Taking over the Tea Wok Asian Cuisine, new restaurant Chew Restaurant establishes its presence on Kingsway as a new go-to Taiwanese bubble tea joint. Its unique decor, including artsy graffitti on the walls, and a dark colour scheme with neon pops of colour, as well as spacious seating welcomes any and all gatherings of couples, friends, or family.
Thanks to Raymond of ChineseBites, I was invited to a private tasting event earlier this week to sample their new menu. To celebrate their grand opening, Chew Restaurant presented a full roasted pig!
We started off the evening with a fresh watermelon juice and pineapple slush. Full points for presentation – it came with the pineapple and mini watermelon carved out and served on the tray along with dry ice. And dry ice always looks cool! This was a fun throwback to warmer summer days – fresh, frothy juice that refreshed the palate.
Just look at these beautiful colours of this roast pork – deliciously moist and tender, with the signature crispy pork skin. I wish I had more!
Next up with a share platter (on an Ikea tray), with various Taiwanese bites. These snack foods always bring me back to the hustle and bustle of street cart vendors on the streets of Taiwan.
Deep fried chicken nuggets – This was the one thing I ordered all the time when in Taiwan. The chicken is chopped into bite-sized pieces, marinated in spices, and then deep-fried. I love the contrast of the crunchy of the outside and the moist chicken on the insude.
Marinated spicy pig ears – For those not accustomed to Asian foods, this might sounds strange. It usually triggers one of two reactions: “Are those pig ears?!” or “Pig ears, yum!”. I am part of the latter – they are quite tasty! They are usually served cold, thinly spiced, and marinated in black vinegar, spices, and white sesame oil. It becomes gelatinous and chewy, with a sweet, rich porkiness flavour. As a non-spicy eater, I appreciated that it wasn’t overly spicy, but still had a good kick to it.
Deep-fried lotus root chips – I’ve had other chips made from non-potato foods, like apple and kale, but I have to admit I’ve never tried lotus root before. And I like it! It’s crispy and crunchy, with a hint of sweetness that keeps your hand dipping into the bowl for more.
This was just a small sample of all the appetizers they offer, many of which are the traditional deep-fried goodness, such as deep fried chicken knee and deep fried squid balls, as well as the always-popular spareribs, onion cake, and beef wrap.
In addition, Chew Restaurant offers a wide variety of different teas – various flavours of milk tea, black tea, and green tea. Love the tapioca pearls – they are smaller than usual, but they are tender and chewy, giving a pleasant roundness to the drink over all. It looks like they have a “heart jelly” and “teddy bear jelly” on the menu as an add-on, I’m curious as to what those taste like!
Three spice stewed chicken is a popular dish in Taiwanese cuisine. The traditional recipe calls for a cup of soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine, and a bit of ginger and basil. It’s cooked thoroughly until all the sauce has been absorbed by the chicken, allowing each bite to be rich and flavourful. This is the Asian version of “finger-lickin’ good”!
This was my favourite dish of the night – from the beautiful presentation of individual spoons (or whatever you call them), to the circular arragement, to the contrast of colours. The skin on the dumpling was just delectable – thin yet chewing, a protective case for the fat morsel of pork inside that I demolish in a matter of seconds.
One item I would love to try next time I visit is their Taiwan “Koah-Pao”, paired with different meats, such as pork belly (delicious!), Taiwanese sausage, pork, chicken steak, or BBQ pork belly.
Their full menu is available on Chew Restaurant’s Facebook page, and they are now open at Kingsway & Macpherson Ave in Burnaby. Check it out!