Double Greeting Won Ton House, Edmonton

If you are looking for cheap and greasy Chinese food, this is the place in Edmonton to get it.

Double Greeting has been around for longer than I can remember. I ate here as a kid, and I still eat here as an adult. It’s one of those places that look a little dingy but has a steady set of loyal customers – both Asian and non-Asian.

The key to ordering here is to stick to noodle and rice dishes. Won ton too, of course. The congee is okay too.

Beef chow fun is one of my standby dishes at noodle cafe such as Double Greeting. There are variations of it that you can order – seafood instead of beef, more vegetables, etc. This is one of the dishes that I use as a bellwether to test the quality of food at a restaurant.

Double Greeting’s beef chow fun has lots of tender beef, lots of bean sprouts (but not too many), the noodles are firm but soft and not at all gluey, and the dish has enough grease on it to make the noodles shine but not so much as to make it taste really oily in your mouth. Oh, and see the slight char on the noodles? Yum.

beef chow fun

beef chow fun

Another dish that I order a lot – mostly because I like it and not because I use it to judge the food at a restaurant – is salted fish and chicken fried rice. A good version of this dish will have a little bit of egg, small to medium sized chunks of tender chicken and plenty of shredded salted fish scattered throughout the rice. Too much fish means the rice is oversalted, and too little fish will mean the rice is bland.

salted fish and chicken fried rice

salted fish and chicken fried rice

I was let down by Double Greeting’s version of this dish. It wasn’t greasy, which was good, but they skimped on the salted fish and as a result the rice was bland and I was craving flavour. I would rather have Spicy Garden’s version.

If you are in the mood for rice at Double Greeting, I suggest trying the pineapple and chicken fried rice instead of the salted fish and chicken.

Double Greeting Won Ton House
10212-96 Street, Edmonton

Double Greeting Wonton House on Urbanspoon

Tropika, Edmonton

I recently stopped at Tropika for a meal, and picked a few things off their menu to share.

Unlike in Malaysia, these portions are quite large. An order of Singapore laksa (made with what looks like a red curry as opposed to a yellow curry) can feed 2-4 people. The flavour of it was good but it was disappointing to find that the majority of the bowl was made up of noodles. It would have been nice to have more sliced of fish cake, tofu puffs, shrimp and bean sprouts.

Singapore laksa

Singapore laksa

Their roti canai is light and fluffy; I would say lighter and fluffier than the ones I ate in Malaysia. The accompanying curry sauce is, like their laksa, more of a red curry than yellow. Their satays (chicken and lamb pictured here) are seasoned well and come with a dish of spicy peanut sauce, pineapple and cucumber. The peanut sauce is probably the best part of this dish.

roti canai and satay

roti canai and satay

Tropika is pretty much the only Malaysian restaurant in Edmonton. I wish there were more choices, but you make due with what you’ve got! I tend to stick to a few specific dishes such as the ones I ordered, or perhaps picking up some mee goreng instead of a laksa. Their pineapple fried rice, served in half of a pineapple, is a great dish for kids or for adults who are looking for something without heat. If you want to try Malaysian food, I would suggest going to Tropika (and staying away from the Thai dishes as there are better places to have Thai food in Edmonton), or try the handful of Malaysian dishes over at Matahari on 124 st.

Tropika
6004-104 Street
Edmonton, AB
or
14921 Stony Plain Road
Edmonton, AB
www.tropikagroup.com

Tropika (South) Malaysian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Cooking on the go in Malaysia

During our visit to Balik Pulau in search of durian, my father dragged me over to this cart and insisted I take some photos and record a video of the hawker at work. I’m not posting the video — mostly because the audio that comes with it consists of my father poking me and asking over and over if I’m doing it properly and me protesting back that yes I was taping it and if he’d stop poking me the camera wouldn’t shake. I am posting a photograph though, because the scene was actually quite interesting.

The hawker is frying noodles on the side of the road. I love the image of her cart because it’s on wheels and at the same time practically contains a whole kitchen, complete with a wok and fire. Yes, real fire. When she turned the crank (visible over by her apron), it manually spun a metal fan, which in turn fanned the flames and increased the heat.

I can’t comment on the food however, as we didn’t buy any of it. I did feel a bit guilty that I took photos and videos of her without purchasing something, but we had a van full of people wondering why on Earth the two of us were staring at some lady frying noodles when we were all supposed to be in the van and travelling back to Georgetown. Van full of angry people > my guilt.

