Sherman's Food Adventures: Ryan's Chinese Restaurant

Ryan's Chinese Restaurant

If one was looking at the front of Ryan's Chinese Restaurant, it would be very confusing to see Wah Lun Chinese Restaurant staring back at them.  Yes, that is the old name of the place and in fact, they have gotten rid of the big sign that is adjacent to their parking lot.  Maybe they just haven't had time to change it perhaps?  Well, it has been almost a year since I've been noticing "Ryan's" atop the receipts, so I'm not sure why they keep the old signage.  Whatever the case, we've been stopping by the place after swimming at nearby Eileen Dailly for the past year.  Finally, I decided to suggest it to the guys after Sunday Morning hockey.

A testament to the good-sized portions, we didn't finish all that we ordered.  It probably had to with the amount of carbs as well including the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice in lotus leaves).  These were so large that they barely fit into the steamer.  In addition, the layer of lotus leaves was rather thin, meaning that there was a considerable amount of soft sticky rice.  There was a good ratio of ground pork and shiitake mushrooms as well as the requisite cured sausage.  I thought there was just enough balanced seasoning.  Continuing with the carbs, we had the XO Stir-Fried Daikon Pudding Cake.  This was on point with medium-sized cubes of semi-soft daikon cake that was appealingly crispy on the outside.  They were well-seasoned on their own with cured sausage and dried shrimp, but the light toss of XO sauce added a spicy brininess.  We found the dish to be not very greasy and the bean sprouts were perfect, being cooked but still crunchy.

Yep, the carb fest continued with both the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll and the Beef Rice Noodle Roll.  Although the shrimp noodle roll was haphazardly constructed, it featured the same good qualities as the beef noodle roll.  Soft and almost buttery, the rice noodle retained an elasticity.  Inside, the filling featured smaller shrimp, but they were texturally fine having a light rebound while completely seasoned.  On the firmer side, the beef was still soft with a bounce and had just enough greens.  Staying with the rice theme, we carbed-up even more ordering the Chicken & Sausage Hot Pot Rice.  Although the amount of tender chicken was adequate, they could've added a few more pieces.  I found the rice to be fairly wet underneath the chicken, but decently chewy and dry everywhere else.  This was only an okay dish compared to the rest.

Finally onto some dumplings, we had the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Sporting a medium-thick dumpling skin, the impressively large ha gau were relatively good.  The skin featured a certain level of elasticity, yet at the same time, it was a tad oversteamed.  Inside, the shrimp filling was buttery, moist and subsequently loose.  There was a subtle snap texture, but overall, it was on the softer side.  It was mildly seasoned where I could taste the natural essence of the shrimp that was complimented by sesame oil.  We weren't as enthused about the siu mai as the chunks of pork were too meaty where it lacked the classic bounce texture.  There was plenty of shrimp though and that provided some of the rebound missing from the pork.  It did taste good with a sweetness balanced by equal saltiness.

Being on the firmer side, the Beef Meatballs were rather robust in texture.  It did exhibit the classic bounce, yet at the same time, it was too dense.  We would've preferred there to be more starch and baking soda to lighten up the meat where it would be more buttery and airy.  With that being said, it was still fine with only a bit of cilantro while the seasoning was just enough (that doesn't usually matter since it is served with a side of Worcestershire sauce).  Continuing on the theme of large portions, the Deep Fried Taro Dumplings were massive.  The main reason for this was the thick layer of soft mashed taro.  On the other hand, there was an equal amount of moist ground pork filling that was described as being in a Portuguese sauce, but really, it was more curry (needed more coconut milk).  Whatever the case, it was good with a crispy exterior which was only mildly greasy.

Although the Steamed Spareribs with Crystal Noodles appeared to be another carb-heavy item, it really wasn't.  Made from mung beans, the noodles are actually pretty low in carbs, but that didn't prevent them from being filling though.  The noodles were perfectly chewy and not oversteamed.  As for the spareribs, they were a bit overtenderized where there was no longer any meatiness nor rebound texture.  We could've used more soy or more residual juices from the spareribs as the dish ate bland.  Our last savoury item was the Shrimp with Garlic Spring Rolls.  These were very good being served hot and crunchy.  They were easy on the grease while the filling was full of buttery shrimp that had a moist snap.  The garlic really came through as well as the ample amount of seasoning.  I appreciate the side of sweet & sour sauce as I believe it goes way better than Worcestershire when it is mainly shrimp rather than pork.

Off to some offal, I had to get my usual favourite being the Steamed Beef Tripe (Honeycomb type).  This featured uniformly-sized slices of tripe which were fairly well-rinsed.  Hence, it wasn't overly gamy, but did retain some "flavour".  The seasoning was pretty spot on giving hits of spice, sweetness and saltiness.  Texturally, the tripe was buttery tender with a light chewiness.  With a similar flavour profile, the Phoenix Talons (Steamed Chicken Feet) were good as well.  Kept as a whole rather than being cut up into 2, the chicken feet sported an appealing hue.  The skin was soft with a chew while underneath, the cartilage and fat was plump and cooked down (but not melted).  These were pretty textbook.

We don't usually go for the Deep Fried Squid, but decided to for some reason.  It was a good choice though as each piece was on point.  The desired texture was achieved being slightly chewy, somewhat meaty and tender throughout.  Lightly battered, the squid was crispy on the outside.  Everything was complete with a wok-toss of garlic, peppers and salt.  I particularly enjoyed how this dish was not greasy despite the cooking process.  Something that was rather "meh" was the Seafood Yee Mein Hot Pot.  It was as if they merely tossed the par-boiled noodles with a bit of seafood and veggies and dumped into a hot pot.  It wasn't sizzling nor were the noodles tender.  Rather, they were dry and chewy as well as being extremely bland.

For dessert, we had the Sweet Salted Egg Yolk Buns.  As you can see in the picture, the custard inside was pretty watery.  Hence, we couldn't really do a good picture without it splattering all over the place.  it did taste good with a muted sweetness and the umaminess of salted egg yolk.  The bun itself was fairly light and fluffy other than the chewy exterior.  In the end, Ryan's Restaurant satisfied what a Dim Sum meal should be about.  It wasn't outstanding, but given its location, there is not much to complain about when it comes to the food.  Solid neighbourhood spot.

The Good:
- More than acceptable Dim Sum
- Well-portioned
- Decent amount of choice for a small place

The Bad:
- A little pricey this class of restaurant
- Needs renos
- Service can be spotty

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