My newest Chinese Bites dinner brings me back to Shaughnessy and the South Granville area. This week the crew consisting of @Sherman38, @GraceCheung604, @RickChung, @AlvinKCLee, @K_Wu, @GoodEat and @DaveEsguerra hit up Nong Chinese Restaurant for a mix of different Chinese cuisine.
The dining room is nicely appointed and there is a private room just off the main space for groups and family’s. We started with some tea and the table was laid out with some condiments.
The meal kicked off with a traditional Chinese appetizer platter. Usually this comes on one big plate but due to the size of our group it was plated individually and the portion size was larger. The condiments were a homemade hot sauce with chili’s and a plate of soybeans. One thing that threw me off was the fact all the appetizers were served cold, some were right out of the fridge cold but it’s my understanding that it’s supposed to be like that.
Something that is new to me was The Chinese version of head cheese or Jelly Pork 肴肉. The meat was super firm and was topped off with a layer of gelatin. Flavor wise it was really mild actually and I didn’t mind the piece that I ate.
Just looking at this my mouth started to burn. The Chicken in Chili Sauce 四川口水雞 showed off the Szechuan part of the menu and the heat was certainly there but it wasn’t mouth numbing hot. Texture wise the meat was nice but the skin was on the soggy side. One thing that stood out for me was the peanut sauce used-it was a perfect complement for the chicken and chili’s.
When I saw this I thought it was a traditional Chinese crêpe but it turned out to be bean curd roll filled with mushrooms and some other cooked root vegetables. On the menu it’s called Vegetarian Duck 素鵝.
A big bowl of Crab Meat with Winter Melon Soup 蟹肉冬茸羹 was served up at the end of us killing the appetizers. It was on the semi thick side and filled with crab. Flavor wise it was really mild and for me it was all about the texture or mouth feel along with the nice pieces of crab.
Next we got one huge plate of Lobster with Bitter Melon and Shredded Pork 涼瓜肉碎炒龍蝦. The flavor in this was really good. The lobster was nice and meaty while the bitter melon and pork were a great sour and salty flavor combination.
On the lighter side a dish of Stir Fried Shrimp with Vegetables 勝瓜雲耳虾球. This was a winner for me and I could have eaten the whole dish! The prawns were nice and plump with just the right amount of snap when I bit into them. There was also some kind of melon or zucchini used in the dish that was really refreshing like a cucumber.
Braised Pork Belly 梅菜扣肉 with a preserved vegetable was another super rich dish that was a hot item at the table. Texture wise the meat and fat melted when we put it in our bowls and it goes perfectly with a side of rice. This was a richly flavored pork belly and the preserved vegetable added another level of flavor.
Nong’s Signature dish is Tea Smoked Duck 馳名樟茶鴨 with steamed buns. The buns were nice and soft while the duck was perfectly cooked with juicy meat and nice crispy skin. When I stuffed the bun with the duck meat and crispy skin it was a perfect bite.
My favorite dish of the night was Dong Po Pork Hock 東坡肘子. When this came to the table my eye’s light up, the pork was nice and shiny and a deep brown color from the delicious sauce. After we all took our pictures and passed the pork around the table it was cut up into pieces for us to devour. The meat was melt in your mouth tender and the outer fat was like jelly. The sauce the pork was bathed in was really sweet but yummy and the greens were a nice and needed touch to break up the richness of the dish.
The Lamb with Spicy Cumin 籽然炒羊肉 was another favorite of mine. The dish looked like an innocent stir fried meat and peppers dish but man it packed a punch and I got a couple chili’s in the back of my throat. The lamb was cooked nicely and was tender while the peppers and onions still had some nice bite to them.
The Vegetable Salty Pork Rice 鹹肉青菜飯 was really good. The dish was packed full of pork belly and Chinese sausage, salty porky goodness. I ended up going back to this a couple of times and I gotta say that the stone ware bowl really did a great job keeping it nice and hot.
We got a couple of steamer baskets of XLB’s or Shanghai Dumplings 小籠包. These were great for me and they were full of soup along with tender pork. The dumpling skin was alright for me seeing it didn’t break when taking it out of the basket.
For dessert they gave us some Red Bean Soup 紅豆沙. This was the first time I’ve ever had this and I thought it was all right. It was served warm and the consistency wasn’t to thick. Flavor wise it had a hint of sweetness and some orange, I’m still on the fence about liking red bean or not.
Again another great set of dishes that are sure to make any foodie happy, I had a great time and would recommend Nong Chinese Restaurant to anyone looking for some solid Chinese eats. If your interesting in learning more about the restaurant you can check them out on ChineseBites.com .
*Disclosure-Nong Chinese Restaurant comped our meal but my opinions are completely my own *