When was the last time that you bought into the hype of something and was left underwhelmed and disappointed. I’d love to say that I’m not a bandwagoner but my dusty Ello account, first-gen Zune player, Hoobastank extended cut album, Ed Hardy trucker hats and box of fidget spinners will say otherwise. My feed has been inundated with content from this place. Unfortunately I fell into the algorithm of overly ecstatic people pushing the “best” of this thing and the “you won’t believe” of that. I wanted to check out the spot for myself. So I went to Panda Doré and ordered the entire menu to see what this dumpling place was all about and if it really warranted social media bug-eyed gawking reactions.
We’re going to start 2023 with a bang. Literally. A meal at this place felt like a straight body-shot to the gut. You may not know it but not only does Montreal have great Chinese restaurants, but we are home to restaurants that represent the various regional cuisines of China – as per my article for Tourism Montreal. The majority of restaurants in the city serve Cantonese cuisine- fried noodles, sweet and sour deep this and thats, rice dishes, sizzling platters, dumplings. It’s once you get into regional specialties can you tell the difference. The spices, the techniques, the ingredients. The regional cuisine that stands out is Szechuan. I recently discovered the small Szechuan restaurant – Mala Express – in one of the most obvious neighbourhoods in the city… Kirkland.
There’s a misconception that a meal of dumplings is called “dim sum“. This is wrong. “Dim sum” is more than a meal, it’s an experience. An experience you’d get at some of the city’s various dim sum houses. It’s a meal that consists of various small dishes. Dumplings, steamed seafood, pan-fried radish cakes, pastries and desserts. Yes, you can eat dumplings AT dim sum, but it doesn’t make the meal. Like how a square is can be classified as a rectangle, but not the other way around. I visited Yin Ji Chang Fen. As their name says, a spot that specializes in a particular dish that’s served at dim sum – rice noodle rolls or “chang fun”.