Monday, May 23, 2011

The Flying Tiger


The first comment I would like to make about The Flying Tiger is that I'm very surprised at all the rave reviews out there. Now don't get me wrong... I didn't have a particularly horrible experience, but my encounter with the Asian style brunch was nowhere near impressive. In fact, it was somewhat disappointing. Being an Asian, I've had a lot of experience with authentic Asian cuisine and from my point of view, the food served here is not Asian food at all, but a failed attempt at imitation. The first dish to arrive was the zaru soba ($9). For the price of $9, the portion was pathetically small and wouldn't even satisfy one person. The soba noodles were hard, brittle and undercooked. They broke in half easily with the slightest amount of pressure.


Next was the spicy cucumber salad ($6) which was probably the best part of the meal. The shredded cucumber was well-marinated and the seasoning had soaked in completely. Then again, how could you go wrong with cucumber salad?


The steamed dim sum ($7) to follow was an insult to authentic Chinese dim sum. There was a choice of har gow, siu mai or beef dumplings, and we opted for har gow (also known as shrimp dumplings). A good har gow should have a thin, translucent and chewy elastic skin that does not break easily or stick to its surroundings. The shrimp filling should be fresh with a bouncy and crunchy texture. Unfortunately, the har gow we got failed in all of the above. The 6 dumplings were crammed together in the bamboo steamer, and the skin stuck together and broke as soon as we picked it up with our chopsticks. The texture of the skin was not chewy but starchy. The shrimp inside was not very fresh and was slightly mushy. To be fair, it didn't taste all that bad, but it was nothing like the traditional har gow.


Similarly the roti canai ($7) was an insult to the authentic roti canai which should be chewy with fluffy layers. The pancake we got reminded me of Chinese flatbread. It was layered but the texture was crispy without the least bit of chewiness. As for the yellow curry sauce that so many people have raved about in their reviews, it was overwhelmingly sweet! At the same time, it was also salty and spicy with a fragrant curry flavour. I didn't know what to make of it, but a curry dip loaded with enough sugar to be a dessert was too strange a concept for me.


Lastly we had the Tiger san choy bau ($12) which literally means "lettuce wrap" in Cantonese. Just an observation, but I have downloaded the online brunch menu less than a month ago, and I couldn't help but notice that the price of the san choy bau had gone up from $9 to the current $12. I guess the beef must have gotten a lot more expensive? Or maybe there was a lettuce shortage. Yea that's probably it because a few of the lettuce leaves were blotchy with brown spots and didn't look very appealing. The table beside us had ordered the same dish and I saw that they had at least 8-9 leaves that were all big and green, while we only had 3 large leaves with several small white ones. I know I sound picky but if I'm paying $12 for a few pieces of lettuce and a small bowl of ground beef, I would expect these little details to be taken care of.


Overall everything tasted ok and the presentation was nice, I would give it that. But I don't think the experience was worth the price I paid.

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