A short stroll away from the Côte Des Neiges metro station is a Chinese eatery you might gloss over when walking by. AuntDai is this quaint, very new, and kind-of-a-hole-in-the-wall resto which you may never notice. Well, we've eaten at AuntDai and know you should keep your eyes peeled, because AuntDai shouldn't be missed.
Points off the bat are given to AuntDai for being a BYOW, or beer if you like, and also to the bottles of Sriracha already on the table. No need to ask for the world's best hot sauce, which is a small but appreciated convenience.
Little perks aside, its the food at AuntDai that make the resto great. Breaking off from the North American-style of Chinese cuisine (think deep fried and sweet and sour sauce) the owners of AuntDai wanted to offer Montrealers more traditional Chinese food.
We're not going to pretend like we're experts on authentic Chinese cuisine, and we doubt you are either, so trust us when we say we were a bit surprised by some of AuntDai's dishes, but wholly satisfied. The resto still makes some of the classic North American Chinese dishes for those who don't want to break out of their culinary-comfort zone, but trust us, you won't be dissapointed if you do.
To ease us in, AuntDai started us off with a plate of General Tao chicken. Even though AuntDai touts itself as authentic, it made a mean General Tao, a classic North American-Chinese dish. Nowhere near soggy and coated in a light sweet 'n sour sauce, there's a reason AuntDai made our best General Tao list.
Now onto the more authentic dishes. Steamed pork belly with vegetables graced the table, and while some of us were wary, we were all pleasantly surprised at how good pork belly could be. Quite literally melt-in-your-mouth, the pork is incredibly tender and nicely accompanied by the slightly crunchy bed of veggies underneath.
A new dish on the AuntDai menu we got to try, which none of us had ever even heard of, was the Dry Wok Shrimp. Served inside a big wok filled with chilies, ginger, and tons of nicely sized shrimp, the dish is anything but 'dry.' Every shrimp pops with spicy flavour, and while being zesty, isn't overly hot. Avoid the dried chilies if you don't like spiciness, do go for the chunks of ginger though, which absorbed the vibrant flavours of the shrimp and chilies.
Calamari may not seem like a Chinese dish, but AuntDai serves its own version, and they do it well. Deep fried, then stir-fried with veggies, the calamari are a great balance of crunchy and tender. A slightly sweet sauce covers the calamari, a flavourful addition that is complimented by the sauteed onions and peppers in dish.
If you're looking for a dish that is a combo of authentic and North American Chinese cuisine, try out the deep fried "flower" fish. Sliced to resemble a flower, the freshwater fish is then deep fried and covered in sweet and sour sauce. Flaky and tender on the inside, crispy on the outside, the dish is a good call for the less adventurous.
Any good meal ends with dessert, and AuntDai serves up a mean deep-fried ice cream to satiate anyone's sweet tooth. Covered in a sweet batter than thrown in the fryer, deep-fried is a magical treat of cold and heat, one you must try if you haven't already.
From start to finish, a delicious meal filled with a few surprises, all of them being delicious. Open everyday (with free Wifi!) you should try out this new Chinese eatery. Plus, they love Habs fans.
Be sure to follow AuntDai on Facebook too, because they randomly post specials to their followers, like 50% off all menu items. Yes, half off just for liking them on Facebook, a deal no one can, or should, pass up.