Spring Roll with Chicken at Fan’s Restaurant in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
The rolls you see pictured above were not described on the Dim Sum menu as ‘Spring Rolls’, but that is, in effect, pretty much what they were. In English they were simply named ‘Crispy Chicken Rolls’, which is somewhat, if vaguely, descriptive, while in Chinese, the name appears as 香脆雞肉卷 (Xiāng cuì jīròu juǎn) which also indicates ‘Chicken Meat Rolls’ that are ‘Crispy’, The initial Chinese character, however, can be interpreted a few different ways. In context, it could mean ‘tasty’, or ‘savory’ (and I rather think that is the sense intended), but it is also frequently used on menus to mean ‘fragrant’, giving the dish the much more poetic rendering of ‘Fragrant Crispy Chicken Rolls’. Still, a rose by any other name smells as sweet, and this Dim Sum offering was very nice indeed.
In truth, I don’t get excited overly much by either ‘Spring Rolls’ or ‘Egg Rolls’, partly because they are so ubiquitous, and always featured on the menus of the most down-market Asian Restaurants, but also because so many of them barely rise to the level of mediocre. Sometimes, though, you do get a serving of one or the other than manages to shine. Fan’s Crispy Chicken Rolls managed to do just that.
The wrappers here were done to a nice golden color and were indeed crispy, as advertised. There was Shredded Carrot and Scallion inside, with perhaps just a little finely slivered Celery, but the vegetable component was secondary to the meat (which is rarely the case with restaurant rolls). Fan’s uses a nicely generous amount of Chicken Meat in these rolls and it wasn’t a pasty mix of ground chicken but actually had a good, toothsome bite to it. The flavor was mild (in the sense of not being over-seasoned), and quite delicious.
As for the sauce on the side, this was pretty much the typical neon orange-red sweet and sour sauce usually served with ‘Chicken Balls’ in Westernized Chinese Restaurants, and, if made in house, probably based on Tomato Ketchup. Now, I am not frowning on the choice (I *like* that sort of sauce for some things), but it seemed a pity, in this case, to pair the excellent with the merely ordinary. Still, all things considered, this was a pretty darned good Dim Sum dish.