Asian Legend has a large menu of banquet dishes and every time I go I think about trying a new dish - but never do. I always get the usual suspects because not only are they not easy to find foods, they are just so superbly done.
First up on the list is always the steamed soup filled juicy pork dumpings ($5.50), or to mix things up, the steamed soup filled juicy pork and shrimp dumplings ($6.50). Best is to have them as soon as they come, piping hot in bamboo steamer.
I'm always very careful to pick one up gently with chopsticks and immediately place it on a spoon. Sometimes I take the trouble to pry a little opening from the seam to dribble in a bit of ginger-laced vinegar. Then I gobble it up in one bite with fingers crossed that the juice both doesn't explode everywhere and that it doesn't burn my mouth.
Less dangerous are the steamed vegetarian dumplings ($5.50). The only thing that might burst out is the filling - a to the brim mix of sesame oil slicked minced spinach, shitake, tofu, and rice noodle vermicelli.
Soy bean soup ($2.95) usually arrives first though, probably because it takes 2 minutes to make. Soy milk is heated and flavoured with turnip pickles, dry shrimps, hot chili oil, sliced scallion and bits of deep-fried dough. A dash of vinegar and soy sauce kicks it up.
The fried dough stick ($1.95) can be requested wrapped in a flaky sesame biscuit ($1.95). When served with sweet soy milk it becomes a traditional breakfast treat. The wrap-like rolled onion pancake with sliced beef ($4.95) is perfect as a light meal any time of the day and also works well as a shared appetizer.
Chunky beef noodles ($7.50) is one of my favourites - one of the first things I wanted when I went back to eating meat. Thick chewy noodles soak up rich, dark, soy-sauce braised, beefy broth. It goes well with condiments like dried mustard greens and hot sauce.
Dan dan noodles in spicy peanut sauce ($5.50) looks deceptively small, but the springy egg noodles bathed in thick, creamy sauce match spaghetti carbonara in heaviness.
For more Asian Legend goodness, check out the menu on their web site.