Ommi's Food is a Taiwanese business serving ready cooked heat at home Taiwanese meals. The prices are very reasonable and delivered frozen, ready cooked and easy to heat up. And not only does Ommi's deliver all over Sydney, it delivers all over Australia!
Omar Hsu is the chef behind Ommi's. He grew up in Taiwan in a hospo family where his father and grandfather were both chefs and he grew up helping out at both his father's kaiseki-ryōri restaurant and his grandfather's hawker food stall. After attending university in Taiwan he came to Australia to continue his work as a chef. Most recently he worked as a sous chef at Aria and Barangaroo House.
Once COVID-19 hit he reassessed and decided to return to his Taiwanese roots. He started with one product: his Taiwanese golden kimchi and a small team. Now he has a range of items from lazy noodle kits, kimchi, handmade frozen dumplings and pastry, hot pots, street snacks and sauces. I was immediately drawn to the items in their night market series because visiting Taiwan's night markets was one of my fondest memories of my trip there.
Taiwanese cuisine certainly has it's own identity and Omar says, "There are two things about Taiwanese food I find intriguing. Its colonial history and the intricate relationship with China that since the 20th century had a deep influence on Taiwanese food - from Hakka culture to Japonica rice, one can easily spot foreign elements in Taiwanese cuisine. Taiwanese took these influences and used local ingredients, sauces and cooking techniques to create unique dishes which formed the culinary image that we call Taiwanese cuisine today. It is actually a bit like Australia - the two countries are like melting pots that took inspiration from foreign cultures and formed what was being called the cuisine of their own."
Omar continues, "Street food, or in Mandarin 'small eats' (小吃) is a staple in Taiwan's food scene, and it plays such an important role in local people's daily life. In Taiwan, if you take a stroll in any one of the food street or night market, you will find people buying their breakfast, lunch, dinner and even late night snacks from the stalls, and it would be just too easy to pick up foreign influence in the food you see or taste there. To me the two things together formed the identity of Taiwanese food." Currently half of Ommi's customers are from a Taiwanese or pan-Chinese background, and the other half are Australian locals.
All of the items are delivered frozen where they'll last for a few months in your freezer or 5 days in the fridge. I'd recommend pre-thawing out the non dumpling items before cooking them, as they'll cook up faster that way (most of the cooking times are for semi thawed or thawed food). Most of the items can be cooked in the microwave or air fryer/oven while the dumplings can be boiled or pan fried. Orders for each batch close on Sundays before midnight and orders can also be picked up from their location in Rosebery or delivered.
Taiwanese Sticky Rice $12.95
Any time I see sticky or glutinous rice I have to order it. This is a version with pork, shiitake mushrooms in a soy flavoured spiced rice with hints of star anise and five spice. There's plenty of ginger in here for flavour and the addition of Coke for caramel sweetness. This reheats up really well too.
Taiwanese Sausages $19.95 for 8
The Taiwanese sausages are best thawed and then grilled or roasted in the oven or air fryer. The pork sausages are slightly sweet and very juicy and delicious with plain rice. The fermented rice inside the sausage reminds me of Thai fermented rice sausages Sai krok Isan crossed with the fattiness of lup cheong.
Rice Boudin Noir $12.95
One of my favourite items is the Boudin Noir cubes with sticky rice, pig's blood with a crunchy peanut dukkah on top. The thing about boudin noir is that you don't really taste the blood, it just gives it a rich flavour. This hits all the flavour notes and is salty and sweet with a firmish texture with a crunchy, sweet peanut dukkah sprinkled on top.
Boneless Fried Chicken $12.95
This is one of the most popular items and I love fried chicken especially when I don't have to fry it. This is made with boneless chicken marylands with garlic and a coating using tapioca flour. It's easy to heat up in the oven or air fryer and tasty especially served with a Sriracha mayonnaise.
Ba-Wan Tapioca Meatballs $16.95
I was intrigued to try the Ba-wan tapioca meatballs. They are enormous, around 10cm in diameter and have a sticky tapioca outer and you just spray these with water and then steam them either in a steamer or microwave. The filling is made of pork and bamboo shoots much like a siu mai filling or similar and it comes with two sauces: a sweet chili bean sauce and a ginger garlic sauce. Mr NQN is a massive fan of these and adores them scoffing down both enormous dumplings with relish.
Pork with Chili Kimchi $12.95
You can either boil or pan fry the dumplings and given the choice it's always pan fried for me. All you do is take out the frozen dumplings, heat up your frying pan and then add a tablespoon of oil and crisp up the bottoms. Then you add 1/3-1/2 cup of water to the pan and immediately place the lid on the frying pan as it will spit and sizzle loudly. This steams the dumplings so that they cook inside while retaining a crispy bottom. The pork with chilli kimchi are my favourite of the three dumplings that I tried and are completely moreish.
Truffle Sheng jian bao $14.95
The picture of the truffle sheng jian bao shows what it looks like inside at the front which can be a bit confusing because it looks like there are two types of dumplings but it's just one type. These are nice dumplings but the truffle aroma is very light in these.
Cheesy Chicken with Golden Kimchi $12.95
The chicken with golden kimchi are also good but quite different from the pork and kim chi as these have a melted cheese filling. For dumpling traditionalist I think the dumplings without the cheese are the pick but if you like something new and interesting the cheese dumplings are worth a try.
So tell me Dear Reader, have you tried much Taiwanese food? And do you prefer boiled or pan-fried dumplings?
This meal was independently paid for.