Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasty Noodle 粵之味


My first official meal after moving to Edmonton was at Tasty Noodle, a Chinese restaurant I recalled seeing during my short visit a couple weeks ago. The place seemed very new and clean, and the modern interior decor reminded me a lot of bubble tea cafes in Richmond.


The dinner menu didn't seem very interesting, so I just settled for a hot bowl of wonton noodles ($12.95). And let me tell you, $13 is ridiculously expensive for a normal bowl of wonton noodles like this one. The exact same thing would cost less than $10 in Vancouver, so this was my first taste of the comparatively higher restaurant pricing in Edmonton. This is especially the case for ethnic foods, which are much harder to come by in this city.


The stir-fried rice noodle dish with beef ($15.90) was slightly better value because the portions were decent. The flavour was also not too bad.


I went back to Tasty Noodle a few more times for dim sum and my experiences have been pretty good. Like most dim sum restaurants in Edmonton, there is a large and colourful picture menu with most of the dishes listed. This makes it easy for dim sum amateurs to pick and choose.


When the place is busy, servers carry various dim sum selections around on trays or in carts as well. The good thing about that is being able to see the dish before ordering. These pan fried eggplants with pork and shrimp were ordered directly from the tray. They looked and tasted quite good, and I was impressed with how all of the dishes were presented so neatly.


Another tray came around with Singapore style noodles which was basically stir-fried rice noodles seasoned with curry powder and tossed with a mix of veggies, pork and shrimp. The original version is supposed to be made with vermicelli instead of regular noodles. It's interesting that this dish is called Singapore style because it is actually a popular Hong Kong dish and did not originate from Singapore at all.


The sweet potato cake was a delicious dessert option, but it was probably seasonal because it doesn't seem to be on the menu anymore. The cake itself had a sticky chewy texture as it was made with glutinous rice powder and sweet potato mash. The filling was a tasty combination of sweet red bean paste and salty liquid egg yolk.


Har gow (or shrimp dumpling) is a dim sum staple and Tasty Noodle does it quite well. The skin was thin and translucent and did not break easily, and the shrimp inside was quite crunchy.


The portion size of the steamed chicken feet with black bean sauce was slightly disappointing. There were only 3.5 chicken feet in the dish and considering the dish cost over $4, that means each foot cost more than $1. Also the flavour of the black bean sauce wasn't as strong as I would've liked.


I was quite happy with the quality of the congee with pork and preserved egg. The consistency was very creamy and fluffy.


On closer inspection, I found bits of bean curd in the congee!


The pan-fried turnip cake was probably the most disappointing dish. There were very few bits of turnip and Chinese pork sausage, so the cakes were mainly made of batter.


And they weren't even pan-fried thoroughly! Most parts were still completely white.


The beef tendons looked so pale that I thought they would be flavourless, but they were surprisingly savoury.


I always order buns with mashed lotus seed paste if they are available. I really like the sweet and creamy lotus seed paste in a light and fluffy bun. Usually there's also a solid salty egg yolk inside to complement the sweetness.


I came across noodle wraps again just like the ones at Dynasty Century Palace, except these had only prawns as filling and no pork. They were actually quite unimpressive as the noodles were bland.


Siu mai, just like har gow, is yet another dim sum staple that is widely popular, but Tasty Noodle did a twist and created chicken siu mai instead of the usual pork and shrimp. (Though they also have the pork and shrimp siu mai on the menu.) The chicken siu mai was a lot less oily and heavy, but the flavour was quite a bit weaker.


The deep fried sesame seed balls were one of the best I've tried. The fried sticky rice ball coated in toasted sesame seeds was crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside with a sweet red bean paste filling.


Tasty Noodle is one of my favourite dim sum restaurants because of the decor and overall quality of the food. And most importantly, it is one of the few dim sum options in the south side. Prices range from $4 to $5.50 which is a bit pricy, but that is to be expected when there isn't a lot of competition in the area.

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