Call it the power of suggestion. Bam Bam mentioned "wontons" and that is what was on my mind for the duration of our Monday softball game. This was probably the reason I caught every ball easily and even made some nice plays. Subconsciously, I was thinking that the softballs were big wontons that needed to be caught, not dropped. Suffice to say, I was hungry for wontons once the game ended, so we made the trek out to Tsim Chai Noodles in Richmond.
We ended up with a selection consisting of larger dishes and the smaller "da lang" items. First to hit the table was the Brisket Lo Mein with the usual side of soup. I found the noodles to be appealingly thin and chewy with a good elasticity and rebound. On top, the brisket was full-flavoured but completely chewy. On that note, the texture was exactly the same in the Curry Beef Brisket. The meat was generally dry and chewy. There was the occasional softer piece, but overall, it was not great texturally. Interestingly, the whole dish did not taste like curry at all (Chinese version or otherwise). In fact, it tasted like the one in the lo mein (not unusual because they braise the brisket for multiple uses). The problem with the curry sauce was it was pretty bland and lack spice
Another large item was the Honey Garlic Chicken, well relatively at least. I say that because it was shockingly small considering it was $14.00. With that being said, it was good though with tender pieces of white meat that was lightly battered. The sauce was definitely pungent from the abundance of garlic. It was also pretty sweet due to the honey. We also got the Scrambled Eggs and Shrimp which for once was pretty bang on in description. You see, usually we get giant shrimp (oxymoron?) or prawns when we ordered this dish. However, these were definitely shrimp figuratively and literally. They were cold-water crunchy though and the egg was silky and well-seasoned. Moreover, there was lots of it, so it somewhat made up for the lack of size (yet still not as impactful).
Bear loves black pepper and suggested we order the Black Pepper Beef Fried Noodles. For once, this was a decent size with crunchy noodles topped with a marginal amount of sauce, beef, peppers and sprouts. This dish was not as spicy and flavourful as it may have sounded. In fact, it was as bland as the curry beef. Despite this, it wasn't a terrible dish as the noodles softened up enough with the sauce provided and the beef was fairly tender. Onto some smaller dishes, we got the Sweet & Sour Pork (in honour of Milhouse, who is on the LTIR for the softball season). This was actually very good with tender and meaty chunks of pork coated in a thin later of crispy batter. We found the sauce to be well-balanced between vinegar and sugar.
Staying with the da lang menu, we got 2 similarly flavoured items being the Garlic and Salt Fried Pork Chops and the Garlic and Salt Fried Tofu. Both were a lot spicier than anticipated especially the pieces touching the red chilis. There was also enough MSG, salt and white pepper for full effect. The tofu was completely crispy while still somewhat moist inside. As for the pork chops, the exterior was crispy and not overly greasy. The meat itself was properly tenderized where it was soft while retaining a meaty chewiness. They were wok-tossed in enough seasoning for the flavours to penetrate the entire pork chops. As you can see, the portion size for these items were rather small (and so they should be), but for nearly $10.00, it was not a great value.
Just because we knew they made good Wontons, we got one order in soup. These were medium-sized and consisted of both shrimp and pork. We found the shrimp to have a buttery snap while the pork had the classic rebound texture. They were nicely seasoned with a balance of sweet and savoury notes including a hint of sesame oil. We also enjoyed the flavourful soup which was more savoury than sweet. Not surprisingly, this was the highlight of our meal and we would come back specifically for them. However, the rest of the food was hit and miss while lacking in terms of overall value.
- Solid wontons
- Decent service
- Overall okay food
- Small portion size (even the large dishes)