I'm a big fan of Indian Chinese food; however, there are not many places that serve it within the GVRD. I've been to Hakka Masti and Asian Spice out in Surrey/North Delta and they were pretty good. However, I haven't been necessarily ultra impressed so far. In fact, I felt that the 2 aforementioned places over-seasoned their food to the point that it was overpowering. I'll use Italian food as an analogy. If a chef dumps a whole pile of Parmesan on a dish, does that make it right? No, just because certain spices and ingredients are used predominantly in a particular cuisine, it doesn't mean you can use copious amounts of it. At Hakka Masti and Asian Spice, I found that they may have been a bit heavy handed with some of their spices, despite the fact I enjoyed my meals there.
Today, I visited one of the most well known Indo-Chinese restaurants in the GVRD - Green Lettuce. Although I pass by the Vancouver location quite often, I found myself at the Surrey location today. For lunch, they have a few specials which include rice and tea for $8.99. The Szechuan Chicken caught my fancy; but I was a bit hungry and decided to get the Dry Chili Beef for good measure. I was quite impressed with the service and how fast I got my food. Arriving first, the tender slices of perfectly cooked chicken were bathed in a moderately spicy sauce. I could see the chili peppers, green and white onions; but the flavours worked together. This is the balance I was talking about. The special came with a bucket of rice which was more than enough for me.
The Dry Chili Beef was actually a good amount of food since there were no fillers other than the 3 shrimp chips. The tender pieces of beef were only lightly deep-fried and then wok-fried in a spicy chili sauce. Again, I could definitely see the chili and seeds; yet I could still detect sweetness, garlic and a vinegary tartness. Achieving balance in a spicy dish is not a given; but they did here. I really enjoyed my meal here at the Green Lettuce. I most certainly will be returning. And guess what? I have returned, albeit more than a year later. This time around I also had 2 dishes starting with the Peppering Fish. Although this was a lunch special, they did not skimp on the portion size. The plate was overflowing with fish and sauce with very little filler. From what I could gather, it was Basa. It was fried up perfectly being moist and still a bit crisp outside. The sauce was very tasty with a nice combination of chili flakes, garlic and saltiness. Once again, balanced spiciness.
My second dish was the Manchurian Chicken. Again, it was a good amount of food with very little in the way of anything other than meat. However, I found the meat to be stiff and overcooked. The sauce was pretty good with a combination of sweet, tart and spicy. For me, the texture of the chicken didn't do it for me, so this would be the only one of the 4 I've had that was so-so. However, 3 out of 4 is pretty good in my books, especially considering the portion size for the price. Let's see when is the next time I'll return, another year maybe?
- Friendly and efficient service
- Spicy food; but not overspiced
- Reasonable prices
- Well, if you don't like spicy food, it ain't for you