21 September 2022

Five minutes with Jasmine Choi, Mu & Cicada Bar

| Evelyn Karatzas
Woman leaning against bar

Jasmine Choi, Manager of Mu and Cicada Bar. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Who is Jasmine Choi: I am the manager of Mu Restaurant and Cicada Bar on Constitution Avenue.

Best dining experience: I’d probably say Chaco Bar in Sydney. I went there for yakitori (a Japanese type of grilled skewered chicken) but ended up being impressed by its non-grilled dishes like the chawanmushi (a Japanese egg custard dish) with seafood butter and the almond tofu salad. I just love the combination of flavours and the casual, lively vibe.

Favourite cuisine: Ooh, that’s a tough one. I’d have to say Japanese and Cantonese. I can’t pick just one. They’re both so good!

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Most embarrassing fridge or pantry item: Maybe the Up & Go in my fridge that my partner had bought? I always use all the pantry items I buy.

What ingredient can I not live without: Definitely scallion. I need lots of scallion in my scrambled eggs, late-night noodles and fried rice.

Next big thing in the Canberra food scene: I think the next big thing will be a celebration of Chairman Group’s 30th birthday next year. Hopefully, there will be lots of exciting, fun things and collaborations that bring inspiration and insight to Canberra.

Miss Van's

Miss Van’s on Marcus Clarke St is Jasmine’s favourite lunch spot in Canberra. Photo: Rohan Thompson, Pew Pew Studio.

Favourite place for lunch in the ACT: I love Miss Van’s. Their Gai Yang Chicken and Banh Mi with Laos Sausage are two of my favourites.

What’s the special of the week at Mu and Cicada?: A new version of chawanmushi with zucchini flower, cauliflower and scampi for early spring.

My go-to coffee spot in Canberra: Supersweet in Braddon is my go-to. They do great coffee and beautiful matcha mille-crepes.

Breakfast food

Supersweet Pastry has added colour breakfast and lunch items to match the vibrancy of their cakes. Photo: Yanheyue Wang.

A must-try on our menu: Our Kamo Nanban duck breast udon with Lapsang tea and sansho pepper is a must-try! I love how the smokiness and tannins of the tea bring the traditional noodle dish to the next level and the tingling finish left by the sansho, which was mistakenly perceived as an allergic reaction by one of our customers.

Biggest culinary influence: Definitely Chairman Hong Kong, who adopts a ‘Back to Basic’ approach and creates the most sophisticated Cantonese dishes. It’s like my muse Tiny Chow, who always wore a white shirt and a pair of Jeans but remains a fashion icon nowadays. You need a great deal of confidence and substance in order to go simple.

Favourite cookbook: Michael Pollan’s ‘Cooked’ is my favourite.

Josiah Li, Chairman Group

Josiah Li is Jasmine’s boss at Mu & Cicada Bar. Photo: The Chairman Group

What business or business owner do I admire in the Canberra food and wine scene: I really admire my boss, Josiah Li. He is always enthusiastic to serve and create, and doesn’t often cook, but can give the best advice on cooking. He’s also someone with a great deal of creativity and wisdom.

Where am I travelling next: I will be going to my hometown, Hong Kong. I can’t wait to have three weeks to reunite and catch up with all my friends and family.

Death row meal: I would have to say a bowl of Cantonese soup that my mother cooks. It’s the best!

My least favourite food: I don’t like Natto, the fermented sticky soybean. My Japanese friends eat it so easily with a bowl of rice. I don’t get how!

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COVID-19 response: Now that everything is pretty much over, I think it’s important to get as much sunlight as possible. Sometimes I’ll sunbathe just my feet so that I can have the benefits on physical and mental health without getting too tanned.

My three recipe tips:

1. Heat the pan so it’s really hot before pouring oil in and then immediately turn down the heat and pour the egg mixture for a nice scramble egg.

2. Cook your udon (thick noodles) for a slightly shorter time than instructed, and then give it a good rinse under cold water after.

3. Heaps of minced shallot are your best friend when it comes to upping your fried rice game.

Mu & Cicada Bar is located on 1 Constitution Avenue, Canberra. It is open from 5 pm till late, from Tuesday to Saturday.

Original Article published by Evelyn Karatzas on Riotact.

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