Peko Peko (South Melbourne)
- Wasabi Mayo Prawns
- Spicy Calamari and Taiwan Sausage
- Pop Chicken
- Mince Mince
- Brownie Ice Cream
- Custard Pancake Sandwich
It was an interesting start with the Wasabi Mayo Prawns. The light, airy batter provided a nice crispness. This was coupled with a dollop of wasabi mayo that offered up a creamy tinge of spiciness. Within, the prawn was incredibly fresh and juicy, offering up a slight crunch sensation. We seriously could’ve done with more of these.
The Pop Chicken was signature dish of Peko Peko and it undoubtedly impressed. The crunchy outer batter was well-seasoned and fried to a perfect golden brown. Offering up plenty of crispness and a satisfying crunch, enclosed within were juicy and tender chunks of chicken protein.
We also enjoyed the Mince Mince. Served alongside a generous serving of rice was the delicious mixture of mince pork with mushrooms. The 5-spice sauce provided incredible flavour, bold and complex without being overwhelming. Accompanied by various pickles and veggies, this traditional, signature Taiwanese dish certainly didn’t disappoint.
We concluded the evening with the Custard Pancake Sandwich. Served with a scoop of bold, flavoursome matcha ice cream, this dessert was a beautiful sight to behold. Digging into the pancake reveals a soft gooey inner that was generous filled with a sweet sugary custard with a hint of creaminess.
Despite being one of the most popular dishes of this eatery, the Spicy Calamari with Taiwanese Sausage unfortunately failed to impress. The sweet sauce was definitely necessary to counter the intense chilli that was used within. However, the liberally applied, sticky, spicy, sweet, and sour sauce coated every inch of the dish, and undoubtedly masked the actual flavours of any ingredients used within. Shame really, because the calamari was rather well fried and delectably tender. Too bad the rice accompanying the dish was quite literally scraping the bottom of the barrel, dry, hard, and far from the fluffy, fragrant variety one would expect.
The Brownie Ice Cream was a tad disappointing to say the least. The singular scoop of ice cream was garnished with small chunks of brownie and oreo crumbs. Despite the diverse textures found within this dessert, it was undeniably a very small and rather simple item that’s commanding a huge premium for what it actually represents – a fancy, single scoop of ice cream. Something from leading ice cream joints like Gelato Messina or Pidapippo is half the price yet arguably just as satisfying.
Peko Peko is a bustling little eatery that’s known for dishing up quick and affordable Taiwanese-inspired meals to South Melbourne locals. The more traditional items on offer, like the Popcorn Fried Chicken and the Mince Mince certainly satisfied, and undoubtedly made us reminisce of the delicious street food in Taiwan.
However, we can’t help but feel that they are simply trying too hard to impress with their attempts to ‘modernise’ the menu. While these newer items added much flare in presentation, the taste certainly left much to be desired, not to mention they generally represent rather poor value for money for a fast-paced, casual establishment like Peko Peko.
Would Penguin Eat Again?
I’d be back for more of their traditional Taiwanese items, as that’s undoubtedly some of the best we’ve come across in Melbourne. The others? I am yet to be convinced.
Penguineats was invited to dine at Peko Peko South Melbourne.
This blog post is produced in conjunction with AGFG.