January 23, 2012

Lunch box: Chicken for Lunch

Chicken for Lunch
Scotia Place, Lower Level
10060 Jasper Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5J 1V9

Chicken for Lunch is a take-away place in the basement food court of Scotia Place. It's got very limited hours (11am-2pm, Mon-Fri) and a cult following. It doesn't hurt that the owners and their other restaurant, Lingnan, are featured on the show Family Restaurant on the Food Network. According to the regulars I met in line, however, the show doesn't matter -- it's all about the chicken! Indeed, the restaurant offers your choice of several homemade, mostly deep-fried chicken dishes over standard sides of noodles, rice and mixed vegetables and served with a spring roll.

Hot & dry and ginger
Everyone--no exaggeration--ahead of me in line was getting the hot & dry chicken as one of their options, so I had to see what the fuss was about. There was only a hint of heat to it (spice wimps, you'll be OK) and the dish was clearly freshly made with a nice batter and moist chicken inside. It reminded me of popcorn chicken, and, to tell you the truth, I missed sauce. The ginger chicken had lost its crispness under the sauce and was clearly not as fresh as the hot & dry (probably owing to the hot & dries increased popularity). The sauce was semi-sweet, but not overly gingery.

Honey garlic and Mongolian
The honey garlic chicken was my favorite. It was still crispy under the sweet sticky sauce, though I would've liked a little more garlic flavor. The Mongolian was also really good. When I ordered it, the owner stopped, looked me straight in the eye and said, "Are you sure? It's spicy," while motioning to it on the menu with its two chilis (the other selections I ordered were one chili on their heat scale). I went for it, wanting to try one of the alternatives to the deep-fried chicken dishes. The Mongolian chicken was stir-fried with veggies in a Mongolian sauce which was of medium heat, but very tolerable for me (NB: I'm a spice wimp who has admitted defeat to Moxies wings and been brought to tears by the chana masala at New Asian Village). The Mongolian gave me a sniffle.

The rice, noodles and vegetables were pretty boring and bland, but the spring roll was a delight; it was full of chicken with a twang of onion. Chicken for Lunch isn't bad at all, but I think it's hyped up for what it is: food court Chinese food. However, with its homemade quality & reasonably freshly prepared chicken dishes it's absolutely a step above your standard Sizzling/Manchu/etc. Wok food court establishments.

Chicken For Lunch on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. This place is a farce! There is a regular line and a buttinski line for people who cheat, and Amy let's it happen!