Hoy's Wonton House 人人食家

March 24, 2012
A couple nights ago, my family had dinner with Sab and her husband at Hoy's. There were a few parking spots right in front of the restaurant. They filled up quickly as the place was surprisingly busy for a Thursday evening, but there was plenty of parking in the side streets. The five of us were crammed into a table in the corner, and we could hardly move after the table beside ours became occupied. There were definitely too many tables for the size of the store.

Despite the uncomfortable seating, I couldn't argue with the price. I had a $28 deal voucher that could be used as $56. What could we get for $56? Let's see... A 5-dish set meal costs only $45.95, and it includes soup, 5 entrees, rice and dessert! The soup of the day was regular Chinese style slow-cooked soup made with pork bones and various veggies. It wasn't spectacular, but it was warm and satisfying.

I even had some money left over to order a drink! I decided to try the soy milk ($1.70) that was supposedly house-made. Sab wanted to get one as well, but unfortunately they had run out. I saw the waitress pouring out the last bit from a plastic container, raising doubts as to whether it was house-made at all. It sure didn't taste very fresh. It was velvety smooth and artificially sweetened with almost no soy bean aroma at all. I would expect homemade soy milk to contain some bean dregs and be a bit more fragrant.

Now onto the 5 dishes we chose for our set meal.

Dish #1: eight treasures tofu hot pot (八珍豆腐煲)
So why is this dish called eight treasures tofu pot? That's because it's made with tofu and 8 types of assorted meats and veggies including BBQ pork, shrimp, and even pig's liver. It was alright, but I didn't appreciate the starchy sauce.

Dish #2: braised cod hot pot (紅燒斑腩煲)
This tasted very similar to the previous dish because both were cooked in the same starchy sauce. The lightly battered cod fillets were covered with a starchy glaze, as were the assorted veggies that accompanied them.

Dish #3: lemon chicken (檸檬煎軟雞)
I ordered this dish because it's one of my personal favourites and not a lot of restaurants offer it. It looked quite promising when it came, but I quickly noticed that there was way too little sauce and the chicken was cut into overly thin slices. As a result, the meat was a bit dry and overcooked. The batter was crunchy and bordering on hard, while the inside had the texture of a rubber eraser. It would have been a lot better with more zesty lemon sauce, but at least it tasted better than the one at Simon's Kitchen.

Dish #4: tomatoes and beef (鮮茄牛肉)
My mom used to make this dish all the time when I was a kid, so it's one of my childhood favourites. It's a simple combination of fresh cooked tomatoes and beef slices, but there's something very comforting about it. The tomatoes were unexpectedly juicy and the beef was very tender. This was one of my favourite dishes of the night.

Dish #5: spinach with chili and fermented bean curd (椒絲腐乳菠菜)
I think fermented bean curd requires an acquired taste. It has a strong odour that not everyone would appreciate. All of us are familiar with the taste, so we enjoyed this dish quite a bit. There were also thin slices of green chili pepper in there, giving the otherwise boring dish a spicy kick. I also liked how the spinach stayed vibrantly green after the cooking process.

We were given a large bowl of rice to share, and it was more than enough. I had no complaints about the portion size, but the rice was very poorly cooked. It was hard and dry to begin with, and it dried out even more since it didn't come in a lidded bucket.

The dessert was the typical sweet red bean soup (紅豆沙). We each got a bowl of light sand-textured soup with red beans and what looked like giant tapioca. We all enjoyed this sweet little treat. What a perfect way to end the meal!

Service was acceptable in Chinese standards, but it was a bit slow at times. The food was alright overall, though honestly I probably wouldn't be back. Nothing was particularly impressive, so I'd rather go for a Chinese restaurant closer to home. But for people who live close by, Hoy's is a pretty cheap and decent option.

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