Thursday, December 10, 2009

tin tin restaurant - edmonton, ab

tin tin restaurant

3338 Parsons Road

The old stomping grounds. Tin Tin, which I think is actuall A A A Tin Tin, was home to plenty of childhood memories. Always packed with Asian clientele, we first discovered this place via an old coworker of my dad's, and have been going back ever since. With my father craving a takeout feast, I thought it would be good to go back and test out a few new options.

Stepping into Tin Tin isn't going to impress you. I often think it's a Chinese version of my favorite pho shop, but if the food is good. I was handed a menu, and inquired about a traditional menu. I was soon handed a menu with NOTHING in english. That's right, nothing. This is actually my first time looking at a traditional menu with no translations at all. Obviously this didn't help my situation, so I asked for some help. The staff were willing to help but swore I should be eating the pineapple chicken balls and sweet and sour pork.

Sure there is a place for those dishes but I wanted something else. At this point I might have just asked for 3 or 4 untypical white plates, but I knew my father would be eating and his tastes aren't as varied and he requires no spicy heat. After a handful of minutes, we had settled on a 'typical' meal. Daily soup, a seafood dish, chicken, rice, and prawns.

The soup didn't look like much more than broth to begin with, as all the bits were hidden at the bottom. Full of bones, meat and some veggies, the soup was fantastic. It's hard to explain from the looks, but the broth was rich and flavourful. I drank the leftovers!

Peaches and prawns are almost always a success in my experience, so it was an easy inclusion, and didn't let the homestead down. The shrimp were done well, and the batter was really light. The sauce was scooped out and eaten with rice by my fellow diners.

I don't know the name of this dish, but it was shrimp, squid, and scallops with mixed vegetables. My favorite of the night, I'm a sucker for seafood like this. So simple, clean and good. The seafood was cooked very well, with only one piece of squid sacrficing itself to the chewy gods.

And our last dish, I was told was just called crispy chicken. Done very nicely, the skin was indeed crispy with all but the edges of the white meat being dry. They also included a ginger and onion sauce which he suggested to dip or pour on. This was the favorite dish of the homestead, which was good because it left me with the seafood!

All in all, my first experience with Tin Tin's more traditional menu was good. With a base of things to start, hopefully I can try a few more dishes one day. My question to you, besides the A A A in the name of Chinese establishments, is why are these dishes not offered to the regular folk? My experience around Edmonton is the same as here with regards to a different menu, but who wouldn't love peachy prawns or crispy chicken?

*oh and seriously, what person needs 3 pounds of rice. We had it for days!


Anonymous said...

We ate off the traditional menu there once before, a long time ago. Probably circa 92 or 93. But even then, mom and dad weren't feeling too adventurous from what I recall.

Sherman said...

LOL... I've had prawns and walnuts before and it was in a similar sauce. er... it looks... like something else, but it's tasty nonetheless..

Anonymous said...

The problem, especially in the places that opened long, long ago, is that most non-Chinese are unadventerous. I actually know people who STILL consider Chinese food to be the Westernized day-glo stuff, and refuse to try the real thing. Their loss.

Chris said...

Their loss indeed. I just wish I knew more about traditional plates. Or at the very least what to expect from the different regional differences (Cantonese etc..). One day I hope.

Anonymous said...

Fuchsia Dunlop's books cover the Szechuan stuff fairly well. Other than the Westernized stuff, most Chinese food in Edmonton is Cantonese style due to the influx of chefs that originally came from Hong Kong in the 80s and 90s. There are more mainland people coming here, but it hasn't translated into a greater variety of restaurant food yet.

My advice is take a group of people and go to a restaurant like Golden Rice Bowl or Jumbo and order a X-person meal - the more people and bigger the meal, the more variety you'll get. Usually includes fish, some sort of rice dish, some sort of noodle dish, veg, seafood. Or get yourself invited to someone's banquet dinner.

Chris said...

I only have one of Fuchsia's books (forget which one off my head) and I really like it. I've always heard it's actually quite hard to get proper Szechuan around these parts (even in Van City) from the sounds of things at Chow.

The craziest meal I've ever eaten was at Golden Rice Bowl. So it's funny you should mention that. 10 of us ($1200!!) and we ate like kings and queens. Lobster, king crab, scallops, jellyfish...seafood mania. So good. I still dream about it.

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