Brisbane

Snack Man – Delicious Chinese Food

Snack Man – Introduction

On our first visit to Brisbane in a number of years, one of the highlights of our visit was discovering Snack Man in Fortitude Valley and the story of the people behind this exciting, busy venue.

First the setting. You reach Snack Man from East Street which runs between busy Ann Street and Wickham Street. If you arrive at night the scene is enhanced by dazzling sight of the light-draped trees that run along East St.

Fairy lights lining East St

Snack Man is quite close to Ann St at the base of a set of apartments and hotel rooms. It is also next door to Happy Boy, a Chinese restaurant serving different food, but run by the same owners.

There will soon be another venue next to Snack Man which will feature curries from a variety of countries and will highlight the journey that curries have taken over the centuries. A worthy project by the same owners who will then have three restaurants side by side.

We need to talk about an important part of the story which is how the owners came to this spot in this city despite having little in the way of a hospitality background.

The people behind these interesting venues are Jordan and Cameron Votan. We only met Jordan briefly, but we had a number of extended chats with Cameron during our time in Brisbane and look forward to spending further time with him on future visits.

Cameron has had a varied but interesting career including work in Information Technology, a stint with an international management consulting group and a project to build an online retailing system which became very successful. These roles saw him spend much of his youth in Sydney and Melbourne, but he decided to return to Brisbane to pursue a desire to open a restaurant.

Snack Man – The Food

Snack Man offers the most delicious of Chinese-inspired snacks – dumplings, buns, house-made sausages, noodles and even something verging on a salad, very aromatic with copious amounts of mint. Three visits and we didn’t quite nail the whole menu, but we thought it was important to leave the odd untried dish, perhaps a superstition to make sure we return.

The menu shows which region of China or elsewhere that the snacks originated from. On our visits there were examples from Shanghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Beijing, Macau, Taiwan, Jiangsu and a humorous snack originating from Melbourne, namely a riff on dim sims.

Over three nights we worked our way through the menu, although some of the dishes were so delicious we doubled up on each occasion. Perhaps the dish that we found to be both authentic and delicious was the Fu Pei Gyun which originates from the Guangdong (Canton) Province which is a coastal province where seafood is king. This dish sees tofu skins wrapped around prawn paste and prawn chunks and fried to golden perfection.

Snack Man Fu Pei Gyun
Snack Man Fu Pei Gyun Tofu skin and prawn from Guandong

We were also intrigued with a meatball dish called Shi Zi Tou which was described as northern home-style braised pork meatballs in cooking juices. This dish originated from the Jiangsu Province which lies immediately north of Shanghai where we have thoroughly enjoyed the famous Lion’s Head Meatballs. This dish turned out to be texturally very similar in that they were ethereally light and very very tasty.

Shi Zi Tou meatballs from Jiangsu Province
Shi Zi Tou meatballs from Jiangsu Province

We also enjoyed Shang Tang which was flame-grilled pork sausage on served on a stick which was inspired by a similar dish from Taiwan where small snacks are very common.

Shang Tang. Flame-Grilled Pork Sausage on Stick
Shang Tang. Flame-Grilled Home-Made Smoked Sweet Pork Sausage on Stick

As one more example of the items on the menu we loved the Wortip which are the pan-fried pork and chive dumplings that were held together by crispy, fried batter as is traditional.

Wortip. Pan-Fried Dumplings
Wortip. Pan-Fried Dumplings

As you can imagine from these photographs the food is not only very tasty but also covers many of the cooking styles of the regions of China and beyond.

Snack Man – The Wine

A feature of the restaurant space is the wall of wonderful wines, some of the rarest in the country, to drink with these snacks. We were delighted to see many wines from our friends Andrew Guard and Giorgio di Maria available here – they both import a range of exceptional wines that had been well-chosen for the food being served.

We thoroughly enjoyed a rare offering from French winemaker Daniel Sage whose wines are revered in that country and beyond. It matched the food perfectly.

Snack Man – Further Information

You can see the menu for Snack Man on their Web site:

Snack Man Web site

You can also read a brief outline of places we recommend to eat at in Brisbane.

Additional information

Street: Snack Man

Street: 6/826 Ann Street

Suburb: Fortitude Valley, 4006

City: Brisbane

State: Australia

Phone number: No phone

Opening hours: Open Tues – Sun, 4pm – midnight

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