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Melanie Wong | Sep 13, 200210:13 PM     4

. . . is the new name for Banana Garden in Richmond (near Ranch 99). The outside signage will be changing soon. When I stopped by late last night, I was happy to see the same waiter, Justin (ponytail, wire-rim glasses) who had made good recommendations when a chowhound group tried it for the first time a year ago.

The regular Banana Garden menu is still offered. In addition there’s a supplement with lunch specials and 13 new dishes for dinner. I inquired about the Malaysian style mee on the flyer, and the waiter steered me to the chow kueh teow instead, saying it had more flavor and spiciness. I asked about the homemade tofu with crab meat, which he enthusiastically recommended as the best of the new dishes.

The eggy tofu was shaped into rectangular blocks and deep-fried, and covered in a pale gravy with sweet chunks of fresh dungeness crab meat. The tofu was so soft and custardy inside, it almost melted in the mouth. I tried to ignore the frozen peas and carrots strewn on top. The sauce was lightly thickened and subtle, and the crab was very sweet and moist. Delicious dish for only $8.

Not so successful with the chow kueh teow which didn’t seem as flavor-packed as the last visit. Not sure I would order this one again.

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