Mr Chan, Main Road, Sea Point, Cape Town
My quest to find the most authentic Chinese restaurant in Cape Town serving Cantonese style food was on.
Hardly a quest however, a quick search on Google of Cantonese restaurants in Cape Town quickly found me on the phone to Mr Chan’s Chinese restaurant and the booking was made.
My cynical approach to Chinese food in Cape Town is fuelled partly by the positive experiences of Chinese food I have eaten previously in the United Kingdom and tainted somewhat by the inconsistency of Chinese food I have come across here in South Africa.
I believe that Chinese restaurants, probably worldwide, cater to the palates of the local population, removing spices and flavourings that are perhaps less well received and replacing them with alternatives that are more readily acceptable. It could of course also be the inability to source traditional ingredients.
With its tinted windows and welcoming doorman, Mr Chan Restaurant exudes a little mystery, however once through the proffered opened door, those familiar aromas and pan rattling from the kitchen made me feel transported back to memories sweet of London.
It smelt real, it felt real, the real test of course, the food.
Seated at a round table with my guests, lazy susan in the centre, it made me realise that square and rectangular tables are not always conducive to free flowing conversations, whereas at a round table, everyone can see everyone.
Banter and laughter around the table brought on by the Chinese horoscopes at the back of the menus set the scene for what was to be, without giving too much away, the precursor to a most enjoyable evening.
The starter menu, slanted somewhat towards fish, though not exclusively, was easy to understand and Fried Prawns in batter at R40 was my choice.
Though the menu also includes a selection of soups eaten with or prior to the starters, I contemplate the space available and the space needed and decide to skip the soup option.
The Fried Prawns were ready in no time and though there were only four large prawns on the dish, my conservative approach to my stomach spatially was reassured. After all, it is well known that Chinese food has a way of filling you up quickly. Let’s just say I wanted more, but knew I would be compromising the full enjoyment of the main course if I had more.
The service was attentive and polite and as a group we were left to set the pace.
I took my time deciding on the main course, the menu was set out with different sections for the fish, chicken and meat, I decided on the duck and then on how I wanted it cooked. Dependent on the choice, various options of ingredients and cooking methods are available to you.
Roast Duck, Cantonese style at a reasonable R85 accompanied by Singapore Rice Noodles at R70 was my choice for main course and I have to say it was delicious. Reminiscent of Chinese food of my past, I can only say it is the most authentic Chinese food I have eaten in South Africa ever. Delicious does not even start to describe the fusion of familiar flavours with perfectly roasted duck.
I finished off the evening with Toffee Banana rolled in sesame seeds at R26, the perfect ending to a spectacular meal. Should you go there for a meal? Without question.
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