Review: Golden Restaurant (Dim Sum)

One of the challenges of living in Ottawa is finding good Chinese food; for whatever reason, the Chinese food here is often mediocre at best – at least in comparison to Calgary.

Good dim sum is even harder to find. Unless you live in the vicinity of Chinatown, there are not that many options out there.

I was craving dim sum recently and so my wife and I decided to try out Golden Restaurant located in Barrhaven.

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Review: Dim Sum at Oriental Chu Shing Restaurant

It is always a great thing when family comes and visits, and what is even more great is to go together and share a meal at a place you’ve never tried.

As I mentioned previously, I love dim sum – I grew up on the cuisine and always try to seek out some good dim sum whenever I can. So when we planned to head down to Somerset again to show my parents around Chinatown, we were on the hunt for dim sum. The reviews online for Oriental Chu Shing Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown is quite fair and so as we parked our car on a rainy Friday lunch, we made a quick decision between Yangtze on one side of Somerset and Chu Shing on the other.

A friend had mentioned to us when we first visited Ottawa months ago that these two restaurants were “the best” in the area and were often in competition with one another.

We could’ve been persuaded to try the other restaurant, but we opted to try out Chu Shing this time around.

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Review: Hung Sum Restaurant

On our trek down Somerset last Friday, my wife and I wanted to try out the Dim Sum in Ottawa.
When we lived in Calgary, we would go on a “Dim Sum Date” every month or two, and having been without dim sum for over three months, it was about time to go and find something and pray that it would satisfy.

A quick perusal online resulted in the suggestion to go seek out a little dim sum eatery called Hung Sum Restaurant.
While there were some larger restaurants that offered dim sum, we opted to try this one first and at some other point go to the other two larger restaurants.

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Chinatown Ottawa

One of the first things we learned on our first visit to Ottawa was that there wasn’t as vibrant of a Chinese culinary community in Ottawa as compared to Calgary. While there was a Chinatown, I did not expect it to be smaller than Calgary’s (which is small in comparison to other big metropolitan centres in Canada!).

But we found some great little gems along Somerset Street where Chinatown is located.

One of my biggest concerns was finding Asian grocers to fulfill some of my requirements for foodstuffs, luckily I have found two Vietnamese supermarkets in Kanata and a few Chinese/Vietnamese supermarkets along Somerset. There is a T&T Supermarket, but while you can get many of the staples there, the pricing for meat and seafood is not always the best.

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Review: Pho Huong Viet

I had the pleasure of visiting Pho Huong Viet (3855 17th Ave SW, Calgary) this evening for dinner with my buddy JC as we got to catch up on life and a big moving decision that was coming up for him.

The restaurant is situated in a strip mall on a busy intersection and JC had mentioned it was often packed throughout the day.

The restaurant was half full when we arrived and had people lining up at the door by the time we departed!

It is a pleasantly estetic Vietnamese restaurant (most tend to go for pragmatic rather than pleasing design). The restaurant looks like it can seat about 50-60 people, the menu is priced fairly which is a surprise in a city that is well known for its Vietnamese cuisine and has seen prices inflate (unnecessarily) over the years.

JC went with the curry seafood noodle soup and I opted for my traditional choice of Pho Dac Biet (special Pho).
The reason I do this is that when I go to a restaurant, the item I want to put to the test is their signature dish, in this case, the special beef noodle soup. If a Pho restaurant fails at providing a good soup, they ahould not be in business.

The service was “slow” for a Pho restaurant, but I didn’t mind this. Typical Pho restaurants have cauldrons of Pho broth ready-to-go for their customers to get them in and out. However, the slower service actually reflected the quality of their food in this case as I found my soup was carefully prepared with just the right balance of noodles and soup and generously filled with various cuts of beef in a bowl so large that I haven’t seen in years.

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The soup was rich in flavour, it had a subtle sweetness, and it was fragrant.

Many Pho restaurants over the years have lost this touch of fragrance in their beef noodle soup and it is a sad thing; it is the fragrance that tantalizes the tastebuds of the potential diner and invites them to come and try out this particular meal.

I had mentioned to JC as we had pulled up to the restaurant that the name of the restaurant meant “Pho with the fragrance of Vietnam”; I’m glad their food lives up to the name of the restaurant!

I enjoyed my meal to say the least.
If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it!

Review: Olive Chicken

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I love “mom and pop” shops, little eateries that often offer a specialized and differentiated offering for our palates. Particularly in Calgary, we are beginning to see more and more eateries open that specialize in one particular item, whether that be the traditional Pizza shop, Sub delis, Vietnamese Pho Restaurants, or Donair counters. I am still waiting for the day when Calgary gets its first dumpling shop, but until then, I will wait and explore and enjoy the current offerings that we have in our uncrowded and lacking foodie landscape.

All of that to say, yesterday my wife and I finally had the opportunity to swing by Olive Chicken to checkout their highly-praised fried chicken. We first heard about Olive Chicken from my sister-in-law who praised this little eatery, and since then, many of my friends and peers have also encouraged us to check out this little diner.

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