Sherman's Food Adventures: Chi House Chi Pot & BBQ House

Chi House Chi Pot & BBQ House

I'm sure most people have heard of Happy Tree House BBQ with locations on Kingsway and in Richmond.  For those who do not, it is a place where one can get skewered meat, large cast iron heated plates of whole fish and a side of really loud Asian pop music.  Well, they aren't the only show in town as with anything there are many similar outfits.  One of the newer ones is Chi House Chi Pot & BBQ House on Main.  For some reason or another, this particular location has changed hands many times from Rekados to Beefy Beef to some other Taiwanese spot that I do even remember!  Let's see how long this one will last...

Beyond the skewers, we tried their Cold Skinned Noodles which were essentially equivalent to cold noodles in spicy sesame sauce found at Old Xian.  I would say this version was pretty decent with slippery noodles dressed in an aromatic and mildly spicy sauce.  I would've liked the noodles to be chewier and more spice, but this was still good nonetheless.  Our first order of skewers was the Beef @ $1.95 each with a minimum order of 5.  These fairly tender and not overdone, but I would've liked to see more charring and caramelization.  Spices were impactful with unmistakable taste of cumin and chili.  I liked how they had a reasonable minimum of 5 unlike the stupid 10 at Happy Tree.

Onto some seafood, we chose the Scallop and Mini-Abalone @ $4.75 and $4.95 each respectively.  I thought these were "okay" but nothing special.  The scallops were golden brown but a bit overdone, so it was on the chewier side in spots.  The abalone were fairly chewy, but not so much that it wasn't pleasant to eat though.  I could see how the abalone were almost $5.00 each, but didn't understand why the scallops cost just as much.  Living up to its namesake, the South African Big Prawn came in at $2.95 each.  By virtue of being frozen, the head wasn't really great to eat but the actual meat was fairly meaty and sweet.  Again, these were a bit too overdone.

The best skewers of all were the Lamb @ $1.75 each (also minimum of 5) in original and special seasoning.  Honestly, we couldn't tell the difference between the two and had to ask for an explanation.  What we could gather, the special was cooked a bit longer to activate the spices.  Again, we couldn't tell.  The lamb was tender though with its classic gaminess accented by the aromatic and slightly spicy seasoning.  To get our one vegetable into the meal, we got the Eggplant with a tonne of garlic on top.  As such, the flavours were definitely impactful and appealing.   Texturally, the eggplant was soft without becoming mushy.  There was actually some bite left in each slice.

Lastly, we got the Tilapia Skillet in spicy with pepper.  For $41.00, we found the fish to be a bit small.  There just wasn't a whole lot of meat to it.  However, the fish was nicely prepared where it was soft and not overdone (but we did have to ask for the heat to be turned off so it didn't cook any further).  Although there was definitely spice to the dish, it wasn't too strong.  Good for those who like mild, but for us, we like it spicy.  For a total of $10.00, we added lotus root and fish tofu to the mix.  So compared to Happy Tree, Chi House does a better job in terms of a reasonable minimum for the skewers.  Also, if you like it quieter and better service, than Chi House does that well too.  However, flavours are a bit muted and your total can get pretty high if you order lots.

The Good:
- Reasonable minimum amounts for the skewers
- A quieter experience
- Attentive service

The Bad:
- Some of the flavours could be stronger
- Can get pricey if you order lots
- Don't bother with the parking lot

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