Fan Tan Cafe0
Located next to the famous Fan Tan Alley in Victoria’s Chinatown, Fan Tan Cafe is a Chinese restaurant that’s been serving up delicious Asian food in Victoria for over 20 years.
If you’re not familiar with Fan Tan Alley, it’s a unique alley situated in the heart of Chinatown.
This alley has remained almost unchanged since Chinatown’s earliest times. The high brick walls with a variety of colorful signs invite you to browse around the few cozy little shops.
Fan Tan Alley is most famous for being the narrowest street in Canada, measuring a mere 0.9 meters at it’s narrowest point.
Tourist attractions aside, we were interested to find out if the food at Fan Tan Cafe would be as good as its surroundings.
When we first walked in to Fan Tan Cafe I have to admit I was a little surprised, as the interior wasn’t what I was expecting. I guess I shouldn’t have been though since on their website it says that the “decor and atmosphere is unlike any other Chinese restaurant.”
The room was dimly lit with candles on the tables, had bright modern artworks on the walls, twinkling stars above (lights in the ceiling that were made to look like stars) and there was soft jazz music playing in the background.
Definitely not your traditional Chinese restaurant interior.
I’m not saying the atmosphere was bad, not at all. I’m simply saying that if you’re looking for that authentic Chinese feel, you will have to dine elsewhere.
For my dining partner Mark and I, the atmosphere at Fan Tan Cafe suited us just fine. We liked the quieter setting and once seated, were very anxious to see what their menu had to offer.
I had read in several reviews that the Wor Wonton soup was fantastic here so I knew what I wanted to order first.
In case you don’t know what Wor Wonton soup is, it’s like Wonton (a type of dumpling) soup but with a lot more ingredients added to it.
The word “wor” in Chinese means “everything”, so Wor Wonton Soup means a wonton soup that has everything in it.
We ordered the medium size “Wor Wonton Soup ($9/medium, $18.95/large)”, and I can definitely say that the chef here put just about everything in this soup!
The soup was made with a chicken broth base, and contained many plump wontons, pieces of chicken, BBQ pork, prawns, mushrooms, bean sprouts, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, cauliflower, water chestnuts and baby corn.
All the vegetables were fresh and were perfectly cooked (they weren’t mushy). The broth itself was nice and light and didn’t taste overly salty like others I’ve had.
The meat was also very tender and yummy.
Both Mark and I loved this soup and would absolutely order it again and again. We got the medium sized one and shared it as we were having it as an appetizer.
It was quite filling so keep that in mind if you are wanting to order anything else afterwards, especially if you decide to order the large soup.
After our amazing soup we decided to order from the“Make Your Own Dinner Combo Plate” ($11.95) menu.
The menu at Fan Tan Cafe is so extensive it can be a bit of a daunting task trying to pick something. We asked our server for suggestions and she wisely pointed us in the combo plate direction.
For each combo you get to choose any 3 items off of a list of 21. We both decided to order a combo and then share, giving us the ability to try 6 different dishes.
The 6 dishes we picked were the “Beef and Broccoli”, “Egg Roll”, “Honey Garlic Pork”, “Sweet and Sour Pork”, “Egg Pea Fried Rice” and the “Breaded Cashew Chicken”.
All were good choices, but our favourites were the pork dishes. Both were so tasty I could have eaten them all night! The chunks of pork were nice and big, and we loved the sauces as well.
The cashew chicken was also quite good and came highly recommended by our server. I thought the batter was one of the best batters I’d had on any chicken, but thought that there was so much batter I could barely taste the chicken inside.
After our very filling dinner, I convinced Mark that we needed to try to squeeze a little more into our bellies as they had a unique item on their dessert menu that I’d never tried before.
The “Pina Colada Sorbet” ($4.5) was served in half of a coconut and was a perfect ending to my dinner.
It was sweet and tasted just like a delicious Pina Colada drink, and the sorbet made it light enough that I was still able to eat it all up even after being full.
Overall our experience at Fan Tan Cafe was quite good.
Their menu is huge and I forgot to mention they also have the largest selection of vegetarian items on it than any other Chinese restaurant in Victoria.
Also, none of the food on the menu has MSG in it.
The food and the service were both solid, and though the environment wasn’t necessarily “authentic” Chinese, we both agreed the next time we’re in the mood for Chinese, we will definitely be at Fan Tan Cafe again.