How I loathe thee Crystal Mall... For your circular parking lot with only one way in and out. For your pie shaped parking spots which only serve to confuse already confused drivers. For your narrow pathways leading to lower levels (with various scratch marks on the walls as evidence). I loathe thee enormously. However, you tempt me with your wares, in particular, good eats. Therefore, I can put up with the aforementioned challenges, including those who rush into the elevator before I can actually exit the darn thing. I can also put up with a door slammed in my face. And yes, I can even put up with the utter chaos in the marketplace (lineup anyone?).
Yes, on my quest to finally dine at all of the restaurants at Crystal Mall, it brought me to Ali Shan (incidentally located on the exterior of the mall on Willingdon). I had the option to park outside, but my Chineseness prevented me from putting coins into the meter. Therefore, I ran the gauntlet and parked in the circular lot. The things I do to save a buck... So with kiddies in tow, we weren't in the mood for any form of lineup. Naturally, there was one at Ali Shan which lasted about 30 minutes. Once seated, we quickly got down to ordering and started with the Chicken Nuggets. Originally, I had hoped that my daughter would nibble on some, but that was quickly quashed due to their spiciness. For me, I liked the spice and the hint of five spice powder as well. The nuggets were crisp and juicy in the middle.
Viv went for the Spicy Beef Wide Noodles, which as the name implies, had a good kick. The broth wasn't exactly meaty in flavour, yet it was plenty flavourful nonetheless. The wide noodles had a nice bite while the beef was tender albeit fatty. For myself, I went for another prototypical Taiwanese dish being the Chicken with Rice Noodle in Sesame Oil Hotpot. There was no mistaking the sesame oil in the broth. It was pretty strong while the broth was on the sweeter side, which I particularly liked. The thin noodles were on the softer side (which is pretty typical) while the good amount of chicken was tender and moist.
Lastly, we got a plate of the Seafood Fried Noodle, which was full of properly cooked seafood. The noodles were al dente and there was no absence of seasoning, yet the pool of water at the bottom was not appealing. What was even more unappealing was the long waits for service. The severs were clearly overextended and they did the best they could. However, they really must hire more people because it took forever for everything. Other than that, the food was both inexpensive and above-average. Moreover, my car suffered no dents while parked at Crystal Mall... Bonus!
- Decent eats
- Overextended staff, long waits for everything
- Not the most spacious of setups