Bus: STM 92, 160, 161, 165, 435
Visit: April 20, 2012
Part of my heritage demands that I find the places in Montreal that serve my kind of food. In the past, I’ve made mention of trying to find the very best in Won Ton soup in Montreal. While trying to find Chinese food in general doesn’t really appeal to me, finding that specific dish does. While I’ve been given many suggestions to sub-par pork and shrimp won tons in Montreal, only a select few were able to tell me where to find the only type of these dumplings worth having. A shrimp-only won ton dumpling is far superior to the one I just mentioned and I think I’ve come across another place that does it.
Kam Shing regularly finds itself on the tops of Montreal lists for Chinese food in this city. When you think of its location, you scratch your head a bit. How on Earth did a place like this find itself at a place like Plaza Cote-des-Neiges? If you saw my post on Pita Burger last February, you’ll know how I feel about this one-time great mall. My heart breaks every time I set food in this place. It used to be one of my favorite places to go to, but since that time long ago, it’s only a shell of its former self. But, I didn’t go back this time to mourn a mall, but to find something else, won ton soup.
Nearly every Friday, I make a visit to Fung Shing in Chinatown, where I get my go-to signature won ton soup. When it is on its game, there’s no beating it. I mention that restaurant because the story of Kam Shing started there. Now, before I get to that, I have to admit that this is not confirmed because I had to piece together pieces from conversations had from the owner of Fung Shing. Apparently, the person who started Kam Shing had their beginnings in Chinatown at my regular restaurant. After an ownership change, that man went out on his own and basically branched out. The rest, as you can say, is history. So, with that in mind, my level of expectation and anticipation was just as high as it is for my normal Chinese food haunt.
On this trip, GBS regular Steakman was along for the ride. His level of Chinese food appreciation is more or less average since he was blown away by his 2 solitary visits to Fung Shing. He recently told me that he went to Soupe et Nouilles near Concordia and was blown away by that too. After he did his own research about our impending visit, we were set and excited to go.
April 20 has a lot of meaning for the world. I’m not going to mention the more obvious meaning of the day, but I’ll get into the more personal attachment that day has for me. Last year, April 20, 2011 was a day of misery and epicness. That morning, I had a lousy day at my day job. I left in a terrible mood. I decided to do a burger that day but was thwarted because my intended location was jam packed. I began moping and walking around lost, that is, until I went to Gare Centrale and had one of my more memorable burgers at Deli Planet. While it isn’t in my Fave 5, it helped sooth my mental anguish and I was ready to move on.
If we fast forward exactly one year to April 20, 2012, history was bound to repeat itself. Last year, I only had 1 not so good thing happen to me. This year, I had a whole day of terrible occurrences, basically a tidal wave of Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. In my mind, I knew that it was April 20 and the day would turn around after 4 p.m. That is why I stacked the deck to make sure I went to bed that night in a better mood.
We finally make it to the Plaza and find that parking is not as easy as you would want it to be as they are in the process of re-doing the parking garage. I had to climb a series of see-through stairs to get to the top, since we parked at the bottom. Then, Steakman’s visit to the facilities left him in a serious state of disgust. Let’s just say, it’s more worthwhile holding it in that relieving yourself in a place that hasn’t been properly cleaned.
Our low morale about what we saw at the Plaza changed the second we walked through the doors of Kam Shing. The room is vast and the tables are a step up from any Chinatown table I’ve ever seen. The room wasn’t quite full at first, but as we progressed, it filled up quite nicely.
We sat near a window and proceeded to browse the most non-descript menus I’ve ever seen. In them, you’ll see the same, vast amount of items that you can get at a more central Chinese restaurant. Since I was pretty sure of what was necessary for the table, the ordering process wasn’t too hard.
One of the things that Steakman pointed out was the way that the servers were dressed. He mentioned that they were one step away from having a full tuxedo on. With their bow ties on, it was a good sign. I even noticed one server that used to be employed at Fung Shing, small world. The service started out well and prompt. I was only at the end where things were not so great. We had to ask for the bill, which never really came. We grew impatient, since we had other obligations later on, and walked to the front to pay. Like Steakman said, we felt like we were in Fung Shing, not a different restaurant called Kam Shing.
Won Ton Noodle Soup
Normally, I would have the picture of the dish before it getting emptied, but I never really got the chance to take that picture. For those of you who are used to the Chinese restaurant experience, you’ll know why that picture wasn’t taken. Our soup arrived to the table with our second server of the day. That person proceeded, with great care and skill, to fill up our bowls with the appropriate servings of won ton goodness. We were mesmerized by the process.
The only thing I really care about this soup was having the won tons. Much like their counterparts at Fung Shing, they are comprised totally of shrimp. That’s my kind of won ton. I was extremely hesitant in taking that very first bite. I didn’t want this to burst my bubble, since I held my favorite in high regard.
