December 27, 2012
茶井 – Well Tea, Richmond BC
芒果雪泡 (Mango Bubble Milk Tea)
炸中卷酥 (Deep Fried Squid)
盐酥鸡炒饭 (Fried Rice With Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets)
姜丝大肠 (Pig Intestine and Shredded Ginger Stir Fry)
东港红烧蛋包饭 (Taiwanese Sweet & Sour Seafood Omelet Rice)
After a creative but slightly slow Life of Pi in theatres, my best friend, two others friends, and I went for dinner at 茶井 (Well Tea). The only other time I had been here was way back in grade ten, when we gathered as a class and had bubble tea after a party at a fellow student’s house. They had run out of pearls that time and I was not quite aware of the food they served. This time was different.
We did start out with bubble tea, though. My friend had the 芒果雪泡 (Mango Bubble Milk Tea). It was pearls in a foamy mango milk tea. It was sweet but not with fresh mango flavour. I was pretty sure it was done using powder. The tea flavour was not very pronounced. It was milky and decently bubbly. The pearls were, thankfully, quite good. They were sweet and just the right bouncy texture.
We all shared an appetizer, which was the 炸中卷酥 (Deep Fried Squid). It came with a spicy dipping sauce that was very flavourful. Even without the dipping sauce, though, the squid was good. The batter was thin but crispy and not overly greasy. It was also very nicely seasoned. The squid inside was chewy and tender, although it could have been a little less tough.
My friend also let me try her entrée, 盐酥鸡炒饭 (Fried Rice With Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets ). I have to admit that the chicken nuggets were bang on. The batter was so flavourful with salt and pepper that it was tasty but not at all overwhelming. The chicken inside was the super tried and crumbly stuff I am used to, but rather moist and tender. The fried rice was generic. The rice was thankfully not overcooked and had a light soy sauce flavour as the base.
Another friend went out on a limb and ordered the 姜丝大肠 (Pig Intestine and Shredded Ginger Stir Fry). None of us recalled ever eating pig intestine. I am sure I had at some point in life but was never incredibly aware of it. I will pretty much each any part of a regularly eaten animal so I was willing to give it a try despite the pungent odor. The sour and salty ginger at least masked some of that odor. I loved the squishy, chewy, and slippery texture but the smell was hard to overcome. I think if it was cooked longer, in a more flavourful gravy of some sort and braised, it might have been better. The side dishes were quite generic. I liked the light broccoli florets the most.
I ordered the 东港红烧蛋包饭 (Taiwanese Sweet & Sour Seafood Omelet Rice). The sweet and sour – and just slightly spicy – sauce was delicious. It did just taste like ketchup with perhaps some sort of citrus juice and a little sugar, or perhaps a little vinegar. It was flavourful, though. The egg was nice but could have been a little more underdone. I loved the shredded black wood ear and shiitake mushrooms but there was a serious lack of seafood. I found literally half a shrimp in the whole dish. It certainly did not qualify as a seafood dish, not at all. There was quite a bit of pork, though. The sauce really made this dish comforting for me.
Overall, service was lacking. We waited a long time for our bill despite there being hardly anyone else eating there. The servers were just not very attentive. However, the food arrived within a decent amount of time, freshly cooked and very comforting indeed.