A Review on “Spicy Garden” & Monkey Madness

As a few people get to enjoy seeing my male god (aka the eternal Eason Chan) in person this past Sunday (*ahem* you know who you are), I kinda had to head to bed early because the very next day (dreadful Monday) was another stock-up day (which btw, has almost made me lose complete interest in shopping).  Monday is supposed be to our only day-off of the week, but since we always have to be on the go to several places in the city to stock-up & take care of various business matters, we rarely get a chance to properly sit down and eat on Mondays.  However, this past Monday was slightly different since we’ve finally been able to get a bit of breathing room and so, we decided to try out at one of the few Asian restaurants in Saskatoon.

Vancouver friends, please be warned, the average “Asian” restaurants here might not be sufficient to satisfy an average Vancourite’s palate. =/

We decided to try out Spicy Garden after a long day (& also, it had been a long while since we had any Vietnamese cuisine).

We decided to try out Spicy Garden after a long day (& also, it had been a long while since we had any Vietnamese cuisine).

Two things came as a surprises at Spicy Garden:

1) No Vietnamese “pop” music playing in the restaurant.  However, I supposed the majority in this city is non-Asian, so fair enough;

2) Mandarin Chinese run this restaurant. -___-” What’s coincidentally funny was that even before we confirmed it, I had joked that “perhaps, they’re not authentic Vietnamese-Canadian but Mandarin Chinese-Canadian…similar to how most of Vancouver’s Japanese restaurants are actually run by Mandarin Chinese”.  Seriously, really didn’t expect that I would end up being right (albeit, something quite insignificant). O___O”

One thing that was not so surprising, though, was that this restaurant is really just like any typical Asian restaurant that one might find in Saskatoon or even in the hey-days of Vancouver decades (yes, decades) ago  –>  this place is just another “Chop Suey restaurant” (aka 雜菜館), meaning that none of the dishes are really “authentically Asian”.  Instead, it’s more precise to describe the dishes as modifications based on its Asian roots but adapted & localized into Western standard of “acceptable taste”.  Ha, a play on Western standard of beauty versus Asian standard of beauty.  Anyways, the menu at Spicy Garden certainly offers a good variety of dishes, but any ordinary Asian would find it insulting at worse or somewhat amusingly ridiculous at best that this place would offer anything from Hong-Kong Style Milk Tea, Szechuan cuisine, Cantonese cuisine, Thai cuisine, to (& yes) Vietnamese cuisine…none of which is authentic.

Well, on the bright side, like most restaurants in the province, this place is very accommodating to vegetarians.  Unlike Vancouver, where I actually encountered a few supposedly “brilliant” individuals who were bewildered and even borderline disgusted at the mention of “vegetarians”.  I’m thankful that none of my friends are like that.  ^^

Slowly craving to the delicious memory of Vietnamese-style coffee served with sweet, condensed milk, I decided to order a cup. Unfortunately, this tasted just like a cup of hot coco, far from any authentic Vietnamese-style coffee that I came to know thanks to Vancouver's variety & diversity in cuisines.

Slowly craving to the delicious memory of Vietnamese-style coffee served with sweet, condensed milk, I decided to order a cup. Unfortunately, this tasted just like a cup of hot coco, far from any authentic Vietnamese-style coffee that I’ve come to know thanks to Vancouver’s variety & diversity in cuisines.

The spring rolls, from what we can tell, are Vietnamese cuisine inspired. There were some sticky rice in it which added a nice texture to the dish. Crispy on the outside. Not bad. Not bad at all.

The spring rolls, from what we can tell, are Vietnamese cuisine inspired. There were some sticky rice in it which added a nice texture to the dish. Crispy on the outside. Not bad.

Side view of the spring rolls.

Side view of the spring rolls.

I ordered a Coconut Curry Mixed Vegetables...I believe even my cooking and dish presentation is better than this, unfortunately. ^^" Honestly, did not tasted the coconut nor was it spicy (even though it clearly indicated that it is "spicy" on the menu). However, I think this is good comfort food on a bad day (easy on the tongue too) if the curry wasn't too dried up. ^^"

I ordered a Coconut Curry Mixed Vegetables…I believe even my cooking and dish presentation are better than this, unfortunately. ^^” Honestly, I did not taste the coconut nor did I find it spicy (even though it clearly states that it is “spicy” on the menu). However, I think this is good comfort food on a bad day (easy on the tongue too) if the curry wasn’t too dried up. ^^”

My brother dearest ordered a beef pho (so typical of him at any Vietnamese restaurants). While the dish is edible, it is nothing to compare to any pho places in Vancouver. =/

My brother dearest ordered a standard rare beef pho (so typical of him at any Vietnamese restaurants, even though he despise raw food any other times…such as sashimi). While the dish is edible, it is nothing to compare to any pho places in Vancouver. =/

Dad ordered a seafood pho and said, "the shrimps are well-seasoned, but the broth & noddle are nothing to compare to those in Vancouver."

Dad ordered a seafood pho and said, “the shrimps are well-seasoned, but the broth & noddle are nothing to compare to those in Vancouver.”  Sorry for my shaky photo technique.  ^^”

Most Asian restaurants in Saskatoon probably cannot be compared to even the most “plain-Jane” Asian restaurant in Vancouver in terms of taste (& to be fair, Spicy Garden is still better than a lot of the other Asian restaurants that one might find in Saskatoon).  However, I would like to acknowledge that restaurants in Saskatoon, in general, are more accommodating to vegetarians than most average restaurants in Vancouver.  Also, I would like to acknowledge that the waitresses & waiters at this place are all very friendly and accommodating.  ^_____^

*Bonus Chapter:

We stocked up as usual during this past Monday…but then, on a spur of moment, decided to hire this one as our full-time employee:

Shouldn't have gave this charmer a second glance. Really shouldn't have, but just couldn't resist in the end! T____T The material is so nice and the price was only for $25. And most importantly...just look at it. JUST LOOK AT IT!! @_____@

Shouldn’t have gave this charmer a second glance. Really shouldn’t have, but just couldn’t resist in the end! T____T The material is so nice and the price was only for $25. And most importantly…just look at it. JUST LOOK AT IT!! @_____@

And now, it is working full-time (as in 24/7 a day for 365 days a year) to greet our customers.

And now, it is working full-time (as in 24/7 a day for 365 days a year) to greet our customers.

A boss side view. =P

A boss side view. =P

Just couldn't resist taking pics from various angles. ^^"

Just couldn’t resist taking pics from various angles. ^^”

Okay, a relatively close-up pic for the finale! >=D

Okay, a relatively close-up pic for the finale! >=D

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