The Squid Deep-fried at May Garden in Halifax were not quite the best I have had, but were still excellent. They got a Rating of 4 out of 5.
I love Deep-fried Squid, whether it be as an appetizer in an Italian restaurant, or the typical battered rings served as a snack in a Pub. My favorite though, is to have just the Tentacles deep-fried Asian-style, either battered, flour-dusted, or even with no coating at all. Thus far, the best I have had were the Squid Tentacles Deep-fried at Fan’s in Dartmouth, but the dish you see pictured above came from the May Garden Restaurant in Bedford, just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia, and were almost, if not quite as good.
I have only eaten a couple of dishes at May Garden that were not especially good, while some, indeed, have been absolutely top-notch. Their Dim Sum offering of Deep-fried Squid didn’t quite match the level of excellence of their best dishes, but the quality was still pretty decent.
The Squid Tentacles in this case, varied considerably in size and thickness. The larger ones were nice and meaty, with the smallest being a bit lost in the batter. The larger ones also survived the deep-frying to remain very tender and succulent, while those at the other end of the spectrum cam out a little dry.
I am not entirely sure how May Garden coated their Squid tentacles. They were clearly not simply coated in a dusting of flour, even with an egg dip first, but the thickness didn’t really suggest a batter dip either. I rather think the method involved an egg dip, followed by dusting with a flour or starch, and the process repeated, but with only a starch dusting at the end. This seems most likely from the thickness of the coating and the appearance of some white starch still visible here and there.
There wasn’t a good deal of seasoning detectable, other than perhaps a little salt, and the flavor of the squid, and the frying oil was dominant. This is not to suggest that these were oily, or that there was an ‘oily’ taste, but it was clear that the oil they did use was very fresh and this impacted the combination of flavors in the coating.
The Squid flavor was not quite as pronounced as it was in the aforementioned version at Fan’s, and some of the smaller pieces were a little lacking in taste almost entirely. Still, the overall effect was very enjoyable and I daresay I have had a dozen ‘Calamari’ dishes which fell well below the quality of this one, and very few that rose much above.