Monday, January 12, 2015

Lunch at The Change Dining & Bar

The Change on Urbanspoon
Back to The Change Dining and Bar for lunch! I was there last December for a special set menu and was curious enough to go back a second time.
It's almost time for Dine Out Vancouver, but if you go with a small group of maybe 4-6 persons, it might be better to just order a few things from the menu. Our bill came out to about $136 for 4 persons (or $34 each) after tax but before tip. We got to try lots of stuff, were stuffed, and had a bit left over for takeout. We had NO orders of rice. We dined at Noon and I didn't bother having dinner because I just wasn't hungry that night.

The Change is very special for Chinese-food lovers who are coeliac because about 70% of their menu is gluten free. In a "typical" Chinese restaurant, wheat-intolerant persons can't even have items that use soy sauce because your "normal" soy sauce has wheat or trace amounts of gluten. The Change uses gluten-free soy sauce, so you don't have to compromise on how the dish is prepared.
Also, they have separate kitchen utensils for gluten-free cooking to prevent cross-contamination. Those who are extremely sensitive to wheat can certainly feel much safer there.

If you have been there before, menu items might be slightly different each time. Looks like they are still tweaking their menu a bit. The iPad Touch menus (with photos for every item) are basically correct, however.

TIPS:
  • The online menu is incomplete. Way more dishes available with the on-site menu. Gluten-free items are marked.
  • Make sure you ask for serving forks and spoons right away if they don't come with your entree.
  • Entrees can run into $30+ dollars but portions are pretty big here. If you dine alone you will probably only be able to try one item plus maybe fit in one dessert. Best to go with a small group.
Complimentary Deep Fried Bread
  • As great as before. And still really interesting to play with the inside, which appeared to be naturally segmented. Pillowy soft and it's easy to tear out the inside if you don't want the deep fried exterior.
  • Initially served with soft butter but later they brought out the condensed milk. It's way better with condensed milk.
Deep Fried Spicy Tofu
  • Had this last time and still a winner. Cheap, tasty appy. Watch out for the chilies because if you get a couple extra it can be fire in your mouth all of a sudden.
Dragon Fruit Scallops
  • This was sort of like two items in one. The bulk of the dish looks like a slightly blander/less savory version of a stir fry you could get somewhere else. To this, they added a dragon fruit and avocado.
  • The combo works quite well, with the not-overly-sweet choice of dragon fruit paired with the not-too-salty/savory stir fry. Neither flavour covers up the other by not being too strong.
  • This is pretty good, especially if you are watching your salt/sodium.
  • Recipe for Dragon Fruit Scallops is available here.
Green Bean something
  • Drat -- couldn't find this again on the online menu.
  • Found this tasty but the sauce was on the too-salty side.
Peking Duck (two ways)
  • Looks like maybe half a duck in total.
  • The meat is separated and mixed with veggies and stuff into filling for a wrap. You are provided lettuce leaves for that. Already quite sweet and very savory -- maybe a bit too savory -- so go easy on the hoisin sauce, if you use it at all.
  • The skin is already cut from the duck. Crispy, tasty, and paper-thin. Wrapped around a bit of rice containing a slice of cucumber and a touch of wasabi. Six pieces of what The Province food writer aptly describes as "crispy duck sushi".
    • The picture in the menu shows a bit of hoisin sauce on top, but it's not really necessary and can cover up the flavour of the duck, so I would recommend you have that on the side and decide for yourself.
Shredded Pork in Chili, Garlic and Spinach
  • Very strong flavours here. Interesting mix of medium-strong chili heat plus a sweetness in the sauce.
  • Big portion. Very tasty. Highly recommended.
Squirrel Fish
  • This was really decent last time, but they changed it up a bit probably due to customer feedback.
  • Way more sauce. Swimming in sauce. But don't use too much of the really sweet sauce or you won't taste anything else at all.
  • Look for the shrimps in the sauce!
  • Felt like the fish was a bit heavily battered. Crispy for sure, though.
  • Make sure you get a serving knife, fork, and spoon right away. You're going to need them.
Truffle Chocolate XiaoLongBao
  • Not sure how I misread this, but it's a chocolate powder dusted chocolate truffle in a xiaolongbao wrap. For some reason I was expecting chocolate with a hint of truffle.
  • They use the same wrap as the xiaolongbao, but had to add a second inner wrap. Otherwise the chocolate just explodes out when steaming.
  • Basically this is melted chocolate in a steamed bun. Works out to about $1 a piece. Nothing special here. Recommend you pass and just save room for all the tasty appetizers and entrees.

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