Stop and smell the lunch

Szechuan chicken clay pot at Joy's Kitchen. Picture ©Caron Eastgate Dann 2014

Szechuan chicken clay pot at June’s Kitchen. Picture ©Caron Eastgate Dann 2014

I work at a university and most days, I can’t stop long enough to sit down and eat lunch properly. I have to eat on the hop, so to speak, often on the train or the platform. A home-made sandwich is the only practical thing I can carry to do this.
But the other day, I treated myself to a sit-down lunch at June’s Kitchen, at the Uni Cafe, at the plaza next to Monash University campus at Caulfield. I like this unassuming little Chinese eatery. It is not glamorous, trendy or innovative. It has comforting Chinese food, the menu on newsprint pinned around the room, written with Texta in Chinese first, with an English translation for most, but not all, of the fare.
For $10, this bubbling Szechuan chicken clay pot with side dish of rice was mine. The sauce was spicy enough to tingle without blowing your head off. I don’t know exactly what was in it, but it was a perfect balance of pepper, chilli, salt, sugar, spices, rice wine, soy sauce and more. The chicken was cooked on the bone and fell off to melt in your mouth. There were lots of potatoes in this dish, reminding me of the classic Thai mussaman curry and deliciously comforting. And this single serve would have been enough for two.
The mark of a good dish is that it stays in your memory, and I keep thinking about this one. Perhaps I will make it a weekly lunch treat. It sure beats a ham and cheese sandwich eaten while standing on the dreary platform at Flinders Street station.