Hawker frying noodles

Hawker frying noodles

The dreaded smelly fruit

You can’t go to Malaysia and not eat some durian. Unfortunately.

For this dreaded moment, we took a car trip to a small town called Balik Pulau, located in another part of Penang. The ride was actually quite interesting as we saw parts of the coast, as well as forests and plantations. Balik Pulau is famous for its access to durian and apparently for its Penang assam laksa.

Durian is an acquired taste that is not for everyone. The fruit with a sharp, spiky skin. Inside are soft globes of edible fruit, with a large seed inside each piece. Texturally, the fruit is creamy. Taste-wise and smell… well, try imagining something left in the gutter to rot for days. There’s a very good reason why this stuff is banned from hotel rooms. As you can tell, I am not a fan.

Durian is also one of those things that my father insists on getting me to try over and over again despite my protests.

“Oh it takes better than it smells,” he said the first time. (I was a naïve child.)

“Try it again – this one was more fresh before it was frozen.” (All durian found in Edmonton is frozen.)

“It tastes much better with salt.”

Lies, ALL LIES!

And the other lie is that when it’s fresh it’s milder and creamier. I can’t dispute the creaminess, but the taste was still nasty. I told him it was the absolute very last time I was ever eating it. Hopefully he actually believes me this time.

Durian from Balik Pulau

Durian from Balik Pulau

Penang assam laksa from Balik Pulau

Penang assam laksa from Balik Pulau

While in Balik Pulau I also tried some Penang assam laksa – you can see from the photo that this is one had a lot more fish in it than the other photo I posted earlier. The flavour was good too, but not as good as my favourite one back in Georgetown.

I also had a sip of some nutmeg juice, made from the fruit of the nutmeg (nutmeg spice is made from the seeds). It was slightly bitter but refreshing at the same time. Probably not something I’d want to drink again, but definitely interesting to try.

Kek Seng Kopitiam, Malaysia

Laksa, popiah and ais kacang with durian ice cream oh my! Just a warning, this is going to be a long post. Kek Seng Kopitiam (coffee shop) is an institution in Penang. It’s been around for years and years, and frankly the atmosphere is a little dingy (although all the tables, plates, bowls, etc. were clean). The food is a little more old fashioned too; unlike at someplace like New World, the food is pretty much how it was served 30+ years ago (found something online that says Kek Seng opened in 1906). When we were there it was quite busy but we managed to snag a table.

One thing I miss dearly about Malaysia was the easy access to laksa. And by laksa, I mean Penang assam laksa. I talked about curry mee (curry laksa) a little while ago. That one is a coconut-based curry broth. Penang-style assam laksa is a sour, mackerel-based soup that is flavoured with tamarind, lemongrass, galangal, chilli, ginger flower buds, mint, pineapple and onion. You also usually get a soup spoon filled with a thick, sweet prawn paste called Hae Ko, and the whole thing is served with rice noodles (either thick or vermicelli).

The assam laksa at Kek Seng was one of my favourites that I had throughout the trip. A strong fish broth with all those spices and a slight sourness; my mouth is watering as I type this. This first photo is of the hawker stall; those pink things are the ginger flowers. When I’ve shown that photo to other people, the reaction I’ve gotten has been “you mean they actually use flowers and not ginger root?!”

Penang assam laksa hawker stall

Penang assam laksa hawker stall

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Curry mee – Langkawi and Penang, Malaysia

Curry mee is a curry and coconut milk noodle soup. In many parts of Malaysia and in Singapore, it is known as laksa or curry laksa. In Penang, it is known as curry mee as laksa in Penang refers to assam laksa, a very differently flavoured dish. (More about that to come in a different post.)

I had curry mee twice during my trip. The first was at a small place in Langkawi, an island in Malaysia that is popular for its beach resorts. I don’t remember the name of the place but it was like a mini-cafeteria in a strip-mall near Underwater World, and sold a variety of Malaysian and western foods. The burgers apparently sucked somewhat and the Hainanese chicken rice was so-so. I had curry mee and Ribena, a blackcurrent drink popular in parts of Asia and in the United Kingdom. The curry mee wasn’t bad. Decent spicing, vegetables weren’t too soggy… I just wish there had been more of them and a little less noodles. This photo is also the current image header for this blog, which I wrote about earlier. And yes, I was mocked by my father for buying Ribena (adults usually see this as a kid’s drink). And then I was laughed at for taking a photo of it. But hey, I like the taste and it has vitamin C.

Curry mee and Ribena - Langkawi

Curry mee and Ribena - Langkawi

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