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Wok Box in Edmonton

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Wok Box opened a location on Jasper Ave and 112 Street. I have eaten two meals from that location; both times my meal was anything but appetizing.

The first meal I ate was their version of Pad Thai. The Pad Thai was flavourless and overly oily. As well, the Pad Thai had no heat to it.

The second time i went to the Wok Box I ordered their black bean and beef on noodles (lunch size). First, the portion was a joke- it would feed a model, but not your average joe or average jane. Second, the bowl the meal was served in was so small that I had no room to manoeuver anything around in the bowl without flipping something onto the table. Third, the meal was so overly salted that I gave up after three bites.

I know the Wok Box serves fast food and to give some allowances for that reason, but both times I went to the Wok Box the food was subpar. I am willing to give it another chance if there are any positive comments on the Wok Box.

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  1. I can't figure out how this place not only survives, but has turned itself into a city-wide chain. The food is HORRIBLE - I have tried it twice and the second time it was almost inedible. I've heard various rumours - that the owner from the Wok Box was a co-owner of Oodle Noodle and the two had a falling out, hence both establishments resulting. IMHO Oodle Noodle is far, far superior and I only like about half of the menu there.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ihatepickyeaters

      I see that Oodle Noodle is opening a new location on Jasper Ave and 109 Street in October...will be a welcome addition to the take-out scene in the area.

    2. Overpriced stir fry, and not even good stir fry at that.

      If you want fast food you'd be better off going to Thai Express in City Centre mall. There's always a very long line up though, so go early or later. The Viet/Chinese place on 101 st across from Commerce is okay too, but pricier than Chinatown. Can't remember the name - Moon something?

      Or if you have time, go to Chinatown instead for a cheaper and tastier meal.

      1 Reply
      1. re: anonymoose

        Moon Garden. We tried it a few weeks ago, horrible service, overcooked food. Wouldn't be going back any time soon.

        Went to Wok Box as well - they use too much salt in their dishes. Won't be going back there either.

      2. Sorry, no positive comments here. I tried Wok Box once only - only very young people working there - measuring an amount of chopped up vegetables, and measuring an amount of prepared meat, frying it up with some bottled "sauce" that no Asian store would even think of selling to the public, plunking the mess onto rice or noodles, and calling it "black bean" or teriyaki or whatever. Why go there when you can go to a Chinese, Vietnamese, etc. restaurant and pay a lot less for better food? And I'd rather eat Edo fast food anytime over Wok Box.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Libertycafe

          Not a fan either, Oodle noodle is better by long shot!

          1. re: cleopatra999

            Again, we agree. Oodle Noodle is much better! Glad everything in the universe is right again :)

          2. re: Libertycafe

            I have Had good experiences at the wok box as far as salty it's in the sauce is what i was told buy one of the employees, at whitemud&17st they dont use salt just water and oil. i asked not to use oil and that was not a problem.. so i have had good food there and will go back again.

          3. I've only eaten at a Wok Box once several years ago, and I had the Pad Thai as well. It was one of the worst I've ever had, the noodles and flavoring were just atrocious. The reason I was there? An acquaintance had invested in a franchise. Not sure where his head was. :) I can't see why people would want to eat here, when they can get a more authentic version of many of the Asian dishes on the menu, at an ethnic restaurant that knows how to do them right (or at least much better!)

            5 Replies
            1. re: shoku_tsu

              My understanding is that the people who brought us Wok Box own Famoso as well? If so, it's an interesting dichotomy. I am not sure why something as simple as a stir fry would be so difficult to prepare.

              1. re: foodosopher

                not sure that is the case foodosopher but I will inquire the next time I am in Famoso...I know that principal owners behind Famoso are friends of the originator [at least locally] of the Wok Box concept but did not share in the "lotto winnings"....

                I was at the Wok Box the one and only time at their downtown location...like most of you here, would not go back...the attraction for me were the "boxes" which up until that time I associated with Woody Allen movies and other films set in NYC...growing up in Montreal I had never seen that box with the collapsible wire holder before except in the movies....

                1. re: Bob Mac

                  well, there appears to be zero positive comments about the Wox Box, so-- i wont be going back. thanks for the input.

                2. re: foodosopher

                  sorry- the wok box owners are definately NOT the same guys that run famoso

                  1. re: whoa82

                    You are right as far as I know whoa83 although Christian seems involved with Famoso as far as Gurvinder's column on Wednesday indicates.

                    My understanding is that Jason, Justin and Christian [?] are all friends.

                    Picked up my traditional take-out order of a margharita with red peppers, pepperoni and mushroom and gorgonzola and walnut salad to go last evening and am pleased to say that after an absence of several weeks the quality has not slipped. We enjoyed them.

                    Wine selection has changed. Probably for the bettert.

              2. OK, for some silly reason I went to Wok Box today in Terwillegar (beside the new Famoso). It was about 1:15, I hadn't eaten all day, and thought a) I was going to try it at some point and b) i was really hungry and it might be faster than Famoso.

                I had the pad thai...do I need to say any more?

                Well, even if I don't, I will. It was horrible. Probably the worst I have ever had. Differently bad than jim's however, as salt might have given it a bit of flavour. Not oily either, which might also have helped break up the lump of noodles. Pretty much one big clump...I was using chop sticks, and picking up gobs of noodle matter that took 5 or 6 bites to get through. Veggies were all flavourless, some were crisp but others mushy... No peanuts...

