I once wrote an article or Tourism Montreal about the different kinds of Chinese cuisines available in Montreal. FYI, there are eight regional cuisines in China: Lu (Shandong), Chuan (Szechuan), Hui (Anhui), Yue (Guangdong), Min (Fujian), Xiang (Hunan), Su (Jiangsu), and Zhe (Zhejiang). There are similarities among these different cooking styles, but they are all unique. What differentiates them from each other are the regional ingredients, geography, climate and history. Don’t forget, China is huge. We’re lucky to have so many Chinese restaurants in Montreal that represent many of these cooking styles. Beijing, Kam Fung for Cantonese, Gia Ba and Hong Mere for Szechuan, Nouilles Lan Zhou and Delice Oriental for Jiangsu – to name a few. I recently found a restaurant that serves a dish that’s not often found anywhere. Sorry, I take that back, not found anywhere at all. Period. I checked out Chez Yanna for their Toisanese duck.
Chez Yanna is located in the Decarie village in Ville-Saint-Laurent. A small Chinese restaurant run by a very friendly lady; Yanna. The menu is pretty vast and offers many different cantonese options broken down into different categories; beef, pork, chicken, veggies, noodles, seafood… typical. But the magic happens in the “chef’s recommendations” section.
The menu is broken down into different categories; beef, pork, chicken, veggies, noodles, seafood… typical. But the magic happens in the “chef’s recommendations” section.
Cantonese Fried Noodles
Without exaggeration, this Cantonese fried noodle is the biggest one I’ve ever got from take out from anywhere. A mix of vegetables, seafood, pork and chicken sat atop a generous portion of noodles. After fluffing the noodles and plating the dish, it was the size of a new born. Which coincidentally made me feel like I was with child after eating all of it or should I say… with noodle.
Cantonese chow mein: made me feel like I was with child after eating all of it or should I say… with noodle.
Black Bean Green Beans
The green beans are first dry-fried in a fiery hot wok with fermented black beans, then tossed with fried tofu slices and mixed with a spicy sauce. The green beans had some snap and aromatic in that unmistakable aroma of black beans. Bless the chef’s heavy hand in garlic and chili peppers.
Eggplant Hot Pot
One of my most favourite dishes is this eggplant with salted fish and pork was off the chef’s recommendation list. It consists of creamy stewed-twice-fried eggplants and ground pork, perfumed with the funk of fermented fish. As delicious as this was, it could have used more fermented fish – was not funky enough. It was like if Marky-Mark walked around with just a “bunch”.
As delicious as this was, it could have used more fermented fish – was not funky enough. It was like if Marky-Mark walked around with just a “bunch”.
“House Special” Braised Duck
This was the dish that got my attention; the “House special braised duck”. The name in English is very unassuming, but what piqued my interest was its Chinese name on the menu – 台山五味鸭. This translates to “Toisan five-aroma duck” It’s not the five-aroma that got me, but was the fact that it’s a dish from a small city in a Guangdong – where my family is from. You NEVER see any dishes from Toisan on any Chinese restaurant menu. It’s often lumped into Cantonese cuisine but this is where very specific regionalities plays a part in its identity.
A small county-sized town, two-thirds of it is rural. The cuisine and food is often considered “country” or “village” food, void of anything big-city fancy. It was my first time trying this dish and it was delicious. The duck was firm yet had a very soft texture. The braising liquid was thick and sweet. Incredibly aromatic and savoury. The flavour was so deep. Once you get past the overt sweetness of the sauce, you start discovering the subtle characteristics what lend themselves complimenting each other and bringing out the “five-aromas” that make up this dish.
The food at Chez Yanna was great. The menu has a bunch of other dishes that I can’t wait to try. But what stood out was definitely the duck. Like I said, I’ve never had it before, but as I ate it, I recognized it. It tasted familiar. I realized that there were nuances of that dish that are found in my childhood meals prepared by my grandmother. It was comforting. You may not experience the same emotional enlightenment I did. But the feeling you get from food fed to you by hand by your grandmother is universal. Try it.
884 Boul Decarie Saint-laurent QC H4L 3L9
TEL: 514 748-9981