Sherman's Food Adventures: Cindy's Palace

Cindy's Palace

Sometimes, I think the circle of life can be exemplified in many ways.  Case in point, it seems like I am doing exactly what my parents did when I was young.  No, I'm not talking about the nagging and various rule enforcements.  But I guess I am finding myself doing that!  Aiya!  For me, it comes back to food (like that is a surprise).  We seem to be settling into a pattern of doing Dim Sum every weekend just like my parents. So I guess there will be many re-visits in the future.  For this food adventure, it brought us back to Cindy's Palace with the company of Costanza and family.

Beginning with the healthiest options, we had both the Deep Fried Dumplings and the Deep Fried Taro Dumplings.  Described affectionately as greasy grease balls by one of Viv's co-workers, the deep fried dumplings weren't overly oily in this case.  The exterior glutinous rice shell was thin, hence there was a light crispiness that wasn't overwhelmed by too much doughiness. Inside, there was a serious lack of filling.  However, it was okay though with mild moist ground pork with bits of water chestnuts.  We found the fried taro dumplings to be sub-par as the were, in fact, greasy grease balls.  They were oil-logged where the exterior was not crispy, especially on the bottom.  Once again, the filling sported moist pork with water chestnuts, except bathed in a Portuguese-type sauce.

Up next, the Bean Curd Skin Rolls looked like they had been sitting in a tanning salon a bit too long.  They were in a deep shade of brown and as a result, the texture was quite chewy and dry.  Consequently, the bean curd skin did not soak up much of the sauce which made the entire roll dense and mealy.  Inside, the filling wasn't overly moist either and was also mildly seasoned.  This was a total miss in our opinion.  For the kiddies, we got a double order of the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice).  These were wrapped in banana leaves where the sticky rice adhered to the them like glue.  Hence, we had a heck of a time scraping off the sticky rice.  I'm not going to speculate why they stuck on so much, but I have an idea or two.  Other than that, the rice was on the wetter side with only a modest amount of ground pork filling.

On the topic of filling, the BBQ Pork Pastries were sorely lacking in BBQ pork.  Hence, there wasn't much to distract us from the dense and slightly underdone puff pastry.  For me, I found the pastry to be greasy with the taste of fat.  Normally, the sweet BBQ pork filling would be there to balance the flavours and textures off with some sweet meatiness.  This wasn't the case.  Another poorly executed dish.  Next up, the Pork Sparerib Rice Hot Pot arrived smoking hot.  Compared to the last few dishes, this was pretty good.  The rice was cooked in the hot pot where it was nutty and chewy.  On top, there was plenty of meaty pieces of sparerib with very little fat and cartilage portions.  Texturally, the meat was chewy with a rebound texture.  It was well-seasoned where I got a decent amount of garlic.

Onto the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll, it was stuffed with a good amount of filling.  In fact, I don't even remember the last time there was so much shrimp in a rice noodle roll.  I found the texture to be somewhere in between having a moist snap to a meaty bounce.  The rice noodle itself was a bit thick, yet at the same time, it was not overly dense.  For the kiddies, they couldn't go without the Salty Donut Rice Noodle Roll.  Something about sticking a fried piece of dough in there...  They really should make a version with bannock...  Fusion anyone?  Anyways, the salty donut was not overly dense, yet was not all that crispy.  It had completely softened up from the moisture.  We liked how the roll was plain though as we didn't have to painstakingly pick out the green onions for the kiddies.

Interestingly, they stuck some wasabi in the Shrimp Spring Rolls which offended my son.  Hey, there was no humanly-way possible we could pick out the wasabi!  Actually, this never make sense to me as the wasabi kills the shrimp flavour in my opinion.  Whatever the case, the shrimp was decent in a manner similar to the rice noodle roll, expect with wasabi...  Outside, the wrapper was crunchy and easy on the grease.  Thankfully, the BBQ Pork Buns were typical, so we didn't have to worry about anything offending anyone.  The buns were fluffy where it wasn't dense nor overly wet.  Inside, there was enough filling (unlike the pastries) where the meat was lean and the sauce was easy on the sugar.

Onto the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings), we found the skin to be on the chewier side.  It wasn't thick per se, but there was a slight lack of moisture.  With that being said, this was a whole lot better than being too wet and broken.  Inside, the shrimp filling had a moist snap with some meatiness.  Whatever they seasoned it with was totally obliterated by the massive amount of sesame oil. Completing the ying and the yang, we had the Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) which were mostly just pork dumplings.  Therefore, the flavours were pretty one dimensional being "porky".  Textures were okay though with plenty of meatiness (not hard when it's primarily pork) with some rebound.  I liked how they went easy with the amount of pork fat.

To make sure we were full, as if we didn't order enough already, we got a plate of the House Fried Noodle.  This was an okay dish with noodles that weren't all that crispy.  It wasn't a result of the sauce either as the noodles were soft to begin with.  Other than that, the seafood and chicken were done right with proper textures.  I know this is nitpicking, but they could've thrown in some slices of carrot and/or used gai lan as the whole dish was lacking colour.  On the other hand, the XO Daikon Radish Cake exhibited plenty of colour with a nice deep fry.  Hence, each piece was lightly crispy, albeit quite greasy.  There was plenty of XO essence including spiciness and the taste of dried shrimp.

Lacking colour, the Beef Meatballs arrived in a rather pale shade of almost grey.  This was possibly due to the overprocessing and marinating of the meat.  Texturally, it was soft and a touch mushy.  It was lacking in the rebound meatiness we often associate with this dish.  Flavourwise, it was okay though where there was a balance of flavours including the good ratio of greens to meat. Lastly (yes, no dessert...), we had the Steamed Bible Tripe which was more or less fine.  They were a bit on the softer side, but still retained some bite.  There was enough ginger and green onion to add flavour and to mask any gaminess that may have existed.  Overall, this revisit was a bit up and down.  There were a few good dishes, but as a whole, the meal was underwhelming.  Despite the generous portions, Cindy's needs to step it up in terms of consistency.

The Good:
- Fairly large portions
- Decent pricing
- Food comes out pretty quick

The Bad:
- Hit and miss
- Owner and/or manager yelling at employees in front of customers makes it extremely awkward

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