia that offer food from other countries adapt their food to the local pallet. While they do it for business reasons, I often look out for places that pull crowds from that country as it is usually a sign of being true to their roots.

Mom’s Dumpling House in Victoria Park is great like this. Situated near Vic Park's famous 'Kidney Roundabout', it is an unassuming restaurant that specialises in Northern Chinese food. 

While they have the standard fare such as dumplings, sweet and sour pork and the like, their menu is full of dishes that I had never heard of and weren’t particularly appealing to the Aussie taste such as ox tongue in chilli sauce, beef and ox tripe in chilli sauce, hot & spicy pork ear as well as poached pork liver.

To celebrate the end of the working week my friends and I visited Mom’s Dumpling House and after some discussion we chose quite the feast.    

We went for kailan in oyster sauce, spicy seaweed salad, spring rolls and chives, pork and shrimp dumplings (steamed) to start off with and which we loved. Although the dumplings came out much later which was a shame as we would have appreciated them if they came out before we were half way through our meal.    

The butter chicken was chosen by my young friend who loved it as it wasn’t spicy and had simple flavours.

The hot & spicy pigs ear was served cold on a bed of shaved cucumber; with its multiple layers of flavour, it was an unexpected favourite.

The chicken, mushroom vermicelli claypot was a surprise and wasn’t what we expected. This dish was heavy and resembled comfort food that you would have in the middle of winter in Russia rather than on a late spring everning in Western Australia.  

It quite easy to order too much food but luckily, the staff were happy to provide containers for you to take food home. Overall, the service was great and I will defiantly be back to enjoy their Northern Chinese menu.     

Mom Dumpling House on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Help, I need a wife!

Like most people, my life is super busy and so often I wish I could have a wife. Someone who does the domestic things while I go out and have a fulfilling life without the inconvenience of having to the mundane errands and waiting around!

What stuck a cord me while reading Annabel Crabb’s new book The Wife Drought was that it offered such a different angle on the gender and work debate. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants a fresh perspective on the women and work discussion.

She wrote this book to fill a gap in the discussion about gender and work. There is so much literature about how women are disadvantaged in the world of work and how the current paradigm favours men as well as how women should make the system work for them.

But there isn’t much written about men in the world of work and this book asks if men are happy with the current system. She writes ‘we focus our attention on who wins and who loses at work, but we don’t join it up with what is happening at home. As long as we assume that women are the only losers in this situation, nothing will change. Because the truth is that everyone loses in a system like this. Women feel hard done by, men who feel trapped at work, children who don’t see enough of their fathers.’     

So, why are wives so important?

According to Crabb, a wife (it doesn’t always have to be a female, there have been male “wives”) is someone who works a lot less in order to successfully manage the domestic sphere and handles all the things that pop up in everyday life such as visits from the plumber/electrician, goes shopping, chooses a new fridge, spend hours on the phone to the internet provider, and, not to mention looking after kids, elderly parents and associated pets.

Having such support allow men to focus on their careers, which includes staying back in the office, being available to travel (after all they have a wife and, as men, they are not primary responsible for their children) and attend out of hours networking functions.

You couldn’t do all is if you didn’t have a wife to manage your domestic life.

Different experiences and expectations       

While other books on this topic focus on the experiences of women, Crabb’s book includes a look at the role of men in family life and society attitude towards this role.

She rightly notices that while the role of women has changed dramatically over time, men’s role in society has remained stagnant. It is still assumed that they are the main bread winner and the mother of their children will be their primary carer.

Any deviation for that narrative creates huge burdens for everyone. Women feel like there are neglecting their children if they work while also being made to feel like they are not quite present in the workplace.

On the other hand, marriage grounds men – the bachelor lifestyle with its flamboyant is supposed to stop once a guy marries and has children.           

The highlight of Annabel’s discussion was around the lack of opportunity for men to access flexible working arrangements as well as the societal expectation that men won’t make much of a change to his working hours after he has children.
I thought it interesting when she quoted George Megalogenis who said ‘Women have trouble asking for pay rises, and men have trouble asking for time off’. The reason being that it is uncool for men to scale back for the sake of their family or ‘work-life balance’ and doing so makes them look like they are not serious about their career.   

What makes this book different?

While there are a plethora of books and articles on this topic, what Crabb’s book adds to the debate is a unique investigation of the effects of the gender roles and how ‘having a wife’ benefits men. It benefits them economically as well as in regards to their ability to participate in business and public life.

