Featured Image: Preserved egg and sliced pork congee, Singaporean fried vermicelli and Chinese bread sticks.
Having moved from Vancouver to Ottawa, I really miss having quick access to good Chinese food throughout the city. Sometimes I just have cravings for a really good bowl of congee (Chinese rice porridge) or some good old stir-fried noodles. Then I found Cafe Orient.
It is a quaint, hole-in-the-wall type restaurant along Somerset in Chinatown. Don’t expect to be impressed by their decor. That is not meant to be their selling point. Instead, imagine you are transported to a small understated cafe in Hong Kong.
It’s very difficult for me not to order their milk tea whenever I come here. I get it hot or cold depending on the weather. For those who want an extra kick of caffeine, try their yin yang – coffee with milk tea mix.
I have a few go-to’s here. I usually start with the preserved egg and sliced pork congee. I must say though that the preserved egg could be an acquired taste, so you might want to try one without that first. Perhaps try the tofu and cream of corn one if you are not a fan pork. On the other hand, for those who are very adventurous, I would recommend the pork liver and kidney congee. But if you are not a fan of offals, stay far far away! Along with the congee, I would usually order the Chinese bread stick (think savoury and crunchy) or the Chinese donut (much more dense and sweet than the bread stick). You can then dip these delicious fried goodies into the congee to really enhance your experience.
I would usually pair my congee with a noodle dish. My childhood favourite noodle dish is the fried noodle with beef in soy sauce. It’s oily but oh so good! It reminds me of the Thai dish – pad si-ew, but better. Aaron prefers the Singaporean fried vermicelli. It’s definitely less heavy. It also has more of a kick since the sauce is curry-based. If you prefer a more soupy-noodle dish, my favourite is the beef tendon and brisket noodle in soup. You get quite a good portion for only less than $8.
If you are coming with a larger party or have a larger appetite, and want to add to the above list of food, also try the clay pot rice. It takes 30 minutes to make so patience is required. I prefer any combination of chicken, preserved Chinese sausage and pork spare rib. So delicious!
The service is not bad here. They’re quick. Just write down your order and they will come and confirm it for you. Their take-out service is usually pretty fast. I’ve gotten my food within 20-30 minutes.
Whenever I have Chinese food cravings, this is definitely my go-to place. My usual regret is that there is usually only the two of us eating here so our ordering capacity is limited and I can never get everything I want in one sitting! So if you’re looking for some good, authentic Hong Kong Cafe-styled food, this is the place to visit!
For more information: http://cafeorient.ca/index.html