Review: All Happy Family Restaurant
10011 106 Ave., Edmonton – Website
Date of Visit: July 8, 2015
I saw this place from a taxi while being driven back to my hotel in downtown Edmonton and a few days later I walked back for a spot of supper. The walk wasn’t all that far but it did take me through a rather tatty neighborhood and, in the end, my effort wasn’t well-rewarded…
Ambience and Service
The interior of the restaurant has a rather industrial quality to it with the girder ceiling being plainly visible and it is generally quite shabby and untidy. There were boxes of various foods stacked by the main counter and the shelves behind that were piled with all sorts of loose papers and rubbish that really should have been out of sight.
It appears to be a family business and the dress was definitely casual. One young lady wore what was roughly a waitress uniform of sorts but for the remainder jeans and t-shirt were the order of the day. The service was also a little sloppy, though generally quick, and I was not only served water in a Styrofoam coffee cup, I had to ask to have dishes cleared away after they were ignored by a stream of wait staff. It was friendly enough, just a little too casual and careless for my taste.
Fish Belly Soup – Fish Belly, often called ‘fish maw’ is actually the swim bladder of certain types of fish and is used in Chinese cookery for its texture as it has little taste of its own. This soup was plain chicken stock thickened with starch and the bowl, though the smallest of the three sizes available, was much larger than I expected. It was quite tasty, with the fish maw being in quite large pieces, and there were shreds of egg white added too. In point of fact, the Chinese characters for the dish as listed on the menu indicated that crab meat was an ingredient but when I queried the waiter he said they were out of crab. He hesitated, then added that crab is expensive, then finally said the menu was a misprint. Anyway, l though the soup was not bad and rated it at a 3 out of 5.
Green Onion Cake – This turned out to be the best scallion cake I have ever had. The bread was really nice and light and it was completely suffused with the lovely taste of green onion. I had to wonder if scallion oil, and not just scallion was used in the preparation. I didn’t bother with the plum sauce I was given on the side and gave this simple appetizer a 5 out of 5.
Minced Pork and Shrimp Dumpling – Again, there was a disparity with the Chinese and English names on the menu as the former identified these particular dumplings as 蟹黃燒賣 , which means ‘Shu Mai’ with crab meat (or crab roe). I’m assuming this was a misprint again as these clearly contained pork and a very generous helping of shrimp along with chopped black mushroom. The pork was coarsely chopped, which I prefer over being minced to a paste, but it was also a little bland and I added a little chili oil to the soy sauce dip. Still, they were pretty good on the whole and I rated them at a 3 out of 5.
The food wasn’t bad at this restaurant but it just wasn’t a very nice place to have a meal. If the place were cleaned up a little and more attention paid to service it could be very good but, without that happening, its not a place I’d visit again. I could only rate it at a 2 out of 5.