Spring Roll at the Chu Shing Restaurant in Ottawa
I first visited the Chu Shing Restaurant in Ottawa’s Chinatown over ten years ago, and since then I have been back many times. The service in that cavernous Dim Sum is by push-cart and on the occasion that I sampled the Spring Rolls you see above, the carts were coming by at an unusually frequency and it was all I could do to keep up. It ended up being a memorable visit, though, and the shrimp stuffed rolls, while not the star of the meal, by any means, were pretty decent.
The Shrimp Spring Roll at Chu Shing was a fairly standard affair, being a regular Spring-Roll (春卷) wrapper filled with minced shrimp. The shrimp, in this case had been petty rigorously minced, rather than being just coarsely chopped, with some of being ground almost to a paste so that the filling was bound together for a very pleasant ‘bite’.
The seasoning for the shrimp was minimal, just a little white pepper, I would say, but simplicity is sometimes the best, especially with a filling as delicately flavored as shrimp. Twice in the week or so prior to my visit to Chu Shing, I was served shrimp spring rolls the incorporated Coriander Leaf into the mix and, even if I actually liked it a good deal more than I do, I would have found it intrusive. In any event, the filling was very good and my only quibble was that they could have been a little bit more generous with it.
The wrapper itself was unremarkable. I doubt that these were made in-house, and they looked and tasted the same as the usual commercially prepared sort you can buy in Asian markets, or even in the freezer sections of many mainstream grocery stores these days. Either way, the wrapper on each roll was well-fried, with a good crispy crunch to each bite, and with no greasy oiliness at all.
The sauce served on the side was a bit disappointing. Quite honestly, it seemed to be little more than slightly dilute tomato ketchup. Possibly, it was felt that it would make an economical substitute for the sort of sweet-and-sour preparations commonly served as dips, but this stuff was not nice and I didn’t bother with it after the first try. The restaurant did, however, supply both soy sauce and Red-Chili Oil on the table and I found that a tiny splash of these blended together added just a nice little fillip to the rolls.