Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Kwong Chow Congee & Noodle House 廣州粥麵小厨

I am behind on my posts because the restaurants I have recently visited were not so great, hence the procrastination. However, Kwong Chow Congee gets bumped to the top of the list and coming back from dinner just now, I had to write 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.

I am not a fan of fried white shrimp because the prawns are hard to peel after being deep fried. Also, the meat tastes too soft and does not have that nice bouncy texture, although the prawns do have a light hint of spininess despite lacking the spicy salt seasoning.


My first choice of congee was the preserved egg and lean pork but since the restaurant uses shredded pork rather than sliced, I chose the fish congee. However, for an extra $1.00 the restaurant can use sliced pork, plus an additional $1.00 for the preserved egg. Did paying an extra $2.00 for sliced pork rather than shredded seem a bit unreasonable? Sort of, considering that every congee house has a sliced pork option for no extra charge. Plus, the Chinese side of me was thinking $7.95 for a bowl? I could have some scallops added instead for the same price at quite a few other congee houses!

Although to be fair, I think it was the waitress's confusing explanation of shredded vs. sliced pork and the extra charges gave me a headache so I opted for a fish congee. Plus, just to avoid a misunderstanding in case the end result was not what I had in mind. The congee has a thick and creamy texture, but unfortunately tastes too salty. As for the slices of fish, the meat tastes a bit stiff and overcooked, which is a first for me with congee.

The squab is a pretty good size, almost 2lb! As for the taste, the meat does not taste overly greasy or salty, but there is no flavour. The squab tastes a bit tender however more chewy and barely moist. As for the skin, it does have a nice crispiness.

The reason why I wanted to post about the restaurant when I got home is because… 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 tank which carries the smaller sized crabs, without showing us the live crab.

The dish was served by the waitress and we asked how big the crab was because 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. So we then let her know that we ordered a 3lb crab and she mentioned that 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,  and 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 or younger customers who do not care.

I ended up packing 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 is like Shanghai River, they tried serving half an old deep fried duck and passed it off as peking duck. Even though that was intentional, at least the manager knew right away and took it back without denying). Anyways, the supreme broth has a nice clear tasty broth and the crab tastes fresh, but not meaty like a 3lb crab.

The celery tastes fresh as well as crunchy and the pork has a nice chewy snappiness. The only issue is that before ordering, we confirmed if the dish was spicy and the answer was yes. However, the dish tastes bland and the only taste is a very mild barely there XO sauce with no hint of spiciness. Also, for my friend who does not even eat spicy dishes, she did not think it tasted spicy either. To be fair, although I have mentioned numerous times that I prefer bland as well as healthy tasting food and this is one of them which I usually do not mind, I was craving for something greasy and spicy this time.

The sauce has an extremely flavourful dried scallop and shrimp taste, even more flavourful than Pelican's. The highlight of the dish aside from the sauce should be 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)
- Honest waitress

- 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

- Yes, two girls ate all this!
- 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

Food: 2/5
Service: 1.5/5

Kwong Chow Congee & Noodle House 廣州粥麵小厨 on Urbanspoon


  1. If she only knew how often you eat crab… did you tip? Your review is honest regardless of the negative experience.

  2. This might be the most ridiculous post I have ever read. Your reviews are always very negative one would think you've personally received numerous michelin stars, but this one takes the cake. If the food is "average to below average" on the two previous visits why do you return? You eat crab every day so you now know the exact weight of a crab by looking at it? You will send a picture of the crab to your friend at Measurement Canada, and exactly what is this mystery friend going to do?

    1. I write all my posts exactly the way I experienced and as is. Why would I want to praise any restaurants or food if they aren't good? Unfortunately, I went back to this restaurant because it was late at night and they just happened to be there on the way. Plus, some dishes were average and I don't mind revisiting an average restaurant from the past out of convenience. To be technically correct, it's not just because I eat crab a lot that gives me a good understanding of a crab's weight according to their size. Why don't you take a fun test for yourself? Any dungeness crabs that are under 6.5” are usually under 3lbs, the meat is a bit loose after it is cooked, and the shell is easier to break. However, if you take a 7”+ crab, it is usually 3lbs+ and their meat is a bit more firm and the shell is harder. Most people who know about seafood can tell you this.
      As for Measurement Canada, they are here to make sure all the commercial scales are accurate and the customers are not being cheated. I have done this before and they visited the business to check on their scale, and if it is wrong or they are cheating the consumers, they will take action on that business. This is nothing personal but if I feel like I have been cheated, I sure don't want the following customers to be treated unfairly, and to let that business know that it is NOT okay to try to cheat their customers.

  3. Why would they want you to write positive reviews instead of the truth? You do not trash talk the restaurant and state your reasons and conclusions. I am not discouraged from trying the restaurant but I would not order seafood unless with my parents who are more knowledgable in seafood, I'm younger and not in my 30s too

    1. Some people may think of negative posts as complaining?

  4. LOL your review isn't even that negative and a few positive things are mentioned, I wonder why the "michelin anonymous" hasn't responded

    1. Meh, some people have lives unless us haha JK. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and hey, comments are enabled so people can disagree with me



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...