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9

641 Somerset West (near Bronson)
613-321-3669 closed Mondays
Specializing in Northern Chinese food, including Sichuan (Szechwan)
Grilled foods in evening
Spicy soups
Salt & pepper pork and seafood
Broad selection of dishes not found in Cantonese restaurants
Takeout available

ju xiang yuan
Foods from ju xiang yuan

Comments

2009 Jul 22
Last night was our 4th visit and it did not dissapoint. The food has been very good and consistent. Twice we tried the dinner for 2, this includes family size soup, chinese greens, and you pick 2 dishes from a list. All this for 20$!
Here is what we have tried and loved:
-Minced chicken & sea foam soup
-Shredded Pork with garlic sauce (has tons of chinese eggplant)
-Eggplant & minced pork with chef sauce
-Fried beef with ginger & shallots
-Ju Xiang yuan fried rice
-some spicy beef on a hot plate
and fried salt & pepper tofu, they just melt in your mouth and are so addictive. only 3.25$

Ju Xian Yuan; please do not change a thing, we love you just the way you are now :-)

2009 Jul 4
I've always wanted to check out Juxingyuan since it opened. The unapologetic name promises authentic Northern cuisine that caters to a Northern Chinese clientele.

Unfortunately, I waited too long and a review in Ottawa magazine beat me to it. Judging by the track record of past hole-in-the-wall joints after mainstream attention, we can expect smaller portions and higher prices accompanied by a move away from authentic dishes.

I ordered from the lunch specials menu, the Chinese version, and avoided the English version promising egg rolls, General Tao's Chicken, and other Canadian delicacies. The five-spice beef lamian sounded promising, but when I asked the waitress if the hand pulled noodles were fresh, I was told that only store-bought Shanghai noodles were available.

She did suggest the zhajiangmian, which was made in house. Why hand-cut noodles with ground pork and tianmianjiang (Peking sauce)were to be had, but pulled noodles with five-spice beef stew were not is beyond me. The hot and sour soup that came with the lunch special had way too much cornstarch, and they could have been more generous with the ground pork sauce on the zhajiangmian, but at $6.95, the lunch special was good value.

I am willing to give this place another try for dinner. The promise of authentic yangrouchuan'r made with fresh local lamb rubbed in cumin and roasted over charcoal is worth a second visit. A quick glance at the menu is tempting, with Northeastern (Manchurian) specialties like pork belly with sour chinese cabbage, and Disanxian (fried potato, eggplant, and green peppers cooked halfway between a stir-fry and a stew). Unfortunately, Manchurian blood sausage has been crossed off the menu, even though the pictures still remain. I hope this is a not an ominous sign of the slide away from authenticity so often repeated by other upstart ethnic restaurants in the city.

2009 Apr 20
I dropped into Ju Xiang Yuan one frosty winter evening on the suggestion from my family that we "try something new". They were pleasantly surprised to find it served authentic Northern Chinese cuisine, something many restaurants claimed to do but never came close to accomplishing. I was near ecstatic; having lived in Beijing for a time, I had searched in vain after returning to Canada for a restaurant that served the lamb-kebabs I used to get as street meat after a long night of beer and socializing. Ju Xiang Yuan served them and all the other strange skewers that you would have found at Beijing's late night food markets: chicken hearts, wing tips, ducks tongue, squid, intestines... But obviously for the less adventurous, stick with the lamb - generously spiced, loaded with cumin and just enough fat to ensure that it would not dry up on the grill.

After our skewer "appetizers", we ordered a hot pot of spicy chicken livers, kidneys and hearts, deep fried sweet pork, eggplant with chef sauce and stir fried shredded potato. Every dish was flavorful, delicious and an adventure in itself. The hot pot had the distinctive tongue-numbing spiciness of Szechuan dishes; the pork was sweet and crispy; the eggplant was the comforting traditional dish eaten with rice and the potatoes had just a touch of vinegar to keep it crisp and fresh (ie. so it wouldn't be a heaping pile of mushy potatoes). After endless nights of Cantonese-style Chinese food, it was a much needed, refreshing change.

However, I do warn those of you who prefer a lighter dose of spices, Northern Chinese cuisine can be quite salty, spicy and overwhelming for your tastebuds, but I would highly recommend trying it first to judge for yourself. Eating at Ju Xiang Yuan, surrounded by the chatter of its Mandarin-speaking patrons, it was as if I was back in Beijing again, venturing out for a late night snack: nostalgia at its best.

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