Squid Deep-Fried at the Chinatown Restaurant in Halifax
I wasn’t terribly impressed with the Chinatown Restaurant in Halifax the first time I ate there, mostly because the service is too slow, but the food isn’t all that bad, all things considered. I have, over the course of my visits there, actually had a few Dim Sum specialties that were truly excellent, but the Deep-fried Squid dish you see pictured above didn’t make it into that category, being mediocre at best.
The dish appeared on the menu simply as ‘Deep-Fried Squid’ in English, but was more particularly, if a little oddly, described, in Chinese characters, as 野味炸鱿鱼须 (pronounced, in Mandarin, as (yěwèi zhá yóuyú xū), which translates a ‘Wild Deep-fried Squid Feelers’. I am not entirely why the ‘Wild’ attribution is used here, unless it is to distinguish the Squid in question from the friendlier, tame varieties served elsewhere.
Anyway, the Tentacles (or ‘feelers’, to use Chinatown’s word), were tossed in seasoned flour while still wet, which allows for an almost batter-like coating when deep-fried. This is a pretty standard technique, and one I actually prefer to actual batter, or breading used in most Western renditions of fried Squid. The seasoning was fairly simple, being mostly salt and pepper, but there was a slight hint of Chinese Five-Spice Powder which I don’t care for as it is generally heavy with Star Anise. Luckily, the inclusion here was minimal.
As for the Squid itself, it was fresh, and pleasant tasting but, unfortunately it lacked tenderness, as well as the nice chewy texture I prefer. It was probably a case of over-cooking (and it may well have been partially cooked before deep-frying), but whatever the cause, the flesh was dry and stiffly textured. I liked the dish on the while, but the execution of the Squid Deep-fried at Chinatown left a little to be desired.