There’s no easy way to say this because it’s likely to offend a few people. I’m not necessarily saying it’s right – I’m just pointing out the way things are. So here are the general rules we follow:
Is it filled with Westerners? Avoid it.
Is it filled with Asians? Go for it.
Is there a queue? Shut up and get in line already.
It’s simple, really: Westerners tend to go for the flashy, touristy stuff. Or at least they have a very different idea of what it ought to be. You know, deep-fried, sweet, salty, peppery stuff, with the exotic names and the try-hard MasterChef-style creative flourishes that frankly make people like me baulk… not all Westerners are like that, of course, but their tastes do have a habit of dictating what appears in the menu. And it’s those tastes that drive people like me away.
I don’t know about other Asians, but I often breath a sigh of relief when my favourite restaurants fail to make the “Sydney’s best yum cha” or “Sydney’s best dumplings” lists of vanity sites like Broadsheet.
But this place – KIN by us – is a place I’m happy to share. It’s a fusion Asian cafe and the owners are a pair of minor television celebrities, so there’s no need for them to pander. Their ingredients include “crunchy bits” and their congee is pretty damned good.
The ABCs of ABCs is a light-hearted attempt to explain the ins and outs of the Australian-Born Chinese culture for Caucasians who can’t make any sense of it. There’s a lot of idiosyncratic behaviour I get asked the same questions about, so I’m going to do my best to answer them. Call it my way of bridging the gap between cultures.