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Situated in what one could call the Little India of Montreal, Bombay Mahal is at the centre of all the commotion. Competition is fierce for customers craving Indian food in the area, with the likes of Curry House right across the street and places like the Chand Palace, Punjab Palace, Moti Mehal and India’s Oven (the list goes on) beckoning on every street corner and nook and cranny of Parc Extension.
Known to locals as the best soup dumpling place in Montreal, Qing Hua has taken note and expanded its operations to better service its clients, this time branching off from its original Lincoln location to the Chinatown area. It’s not a far stretch. With the chefs in the back making the dough fresh, stuffing them with readily prepared ingredients and working their magic to allow the soup to permeate the dumpling skin and give it a nice amount of flavor, each dumpling is just delicious.
Kam Fung is probably the only respectable dim sum place in Montreal. That being said, it is important to note that there are only two locations where you can get your fill: one in Chinatown and a much larger counterpart in Brossard. Both are ridiculously busy during the lunch hour, especially on weekends. With lineups that you would not believe, it is advisable to head over for an early lunch and show up no later than 11 am, that is, if you don’t want to wait. As far as I know, that’s true for the downtown location. In Brossard, you’re playing a whole different game – with a greater Asian population in the surrounding areas, the place is in high demand and the competition to get a table is fierce. The wait system involves telling the hostess the number in your party, getting a ticket and waiting for her to yell out your number over a PA system. The place is loud, filled with children, large families and couples (mostly Asian, but non-Asians have begun to trickle in) sitting around round tables, mostly yelling, gesticulating with chopsticks and stuffing their faces.
As soon as we sat down, the feast began. The cart ladies are hawks – don’t be fooled, because they know exactly what’s going on: who’s not been served, who’s about to leave, who’s going to order more and who’s not had what they’re serving. And if they’re ignoring you, well… you’re going to have to flag them down by wildly waving or shouting at them. Yes, they can be intimidating, but don’t be shy! We started with the classic taro puff pastries stuffed with pork. Delicate and crispy on the outside, soft and gooey on the inside, the dish is more filling than you would expect. The combination of taro and meat is unlike any other – just divine. Next came the pork, shrimp and chive dumplings and the spring rolls, both fried to perfection. The tripe with ginger and shallot and the chicken feet are some of my favorite dishes – pretty much get these every time. The tripe is slightly rubbery and has a nice crunch to it and the chicken feet are mostly skin, cartilage and tendon. Yes, there are a lot of little bones – you’ll have to spit a few out with every bite, but I can never resist this dish. It’s a childhood favorite and it’s too good not to get! We had the usual shrimp dumplings – steamed in a way so that the rice wrapping remains moist and tender and the shrimp stays hot. The pork dumplings with shrimp and coriander were treated similarly aka also very delicious. Also got the bean curd roll with chicken and vegetable, pork and preserved egg congee – a light, hot rice based porridge with thousand year eggs (love, love, love!), as well as a rice noodle roll stuffed with fried bread traditional in Chinese cuisine.
To finish up we had sesame balls with lotus inside which are a touch sweet, but not remotely cloying. It’s a great way to end the meal. Another equally satisfying dessert are the egg custard tarts. Yum!
PS The Chinatown location has been previously reviewed on the blog. Check it out here!
PPS People seem to hate on Kam Fung because of the service factor. This restaurant is not a place that highlights that aspect at all – it’s roll in and roll out. Go here for the dim sum experience and the food. That’s it!
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Way back when I first heard the La Iguana was closing, I was sad to see one of the few good Mexican restaurants in Montreal go. But now, with the opening of Ice House in its stead (literally in the exact same location) I think I may have found something even better!Only a block away from all the action on St. Laurent street, Roy is surprisingly quiet which is actually kind of nice for a more intimate dinner on a hot summer night. The place has barstools, wooden benches, convenient napkin dispensers (no cutlery given!) and an eclectic sense of decoration, with for example, a mounted rabbit with antlers attached just by the cash.
Located immediately next to Atwater Market’s parking lot in its open air market space, the Satay Brothers has been garnering a lot of buzz in the Montreal food scene lately – and rightfully so. Serving South Asian food, the menu is short but sweet and filled with authentic Singaporean items. Alex (one of the Satay Brothers) ordered for us after we asked him to give us the best of what they had.
Two hours away from Taipei (one if you drive quickly) there is a beautiful little restaurant off a back road called Wu Zhu Ju. The entranceway winds through a small garden full of bamboo shoots, a little stream and a tiny bridge. It is full of greenery and exotic flowers and it is also very quiet and zen-like. Natives that I went with truly appreciate the place for the authenticity of the Hakka style food as well as the chance to be around nature, a sort of getaway from the hustle and bustle of Taipei city.