During work one night, I was craving Chinese late night snack (aka “da-lan”) and found out from my friend Venice Garden is open until 2am! I have been to Venice Garden numerous times, since it is a convenient location, food is decent, and they accept debit unlike most other Chinese restaurants. Since I always get the same two things here, this review will be relatively short. But this was my first time having late night snack here, so we’ll see how it goes!
I used to come here a lot when I was a child. I think it used to be named “Happy King” and I’ve heard some sketchy rumours why they had to change it which isn’t worth mentioning. We got here around 11:30pm, after I finished working. Normally, this parking lot is filled to the brim with people so it was quite refreshing to see it so quiet here for once.
When we got in, there was only one other table eating here. Compared to the daytime, their service at night was SO MUCH better, I can’t believe it’s the same restaurant. It’s not even due to the fact that it’s quieter so they have more time to serve us. We’ve been here during the day when it wasn’t as busy and their service is very brief and sporatic. So, it was a great surprise to have friendly service!
Incase you’ve never had Chinese late night snack before, let’s give you a quick rundown. The menu is completely different from the rest of the day. A lot of the things are deep fried, and the portions are smaller but cheaper. Some popular items are deep fried Chinese donut, congee, deep fried fish/tofu/prawns/clams in spicy salt, or fried green beans with spicy pork. Yes, they are definitely not healthy for you but oh-so-good! I also grew up eating this stuff so it’s dangerous comfort food for me.
The first thing we ordered was congee with preserved duck egg and shredded salty pork. This is my go-to congee, I love preserved duck egg and I could care less that it’s a health concern (well I care, but I don’t eat it that much so whatever). The amount of preserved duck egg and shredded pork that they give you is very generous. Their congee is really flavourful, and is cooked perfectly for my taste. I also love how much green onions and peanuts they include, it makes the congee taste so much yummier! We stir in the peanuts and onions, so that the peanuts give you a “crunch” when you’re enjoying the congee. The salted pork is extremely salty, even for myself so definitely eat it in moderation! We usually don’t end up finishing the salted pork since there’s so much sodium in it.
The second thing I was craving that night was deep fried beancurd (tofu) in spicy salt. I was a bit surprised when this came because I’m used to the tofu being cut in larger rectangular chunks, but this was fine too. They gave a great amount of jalapeno peppers, so I ended up eating all of those with each piece of tofu. Overall, I thought that this tofu was too soft for my liking. Yes, I know that soft tofu is good, but I was craving the firmer and rectangular chunks of deep fried tofu restaurants normally use for late night snack. The tofu they used remind me of the Sunrise tofu dessert, which didn’t feel that fitting but David thought it was fine, so it’s probably just me.
This was not from the late night menu, but the lunch menu when we came a few months ago. I love spaghetti bolognese. I find that this place doesn’t have the greatest spaghetti bolognese, but it’s not atrocious either. Their sauce has more tomato flavour to it, making it more acidic tasting. The acidic taste takes away the rest of the flavour of the dish.
Overall, Venice Garden is a decent place to eat Chinese food if you’re in the area, but it’s nothing too special. Their service is sporadic, and minimal at best unless you go during late night. I would love to try more of their late night dishes but there was only two of us, and we didn’t want to stuff ourselves with that much food.