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May 18, 2013 06:40 PM

Lousy Food but Packed Restaurant - Why?? Illogical!!!

Hung Far (HK) Seafood Cafe, Richmond Hill

Located inside Richlane Mall on Leslie and 16th Avenue, this small and cramped hole-in-the-wall Chinese 'wok-hay' restaurant is only a few minutes drive from my home. Although I have eaten in every establishments inside the mall, some how, I have never set foot inside this one! Strange?! Considering it is always busy and packed, especially on weekends.

Tonight, too lazy to cook and even lazier to drive far for food, my wife and I decided to give this 'down-the-road' establishment a try.

We ordered 3 plates from the a la carte menu, playing it safe and sticking with traditional, home cook dishes:

- Scrambled Egg Foo-Yung with Prawns
- Stirred fry beef steak cubes with honey and pepper sauce with Broccoli
- Poached free range chicken in Fish Sauce,

The dishes were HUGE! Main ingredients like the prawns or beef cubes were aplenty.

Unfortunately, Look deceives!! EVERYTHING was BLAND and TASTELESS!!!! The prawns, the beef, the broccoli...!! Salt was totally missing!! The chef must be either sick, on drugs or day dreaming to forget about seasoning the ingredients before cooking them! To make matter worse, the boiled ( instead of stir fried ) broccoli was resting in a pool of water which the cook must have forgotten to drain off! What a mess!! However, to be fair, the chicken was pretty decent.

To fellow hounds who live in the Richmond Hill vicinity. BEWARE!! Eat there at your own risk!!! I'm sure almost every Chinese eateries in the area serve better food than this pathetic outfit!

So, back to my original question!! Such lousy food but busy restaurant - Why??!! Illogical!!

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  1. Chinese restaurants are typically very busy for one of two reasons....very, very good food offering unique dishes or very cheap. I'm guessing you didn't break the bank at this place...

    1 Reply
    1. re: T Long

      Scarborough's 'Fantasy Eatery' used to offer both these formulas! GOOD and CHEAP food!!!
      Pity the head chef left!!

    2. Wait. You actually think most people choose a restaurant based on the quality of the food?

      What a novel (and refreshingly naive) thought.

      2 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        I really must agree with this one.
        I think most people choose out of sheer laziness.


      2. Add enough soy sauce and all Chinese food tastes just fine. I've never had Chinese food that I didn't like.

        15 Replies
        1. re: Herne

          Soy sauce does not make egg tarts taste better, or chicken soup or egg drop soup or water boiled fish or tsao-bing, for example.

          If you do, then you like soy sauce, not Chinese food.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            Could be you are right. I have never ordered egg tarts, or chicken soup or egg drop soup or water boiled fish or tsao-bing but I understand your point.

          2. re: Herne

            If you're dumping soy sauce on everything, then you don't actually like Chinese food. :o)

            1. re: TorontoJo

              I don't dump soy sauce on everything. I said that if you add soy sauce to any Chinese food it tastes just fine.

              1. re: Herne

                It may taste fine to you (and that's cool), but it's like saying "if I add ketchup <or salt or hot sauce or any condiment> to <pick any cuisine>, it tastes just fine". You're fundamentally changing the nature of the dishes you're adding soy sauce to. A large portion of Chinese cooking doesn't even have soy sauce in it. So when someone is saying that their Chinese food order at a restaurant isn't good, it's not because of lack of soy sauce.

                I'm not trying to pick a fight, just trying to point out that the solution you're offering up doesn't help the people that want to enjoy quality Chinese cooking.

                1. re: TorontoJo

                  I'm guessing Herne might be talking mostly about Chinese Cdn dishes. I wouldn't think of adding soy to some of the more subtle, complex or fragrant dishes, but I don't think adding soy would hurt the nature of fried rice or chow mein, which might be the types of dishes Herne is talking about correcting.

              2. re: TorontoJo

                What if I only dump the soy sauce on the steamed rice that comes with my honey garlic wings and chicken balls? Ha ha. But seriously, I don't think adding more soy means someone doesn't like/love Chinese food.I'd think it mostly means they also like soy/salt and might not frequent the types of Chinese restaurants serving dishes that would be harmed by additional soy.

                I add vinegar, lemon juice and/or hot sauce to all sorts of dishes, and it doesn't mean I don't love the food that's getting doused or drizzled. Sure, I'm changing the chef's intent and/or correcting a kitchen's mistake, and I might be taking the dish in a non-traditional/non-conventional direction, but if I'm the one who will be eating the dish, I think it's ok if I want to change its flavour profile to my liking. I'm aware changing a dish at the table might insult some Chefs out there, so I'd be more likely to doctor my take-out or leftovers, unless I'm in a restaurant that has condiments on the tables.

                I love Chinese food. (But some of you already know that!)

                Charles, I think you should travel with a toolkit (or maybe your wife could carry a kit in her handbag) when you visit restaurants off your regular rotation, to fix underseasoned dishes!

              3. re: Herne

                For stirred fry dishes. If the ingredients, especially the meat, have not been 'marinated and seasoned', the finish product might as well be 'Cardboard with sauce'!!

                1. re: Herne

                  yeah, sounds like you don't like chinese food at all.

                  1. re: szw

                    Listen for another sound. I love Chinese food. Next to Canadian food it is my favourite

                    1. re: Herne

                      I like to add ketchup to my Canadian food...most Canadian food tastes fine with that;) You are referring to burgers...and fries right?

                      1. re: T Long

                        Love burgers but not with ketchup. I was referring to dishes such as pork chops, roast beef, salmon steak.

                          1. re: MissBingBing

                            Yeah, that threw me for a loop too. Not only salmon, but the entire list Herne put up, incl. pork chops and roast beef.

                            1. re: MissBingBing

                              Communication problem. I was giving examples of Canadian food. I rarely use ketchup at all.

                  2. The original comment has been removed
                    1. Lousy food, busy restaurant, you just described McDonalds.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: James Cristinian

                        Pizza Pizza, Hero Burger, etc. There's a boat load of 'em.