The food in Mackay was so terrible that after the first time of just Spam and 4 peas in your fried rice you don't bother anymore. We thought it was a high rents and high cost of ingredients Chinese phenomenon but it seems bad Chinese food can be obtained all over Australia.
I suppose we were a little bit spoilt living in Campsie. It was so easy, we'd nick off to the pub and gorge ourselves on some pretty awesome and cheap as chips Chinese cuisine but here in Wingham, BA-BARM! Fail.
We don't eat out much. Why would we when the food at home is far superior than anything we've paid good money for, but sometimes the craving for a big Chinese meal takes hold and you have to do something about it or you'll go mad. We had our grandson with us and thought it would be nice to get out of the house and have a meal. There are two restaurants to choose from in Wingham; one has the BEST bacon wrapped prawns and dipped in batter and deep fried entrée I've ever eaten (it's like a heart attack in a bag) but their other food was a bit how's yer dad so we went to the other one in hopes of finding a small town Chinese gem.
It was stinking hot outside, as it is in summer, and when we opened the door to the restaurant we were greeted with darkness and a stifling waft of hot air. Two figures emerged from the darkness as I very loudly and rudely said "Phoar! fuck this, we'll go next door", lights flickered on and a young girl almost lunged at us, pleading for us to stay. We felt really bad, so we stayed. One aircon was switched on and tables were moved so we were directly inline with a mediocre breeze. I felt guilty for using their electricity. While we were there one other person came in to pick up a takeaway.
We figured we were having a bit of a splurge so ordered a scotch and coke for the adults and apple juice for the kid. The drinks tasted like watered down moonshine with flat homebrand cola flavoured cordial drink and the juice was warm with no ice. Nothing was drinkable. I asked for some water. It came warm in a jug with no glasses. Asked for glasses. Got glasses but felt too weird to ask for ice so drank warm water.
I suppose this is where the sadness kicked in, paused for a while then deepened as we chomped into a frozen-in-the-middle dim sim. Oh dear....
We actually stopped and discussed the menu at length, looking for the most obvious 'surely you can't fuck this up' food. Our meal consisted of: Honey King Prawns $16.90, Satay Lamb about the same price (but can you put some veges in it please?), and a large Fried Rice. We ate what we could and took home a doggy bag, figured we'd cook the dim sims properly at home. Getting the bill for $75 hurt and oh.. oh... oh... the icing on the cake ..... there was a fucking hair in my food! I hate paying for shit food! OMG! I hate it so much! We left that restaurant with an overwhelming weight of sadness.
So, are we looking at a chicken and egg situation ? Did the people cooking this food once have a dream, were they once motivated and they wanted to show off how awesome their cuisine was, or how good their home cooking was? And was it the high cost of rent, excessive prices of ingredients, high electricity bills and over-Australianisation of taste that has killed the small town Chinese restaurant?
Or did they just say, "ah fuck it... if they don't fuckin' like it, they can make their fuckin' own."