Rice Noodle Roll (腸粉) at the May Garden in Bedford, Nova Scotia
Normally, when I order Rice Noodle Roll, or 腸粉, at a Dim Sum meal, I choose the sort stuffed with Shrimp as I like that sort the best. Those filled with BBQ Pork, on the other hand, are something I have only ordered a few times, mostly because that sort is far less commonly offered as a choice. On those occasions, though, I have generally enjoyed it, but the version at the May Garden in Bedford, I am sad to say, was really not very good at all.
The May Garden Rice Noodle Roll with 叉燒, pronounced ‘Char Sui’ in Cantonese, and known as ‘BBQ Pork’ in English, was actually one of the prettier version I have been served. The ‘rolls’ of steamed rice noodle sheet were plated nicely, slashed to ease cutting them with a chopstick, and generally looked good. Unfortunately, things mostly went downhill from there.
The wrapper, in this case, was very thin and was steamed to the point that the layers of the rolled sheet had fused along the edges. This actually was an advantage in terms of manipulating individual sections with chopsticks as it all held together very well. The downside, though, was that the noodle was sticky, dense, overly chewy, and just not that pleasant.
The main issue with these 腸粉 was the very poor quality of the Pork filling. Usually, you get thin slivers, or else thinly shaved strips of actual meat, but in the May Garden Char Siu Rice Noodle Roll, the Pork was in fine dice and consisted of about 90% fat. The result was greasy, and had no taste of barbecued meat at all. The sauce, which was actually a very nicely sweetened Oyster Sauce, was good quality, but even this could not cover the actively unpleasant taste of the low-quality filling. Most of the dishes I have had from the May Garden Dim Sum menu were very good. This, most definitely, was not.