In our family every member has a special restaurant they like to visit on their birthday. For my oldest daughter that place is Mandarin. When the restaurant invited me to sample their new Canadian menu of course my daughter had to join me.
A Canadian menu at Mandarin? I know, I was thinking the same way when I heard about the restaurant’s plan to extend their buffet tables to include popular Canadian fare. But the short-term addition is more of a celebration around Mandarin’s Canadian success.
“We feel honoured to be celebrating our 35th anniversary in this great country. When we arrived in Canada, we had big ambitions and we hope that our story inspires others to follow their dreams.” says James Chiu, President, Mandarin Restaurants.
The celebration started off with a Thank You Canada! Free Mandarin Buffet on July 1st but even if you missed this you can still enjoy Mandarin’s homage to Canada with the addition of popular Canadian dishes to their menu until July 31, a first for the restaurant.
The Canadian dishes were intermingled among their popular buffet dishes. I always start a meal at Mandarin with a trip to the salad bar where I discovered the Canadian addition of their Apple, Cranberry and Wild Rice salad. Each Canadian item was flagged by the patriotic signage making it each to spot.
Sushi is another great starter dish for my daughter and I at Mandarin. Mixed among the cucumber and avocado rolls we found a plate of BLT Sushi. How can you not try this? It was a little hint of bacon and tomato wrapped in lettuce. So simple yet so tasty. I certainly had my fair share of these little bites.
Starters done, it was time to head over to the hot table. Try a slice of Maple-Glazed Salmon on your sticky rice. Enjoy a mini Tourtiere with your spring roll. These were just too cute. You could even find duck legs in an orange glaze as well as Mussels Marinara. My daughter loved the Loaded Potato Skins and Poutine. You could even customize your Poutine order. Picky eaters who go for the pizza could also enjoy a Canadian Slice. It was nice mixing up a plate of traditional Canadian food beside some of my Mandarin favourites.
Even the dessert table paid tribute to Canada with Nanaimo Squares, Butter Tarts, Moose Paws (which reminded me of Mandarin’s Sugar Puffs) and my favourite the Maple Cheesecake. Maple ice cream was added to the long sundae bar but my daughter had to try the Ontario Peach frozen yogurt. You could do a twist with vanilla. She said it was truly peachy (her words not mine).
It may seem strange to visit Mandarin’s buffet to try their version of Canadian dishes but I found the mix of the two worlds worked perfectly on my plate. The sentiment alone of Mandarin making this gesture as a form of gratitude to being in Canada makes the visit worthwhile. Oh and a plate of BLT sushi of course.
If you haven’t made the trip to Mandarin’s 22 Southern Ontario buffet restaurants or perhaps it has been awhile since you’ve filled your belly there, now is the time to go. The Canadian celebration only runs until July 31, 2014 but be sure to wear your elastic waistband pants. I might just have to schedule another visit.
Thanks to the folks at Mandarin for hosting my daughter and I so we could try the new Canadian menu for the purpose of this piece. Like always, the experience and opinions are my own.