Fan Tan Cafe
The Fan Tan Cafe has a special in which you can choose three of 18 items for $6.99. Manmeet and I thought this was a pretty good idea, so we went in and sat down. Then the trouble started. We discovered that rice was not included in the special, although you could order it as one of your three items, or you could order a side dish of it. We opted to order the side dish. We discovered that green tea, usually ubiquitous in Chinese restaurants, did not come automatically with the meal, nor was it even the default when we ordered a pot of tea. Well, okay, this is Victoria, so maybe Orange Pekoe is the default everywhere, except I have been in other restaurants in Chinablock where green tea is the default. We noticed that the one Asian customer in the restaurant was eating her meal with a fork, which was perhaps not so surprising considering that the meal came on a plate (ever tried to eat from a plate with chopsticks? Not as easy as it sounds).
There were not nearly as many spicy things on the combo list as I might have liked, but I ordered sweet and sour pork balls, spicy kung pow vegetables, and beef and broccoli (one of my favorite Chinese dishes). We discovered that there was no beef and broccoli today. The waitress suggested beef chop suey instead. Manmeet ordered honey garlic pork, spicy satay vegetables, and beef chop suey. We ordered rice.
Our meals came (on plates, did I mention?). There was no rice. It was at least five more minutes before I could catch the waitress’ attention and remind her to bring our rice. We determined that our porks were exactly the same lumps of deep-fried batter slathered in slightly different sauces (mine had red food coloring in it). The beef chop suey was mostly gigundous pieces of bok choy (like, too big to eat in one bite). We were busy picking things out of our food that we didn’t want. My kung pow vegetables had whole almonds, which I’m not so fond of, and the correct size of mushroom (big enough for me to see AND pick out); and Manmeet was discarding the quarters of green pepper that came in the chop suey. I said, “Don’t you like peppers?” She said, “Only when they’re spicy.” On the upside, my kung pow vegetables did have three of those little tiny red peppers (sorry, don’t know what kind they’re called) that are super potent, so the dish I ordered that was labelled as spicy actually was quite spicy.
The place gets 2 pints. It was kind of substandard, and the service was kind of poor, but it’s not like it was awful or anything.