                If I hadn't been so hungry, I probably should have just left it on the table and walked away. All I can say about it positively was that when I left, I was no longer hungry. I was sad, disappointed, felt like i had just wasted $10, 20 minutes and the opportunity to eat something (anything else) I enjoyed...

                Odd thing was, it was quite busy. I did, however, express my total disgust to an employee as I left, who didn't even respond, and to a couple coming in for food. They still went in though...

                Ugh.

                Fortunately, I have couple of the absolutely wonderful empenadas from the 'winter fill-in' Chilean stall at the market in my fridge that I can have for supper! Yummy.

                1. OMG, it's so funny to see this post because my wife and I gave this place a second chance just last night.

                  We have a WOK BOX in SE Calgary, near south trail crossing. My wife and I wanted to love this place and we even gave it 2 trys but the food has been horrible both times.

                  The last time we got takeout I got the mongolian beef and broccoli with udon noodles. What you actually get is an very sweet sauce mixed into everything and slopped into a cute little chinese takeout box container...We nickednamed it Sweet Slop in a box. We've ordered 4 dishes here over 2 visits and everything is slopped together with disgustingly sweet sauces that make you feel gross when you're done.

                  Anyway, avoid at all costs, there are tons of better Chinese food places all over Calgary.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Major_9000

                    I cannot disagree with the generally ... no in actual fact virtually totally ... negative reaction to the Wok Box.

                    Best part was/is unfortunately the "cute" take away boxes but even Earls has those now.

                    Good concept but not carried off.

                    I know a spot in Victoria has been going forever with fairly positive responses, too bad the Alberta version is a "dud".

                  2. If you order the lemon chicken...for example...they cook the chicken up, then put it into a tupperware container, add the sauce and then shake it up. Which is fine. Until the guy behind you orders the same thing....they use the same container WITHOUT washing it. I know it's the same sauce...but that's gross. GROSS. The first time I had seen that was the last time I've eaten there.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: tamberb

                      I would have been happy with someone else's sauce on what I had - it would have given it a bit of moisture. I know pad thai doesn't have a lot of sauce, but any I got immediately absorbed into the overcooked noodles, making them just a dense clump of sticky... I can't even describe it. I have to stop looking at this thread, to try to get the experience out of my head or I may need therapy.

                      1. re: tamberb

                        Sounds like this is a case of "what you don't know won't hurt you". When you eat at other restaurants with enclosed kitchens do you think they're doing anything different? Unlikely. There is nothing unsanitary about what you described. Restaurants will typically make up a bunch of ingredients and then share them between different dishes, or cook several versions of the same dish together. All about saving time and effort.

                        1. re: egon61

                          LOL...this reminds me of eating at a very well known Calgary restaurant. I just happened to look up and see one of the kitchen brigade furiously whipping a sauce or something similar and as he should tasting the same....unfortunately, then back went the same utensil into the bowl for more whipping and a further taste, etc. etc.

                          1. re: egon61

                            This isn't about saving time or effort...this is laziness. Putting food in a dirty container that was left there full of old sauce for god knows how long is disgusting. I find it very hard to believe that quality restaurants leave dirty dishes laying around the kitchen in hopes someone might order the same dish 2 hours later.

                            1. re: tamberb

                              I agree and I too tried the place on 130th a few days ago; I will never go back!

                              1. re: tamberb

                                I guess I misunderstood and when you referred to "the guy behind you" ordering the same thing - it was meant as an expression and not literal.

                                Of course there is a large grey area here depending on timing etc.

                                I honestly think that if 2 customers in a row order the same thing it would be common practice and completely hygenic to re-use prepware or cookware.

                          2. Well, I really wish I had read this two years ago. Decided to try Wok Box on Sunday as a different fast food choice (instead of my usual sushi), Guess what I got? Yup, Pad Thai. It was the worst I've ever had. It didn't even taste like Pad Thai. It was hot, no doubt about it but, it tasted like a generic heat. I couldn't pin point what the flavour was. Now that I thnk about it, if I had been served this as my first Pad Thai experience I'd never order the dish again. it was so bland and incredibly salty.

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: livetocook

                              Boy, I'm glad to see this thread. The Wok Box chain has been popping up all over Calgary in the last year and I've been meaning to try them. Guess I'll pass. Such consistent poor reviews...

                              1. re: tex_in_yyc

                                Amazing that the same city that gave us the horrors of Wok Box and Julio's Barrio could also give us the splendor that is Famoso!

                                1. re: John Manzo

                                  Love Famoso's white pizza. And their lunch size is just perfect for me. Hoping to hit that place sometime this week of my holidays. :)

                                  1. re: John Manzo

                                    I still haven't made it to Famoso, but on the other hand, I still haven't made it to Julio's Barrio.

                                    1. re: tex_in_yyc

                                      tex you should only go to Julio's on a bet. It's HORRID.

                                      1. re: John Manzo

                                        The fajitas are better than Chili's, but that's not really saying much.

                                    2. re: John Manzo

                                      To add to the Wok Box "excellence" I hear they have now added MSG to their sauces.

                                      1. re: takeoutreveiw

                                        Sorry kind of off topic -- but does anyone know if oodle noodle adds MSG to their food as well? I read somewhere that they did but I cant remember where.

                                        1. re: kati3

                                          As far as I know they have no MSG. It is made fresh each week. MSG make me ill and I have had Oodle Noodle manytimes with no effect. Best noodles ever.

                                          1. re: takeoutreveiw

                                            Oh thank god...! :)