Visiting Ming’s for Chinese New Year

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Ming’s Restaurant
1321 Quadra Street
Victoria, BC
(250) 385-4405

E: Either I’m far too critical about my culture’s approach to cooking a decent meal or I do not find Chinese food all that tasty anymore. Has my palate been spoiled? Or when it comes to dining out during the start of Chinese New Year, are the cooks at Ming’s feeling just too unsympathetic to wanting to create a tasty meal? What James and I ate here was a mixed bag of digestion problems.

Hours later, after the meal, I have to wonder if the MSG in my tummy is turning sour.

J: I think it’s possible Ed’s stomach was revolting on him. It may be the cultural background. My grandmother, a Newfoundlander, can’t look at seafood now without feeling ill or having bad memories resurface. Back in Port Rexton/Trinity Bay they used to use squid when growing the potatos> Back then it was used to fertilize the soil and now it is something I consider eating. Sorry granny but I love seafood.

I’m not sure if it’s a Scottish hand-me-down or having Newfoundlander in my blood but either way you and grandad are partly to blame. Perhaps in future I need to steer Ed clear of a Chinese restaurant or else I’ll be steering him to the closest open window. But in this small city of Victoria, the Two Hungry Blokes, like General George Armstrong Custer, are surrounded by them. Ed may commit Seppuku. I’m sorry Ed but I’m eating my way out of this one. Tell my future wife (or the closest facsmilie thereof) and my illegitimate children that I would have loved them…maybe.

E: Seppuku? Did I suddenly turn Japanese? Well, I’d gladly embrace that heritage in an instant because I do not think I’ve been to a decent Chinese restaurant in years. In my sojourns with James or with family, I’ve found problems either with the dishes or the service with nearly every place but one, a cozy place off Quadra.

But at Ming’s, we were not off to a great start. The chicken cream corn soup that we had as part of their special Chinese New Year’s dinner lacked quintessence. I’ve had this soup before at many other restaurants and it was delicious. I could finish off four bowls worth. Here, I struggled with just one. I suspect what we received was the stuff simmering at the top of the pot than swizzled and well stirred. At least our other appetizers were quite good, namely the salt and pepper squid.

J: I’ve been a bit of a buffet freak lately, visiting May Gold Village in Langford at most once a week. Their salt and pepper squid is one of my favourites, but it’s done for buffet and can’t come close to what was prepared here. Mixed with diced green onions and red peppers, there was a distinct mouth watering taste when I bit into it. I wonder if they were using a certain kind of oil I was unfamiliar with. The wonton soup though was overpriced. The money I paid for four wonton balls and a sprinkle of green onion was shocking.

E: There was a bit of starchiness that I could taste in the squid at Ming’s but that’s a common flavour I find no matter where I go. I’m sure that’s an indicator of something. I can’t say it’s bad or good, but I notice it quite often. At least the sweet n’ sour pork was spot on! Those were nice. Even the prawns were decent, if it only didn’t have so much sauce poured on.

J: The sweet and sour pork was perfection. I think it had to do with the grade of pork that was used. But I didn’t find it too hard and nor was it overly soft like I find with some restaurants. They tend to let the pork swim in the sauce. Not here it appears, perhaps it was made fresh to our table. The chow mein however was a slight let down, it lacked that flavour I’ve tasted in many different restaurants. Or maybe I’m a monkey that’s been trained wrong.

E: I’m fairly sure that the line cooks are not up to snuff in the intricacies of what makes a good Chinese New Year meal. My mom can do better. We were expecting moon cake as a dessert, and that was a let down. Maybe next time, it’d be better to go celebrate Chinese New Year buffet style. At least everything would be fresh.

3½ Blokes out of 5

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