Location: Richmond Hill, Canada
Address: 280 West Beaver Creek Road, unit 20
Type of Meal: Dinner
Day and Day Soup is likely the smallest Chinese restaurant I’ve ever been to with only seven tables located in a square non-decorated dining room. It’s certainly a family affair, with the husband working as the chef and wife & mother acting as servers. So, although the surroundings are unimaginative – plastic table cloth, multi-coloured tissue paper menus taped along the wall - I can look past that since there’s something appealing about a family making dreams happen.
Given it was a large family dinner, we preordered the partridge soup which is cooked for hours with a plethora of other ingredients including chicken feet, snow fungus, sea coconuts, dried orange peels and other herbal ingredients. The soup literally arrived in a huge pot and was easily sufficient for thirteen of us to have two bowls each. After hours of boiling the broth is infused with a deep fowl flavour but still light. Chinese people prefer partridges to chicken as it’s much leaner so the resulting soup isn’t as oily and believed to be healthier.
Day and Day also serves a large lobster ($8.50 per pound with lobsters being 5+ pounds each) that’s done three ways:
- Its tail, yes that entire plate pictured is just from the tail, is stir fried with supreme sauce. The lobster was cooked well and the sauce was savoury without being overpowering.
- The claws and legs were broken up and steamed with garlic and rice wine on top on bean thread vermicelli. This is one of my favourite ways to have lobster, mainly because I love eating the vermicelli which soaks up the lobster juices. Sadly, Day and Day cut up it up too much and it was overcooked that it ended up being soggy and clumpy.
- The roe was mixed into fried rice and infused the rice with such a great rich flavour. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this dish.
The next entree, three cups duck, was another hefty portion. It’s said to be named three cups due to the flavouring ingredients – a cup soy sauce, sesame oil and Chinese cooking wine. Braised in a clay pot with chunks of taro, hunks of ginger and loads of other Chinese herbal spices, the duck is flavourful from all the braising. Unfortunately, the presentation of the dish could be improved as the duck was chopped into such small pieces that they were indistinguishable and bony looking.
Other meat dishes we ordered included free range chicken with ginger and onion. The chicken was tender and fragrant for the ginger and onion. It is less salty compared to other restaurants, but it is a good option for people looking for healthier alternatives.
Day and Day’s version of the beef and broccoli was tasty with the beef tenderloin stir fried with a black pepper sauce, which added some zing to the dish. The broccoli was just blanched so a bit bland so you really need to dip it into the sauce.
I’m on the fence about their sweet and sour pork. On the plus side was the pork was extremely crispy and the sauce not overly thick but still tangy. However, the pieces of pork were much too small and unevenly cut so that the small pieces were dried out and hard. Additionally, it was one of the most unappealing looking sweet and sour pork dishes I’ve ever seen given there was nothing added (i.e. bell peppers, onion or pineapple) to give it colour contrasts.
For vegetables, we ordered water spinach (“hollow vegetable” in Chinese) with fermented tofu and chilies. The vegetable retained its crispiness and had a hint of the fermented tofu taste without being too salty. For those who have never had preserved tofu it’s an acquired taste and sometimes adds an alcohol smell to dishes. It’s made from soybeans brined in a salt, rice wine, sesame oil and vinegar for a long period of time. Due to its fermentation process the tofu ends up being firm and creamy with a consistency similar to blue cheese.
Another vegetable dish we had was stir fried yu choy with prince mushrooms. It’s a very simple dish of two ingredients with salt and oil. Day and Day provided a very generous amount of prince mushrooms.
A large order of stir fried clams with black beans sauce was another seafood entree. I was surprised with the sheer number of clams given in the dish. The sauce wasn’t as flavourful as I like it (compared to other restaurants like Congee King), but they still tasted good and was likely better since we weren’t eating rice with our meal.
Given my uncle is an avid fisher; we brought two of our own freshly caught green sea bass to the restaurant. Day and Day will actually cook the fish for you for only $4 per fish. Since they were fresh, we just got them steamed with green onion and soy sauce. It was cooked well so that it was done throughout but still tender.
The last dish was the deep fried oysters in a honey sauce. Unfortunately, I can’t comment on it as I skipped the dish but my other family members seemed to enjoy them.
Overall, the chef is good and cooks everything well in terms of doneness and flavour. Dishes don’t taste as strong as other places but are a healthier option as Day and Day uses less oil and salt. The dish presentation needs tons of work given most arrive unadorned and haphazardly thrown onto a plate. Additionally, they don’t provide side plates with their place settings so it’s really hard to take more than one thing at once. But, given their low prices, Day and Day is really a no frills type restaurant that offers good value.
Unfortunately, they were unable to provide us with an itemized bill so I can’t advise you on each dish’s price. However, the total for all the above dishes was only $258.14 (including taxes) and our dishes were super-sized given our party size. There were thirteen of us and we had leftovers so what we ordered could easily feed fifteen. As a warning, you will need to go to the restaurant with someone who can read or at least speak Cantonese as the menu is in Chinese only. Day and Day is certainly a hole-in-the-wall place that only locals know about.
Overall mark - 7 out of 10
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Gastro World's Grading System
- Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
- 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
- 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
- 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
- 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
- 10 - absolute perfection!