April 20, 2012
生记 – Sang Kee Noodle House, Philadelphia PA
核桃虾 (Golden Shrimp w. Honey Walnut in Creamy Fruit Sauce)
沙爹炒牛肉粒 (Sautéed Steak Cube in Satay Sauce)
上海粗炒 (Shanghai Noodle)
Sang Kee Noodle House recently changed their way of giving out the $20 off your meal deal for VIP members. This week, David got the promotion, so we went for lunch on this lovely Friday. We will be going back again next week when it is my turn. It was certainly a nice change my routine of plain dining hall food. I have not been to Sang Kee since the beginning of this semester and it was good to indulge in some Chinese food again, even though it can never compare to Mom’s meals or those at restaurants in Richmond and Vancouver.
First, we had 核桃虾. I have wanted to try this dish for a long time. It definitely had the best presentation of all the dishes. However, as good as it looks, it was not as good as I hoped. I tried the walnut before anything else. It was roasted but did not have nearly enough honey to cover that bitterness of walnuts. I would have liked more sweetness on it. It did have the nice, oven-roasted nuttiness, so at least that did not get lost.
The shrimp were very tender, and for battered fried shrimp, it was perfectly done. The batter was nice and crunchy, with a light colour that says good oil and not overly fried. It tasted to me like a breadcrumb batter, which is standard for Chinese fried shrimp. I had quite a few of these, however, and towards the end, the oil became overwhelming, making me wish I had something light, perhaps a wonton soup, to contrast the richness.
The sauce was tasty and I thought it had a nice sweet and tanginess to it as the fruitiness was definitely prominent. It certainly tastes better than the regular mayonnaise – a sweet and sour Chinese mayonnaise, I guess. There was just enough of the sauce to not be overwhelming but still full of flavour. The shrimp were placed over a bed of those white and crunchy fried thin noodles. Coated in sauce, they added a nice texture to the dish. After a while, some became soggy but you had to eat it since much of the sauce stuck to it. Overall, I liked this dish enough and the flavours worked well. I just wish there was less oil to the fried shrimp so that I can eat quite a few shrimp without feeling sick.
To get something with vegetables, David chose 沙爹炒牛肉粒. The beef cubes were perhaps a little large, but I liked the size. They were very tender so a big cube provided that extra chew. I definitely needed something to work my jaws a little more. They were cooked for just the right time, which I was kind of surprised at but certainly no complaints there.
The sauce was nice and flavourful, coating the beef. However, I found it to be a bit oily. In particular, though, I liked the spiciness from the chilies in the sauce. The vegetables could have been diced in slightly larger pieces to match the size of the beef, especially the thin and small carrots. The zucchini and celery were fine, but I like my carrots a bit more of a cubed-shape. That way, you get the taste of the sauce on the outside but the natural sweetness of the vegetable once you bite into it. Carrots have a very nice aroma and I missed that in this dish.
Finally, we ordered 上海粗炒. It was not the traditional Shanghai noodles and I did not expect it to be. Regardless, the flavour was nice and full. The udon noodles could have been cooked a little less for my taste, but they were not overcooked like many non-authentic restaurants often do. They still had some chew to the noodles, though I would not have minded a bit more underdone.
The soy sauce based flavour coated the noodles and vegetables, giving it a nice and rich brown colour. The scallions were nice but I would have liked more napa cabbage in the dish. The shredded pork was quite tender and flavourful. No it was not authentic, but it was certainly the best noodles I have had in quite a while.
All in all, I appreciated the change in the taste of my food. There is nothing like decently made small dishes of Chinese cuisine to replace the mass-produced and bland dining hall food. Soon enough, I will be home and eating heavenly Chinese dishes, courtesy of Mom – simply the best Chinese food almost anywhere. For now, I am definitely excited to go back next week to try some other dishes for a nice alternative flavour to add to my day!