Rol San is the place to go in Chinatown for delicious, unfussy Chinese food at practically all hours of the day.
First opened in 1994, the modest space hasn’t changed much over the years. There's a front and back room and it has all the classic 1990’s Chinese restaurant tropes including white plastic tablecloths, a utilitarian interior and servers in white shirts and black dress pants.
After all these years it still seems to be as popular as ever. It’s not uncommon to see lineups out the door during mealtimes for its "all-day dim sum" and the restaurant is often packed with the after bar crowd on Friday and Saturday nights.
One bite into their Crispy Beef in Ginger Spicy Honey Sauce ($12.95) will make you understand why. The dish is mostly batter but it's delicious. Perfectly crunchy and lathered in a sweet-spicy sauce, it's everything that I expect classic Chinatown cuisine to be.
Batter lovers would also rejoice at the excellent General Tao Chicken ($12.95). Diced chicken is covered in that same awesome batter and a house-made special sauce.
The Sizzling Beef Tenderloin in Black Pepper Sauce ($15.95) is delivered to the table smoking-hot in a sizzling hotplate. It comes the with tender beef cooked in a delicious black pepper sauce.
No visit to Rol San would be complete without sampling their dim sum. Apparently the restaurant has a dedicated dim sum chef that makes everything to order.
True to its seductive promise, dim sum is indeed served here at all hours, although the variety of what's available changes depending on the hour.
The deep fried taro dumplings are flavourful if a tad greasy.
The Shrimp Rice Rolls ($4.88) is a must order here, especially when lightly dizzled in sweet soy sauce.
Standard hargow and pork shao mai dumplings ($4.88) are solid choices too. I’m impressed that they make their own hot chili and Chinese mustard sauces - two staples of classic dim sum dining.