Mandarin Palace has always been me and my fiancées and our circle of in-the-know friends' go-to for authentic Chinese food you won't find on the usual "Chinese-Canadian" menu. But now, you don't have to be in-the-know to get to the real stuff: just ask to see the new, translated "authentic" menu! It's got pictures, and even the phonetic Chinese if you want to order like a pro.
Thanks to the new menu, my fiancée and I tried a new three-dish combo for this takeaway meal - or, more accurately, meals: with serving sizes this large, you've got lunch and dinner set for days!
"Homestyle tofu" is a favourite: like the menu describes, "homestyle" is unique to whomever happens to be in charge of the wok. Fried up with green peppers, mushrooms and onions and served in a savoury, thick gravy, it's not an airy-fairy dainty tofu - it's heavy, it's tasty, it'll put hair on your chest.
"Twice-cooked pork" finds that perfect combination of sweet and spicy, with hot peppers and onions in a syrupy sauce. The texture of the meat and the vegetables, which could easily go soft and mushy when cooked to combine both the sweet and spicy elements, at Mandarin Palace turn out perfectly crisp and fresh.
"Slow-cooked beef and potatoes" is simply that. Beef is tender and juicy, and with a sprinkling of sesame seeds takes on a mild, sweet flavour from the potatoes. Another hearty dish that goes down with some heft. If you're new to the authentic menu, it's a good meal to start: something different, but not too adventurous.
Mandarin Palace was voted one of Canada's top 100 Chinese restaurants a little while ago, and it's easy to see, and taste, why. Definitely one of the hidden, off-the-beaten-track gems in Fredericton.
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