Golden Rice Bowl, Edmonton

While waiting for friends to show up, I  ordered a bunch of dim sum dishes at the Golden Rice Bowl, and then hurriedly took a picture before they arrived and polished off all the food.

Golden Rice Bowl dim sum

Golden Rice Bowl dim sum

They’ve done a good job of spiffing the place up – general renovations in the restaurant and bathrooms, new tablecloths and cutlery, and chair covers. They’re trying to be a little more creative with the food too. One dish I had (sorry, no photo) was a dumpling in chicken soup. It was a nice attempt, but the dumpling was rather ordinary and dense. I would have preferred a true boon tong gao to go along with the soup, which had a strong chicken flavour. Every other thing I had was good (not too greasy, not dry).

One thing did raise my eyebrows though – the bill. They must have jacked up the prices a bit more to pay for all the renos or something. This was one of the more expensive dim sum lunches I’ve had in a while.

With a little more creativity and new ownership, GRB could be one of the better dim sum places if not the best in the city. It will be interesting to see where this restaurant will go. They’re making a huge marketing effort too (commercials, a twitter account, a new website).

Golden Rice Bowl
5365 Gateway Boulevard
Edmonton, Alberta
www.goldenricebowl.ca

*Disclaimer: My parents know the manager of the restaurant, but he never remembers who I am and this review is based purely on my own opinon. I didn’t get any freebies or discounts.

Golden Rice Bowl on Urbanspoon

Spicy Garden, Edmonton

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.

mantou

mantou

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.

chicken and salted fish fried rice

chicken and salted fish fried rice

I stuffed myself silly, and had plenty of leftovers to take home for the next day.

Spicy Garden Restaurant
9700-105 Avenue
Edmonton, AB
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)

Spicy Garden Restaurant (Chinatown) on Urbanspoon

Chinese parties

A friend asked for ideas about Chinese food her family could order for her mom’s big birthday bash. My suggestions that are under consideration:

  • crispy roast pork, possibly a whole pig instead of just chopped pieces (siu yook)
  • bbq duck
  • from T&T – cold appetizers like pickled daikon radish and carrots, spicy deep fried tofu, jellyfish and jai (Buddha’s Delight)
  • spring rolls
  • Chicken and pineapple fried rice, fried noodles, and vegetable dishes from Double Greetings
  • a cake and red bean buns from Garden Bakery or Hong Kong Bakery
  • fresh made deep fried tofu and maybe some dessert tofu from Ying Fat
  • almond cookies

Dang it, now I’m hungry.

Fun Friday – holiday edition

I have Chinese food on Christmas too. Partly because I’m Chinese and partly because if you’re lazy, Chinese restaurants are the only places that are open on Christmas day. 😉

The Alice Waters of China?

Intereesting article by Fuchsia Dunlop in The New Yorker.

Garden of Contentment
In a toxic era, a Hangzhou restaurant pursues purity.