New Menu, New Chef, New Ownership at Sai Woo

Chef Brandon Pham recently joined Sai Woo and he has launched a new menu filled with wonderful new dishes celebrating Asian cuisine. The restaurant is now owned by the Kosoo Restaurant group, it’s still as beautiful as it was previously, they also have a new team running the restaurant.

I’ve always loved Chef Brandon’s approach to cooking as he tries to use as much as he can from local farmers; it’s all fresh, ingredient forward.

Lawrence and I enjoyed tasting each of the dishes on this stellar menu.

1st dish:

Shrimp Toast

milk bread, sesame seeds, cilantro; this was a perfect appie to pair with a cocktail or mocktail.

2nd dish:

Sai Woo Fried Chicken

GF · served with Thai basil aioli, this was crispy and light with great flavour.

3rd dish:

Oyster King Mushrooms & Tofu Dumplings

V GF · 4 pieces, soy black vinegar sauce, one of my favourites, light filling and perfectly shaped.

4th dish:

Root Vegetable Salad

GF · beet, turnip, radish, mint, basil, dill, puffed buckwheat, yoghurt; this salad was delicious, loved the crunch of the puffed buckwheat and the pickled vegetables.

5th dish:

Banh Canh (soup) with handmade rice cakes

GF · handmade rice cake, pork shoulder, vegetables, scallion, clear chicken broth, chili oil; a flavourful broth, loved the texture of the rice cakes.

6th dish:

Eggplant fried rice

eggplant, sweet soy, served with sai woo fried rice; another one of my favourite dishes; the eggplant was tender and flavourful and the rice was just perfect.

7th dish:

Chinatown Chicken

roasted chicken breast, bitter greens”soy sauce” (made with pan jus); loved the flavour of “soy sauce” that was almost just an enhancement for the tender chicken.

8th dish:

Spinach noodles with Vietnamese green curry

V · Asian greens, tofu, green coconut curry, scallion, cilantro; this was spicy dish and one that was too spicy for my tastebuds, the spice came from the jalepeno; if you love spicy dishes then you will love this one.

9th dish:

Fresh Ideas Start Here Grilled Octopus ·

gochujang glaze, pickled zucchini, puffed rice, tender greens; beautiful presentation of this dish.

10th dish:

Kosoo Fried Chicken

choice of soy garlic or sweet and spicy; it was great to try both flavours which had a good contrast to each other. The outside of the fried chicken is gluten free making for a lighter dish than the usual heavy Korean chicken.

11th dish:

Mango Sago

GF · mango gelée, coconut gelée, tapioca pearls, goji berry, sweet coconut broth; a beautiful ending to the meal, very refreshing.

Sai Woo Restaurant is located at 158 E. Pender Street, in Chinatown, you can reserve at 604-568-1117.

The restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday.

By: Richard Wolak

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