There’s a style of Cantonese dining that I have never heard of taking place at the places I go to. Su told us about da lang and recommended Neptune Wonton Noodles in Richmond since we were passing through on our way home from a day trip to the States. If one of us should not want to have da lang, there were usual Chinese food options.
Da lang is a late night dining option that seems to be a meal centered around a big communal bowl of congee. Neptune is apparently famous for their plate of fried shrimp that you shell yourself. I vetoed it since that is what I grew up on in Halifax so it was no delicacy to me*. Other than that, we chose from the late night da lang menu of small dishes costing just $5-6 for about three servings. It is more generous than a tapas restaurant downtown, that is for sure!
When selecting our dishes, we considered how they would complement the somewhat bland congee. A dish of calamari with garlic salt and chilis is fabulous because you can dip your calamari in congee and spread out the seasoning. We also ordered a satay beef glass vermicelli hot pot, a regularly salty dish attenuated nicely by the congee. To balance out our day-trip day of treats (like McD’s breakfast and Costco lunch!!), we ordered sauteed pea shoots. They are a “delicacy” for me since they are practically inaccessible while I was growing up.
Our first congee contained tilapia filets and was exorbitantly priced. :-( I must sound so Western but skin-on, fish bones and, particularly, fish scales grossed me out and greatly decreased my enjoyment. We fared quite well with just a plain congee for 1/3 the price of the fish one.
A dish I thought was really special was the Fried Egg Three Ways, a wet scramble with regular egg, salted egg, and preserved egg. “Wet scrambled” egg with shrimp or barbecued pork are common and served over rice or noodles. I thought it was a sinfully delicious eggy treat.
It was a great opportunity to enjoy a more diverse meal which rounded out the day-trip day perfectly: diversity in settings, conversation, friends, and food!
On this day..
- l.a. tidbits - 2005