I am a bit behind on some of my posts because the restaurants I visited were not so great, hence the procrastination. However, Kwong Chow Congee gets bumped to the top of the list. Coming back from dinner just now, I had to post about the restaurant.
This is my third visit here since the beginning of the year and generally the food tastes average or slightly below average. The seating arrangements are not too cramped and the interior resembles a "dirty" Chinese restaurant, meaning plates, cups, bowls, and chopsticks have a high chance of being dirty. Fortunately we had a friendly waitress who realized our plates were dirty and changed them without us asking.
DEEP FRIED PRAWN WITH SPICY SALT ($4.50). I am not a fan of deep fried white shrimp because the prawns are hard to peel when they are deep fried, and the meat tastes too soft and does not have the nice bouncy texture. The prawns have a light hint of spininess but lacks the spicy salt seasoning.
FRESH SLICED FISH CONGEE ($5.95). The congee has a thick and creamy texture but tastes overly salty. The slices of fish taste a bit stiff and overcooked, which is a first for me with congee. I originally wanted the preserved egg and lean pork congee but the pork is shredded rather than sliced. For an extra $1.00 they can give sliced pork, plus an another extra $1.00 for preserved egg. Did paying an extra $2.00 for sliced pork rather than shredded seem a bit unreasonable? Sort of, considering that every congee restaurant has sliced pork available for no extra charge. To be honest I think it was the waitress's confusing explanation of shredded vs. sliced pork and the extra charges that gave me a headache so I opted for a fish congee.
DEEP FRIED CRISPY SQUAB ($11.80). The squab is a pretty good size, almost 2lb. The skin has a nice crispiness and the squab tastes somewhat tender but chewy, and not dry or juicy. The squab does not taste overly greasy, salty, or flavourful, but does not taste bland either.
3LB CRAB IN SUPREME BROTH ($10.99). The crab is the reason why I wanted to post about the restaurant when I got home. Kwong Chow currently has two tanks of crabs, one for smaller sizes at $19.99 each, and the other for larger crabs above 3lb for $10.99/lb. We ordered a 3lb crab and the owner's wife grabbed one from the smaller tank, she did not show us the crab. The dish was served by the waitress and we asked how big the crab was, it did not look 3lb. She took a look (after I rearranged the crab to show the body) and said the crab is around 2 1/2lb, we let her know that we ordered a 3lb crab and she said she will ask about it. After hearing her talk to the owner's wife in Chinese, the owner's wife said the crab was 3lb and the waitress kept insisting it is only 2 1/2lb, mentioning that she thinks we wanted a bigger one. We never heard back from either of them. One of the good things about speaking English at a Chinese restaurant is that the staff will think you do not understand Chinese, giving you the opportunity to listen in on what they say. At the end of dinner, we asked the owner's wife how big the crab was and she claimed it was 2.85lb. Usually I do not call restaurants out in person because that is what my blog is for, but this time I was annoyed. Why rip off a customer for only $3.00-$4.00? This is one of those "it's not about the money, it's the principle" kind of things. Many Chinese restaurants overcharge their seafood but never by more than 1/4lb, the crab we got is no bigger than 2 1/2lb. I eat crab almost everyday and it was sad to see the owner's wife staring at the cashier rather than my face when she kept responding "this is not 3lb, it is 2.85lb", justifying that she did not overcharge. This crab does not even look 2.85lb at all. It seems like she is used to overcharging non-Chinese and younger customers who do not care. I packed the shell and will take a photo with a ruler measuring it (3lb crabs are at least 7") and send it to my friend at Measurement Canada. If restaurants are caught overcharging seafood, they can get fined up to $10,000. Like I said, nothing wrong with slightly overcharging customers, I just hate restaurant owners who are not honest (it's like Shanghai River, they tried serving half an old deep fried duck and passed it off as peking duck, even though that is a clear scam, at least the manager knew right away and took it back without arguing). Anyways, the supreme broth has a nice clear tasty broth, and the crab tastes fresh but not meaty like a 3lb crab.
SAUTEED PORK TORO SLICES IN SPICY SAUCE XO ($7.00). Before ordering, we confirmed if this dish was spicy and the answer was yes. The celery tastes fresh and crunchy, and the pork toro has a nice chewy snappy texture. Unfortunately the only taste is a very mild barely there XO sauce and no hint of spiciness. For my friend who does not even eat spicy dishes, she did not think it was spicy either. I have mentioned numerous times that I prefer bland as well as healthy tasting dishes and this is one of them, which I usually do not mind but I was craving for something greasy and spicy.
BRAISED DRIED SCALLOP WITH HAIRY MELON ($11.50). The sauce has an extremely flavourful dried scallop and shrimp taste, and even tastes more flavourful than Pelican's. The highlight of the dish aside from the sauce is the hairy melon. The hairy melon tastes undercooked, the outside tastes rubbery and the inside tastes tender (the outside should taste tender as well). I do not mind undercooked hard vegetables and prefer them (broccoli, cauliflower, gai lan), but I cannot accept undercooked hairy melon. Undercooked hairy melon tastes rubbery and resembles a wet cardboard texture.
- Open late night
- Congee is usually decent (may be salty or considered heavily MSGd but I am not against MSG)
- Waitress was honest
- Dishonest owner (and to think I thought Kam Wah Loong's 1/4lb overcharged crab was an issue)
- No service (expected at this kind of restaurant)
- Dishes are below or average
- Metre parking $0.25/15 minutes
- Third visit here and last for obvious reasons (not because of the overcharged crab, but because the owner denied it)
- I rather make the drive to Congee Noodle House