One of the last times I saw my grandfather was when we went for Chinese food a few months before his death. Even though he was into his 90s, he was still driving, and met us at a Chinese food restaurant in Athabasca, Alberta – north of Edmonton, where he lived.
I remember that meal because it was the first time I’d really asked him about his youth. He talked of walking to Fort McMurray to look for work, stealing potatoes from farmers fields along the way. Upon getting there and finding no jobs, he caught a ride on a train back south – but had to work for it. He shoveled the coal and as a reward, he got the ride and a can of beans he warmed up in the coal.
My grandfather died about a decade ago, just shy of his 94th birthday. Cancer finally took him down.
But there’s a type of Chinese food that reminds me of him, especially that particular meeting. There’s something about small town Chinese food that holds a special place in my heart. It’s a lateral move from food court Chinese food, often with fewer choices in the buffet and more “Western” options.
New Asia Restaurant is one of these places. As you can see on my plate, there’s an onion ring. I love onion rings and can never pass one up, even if it seems completely out of place.
I tried the lunch buffet, which had about a dozen choices in the steamer trays, as well as wonton soup and a vat of that florescent red sauce to go on all things deep fried.
While I don’t want to get too much into the meal, as I don’t think a buffet is a great indication of the level of the kitchen.. but I will say I found the wonton soup disappointingly underseasoned. The rest was on par with what I expected. There was a omelette/pancake thing (which I wasn’t able to discern from the menu) that I hummed and hawed about returning to the buffet for a second round.
Overall, it’s not the meal I would get from my favourite restaurants back in Vancouver. But I even struggled to find comparable options in Ottawa.
New Asia Chinese Restaurant is a case of getting what you know and expect.
Likelihood of return visit: Depends on my thoughts of the other Chinese restaurants in town, yet to be tried!
Recommended dish: Spicy vegetables with chicken
Tripadvisor: #60 of 87 Restaurants in Whitehorse
New Asia Restaurant: 407 Steele St, Whitehorse, Yukon