Posted in General

Kung Pao Dragon & Phoenix


As I have mentioned before, any dish with ‘Dragon and Phoenix’ in the title generally means that it is made with shrimp and chicken. I put together this particular combination in order to show you the use of my homemade Simple Chili Oil as a dish ingredient rather than as a condiment and I have called it a ‘Kung Pao’ dish even though I stray from the traditional cookery methods a little. In the proper Sichuanese versions of Kung Pao cookery, chilies are fried in very hot until almost black, and the result is a characteristic scorched chili flavor with which the other ingredients are infused… my homemade oil definitely has that quality Continue reading “Kung Pao Dragon & Phoenix”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Kung Pao Shrimp

Kung Pao Shrimp 1

I love Kung Pao dishes. Chicken is the most common variety, and the most traditional, but Kung Pao Shrimp is also very popular restaurant fare. Generally, I tend to cook Kung Pao dishes the traditional Chinese way with scorched dried chilies and Sichuan Pepper but, today, I am going to do more of a westernized, restaurant style of preparation. I am going to use chopped fresh chili with a bit of plain chili paste, substitute cashews for peanuts, and use a little more sugar than you will generally find in traditional Chinese renderings. My only departure from the typical restaurant version will be that I am not going to bulk out the main ingredients with a lot of vegetables… Continue reading “Kung Pao Shrimp”

Posted in Experiments, Recipes

Kung Pao Chicken

The great classic of Sichuan cuisine most commonly known as ‘Kung Pao Chicken’ is one that will be familiar to many people nowadays as it has become almost ubiquitous on Chinese restaurant menus both within China and around the world. In English, the variations on the name are almost legion and include (but are far from limited to) ‘Gongbo’, ‘Kung Pow’, ‘Kun Po’, and the highly memorable, if slightly unappetizing ‘Koon Poo’, which I actually came upon at restaurant in eastern Canada many years ago.

In Chinese, the name is most commonly seen as 宮保鸡丁 (Traditional: 宮保雞丁), and is generally rendered in Pinyin as Gōngbǎo Jīdīng, meaning ‘Palace Guard Chicken Cubes’. The origins of the dish, and the variations in nomenclature, make for a truly fascinating study and could easily, I think, form the subject of a graduate thesis or a small book. Unfortunately, any real discussion of these topics is a bit beyond the scope of this post so, for today, I will simply share with you one of my recipes for this interesting dish… Continue reading “Kung Pao Chicken”

Posted in Kung Pao, Restaurants

Review: Ju Xiang Yuan – Ottawa

 641 Somerset St. west, Ottawa, Ontario –  613-321-3669

Date of visit: August  2 – 5, 2011

For a long time I wanted to try this restaurant ever since coming across a review for it on the Ottawa Foodies website. The place does not have its own web page, as such, but a search using the Chinese characters for the name does link one to an advertisement in Chinese that provides a bit of information about it. I had a heck of a time translating what I read but it generally states that both Northeastern specialties and Cantonese delicacies are on offer. I haven’t been able to locate that same page again but when I was searching for it I did come across a link to site with the menu. I especially wanted to try the various barbecue skewers I read about but there were lots of other dishes I thought might be interesting and I decided that several visits over the course of a few days would probably be in order. Continue reading “Review: Ju Xiang Yuan – Ottawa”

Posted in Kung Pao, Restaurants

Review: Three Kings Restaurant – Ottawa

 830 Somerset St. W. Ottawa, Ontario – (613) 237-8887

Date of Visit: August 20, 2011

I collect take-out menus from restaurants and I have, in my collection, one from the ‘Jo Moon Ting’ restaurant that I picked up on a previous visit to Ottawa with the intention of checking the place out sometime. In August, I finally got a chance but when I arrived at the location I found the ‘Three Kings’ restaurant instead. As of this writing, ‘Urbanspoon’ and a host of other review sites still list Jo Moon Ting at the same Somerset street address so I can only presume that the former restaurant is only recently defunct. Continue reading “Review: Three Kings Restaurant – Ottawa”

Posted in Kung Pao, Restaurants

Review: May’s Garden Restaurant – Ottawa

122 Preston (at Somerset St. W.), Ottawa , (613) 234-6437

Date of Visit: February 1, 2011

Ambience and Service

The restaurant is quite small and homey but decidedly shabby and of dubious cleanliness. The cleanliness issue was not to the point of causing health concerns or anything but the place did seem a bit run-down. I was seated and had my orders taken by a young girl who was competent enough but seemed nervous and quite shy. The dishes I ordered were then brought by an older woman who was friendly and very helpful in answering questions. Overall, the service was quick, efficient and friendly. Continue reading “Review: May’s Garden Restaurant – Ottawa”

Posted in Kung Pao, Restaurants

Review : Jadeland Restaurant – Ottawa

625 Somerset Street West, (613) 233-0204, Webpage

Date of Visit: August 18, 2011

Ambience and Service

August 19, 2011:  This is a very small place holding about 50 people. It was almost full when I arrived near 1pm and I was unfortunate enough to be seated at a table right near the door, which I dislike. Luckily, the lunchtime rush had slowed a bit by the time I got to the place so I wasn’t bothered by too much traffic around my table. The service overall was adequate, if a bit rushed and perfunctory, but I noted that there were only two servers covering a pretty good size crowd so I suppose I can’t complain too much in that regard. The interior is a bit plain but not uncomfortable and it seemed to be reasonably clean. The menu is fairly extensive but doesn’t contain a lot that can’t easily be found in countless other Chinese restaurants. The sign out front states that Cantonese and Szechuan cuisine but, really, most of what on offer is more Cantonese in character with just a nod to Sichuan.

 (*Note: The menu link above is to the takeout menu only, the regular menu is better) Continue reading “Review : Jadeland Restaurant – Ottawa”