Thursday 31 January 2013

Tchang Kiang by Yangtze attracts a new following

If there is one subject that continues to result in a flurry of emails and comments to this blog, it is the Tchang Kiang by Yangtze Restaurant at 6066 Sherbrooke Street West in N.D.G. I have been there a number of times since the unfortunate fire on December 4, 2011 forced the permanent closure of the landmark Van Horne Avenue location. Owners Marco and Bobo Yau acted quickly, with the help of business consultant Mel Leitman. Tchang Kiang  had shut its doors, but the dining establishment was in beautiful shape so the brother and sister team pounced on the opportunity to keep the egg rolls going.
Marco, 22, and Bobo, 29, grew up in the business. Their dad Brian was a previous owner of Yangtze. They were on the verge of enacting a major facelift to the menu and staffing plan when the horrible fire occurred. The move to N.D.G. was effectively a merger of the Yangtze and Tchang Kiang menus. There were growing pains. People showed up expecting the same old Yangtze. When the food did not taste exactly the same, they got angry and folks like me ended up feeling their wrath.
Bobo and Marco Yau in front of their new menu board.
Well, it turns out that the former Tchang Kiang regulars were just thrilled. And I have heard from many of them. When I dropped by for lunch the other day, I met a number of people I know. One mother and son go there regularly and love it. Noted travel agent Stephen Pickford, the host of the syndicated Travel World Radio Show, was sampling the cuisine for his first time and he liked it.
The only way I can really judge whether the food is good or not is to taste it. So, I made an order and let me say everything was absolutely delicious: the won ton soup, with some crispy homemade noodles; the crispy egg rolls, a little plumpier than the original Yangtze with a sweet plum sauce; pineapple chicken; fried rice; and the Tchang Kiang signature kou tien (pan fried dumplings with pork and vegetables inside).

No, this is not the exact same Yangtze from Van Horne. So some people simply will not be won over. In the West End of Montreal there simply are not a lot of good Chinese restaurants to choose from.  While some of the older generation will continue to frequent this spot, it is attracting a new clientele as well.
Egg rolls here are so popular that places like Metro grocery stores and REAL Bagel are selling them wholesale. Mitch Kadanoff of Solly the Caterer is the distributor.

Marco told me that he stopped ordering vegetables from suppliers and now he goes directly to the market himself to make the purchases.
There is talk that the legendary waiter Tiger may soon be making a guest appearance. In the kitchen we found Tony, a veteran chef from Yangtze on Van Horne. There is also Jun from Tchang Kiang and Brian, who worked at both restaurants
Business, says Bobo, is good. On weekends the 70 seat venue is often packed. Pickups are steady and there are four delivery cars out at the same time. The restaurant is open every day but Monday. You can see the menu at Just last month they put up a large chalkboard, which includes specials of the day and alcoholic beverage listings.
I think Mel Leitman put it best. "This is an old/new restaurant or a new/old restaurant," he remarked. "It is not the old Yangtze, but has all of the items from their menu. An enormous amount of work continues to go into listening to the customer comments. We continue to adapt. Some people complained about the plum sauce, for instance, so we made changes. Now the comments from that are great. We are evolving as a new entity. But the tradition continues."


1 comment:

  1. It's no secret I've been very critical of Tchang Kiang by Yangtze, based on my one--and so far, only, visit in December 2011 (mere days after their re-opening). If things have improved as you say, I would love nothing more than to sharing my enthusiasm for its dishes.

    It's just important to note, I never criticized the food for being *different*. It had to due with the taste of the food in general, I just couldn't enjoy it, let alone finish it. Honestly, I hate to have been so harsh but at the same time I am being completely honest.

    I'm actually OK with letting go with the fact The Yangtze and Tchang Kiang of the past are no more. Sure, as a long time customer of both I miss them, but I'm opened to long as it's good change!

    Perhaps I'll give it another try in the near future and see what I think. Maybe I'll drop in and start with just an egg-roll and plum sauce....? If they can get that right (doesn't even have to be the old Yangtze style!) I'd be willing to venture beyond.