Squid Steamed at the Urban China Restaurant in Edmonton
First of all, I must apologize for the rather poor photography here, but the Squid Steamed at the now closed Urban China Restaurant in Edmonton was sufficiently different from the usual versions of this Dim Sum specialty to be worthy of a post. It wasn’t an especially well executed dish, mind you, but it was decent enough and quite interesting.
The primary feature of this dish was that, instead of rings, or strips of mantle, it was prepared using whole bay squid. Now, by ‘whole’, I mean the uncut mantle along with the tentacles. I am confident that the ‘innards’ were removed and the tentacle section slipped back inside the tube opening before steaming.
Most commonly, squid is steamed in its own juices with a little ginger and scallion, but in some cases, it is served in a curry sauce. Typically, this is fairly thick, but, though the menu described this version as being ‘Curry Squid’, it didn’t have the usual thickened sauce, but rather came in an almost clear liquid that, to be honest, had little in the way of curry flavor. It was nice enough, and generally flavorful, but the ’Curry’ descriptor was off the mark. Had I been looking forward to the usual curried squid, I might have been disappointed, but, in truth, I often find the curry sauces in Japanese and Chinese cuisine to be a bit overly sweet and rather insipid. A little touch of chili heat might have been nice, here, but otherwise I was just as glad that it wasn’t the usual Dim Sum ‘Curry’ style dish.
The finished result here might have scored a little better with me except for the unfortunate fact that the squid had been very much over-steamed. The flesh was thickened to the point of being ‘puffy’ and was extremely soft and bland. This is an unfortunately all-too-common occurrence, especially in Dim Sum restaurants with trolley service, as was the case ay Urban China. It is a shame, but this flaw rather spoiled what would have been a pretty decent dish.