Those ol’ Stomping Grounds

Young’s Restaurant
2638 Quadra St.
Victoria, BC
(250) 384-0234

J: Unlike Ed, Young’s Restaurant holds many happy memories. In the late 70’s it was home to Babbling Books, the shop where I bought my first comic. In around 1986 or 87′ my then best friend Terri Lizotte, tried to open my eyes to many new things.

And one of these was my first taste of won ton. Young’s had no qualms about letting two kids take up space and share a bowl. It’s been 21 years since I last stepped foot into this little restaurant and the memories long tucked away in the back of my mind resurfaced.

Very little has changed. The wonton is just as tasty as I remember.

E: I’ve had better. There’s nothing like the taste of home-made and the taste of pork and shrimp. They can be blended together or the shrimp tucked on one side to give the little ball of meat that extra flavour. That’s my all time favourite and nothing has yet to beat that.

Although what we had was the basic bowl, wor style includes more goodies, like noodles or char siu (BBQ Pork) on top. We should’ve ordered that instead so I can rate it. At best, this bowl was kind-of close to home but not quite.

The number of wontons included was very good for the price but I thought the stock was weak and after peppering it up, I found it acceptable. And it could’ve had more than a few dices of sliced green onion.

J: Well I’ve had wonton with shrimp but I still thought this was a good bowl. The broth had that nice hint of chicken. But keep in mind Ed, I’m just a under privileged white guy and you’ve the head start on Chinese cuisine (for obvious reasons).

E: There’s nothing like grandma’s cooking or going to a larger Chinese restaurant where they used to MSG it up a lot. My waistline thanks them both.

But I’ve had wonton from Victoria to Vancouver, and a friend from a while back took me to what’s considered the best on the mainland. But there’s also knowing what should go into a good broth. Chinese cilantro is a must.

J: The main course was very good for the money we paid. At $6.85 I was given a nice serving of deep fried prawns, sweet and sour pork and chicken chow mein. The pork was average but at least I didn’t encounter grissle like one or two other eateries. Traditional pineapple mixed in with the sweet and sour almost made me want to lick the plate.

E: I would’ve loved to photograph that. Too bad Yvonne couldn’t make this outing, so James and I traded off with my camera.

The pork was okay for what it was, and I appreciated the fact it wasn’t a cheap imitation. Young’s actually provides decent quality for the money. I’ve been to places where all they do is slice pork chop into bite-sized pieces. The ones at Young’s are almost from the piglet itself, lightly crisped up and with a bit of fat to liven things up.

Too bad I can’t say the same for the fried rice. It was the larger portion of both our Combination A meals. While I can say the rice was semi-decent, I would’ve appreciated something other than frozen peas mixed in with the BBQ pork in this one. I tasted a bit of egg, but there wasn’t enough.

J: You should have asked for the chow mein. It was fresh and very tasty. Slightly above average of what I normally encounter. Shanghai noodles, string pork and soy beans made for a good combo. I’ve been disappointed with a few places in the past by their attempts to not include the soy bean just to save cost.

Now the prawns, I was happy with the four on my plate. Prawns are not cheap and to not have to order these as a side pleased me.

E: Well, you could’ve offered a bit from your plate, James. I love chow mein, but I will admit, the more crispier they are, the more I’ll wolf them down. Even noodles can be tender or fried, depending on one’s tastes and what local style they’re cooked in.

I knew I wasn’t going to get the works in a combination platter, but the thoughts of green peppers, pea pods, bok choy bamboo shoots and water chestnuts and shrimp in my noodles will turn me into a shark any day. But a shark munching on crustaceans?

I liked the batter, but I’d rather be swimming in the safe edges of the Gulf of Mexico going after some of those tasty pieces of shrimp there than with what I tasted here. Yes, I’ve been spoiled by my road trip. It’s hard to top the shrimp I had at Laredo’s in Seattle.

J: Well, we shall get you a pair of fins, some trunks and a periscope for your next trip. Hopefully it will be to the Gulf of Mexico. But for now you can practice in your bathtub. Just make sure your rubber duckie is safely tied to the dock.

E: Yes, duck is featured in Chinese cuisine too. What are you talking about? [insert Jaws music here]

J: But in the end, Ed and I can both agree we had a pleasant experience. It was a beautiful Sunday with window seats looking across to Quadra Village, near my old stomping grounds of Blanshard Elementary School (now University Canada West). It’s just a shame many businesses like the Wooden Shoe were closed around 4:30 pm. I would have loved to spend more time in the shops.

3 Blokes out of 5

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