What I also like about Crabb’s book is that, unlike other books on this topic, there is a strong emphasis on men’s role in balancing work and family rather than just only on women and the problems that they face in this area.

You just have to switch on the TV or read the newspapers to notice that the individuals running the companies and in government are men and what often goes unnoticed is the level of support that they require to become captains of industry and government ministers.

Just so you know…..

This book isn’t so much about hating the patriarchy; it is about encouraging men to as for flexibility at work and participate equally in the lives of their family. As Annabel Crabb writes, ‘This is not a book of rage on the whole. And – on the whole – it is not a book about women. Because in all the research and argument and thought that’s been expended over the past five decades on the question of why women don’t succeed at work like men do there’ a great, gaping hole. It is a men shaped hole.

That’s why I liked this book (other than that it is super easy to read and is full of the usual Annabel Crabb charm, wit and grace) because it acknowledges that the problem not just one facing women that has to be solved by women or be dealt with by corporations for their female employees but that men are as much part of the solution as they are part of the problem. Allowing both men and women flexibility at work to have a life out of employment and look after children makes for a better society.     

Why read ‘The Wife Drought’?

I could go on and on about this book as well as quote every idea that I highlighted but I hope I gave you enough of an idea to give this book a try.

It is super easy to read, highly relevant and easily relatable.    

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Home town discoveries

If you live somewhere for long enough you develop certain ideas about where the cool places are and you want to spend your time off. As time goes by cities and suburbs change without you noticing unless something grabs your attention and changes your views.    

Until recently, Perth’s entertainment hub of Northbridge, with its seedy undertones, has inspired images in my mind of drunken teenagers and out of control Bogans and has put me off spending much time there.

This was before I went on a Foot Loose Tour which is essentially a long walk around Northbridge’s best restaurants. It is run by well known Perth blogger with years of industry experience and these tours are designed to be a snapshot giving you an opportunity to try several places in one night.

We met under the big screen in the neighbourhood’s piazza and then, after a short introduction by our guide, we made a move.

First stop was Darlings Supper Club, one of Northbridge’s new kids on the block.  As we tried various dumpling we made a mental note to come back and explore more of their menu.

Next we got to try another new kid place called Lot Twenty,
although it was on a different block, but it was as cool. The vibe was great and somewhere I’d return to.

After a nice cider and a long chat with friend who came with me we moved on across Northbridge to Big Els Latin American Fusion. We hadn’t heard of this place before so it was good to give it a go and with its funky décor we would be back if we ever felt like South American food.    

When we seriously thought we couldn’t eat any more we shuffled over to a burger joint that I never new existed. Varsity Burgers is down a pedestrian side street and, given the name, had an American feel to it. Think deep fried, think burger after a night on the town. They seem different to the burgers that you get at other burger places but we loved our double cheese burger and fried peanut butter thing.

At this point we couldn’t eat anymore so we piked but I think the group went to visit more places.

On the whole, we had a great time and we discovered some great places to eat and look forward to going back to spend some more time at these places. It looks like Northbridge is changing for the better and making it somewhere that people would visit rather than avoid.

If you want more information regarding Food Loose Tours, go to

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dinner at Shilla’s Korean BBQ makes good discussion possible

I’m part of French Meet-up group and we do all sorts of stuff together and last night we met at Shilla’s Korean BBQ for dinner and conversation, in French of course.

As it turned out it was an ideal place for such an event because it wasn’t too noisy that we couldn’t hear each other and the food was great. We had a great table with a nice view of the river and we chatted away in French about all sorts of things, including how we were the only Anglos in the restaurant, which we thought was a good sign.

Some of the group ordered a banquet which I would recommend as it, especially if you’re dining with a posse. The round communal grill in the middle of the table aided good conversation and ended up being a bit of a hit with the Francophiles. 

They also enjoyed the nice entrée that were part of the banquet as well as the dessert of either a green tea or espresso pannacotta or green tea ice cream. It was well presented and everyone loved it.    

After much thought I chose menu number 42, I can’t remember what it was called but whatever the name was I loved it. It was so different (in a good way) and not what I expected. It came with entrée that that got you in the mood but didn’t fill you up.

The staff at Shilla’s BBQ Restaurant were attentive, polite and added to a great night out.  

Shilla Korean BBQ Restaurant on Urbanspoon
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