There are a handful of Chinese cafes in the city that I like to frequent. Patterned after Hong Kong-style cafes, the ones here are a pale comparison to ones you can visit in Hong Kong or Vancouver, or even Calgary. The cafes here aren’t innovative, but you can get some great (and relatively inexpensive) food.
Probably one of the pricier of my favourites, the Spicy Garden is probably the most consistent and less greasy of all of them. You can easily get a meal for $8 – $20. They have a wide range of food including congee, wonton, green onion cakes, fried noodles and rice dishes. It’s also the place that I go to pick up great Hainan chicken rice and ja leurng (rice noodles wrapped around Chinese fried long donuts and doused in soy sauce).
Last week I needed a quick solo meal and I had a craving for fried rice, so I popped into Spicy Garden for a quick bite and ordered a couple of other dishes that I regularly choose from their menu.
The first was some mantou – a steamed bread bun. Traditionally it is eaten as a white bun but as a special treat I like to order it deep fried. You can also get some sweetened condensed milk to dip the fried bread, but I find that the bread on its own is good enough for my tastes. This bread is light and fluffy on the inside due to the layering of the dough. The fried part is just a thin layer that gives each piece a quick crunch.
The second dish was some chicken and salted fish fried rice. I love this dish because of its contrasts – sharp hits of salt are mixed with the more mild chicken and rice.
I stuffed myself silly, and had plenty of leftovers to take home for the next day.
Spicy Garden Restaurant
Spicy Garden’s Dial and Dine web page
(please note that this is not the full menu available in the restaurant; anything off of their full menu can be ordered for pick up by calling the restaurant directly)