Dining in Winnipeg – Chinese Food
While I was in Winnipeg for five days we ate Chinese food twice! Why, do you ask? Because I actually prefer Winnipeg Chinese food to Vancouver Chinese food. As a kid Chinese food was for Friday night take-out and movie night, or for after a big event. Jeff’s dad’s birthday is on December 24th and to stay away from more Christmas traditions was always celebrated with Chinese take-out. So perhaps the reason I prefer some of the Winnipeg cooking methods and sauces to the Vancouver ones is history and familiarity. Whatever the reason, I still like it. For years when I have visited we have gotten take-out or delivery from 4 Seasons Restaurant in Southdale. It is a favorite of many Winnipeggers and us but is a 30 minute drive from mom’s, so this time we decided to try two different options.
Logan Corner Restaurant
The second night of my visit my mom and my niece and I went to Logan Corner, located on the corner of Logan and King Streets for dinner (how about that name?). We decided to dine-in which is usually not the case with Chinese food in our family and got the last available table when we arrived just after 7pm. The décor was as expected, functional but average at best. Our server spoke little English except the menu items and had a hard time answering my questions about the dishes. But the reason we came was not for the décor or the service it was for the food. The order system was simple. Write down the # beside each dish on a piece of paper and hand it to the server. With only three of us we still ordered 6 dishes because we wanted to try too many and ended up with a very large bag of leftovers. We ordered lemon chicken, breaded sweet & sour shrimp, BBQ lean pork, dried wontons, mixed vegetables and fried rice. The fried rice portion was extremely large but tasty and we barley made a dent. Good thing my niece loves rice and ate the leftovers daily. The lemon chicken was very good with a lighter than usual breading and a great sauce. It was also served on a bed of crunchy noodles. The shrimp was no better or no worse than others we have tried as were the vegetables but the sauce was a bit on the sweet side. The wontons were crispy (good) but had little, if no filling (bad) and the BBQ lean pork was not very lean and served hot, almost like it had been micro-waved right before being served. Not at all what I had in mind. Overall though not a bad experience with the lemon chicken stealing the show.
888 Chinese Express
A few days later we decided to dive into the leftovers from Logan Corner and to top them up with some more take-out from a new place down the street from my Mom’s that does pick-up or delivery only, no dine-in. We picked four dishes – a large wonton soup, BBQ lean pork, mixed vegetables and boneless honey garlic pork. I really enjoyed the broth of the wonton soup but the wontons themselves were very large and too ‘porky’ for me. A fact that everyone else loved! This time the BBQ lean pork was served ‘as it should be’ in my world…very cold, very lean and with a ide of very hot mustard; a 100% improvement from the first try. The vegetables were cooked very well as usual for Chinese greens and were in a sauce that was less sweet than Logan Corner which I preferred. The boneless pork I did not try but was told that it was good as well. The portions were substantial as well but I do not think quite as big as at Logan Corner.
So the thing with Chinese food is that some restaurants have some dishes prepared the way you like but not all. If I were ordering Chinese food in Winnipeg and had lots of time to drive around and pick it all up here is my order…dried wontons, egg rolls and a shrimp dish from 4 Seasons Restaurant, lemon chicken and fried rice from Logan Corner and BBQ lean pork, wonton soup and mixed vegetables from 888 Chinese Express. Or maybe next time since we will be in Winnipeg for 10 days we will try each one once!
PS. On a side note I think the reason the wontons and egg rolls are so good at 4 Seasons Restaurant is that every time I go to pick up I see a table of 3 or 4 what look to be Chinese grandmother’s sitting in the kitchen making them dozens at a time. Fresh and authentic!