568 Fisgard St
It’s not often that I’d swim with the fishes at Ocean Garden in Chinatown. If I want authentic Chinese, I’d go to China or ask my family elders to cook for me. But for tourists and many a local in this area, this establishment is a mainstay of the Victoria scene. Between this and four other places on this side of the road, just where I really like to go depends.
After watching the lion dance and kung fu demonstration to really kick Chinese New Year off to start in the “first” weekend of the lunar year, I was feeling a bit peckish. My friends and I thought a visit to the Ocean was required and while I pondered what I should grab from the sea, the choice ultimately boiled down to Deep Fried Prawns ($10.50), Beef and Broccoli Chow Mein (10.50) and a Seafood and Vegetable platter (8.95).
The variety certainly filled us up and when considering we had an appetite, there was nothing left when we were done. I found the batter used for the prawns was quite nice. I ate it while it was still “hot” and that’s the only way to enjoy this piece of the sea.
To eat this dish cold just will not do and on this day, they had some plump pieces of meat so I was very satisfied. The beef had a nice crisp and gentle taste that was only enhanced by the sauces and the veggies used — red peppers and broccoli — were not overdone. They retained their crisp after being cooked.
My only disappointment with the last item where not enough squid was offered. There was enough shrimp to go around, but if anyone wanted an even spread of ocean life to nibble on, they will be disappointed. I sampled a small piece, but as there was enough between the three of us, I guess I got the short end of the stick on that.
Overall, Ocean Garden does a better job than Don Mee. The service was no better, but at least there was no feeling of being rushed. The waitress did not bother to come by to refill our tea bottle or ask how our meal was. I tasted more exoticness in the dishes here than at the higher priced operation. Sure, they can do a decent dim sum, but after trying their regular menu offerings and everything else, maybe James and I should just go up the street at every operation here just to see which one of the four places has the right stuff to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients used.
At least at Ocean, they’re on the right course to sail away to rate just slightly higher than their competitor.
3½ Blokes out of 5