There’s no denying the fact that I love Chinese food. All of it; saucy stews and crispy noodles of Cantonese cuisine, spicy numbing stir fry dishes and fiery soups of Szechuan, sweet and sour notes of Hunan. The magic of Chinese food is that China is over 9 Million square kilometres, has 23 provinces and boarders 14 countries. The fine intricacies of Chinese food change from region to region and reflect the locally available produce, ingredients and influences of neighbouring countries. It’s all “Chinese food” but all very different, but similar. I recently checked out Restaurant Delice Oriental (Huang He Lou), a spot downtown serving up classic Szechuan, Hubei and Hunan specialties.
I don’t have to tell you how much I love Montréal. As much as I bitch about traffic, douchebag drivers, construction, the weather and slow-walkers at Walmart, I love it all. One of the things I love most about Montréal is the food scene; the variety of restaurants, the multitude of boroughs that foster, in my opinion, some of the greatest culinary talent in Canada if not the world. I love exploring different neighbourhoods to find local restaurant gems especially in areas of the city where I don’t frequent or know well enough. I was recently told about this szechuan spot in Verdun. I’m not from the area nor am I around often enough to know what’s popping’ in the V dot – Is that a thing? It should be, I just made it up and it sounds badass. I’ve made some awesome discoveries along Wellington in Verdun over the years and when I was told about this Chinese restaurant “Hong Mere” that I should try, I didn’t hesitate to check out.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of spicy szechuan food, the first thing I think about is the Monkland village in NDG. I mean, fiery dishes that are capable of shutting your body down, pulling every ounce of moisture to bead sweat out of the top of your head to your face off, I mean, duh, come on, that spot next to the Pharmaprix at the bottom of that apartment building. I got word that the chef from one of Montreal’s premier Szechuan restaurants Cuisine Szechuan on Guy opened up a new spot in NDG and decided to check it out.