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Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Land of the Midnight Sun

There are strange things done in the midnight sun....

This is the opening line to perhaps one of Canada's most recognizable poems, "The Cremation of Sam McGee," by Robert Service. Of course, the "midnight sun" is a reference to the nearly 24 hour daylight achieved north of the Arctic Circle during the summer when the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the sun. As such, it's a bit of an eyebrow-raiser that a small Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant on 124 Street bears the same name.


Nonetheless, there is nothing strange about Midnight Sun's food. Expect a multi-page menu replete with Chinese stir-fries and Vietnamese noodle bowls and rice dishes. A bracing bowl of wonton soup is chock full of dumplings, veggies, and slices of BBQ pork. The broth isn't too salty and ringlets of green onion add zip.


Seafood Mixed Vegetables is a generous serving of scallops, shrimp, squid, and tender-crisp veg. One often sees large chunks of onion used as a filler in similar dishes; no such shenanigans exist here. The seafood:vegetable ratio is bang-on at about 1:2, so one need not search through heaps of greenery in search of protein.


A Chicken Vermicelli Bowl comes with a nicely bisected springroll that leaves nary a trace of grease on its surroundings. The gently spicy fowl is contrasted by cool cucumber, tender sprouts and toothsome noodles. The chicken's interstitial sauce complements but does not overwhelm its counterparts. Though I still have yet to make the connection between this little gem of a restaurant's cuisine and the midnight sun itself, there are no "strange things done" here. Only delicious things.

PS. "Midnight Sun" is also a beautiful torch song. Ella Fitzgerald's rendition is especially poignant. You should look it up and have a listen.


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