113 James Street North
My mom's husband H joined us in Hamilton and we decided on Chinese for dinner. The Jade Garden is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Hamilton. However, I have to say I do not eat Chinese food very often anywhere. In fact, the last time I ate there was Labour Day of 2007 when my mom, H, my sister and her boyfriend came to visit from Montréal. We were seven people in total (yes, all seven in my little house!). This time, it feels like we ordered as much food, but just for the three of us!
The Jade Garden.
My mom suggested we walk there, expecting to eat a lot. She was right... We ordered fried noodles (what I call chow mein) with black bean sauce because it is one of H's favourite dishes. I asked for the stir fried pea shoots, as I remember really enjoying it last time. For rice, my mom ordered an item that was not on the menu and asked for fried rice with salted fish, one of her favourites. Finally, we also ordered the salt and pepper shrimp, which was one of the day's special for $4.99!!
Complimentary soup: Pork broth with pieces of corn cob and carrot.
We were served the complimentary soup which was a typical broth-based soup. The salt & pepper shrimp and stir-fried pea shoots came out next. There is one thing that most Chinese restaurants (and Vietnamese) do not get right and that's timing. It seems dishes just come out when they're ready without planning; I would have liked to eat the pea shoots with some carbs. The shrimp was excellent - I always love the spicy onion and pepper bits. It was quite a generous portion (at least a dozen) for $4.99 and the shrimps were also a good size. The shrimps come shell on with the head still on, which is how they are best! The pea shoots was our most expensive dish at $9.99, and was disappointing. The shoots were just too tough.
Salt & Pepper Shrimp (shell on), $4.99.
Stir fried pea shoots (#670), $3.99.
Next came the fried noodles with beef and the fried rice with salted fish. H very much enjoyed the noodles and beef as he had not had it for a while. Black bean sauce is not my favourite but I liked the fried noodles that are slightly softened by the sauce. The fried rice was also good with specks of very salty fish. There were also large chunks of chicken, as bland as they could be, especially next to the fish. My mom and I enjoyed the leftover rice the next day.
Fried noodles with beef in black bean sauce (#455), $7.95.
Fried Rice with Salted Fish, $7.95.
While we were waiting for our food, my mom was contemplating the day's specials. She was intrigued by the salt & pepper capelin fish for $3.99. I've already mentioned she likes fish and she also liked the price. When she read the description in Vietnamese - cá nhiều trứng, meaning fish with many eggs - and realized what it was, she excitedly ordered the dish. She reminded H that he had mentioned his mother cooking this fish (smelt). They're these little fish with a ridiculous amount of roe that are deep fried, just like the shrimp. Every part of each and every fish seemed to be filled with eggs. My mom observed that Vietnamese and Chinese love eggs in fish, but Westerners will remove the eggs when they find some in fish. Silly Westerners!
Salt & Pepper Capelin Fish, $3.99.
Look at all those eggs!
We were so, so full. We had to bag some food home. We were still brought a complimentary dessert of tapioca and taro. Too bad I was just too full!
Complimentary tapioca and taro dessert.
As I mentioned before, The Jade Garden is my favourite Chinese restaurant in Hamilton. I usually order take-out for myself when I have a craving for Chinese food. Admittedly, I've only ordered a handful of Cantonese dishes, but I think the dishes are good and the prices are right. It is owned by the same owners as the B&T Restaurant close by. B&T is the place for Vietnamese food here. The owners are Chinese Vietnamese; they speak Cantonese and Vietnamese. While the service is abrupt, to say the least, at B&T, it is very attentive here. The Jade Garden also offers dim sum at lunch time. I have never tried it but will have to check it out one day!
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