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Miu Garden - Cheap & Good Chinese Food (review + pics)


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Miu Garden - Cheap & Good Chinese Food (review + pics)

BokChoi | Jan 28, 2010 06:59 AM

OK, sometimes you just want something cheap to eat. Not everything I put in my mouth has to be Michelin-calibre and I'm the first to admit it. Value is always at the forefront of my mind. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I get ragged on for suggesting something not 'tops'.

I recently found a pretty decent Chinese restaurant in Market Village (near Pacific Mall) on Steeles. It took up residence in the now defunct City Inn Restaurant space across from Tung Tung (Chinese waffles/ "gi dan ji"). My recommendation would be for dinner, served Monday to Friday. During this time, a special is offered that is pretty much a steal. For $29.99, you get a pretty decent tofu dish (the tofu was silken, but the black bean sauce was a bit overwhelmingly salty for me - but I guess that's the style when preserved black beans are served), a sauteed fish chunk / 'cuw' with veggies with ginger strips, sweet & sour pork (we substituted for chicken for an extra $2 because of a dietary restriction that they accommodated. This was definitely one of the stronger versions I've tried. The batter is not too thick, and it's dry and crispier than most other places I have sampled. The sauce had a nice balance between sour and sweet, and I really think it was standout dish.), AND a DOUBLE lobster dish (stir fried with green onion and ginger. They were about 1-1.15lb each. Tiny.). Because I was 'wuh-sik'/greedy, I also wanted to sample their crab claw for $1.50. Sure, it was nothing great, but it was $1.50 and brought back memories of my childhood (when I was always denied a claw because of the exorbitant cost) Yes, I was disappointed (it just didn't taste as good as the ol' days' ones), but it was only $1.50, so I wasn't shedding any tears. You also get free soup at the beginning of the meal that is definitely above par.

Fish chunks:
Sweet & Sour chicken:
Crab Claw:
$29.99 M-F Meal:

On another occasion, I returned and got a few other dishes, including their fantastic crispy chicken with chips. Their frying technique is what truly separates them from the rest. The chicken was exceptionally crispy, and the chips were some of the best I've had in a long time. They weren't soggy, nor oil drenched. The chicken wasn't the sweetest, but it was moist. You're not going to get sweet, free-range for the prices that they're charging, but as part of a set menu of $29.99, I'm not one to complain.

Crispy Chicken:
Whole dish:

The lobster that they served was also double cooked as I pleasantly surprised with. They first fry the lobster chunks (touch of flour/cornstarch), and they sautee it with the standard ginger and green onion (unless your request an alternate cooking method - an extra $1-3 depending on the method you choose). This was stellar, especially given the prices they charge. I was impressed that they would take the time to cook it twice. The lobsters themselves weren't the sweetest, but once again, for the price - it was a steal. Ordering it fried was probably not the best idea because the sauce didn't quite cover the lack of sweetness and lobster flavour of the crustaceans. I would recommend the regular ginger & green onion style.

Standard Twin Lobster:
Fried Twin Lobster (+$2):

The fantastic "Bay foong tong"-style crab was another standout. For $12, you get a 1.5lb crab (pretty standard/lower end price-wise) fried with bits of pork and seasoning. It was very, very well fried. There was hardly any trace of oil on the crabs and they were quite sweet and fresh. I would highly recommend this dish as one of their standouts - call ahead though, because they often sell out. I liked it very much more than the Fantasy version I ordered earlier in the week (though that was priced at $10). I liked the fact that they took the time to flour the head/body and fry that up as well. That way, the 'goh' was kept in the head and there was actually something in there to eat.

"Bay Foong Tong"-style crab:
Crab Head/Body "Goh":

Some other components for a second $29.99 special menu (offered 7 days a week) were a veggie dish (baby bok choi) made with sea cucumbers (tiny strips). The cucumber was rubbery and to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of them to begin with. Either way, they weren't standout. The veg was cooked nicely (not overcooked) and was sweet and crisp.

Veg w/ Sea Cucumber:

Shrimp balls covered in the classic 'orange' sweet & sour glaze was another dish. Nothing special here - it reminded me of Chinese Fast Food. It was well executed though.

Shrimp Balls:

The steamed fish was pretty much a failure though - not high quality and it was pretty small. But once again, this menu was $29.99 and you got the shrimp balls, the steamed fish, the veggie dish with sea cucumber, and the fried chicken with chips. It was enough to feed 4 with everyone being very full. This is served on weekends as well, but it's not as good a deal as the lobster one served M-F.


Here are some photos of the menus (specials hung around the restaurant) so you can see the prices and items for yourself:

Overall, I thought it was pretty darned good for the price point. I have a price versus quality / value curve in my head and this one definitely surpasses expectations. It's not the best, but one has to keep expectations in check if they are to enjoy a 5 course meal (incl soup) for 4 for $29.99.

Miu Garden
4390 Steeles Avenue East
Markham, ON L3R 9V7, Canada
(905) 477-3822

Cheers & Happy Eating!

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