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Monday, 9 December 2013

Eastern Promises

Unique restaurants and proximity to a city's core are variables that typically exist in a relationship directly proportional to one another. Travel towards the core and density of said eateries increases. Travel away and density decreases. Exceptions exist, of course. For example, one must travel quite far north to find East.


East, as it were, is a treasure of Chinese and Malaysian cuisine in Eaux Claire. The vast pictorial menu renders dining decisions difficult, though an aquarium near the entrance and Oriental fabrics on the wall impart serenity. Roti Canai, to start, resemble rumpled handkerchiefs and represent the very best of what bread may become when deep-fried. Crisp edges protect flaky interiors, all of which is turned spicy and savoury, thanks to a fiery, curry dipping sauce. The meal could end right then and there, and all would be well with the world.


Kai Lan Two Ways - kai lan being an Asian cruciferous veggie - is at once wok-fried, tender-crisp stalks, and deep-fried, nori-like leaves, all dusted with ginger. The dish is unexpectedly hearty, and easily holds its own against subsequent meat-centric dishes.


Sweet and Sour Pork Belly harkens to the endless sweet and sour, small town Chinese restaurant dishes of my childhood. Except, in this instance, the dish is genuinely enjoyable. The sauce is more sweet than sour and rectangles of pork belly are miniature, crispy explosions of porcine goodness.


Butter Shrimp bears absolutely no resemblance to butter chicken, other than the trivial fact that both titles contain the word "butter." No; butter shrimp is a tumble of exceptionally large prawns drizzled in a light honey-mustard sauce and covered with tangled hillock of deep-fried egg shreds. While the shrimp are delicious, the eggs steal the spotlight quite handily. They are at once crunchy and sweet, and practically vapourize upon consumption.

One may be tempted to dine according to proximity to downtown versus restaurant density relationship, but a jaunt to the far north will render Eastern promises more than fulfilled.


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