If you’re after a meal out on the town, you really can’t do wrong with classic Asian cuisine, and one of Canberra’s most loved Chinese restaurants is Ginseng in the heart of Manuka.
Nestled in a cosy two-storey complex, Ginseng serves up its own distinctive style of traditional Chinese, adding a subtle, contemporary touch to each dish.
Its menu is as flavoursome as it is extensive, including all the much-loved Chinese favourites including honey chicken, Szechuan beef and sweet and sour pork, as well as a selection of rustic traditional dishes you’re bound to fall in love with.
Ginseng is also the perfect location for functions and group dinners, with its upstairs offering a more intimate dining area with long tables, designed for groups of all sizes and complete with its own bar.
The best part about Ginseng is the friendly staff – speedy service with a smile, and the atmosphere is always buzzing with the bustle of the steaming kitchen and chatter amongst good company.
For starters, order the Jumbo Oysters deep fried with five spice seasoning. These delicious seafood morsels are some of the biggest you can find in Canberra and can also be ordered steamed in ginger and shallots with light soya sauce or in homemade XO chilli paste. One bite into the crispy oyster cluster and the flavour of the gem of the sea bursts in your mouth – creamy and just the perfect amount of saltiness. Combined with the crunchy texture of the deep-fried layer of golden batter that encapsulates it, the Jumbo Oysters make for a tantalising entrée that will set the standard for your Ginseng feast to come.
A great dish to share is the much-loved Crispy Duck Pancakes. If you’re after a taste of authentic Chinese food, this dish is for you. It features roasted duck pieces served with shallots, cucumber and peanut hoi sin sauce wrapped with a thin delicate pancake. No cutlery is needed, just dig in and get your hands dirty!
For the full flavoursome effect, pack all ingredients into the pancake to ensure each bite contains a bit of everything on the palate. The peanut hoisin sauce combined with the succulent duck creates a rich and wholesome feed, while the fresh cucumber cuts through the duck fat balancing all the elements out perfectly.
Continuing the tradition of Asian share plates, other notable dishes include the BBQ Pork and Roast Duck, served in tender bite-size slices making it an ideal accompaniment to any vegetable or noodle dish; and the show-stopping Coral Trout, deep fried whole, butterflied and sprinkled in shallots, chilli and garlic.
Currently, Ginseng is celebrating all things chestnuts, which are in season! You can add them to any dish on the menu for an extra $4. To We opted to add them to a chicken and vegetable hot pot – perfect for the Canberra cold! The pot came to the table steaming with the aroma of nutty goodness. The chestnuts were soft and absorbed into the sauce, which was delightful when drizzled atop jasmine rice alongside the chicken and vegetables.
If there was one word to describe the overall restaurant experience at Ginseng, it’s ‘happy’ – happy staff, happy vibes and happy bellies!