Providential 9 review [Markham]

A friend visiting town led to a mini-reunion of a circle of friends from university. Since all of them are of Chinese background (primarily Hong Kong), they picked a restaurant in Markham and did all the ordering. As we were there for the company, we didn’t pay as much attention to the food as we would have otherwise. And we also didn’t know what many of these dishes are supposed to taste like, so take this review with a grain of salt.

Firstly, you won’t easily find this restaurant if you only read English, as “Providential 9” appears in tiny print on the sign. We missed it the first time.

Our friends selected this menu as the base and then ordered a couple of other dishes (one of which needed to be ordered in advance).

The house soup was one of those typical concoctions of pork, chicken, and various mystery ingredients. The broth was richly flavoured, with some pieces of melon. A lovely start.

Shredded chicken with conch and wasabi - cold, with sesame seeds and strong sesame flavour, with a nice mustardy overtone from the wasabi. The chewy yellow strips were perhaps the conch, we weren’t sure.

Our first extra dish was Peking duck - just a two-course version with the skin and meat with the crepes and then the chopped meat mixture with lettuce wraps. Both were well done, if not particularly better than other versions we’ve had.

Deep-fried pork ribs with chili and black pepper - crisp fried coating and nice flavour.

Our second extra dish was deep fried chicken stuffed with sticky rice, garnished with some broccoli. This was the one that was ordered in advance. Crisp skin, moist meat, and complex flavours in the sticky rice - our favourite dish of the evening.

Stewed goose feet, fish maw (swim bladder), snow pea leaves with oyster sauce. I’ve never liked any poultry feet stewed or steamed, as it is mainly just a lot of flabby skin. And fish maw to me is just a bunch of chewy connective tissue. But others at the table liked this.

Deep-fried lobster Hong Kong style - good frying, with the usual salty garlic and peppers mixture. I would have preferred one less deep-fried dish, but this was well done at least.

Dungeness crab with bean thread, black pepper, and red onion. Though lots of work, the meat was sweet, the pepper and onion flavouring was lovely.

Dessert was red bean soup (not pictured), almond cookies (d-lish), and agar sections with goji berries.

I’d be interested to hear Charles’s (and anyone else’s) opinion of this restaurant or any commentary on these dishes.