Chongqing: Authenticity Called Into Question

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Commercial Drive is becoming more and more hipster these days, and the deeper you head down the drive, the more apparent it becomes. However, at the outer fringes lies Chongqing. I questioned whether this existing on the drive would render it authentic or not as the crowd in the area is very diverse, and potentially very different, from that you’d find on Victoria Drive, for example.

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Part of the menu showing their Northern Chinese styled dishes.

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The other portion of that same menu showing the Northern Chinese dishes.

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Their $8.45 Lunch Specials

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Lower half of that same page.

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Cantonese Lemon Chicken? That set off a mental warning right there, haha, and then again at General Tso’s Chicken. Anytime I see either of those, I’d usually just flat out dismiss the place as not authentic at all, but, let’s give the place the benefit of the doubt anyways; maybe they want to cater to a larger audience.

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So questionable…

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Here we have hot and sour soup ($7.95). It was pretty flavourful, it was hot and sour like the title says, though I wish there was a little more in the way of fillings (like meats and stuff) in there. It looks like there’s a lot, just judging from this photo, but underneath, there’s pretty much nothing at all.

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The fresh sliced roll (fried) with condensed milk (entire thing is $3.50) is always my favourite thing to order at Northern Chinese places as the deep fried bread mingling with the delicate sweetness of the condensed milk is just so yummy!

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The Noodles with Meat Sauce ($7.95) was odd, this time around at least. The noodles were just…I’m not sure what it was, it seemed like they used the wrong kind of noodles for this. To boot, they didn’t put enough of the meat sauce on it so it was very bland.

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This is the fried green onion cake ($6.95). This was very enjoyable as it was very freshly fried tasting which further brings out the onion taste. However, it could have been a bit flakier.

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The seafood chow mein ($8.45) was also problematic because of the noodles. Most of the stuff we ordered was pretty solid, though it seemed like for all the noodle dishes, they used the wrong kind of noodle or something. To make matters worse, this thing was INCREDIBLY salty for some reason…

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The Chongqing fried rice with shrimp and BBQ pork ($8.45) was pretty solid. Not much to say, other than that compared to other places, it’s not as flavourful. It’s got the usual fixings you’d expect in fried rice, though for some reason, it’s just not as tasty as other places, though that’s just my opinion.

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The steamed rice roll with scallop ($4.95), although pricier than normal dim sum, has the unique characteristic in that it has scallop inside! This was definitely one of their strengths as the noodle was very fresh and smooth. Who would’ve known you could make this dish with scallop inside; bonus!

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10 Shanghai Style Dumplings for $7.95. These look like your typical “Xiao Long Bao” as they’re known in Chinese, but I found them not as flavourful as ones at other places. However, unlike those other places, these did taste like they may have been made on location, so that gets a bonus.

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The stir fried noodles with rice cakes and pork ($8.45) was one of my favourite lunch specials that we ordered. Not overly drenched in sauce, though quite oily, it was very flavourful! It’s one of those times where it was worth it to endure the oiliness.

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The 10 pan fried dumplings ($7.95) , or gyozas/pot stickers, were most likely made on site as well. They were interesting in that the filling used differed from what’s typically used in them. Overall, they were pretty good, though I wish the outside was a bit crispier.

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For dessert, we got the fried egg and cream bun ($2.95). It’s a custard bun basically, and it’s pretty much exactly what you imagine it to be. Nothing more, nothing less.

Good:

-Lot of variety

-Good service

-AMAZING washroom

-Located right on the drive

-Lots of parking

-Some of their dishes were surprisingly good!

Bad:

-Pricey

-Some of their dishes were not so good (e.g. the noodle dishes)

-Can get busy at times

Closing Comments: I don’t think it’s unauthentic or anything, but it’s not quite at the far end of authentic either. Anyways, the food’s pretty good, except for the noodles, the washroom’s clean, that’s a good joint in my book!

Overall Rating: 3.4 PBJ’s out of a possible 5

Szechuan Chongqing 重慶大飯店 (Commercial) on Urbanspoon