Mr Chu Brings Southeast Asia to South Australia

Discovering a Southeast Asian food haven in the posh and urban district of Norwood is almost like finding a golden pot at the end of a rainbow. Mr Chu is that eureka moment: yes, I’m having Southeast Asia in South Australia!

Having lived in Singapore for over a decade before migrating to Adelaide, I have had an amazing foodie experience of gaining easy access to an array of quality yet affordable Asian food. With neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, you get to taste the same dish in a different country, but cooked with a slightly different twist. Same-same but different.

Those days in Singapore, you just have to step out of your home, and within a hundred steps or less, an entire new world awaits you: a Disneyland-esque, culinary melting pot called hawker centres. Mind you, this is your gateway to laksas, mie gorengs, xiaolongbaos, briyanis, and every other good Asian food you can probably think of at less than 10 bucks per order.

Back here in Adelaide, I have always been hungry for Southeast Asia (deliberately using the word “Southeast Asia” as I miss the whole concept of being in and experiencing that region in general). That particular week, when I got invited by Mercy Me Marketing to attend Mr Chu’s launch of their winter menu, was no exception. It was a perfect timing to relinquish my nostalgia — and apparently, the best way to solve my personal issues: feed me, baby!

Owned and managed by Malaysian-born Chef Daniel Chu and business partners, Mr Chu serves a range of Southeast Asian fusion dishes primarily catered to the South Australian audience. Their menu boasts something for everyone: a breakfast menu with quintessential Aussie favourites such as the Bacon Benedict, a vegan offering such as the Chef’s Vegan Laksa, and a range of drinks perfect for any Asian food pairing.

With a big focus on Chef Daniel’s Malaysian heritage in the dishes, one may argue: are they serving something authentic? The answer is probably no, which I’m assuming they will confirm too. Mr Chu delivers more on the sweet side and a fun Aussie take on generally savoury Asian dishes.

But in this day and age, what is authentic heritage food anyway? Isn’t food supposed to evolve according to the wants and needs of the audience? I’m with Mr Chu and their fusion food. It’s hip, modern, and comforting.

My personal favourites were the stir fried chicken, seared scallops, and salmon sashimi. Majority in our table loved Mr Chu’s version of the rendang. Although it was indeed good, I’m personally much more critical with my rendangs as they’re my ultimate favourite. I judge the rendang based on the colour, curry & coconut aroma, and the tenderness of the meat. Just a big fan of rendangs, I get too critical at times — I suppose the same way Italians treat their pastas?

While in the middle of the table service, I whispered and shyly asked one of Mr Chu’s service team: “by any chance, do you have any teh (pulled tea)? ” When he said he’s happy to serve a few cups on the table, I squealed with delight. I haven’t had one for ages! Drinking traditional coffee and tea in Singapore/Malaysia after main meals is something quite typical. It was almost like our hobby.

Special thanks to Mr Chu and Mercy Me Marketing for the invitation. Will I come back? YES. Will I recommend Mr Chu to my friends? YAAAS!

Mr Chu Contemporary Eatery, 220 The Parade, Norwood SA 5067.

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