Sherman's Food Adventures: Shoom (Da Lang Menu)

Shoom (Da Lang Menu)

Boy, I haven't been back to Shoom in ages!  Even though I keep telling everyone that it is one of the best places to grab solid Cantonese cuisine, I keep getting distracted by other newer spots.  I had originally tried the place out after softball way back in 2015 and then returned shortly after with the fam.  Both times, the food was well-prepared and the portion sizes were generous.  I really should've returned sooner, but with an invite to try their Da Lang (late night) menu, I didn't need to be asked twice!

For those who are unfamiliar, Da Lang features smaller dishes (also subsequently priced lower) eaten with a congee (often after 9:00pm and past midnight).  Usually, it is plain congee because the dishes are already flavourful and designed to go well with a neutral-tasting starch.  However, we were served Preserved Egg and Salted Pork Congee for this meal.  The viscosity was on the money being thick while still drinkable.  It was mildly-seasoned with plenty of egg and tender slices of pork.

Personally, I feel that Da Lang is not complete without a plate of Deep Fried Silverfish with chili salt (was "Noodlefish" on the menu).  This goes very well with congee not only due to the salt, but the crunchiness is the perfect textural contrast.  I usually put a spoonful of these crispy little fish right into the plain congee.  These were good with a light crispy batter as well as just enough seasoning.

I don't even recall ordering Cumin Lamb for Da Lang, but it was a good call this time around.  This was a generous portion given this was the late night menu.  Featuring tender chunks of lamb, there was barely any filler in this dish other than onions.    As mentioned, the meat was tender and well-seasoned with complimentary earthiness as well as some spiciness.

One of the best values on the late night menu was the Salted Egg Yolk Prawns with Rice Cake.  For $14.00, this was another good portion that featured plenty of salted egg yolk.  Hence, the flavours popped and were very impactful with nuttiness and saltiness.  Prawns had a meaty snap while having a crispy exterior (even though it was coated with egg yolk).  The slices of rice cake were tender with an appealing chew.

Another typical Da Lang item is the Deep Fried Squid with Chili Salt.  Anything with chili salt goes well with congee!  This featured large pieces of squid that were tender with a moist chewiness (in a good way).  The batter was on point being crispy while not being heavy nor greasy.  They were wok-fried with chilis, garlic and salt which meant the aromatics were apparent in smell and taste.  

For me at least, I always want Sweet & Sour Pork, whether it be breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and/or late night.  Heck, I even eat it at a food court (don't judge me).  Well, the one here was legit with medium-sized chunks of pork.  There was minimal fat with each piece, yet at the same time, the meat was still juicy.  The batter was not overly thick while retaining a crunch despite being coated in sauce.  The sauce itself was tangy with balancing sweetness.

Something I haven't had in awhile is the Oyster Omelette, partly due to the fact it isn't found on all late night menus.  The one here was prepared beautifully where the egg was seared with slightly crispy edges.  Inside, it was still slightly runny and fluffy.  Strewn throughout, we found chunks of buttery, barely-cooked oyster meat.  The brininess sweetness came through while the egg itself was mildly-seasoned.

Normally, I do not order the Deep Fried Pork Large Intestines at any meal.  It isn't because I do not enjoy them.  In fact, I really love intestines (don't judge me), but no one else wants to eat them with me!  Fortunately, @tasteofvancouver was totally game and actually suggested we order the dish.  As you can see, this was uniformly fried with a crispy exterior giving way to a gamy and appealingly chewy interior.

Adding some veggies to our meal, we chose the Angled Loofa with Woodear Mushroom and Pork Cheeks.  Another solid dish where the luffa was cooked through, yet still had a bite to it.  There was plenty of woodear for crunch while the sliced pork cheek was its usual tender bouncy self.  This was one of the more mild items we had sporting a balanced sweet and salty starch-thickened glaze.

When we were looking over the menu, there was a discussion as to which clam dish to order.  The solution?  Order both!  So we started with the Clams with Sake first and it was a more subtle dish allowing the brininess of the clams to come through compared to the usual black bean clams.  Furthermore, the broth had a definite sake essence, but was nicely balanced by equal parts sweetness.  The clams themselves were buttery and all open.

As mentioned above, we also got the Black Bean Clams and yes, this is as classic as it gets when it comes to Cantonese cuisine.  This is another dish that pairs perfectly with congee.  The fermented saltiness of the sauce coupled with garlic and of course the brininess of the clams, it becomes a umami bomb that yells out for something to bring it back down (hence the congee).  This was flavourful with once again, all open clams.

Staying with shells, we got the Wok-Fried Escargots in House Special Sauce.  If you ever had these before, you will know that getting them out of the shell can be a bit tricky.  You can use a toothpick, but best method is just to suck them out (while at the same time removing the hard bottom portion).  These were pretty good and the sauce was a mix between salty and sweet.

Lastly, we ended up with more veggies in the Sautéed Pea Tip Leaves with Garlic.  Frankly, this dish looked more like a regular-sized portion, not that we were complaining!  The pea tips were tender while still maintaining a crunch.  It was mildly seasoned and none-too-greasy.  In the end, the Da Lang experience at Shoom was a positive one that featured all of the good qualities of the place - solid eats and generous portions.  I will be back for this as there are times I get the late night Da Lang cravings.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Well-prepared plates
- Generous portions
- Modern dining space

The Bad:
- On the pricier side, but portions are bigger than most


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