There are some overwhelming similarities and differences between both products. What’s the same is the fact that the dumplings go down easy. The main difference you get is that there are bigger pieces of shrimp inside the won ton shell. While I was quite impressed with what I just had, it was a tiny step under my favorite. I’ll admit to a bias here since it would take something mind blowing to change my opinions on where to find the best won ton soup in Montreal. Other than that, it was a worthy candidate.
Beef Chow Mein
You’ll see that this dish isn’t quite like what you can get in Chinatown. It was the broccoli that, in a way, threw me off. They were rather large pieces of the stalk-like vegetables that, for some reason, just didn’t fit in.
Again, with my past experiences in Chinese food, there are the things that I’m used to and the things that are slightly different, like the plating and broccoli. What I will say is that the beef used in this dish was top notch. You’re not supposed be fighting beef when you eat it in this kind of dish. So, we were relieved when the beef went down easy.
The one complaint about the chow mein dish were the noodles. In a dish like this, you need an exact proportion of crispy and soggy noodles. However, when one far outweighs the other, it’s not right. In this dish, there were far too many cripsy noodles, which made it really hard to finish. The crispiness dragged out my endurance and really slowed me down.
General Tao Chicken
I know that this is the gimmick thing to order at a restaurant like this, while the table next to us has a plate of Cantonese lobster. My wanting to order this was for the sake of curiosity. I’ve had so many different version of this and I just wanted to compare.
It’s not that apparent when you look at the picture, but the pieces were huge. At first, you’re thinking how much of a bargain you’re getting, that is, until you actually have to tackle these mutant chicken pieces. I made one huge, cardinal mistake when eating my first piece of General Tao, which ruined my entire night. The pieces were hot, which is normal since they came from a kitchen. Me, being dumb and stubborn, decided to put an entire piece in my mouth. If it was a normal sized piece, I could’ve done something. It was so big that I couldn’t really open my jaw enough to start biting. The heat was so overwhelming that you start tearing up. It took me a little bit of time, but it finally went down. It left the roof of my mouth burnt. As I’m writing this, I’m happy to report that I’m not feeling the pain anymore. You can judge me now.
For what I do remember of the chicken, it was on par with anything I had in the past. I actually managed to eat a few more pieces, but only after cutting them with a fork and knife. Using normal, common people utensils in a Chinese restaurant, for me, is humbling.
If you’re looking for generous portions and decent quality of Chinese food outside the main core of the city, all you have to do is look for Kam Shing. You don’t normally go to a Chinese restaurant for the service, let’s get that straight. I am going to guarantee you this, I will be back. Why would I never return to a place that has comparable won ton soup? That’s huge in my book.
Without starting a whole new post, I wanted to share some things we did after our stop at Kam Shing. We strolled a little bit in the mall, when we came to the Dollarama. I knew exactly what I needed to get and was ready to purchase it. It was at the counter when the fun started. There was a mother and her small child. The child, being was they normally are, was the center of attention. We were a little distracted by the show being put on when we heard an unmistakable sound, coins flying all over the place behind us. Yes, another kid spilled the contents of a wallet all over the floor.
Those distractions were enough to help us forget the fact that we chose the wrong line at the cash register. You know how it is. You see two lines, you choose the one you think would be shorter. Your line doesn’t move, while the other has two registers open, yours is invaded by the side show that is Montreal. Priceless moments at a dollar store.
Our next stop was going to be at the Comedy Nest for a fundraiser, but I’ll get to that in a bit because it is time for you guessed it, Chocolate Mousse Cake! We had time to kill and we stopped by Pekarna at the Pepsi Forum. I first went to Pekarna last October and had a chocolate cake that wasn’t quite memorable enough. Since then, I discovered my love for chocolate mousse cakes. I was willing to give Pekarna that second chance.
The cake is as perfect as I thought it would be. There’s really not more to say about it. For the price I paid, it was quite something. Steakman had an Oreo cake, a picture of which you can see on the post of the original visit. We were both happy with that option.
The whole purpose of this planned evening was to attend a comedy show at the Comedy Nest. One of my former students was collecting money for her trip to Nepal this summer. There was no question on my part, it was the easiest 20 dollars to spend. Her name is Michelle Vanderzon. She was featured on CTV, World Vision, and even in the pages of Chatelaine Magazine as one of their top youth under 30 category. Her future is bright and she is a real example of what is right about our society. With that being said, if you’re interested in helping her out on her noble cause, I can put you in touch with her.
The comedy show was history for me, this would be my first ever comedy show outside an educational institution. No, what I do in a classroom isn’t considered comedy. The show was hosted by David Pryde, who did his job awesomely. The acts included acts like Nate Bargatze and Luis J. Gomez. I’m not going to give away much, but the headliner, Bargatze, closed with an awesome burger joke. On that note, it was a close to another celebration of April 20’s day of doom and subsequent epicness.
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