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Disappointed by Asian Legend

Jane Oct 12, 2005 08:21 AM

Two great girlfriends and I returned to Asian Legend last night but got quite a let-down in the food department. We ordered two items off the dim sum menu: house special pancakes with green onions and rolled pancakes with shredded beef. Both were flavourful and crispy/greasy (in a good way). The mains, however, were truly disappointing. We tried house special mango chicken (which was unbelievably bland and featured chemically-tenderized, flattened chicken parts), kung pao shrimp (which tasted predominantly of chilis and stale garlic) and mu shu pork (which came with soggy-from-the-steamer pancakes and an excess of celery and onions, with very little pork in sight.) Compared to the fresh, flavourful and generously portioned food I enjoyed the last time I was there, this was really underwhelming. Price for two apps, three mains, two bowls of rice and two beers: $59.

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  1. m
    moo RE: Jane Oct 12, 2005 08:38 AM

    thanks for the info -- whenever i go to asian legend, i tend to stick with dim sum style dishes .. the steamed pork buns, the onion pancakes & beef pancakes .. i suspect some of the other dishes (mango chicken, mu shu pork) are attempts to branch outside of their core competency in shanghai dim sums ..

    2 Replies
    1. re: moo
      Orange RE: moo Oct 13, 2005 11:25 PM

      Asian Legend serves Taiwanese style Shanghainese food. Mango chicken and such are not their specialty. Some of their dim sum is also slightly different style than traditional or HK style Shanghainese dim sum.

      1. re: Orange
        Jane RE: Orange Oct 14, 2005 07:44 AM

        It may not be their specialty, but I'm of the opinion that if a restaurant lists a dish on its menu, chef ought to be able to prepare it competently! If they don't know how to cook a dish properly, they shouldn't offer it for sale...

    2. j
      Jo RE: Jane Oct 12, 2005 09:47 AM

      Is the Asian Legend on Yonge, north of Sheppard related to the one in Chinatown? The one time I ate at the one in North York, I recall tasting a TON of MSG. Is it the same in Chinatown?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Jo
        Jane RE: Jo Oct 12, 2005 09:55 AM

        It was the one on Dundas, Jo. And while I didn't notice too much MSG (I normally get a massive headache from MSG), the chemical tenderizers did a real job on the chicken. The pieces had a totally gross, soft-yet-stringy texture and were devoid of flavour. They were also strangely shiny and semi-translucent -- sure didn't look like the chicken I cook with myself!!

      2. m
        mollycrocker RE: Jane Oct 13, 2005 08:53 AM

        I went to the Asian Legend at Vic Pk n Steeles and LOVED their food...mind you, we went with a Chinese co worker so she did all the ordering and made all the recommendations...I liked it there. Granted, it was a little pricey for Chinese but for the taste, it was almost justified

        1. d
          doctorandchef RE: Jane Oct 13, 2005 03:58 PM

          I echo another poster's sentiments about including dishes like mango chicken, kung pao shrimp and mu shi pork just to be more appealing to a wider audience. Not to make excuses for them because a poorly made dish is a poorly made dish.

          I had a good experience at both the Hwy 7 and Commerce Court location and the Yonge/North York Centre locations. Their Shanghai style crab dumplings were the best ones I've tasted in a while (including in Shanghai and Hong Kong).... tasty bits of real shredded crab with juice oozing out on the initial bite. Red-roasted beef with real ramen (hand pulled noodles) tasted like it should. Pot-stickers were ok, properly cooked and not too greasy.

          I think their dumplings have exceeded Ding Tai Fung's, whose standards have slipped dramatically in the past 12 months.

          2 Replies
          1. re: doctorandchef
            toothpick RE: doctorandchef Oct 14, 2005 01:19 PM

            You mention the "commerce court location" - where would that be?

            1. re: toothpick
              moo RE: toothpick Oct 14, 2005 05:50 PM

              Commerce Gate -- Hwy 7 + Commerce Gate -- it's one street west of Leslie ..

          2. s
            SirAlain RE: Jane Feb 11, 2007 07:39 PM

            I need to defend my Asian Legend. Asian food is not supposed to be haute cuisine. Susmaryosep...

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