I haven't encountered such a great dining bargain in a while -- it's even more of a steal than dine about town, but in a more downscale kind of way.
Jumbo had a bunch of dishes going for $2.68, another section at $3.25, then some for $4.50 and a bunch in the $5 range.
Each price section has more than 10 dishes listed. eac dish is more food than 2 tacos. And honest to goodness delicious too.
The stir fried squid came with a motley crew of veggies - salted/pickled greens for a chirpy sweet/salty note, onions, greens of some sort and green bell pepper. And a thin touch of black beans that didn't overwhelm. The squid itself was perfectly cooked, curly, resilient and crunchy in a very satisfying way. Proportions might have been a bit skewed to the veggie side of things but the sheer portion size of squid was more than satisfactory. That's $2.68 and it's enough for one person's dinner. A true bargain.
Other dishes follow a similar tack. The lychee fish had a lots of chunky pineapple, onion and green bell pepper, along with an occasional lychee, but the fish in the dish had high production values. It's lightly battered and nicely fried; on the palate, there's hardly a touch of grease, and the fish itself tasted fresh and clean -- it was cooked just right. The sauce was clear and light in the spectrum of sweet and sour sauces (none of that aweful red colouring) and even had a delicate and refreshing touch of lychee. Also a good deal at $3.25.
The chicken with black fungus ($2.68) was average, with some good shiitake mushrooms. Unfortunately, the black fungus was a bit thin and loosely scattered.
The taro duck was also delicious. Here, a fried thick shell of rich flavorful taro encased chunks of succulent duck. Good crispy exterior, nicely finished by a dark sauce with silvers of mushroom. I personally would have loved more duck in the balance of things. But it's only around $5 (or was it $4.50?) and honestly, I really have no right to complain at such prices.
With rice, this would have been enough food to feed four happily. Me and my buddy went easy on the rice and finished everything. (I'm feeling rather stuffed right now...) Total for everything listed here plus tax and tip - $18.50 for 2. That's serious price/performance that's pretty hard to beat.
by Amy Schulman | Calum Franklin is a wizard with pies. The self-proclaimed pastry deviant knows how to weave together...