I didn’t want to go into this place at first glance. Perhaps it was the fact that it was screaming “franchise” with its shiny calligraphic lettering and minimal exterior grey designing, but all I knew was that I was going to get average westernized chinese cuisine. but my parents didn’t want to drive too far, so we were stuck with this place.
the minute we stepped in, we had to wade through a thick knot of Orientals before getting to the petite hostess calling out numbers over the hubbub.
we were seated within a reasonable 10 minutes. the menu had an extensive list of mostly cantonese specialties, but included a pretty good sized section devoted to pan asian, including pho, thai and fusion. Prices were more than reasonable for every dish and portions were enormous. one dish could feed 2 people with enough leftover for lunch the next day.
zha liang (fried cruller wrapped in rice noodle)
the portion was literally double. the rice wrapping was thin and the fried bread inside was dense, moist and chewy. very little grease, and it came with three sauces (instead of the standard two). it was, despite the nature of the dish, comparably light and clean.
shrimp wonton noodle soup
the shrimp wontons were FULLY LOADED with fresh shrimp. so much so, that they were more like shrimp meat balls than wonton dumplings. the noodles were just average and the soup was minimally flavored. a very basic dish without much to distinguish it.
qi cai tsing zhou cao mi fen (basically singapore noodles)
very good proportion of chopped shrimps and scallops. the flavoring was also not too strong, making it a generally pleasantly light dish. wasn’t too much of a fan though, I like my singapore noodles with a bit more pizzaz.
black bean chilli pork spare rib hot pot rice
this is a dish that is very specific to cantonese cuisine, that consists of a large hot clay pot of rice topped with various meats/veggies and accompanied by a heavier saltier soy sauce. What makes this dish is the crunchy layer of rice that results from the high temperature of the clay pot it is served in.
the one we ordered came in a personal sized metal pot. the gailan (chinese broccoli) was tender on the inside but still maintained its crunchy on the outside (perfect!!). the spare ribs were almost melt-in-you-mouth, and had minimal bone, so no teeth gnashing necessary to get all the wonderful juicy meat off. and once we reached the bottom, a nice thick layer of scorched crunchy rice had developed.
surprisingly the quality (and quantity!) was above and beyond my initial expectations. each dish was cooked with minimal amounts of grease, and the dominant dish flavorings were almost all from the respective ingredients rather than the oil. ingredients were fresh and all well cooked although I would’ve preferred a bit more flavor for a couple of the dishes.
a great place to go for standard cantonese fare, cheap very high quality and filling.
2930 Steeles Ave East,