Sunday, March 13, 2005

Confessions of a Chinese Canadian Foodie

Since I feel so close to all you Nancylanders out there, I think it's time to get something off my chest. I just realized that I've been regularly eating sweet and sour pork! With chicken chow mein, even! This confession is for all of you white guys (friends, as well as strangers) that I've made fun of in the past, when ordering or eating sweet and sour pork instead of ordering something more "authentic" at a Chinese restaurant. That's right. I've started a sweet and sour habit. And I'm not proud of it. There's this great old-time, hole-in-the-wall diner in New Westminster (634 Columbia St. a few blocks east of the Quay) called the Royal City Cafe that I go to regularly (one of the waitresses is always trying to anticipate what I'm going to order). They do all sorts of diner-type food reliably - burgers, fries, sandwiches, etc. and they also do Chinese food. It's tasty and consistant. They don't have a huge variety of Chinese dishes available, and so the sweet and sour pork as one of the lunch combo choices is ever so tempting. At least I haven't gone as far as ordering chicken balls, but then again, that may be just because it's not on their menu. I'm Chinese, I swear! Go ahead, someone shoot me if I start absent-mindedly pouring soy sauce all over my rice...

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ah, we all have our guilty pleasures - I suppose that you'd have to make up for it by hitting up some chicken legs at dim sum.

Dumpling_Girl said...

Thanks for your support! I do like those chicken feet (stripping the skin and cartilage off, joint, by joint, in my mouth, without thinking twice). But I think it was James Barber who once described foo yee (Chinese fermented tofu) as serious post-graduate level ethnic eating. I can't stand the stuff. Maybe they should have that one on Fear Factor...

SaabKen said...

The thousand year-old egg soaked in you-know-what would be well suited for Fear Factor ;-)

I have been known to stray into a Chinese all-u-can-eat or greasy spoon diner once in a blue moon and order stuff like spring rolls, S&S pork and anything that's fried then bathed in glowing sauces never made by Mother Nature. But I need plain rice to contrast all that goodness. Several (some now defunct) venerable purveyors of such indulgence include: Varsity Grill on W.10th, Ho Ho's in Chinatown, the Dragon's Inn chain and On Lok on E. Hastings just to name a few.



Foo's Ho Ho on Pender is a good spot for traditional Chinese-Canadian fare.

Jeanette said...

I don't know... but I have some standard fare that I like resorting to when I don't feel quite so adventurous. Besides, I have this thing about pineapple. But I must admit, I don't understand the thing about spring rolls. And, chow mein is nice and simple too. I like fried rice... but I prefer white rice if I'm ordering other things to go with my meal. So far, I like my own style of fried rice best anyways. =)

Anyone go to the chinese-western style fare places... with set dinners - like Honolulu Cafe, Venus Cafe, etc?

SaabKen said...

Honolulu Cafe (Main St ?) is pretty good. Lots of standard Chinese fare and HK-style western food like spaghetti, macaroni etc often alongside steak and stuff ..... rather unorthodox but that's how they like it. Same goes for places like Cafe Gloucester on Cambie btwn 17th/18th, and iCafe on W.8th just west of Cambie. iCafe has cool decor.

Jeanette said...

There's a Honolulu Cafe in Richmond as well as the one on Main Street. There's also California Cafe, and... a place that used to be called Venus Cafe, but that has since been renamed. I think I've been trying to make it a point to order different things so I feel like I'm not quite so predictable.

HK style western food is so bizarre. And what is this borsch stuff that they are serving? I grew up in a russian community, so I know what real borsch is. So sad!

Dumpling_Girl said...

I think HK style western food just requires an adjustment of expectations. It's not so sad if you don't compare it to real borscht, and treat it as it's own category. That would be like comparing HK dishes that include macaroni with a nice dish of "real" pasta from an Italian restaurant. There's really no comparison. I was once with someone from Malaysia at a restaurant that had all sorts of choices of food (I think it's called the 99 in Richmond, it's next to a big Winners), and he ordered some soupy noodle dish with slices of SPAM in it. I never willingly eat the stuff, so I thought it was funny, but for him, it reminds him of home. That, I understand :) I think I might try Green Lettuce one day, which is what Chinese food is like in India. I think it would be really interesting and it would require a very conscious effort to smother my ideas of what Chinese should or should not be.

Anonymous said...

Been to Green Lettuce. It's basically Chinese food with extra spice, or curry sauce. My parents are Chinese and from India and I've got to say that the food isn't anything like that stuff from the restaurant. BUT it is different, and you should try it just to see - just don't go thinking that's what authentic Chinese-Indian food is like.

BTW love your blog Nancy!

Dumpling_Girl said...

Good to know. Thanks, Elaine for your comments (hee hee), and letting me know that the food isn't what Chinese people in India would cook. I should have said that it is the type of food (or so I've read) that some Chinese restaurants in India might serve (just like some Chinese restaurants here serve that Westernized Chinese food).