Wah Lai Yuen
560 Fisgard St, tel: 381-5355 (CASH ONLY)


Wah Lai Yuen is the place we always buy our takeaway duck and pork. It's consistent and reasonably priced. The restaurant always looks busy, so why not give it a try?

The service was quick and reasonably polite, if not attentive. We struggled a bit to get basics like plates, but our beers came quickly and that takes the edge off the rest.

The decor is 'basic Chinese restaurant,' and a little run down, not terribly so,  but clearly this is not a place you go for the decor.

We ordered the wonton and dumpling soup ($6.25), the crispy pork and tofu ($7.25), and the BBQ duck lo mein ($7.25).

The soup arrived after the pork, but we set about it first nonetheless. The wontons and dumplings were more or less interchangeable, other than shape, but they were fresh tasting and the broth better seasoned than most. We both liked the iceberg lettuce garnish. Usually it's served with bok choy and at first we were taken aback by the cooked lettuce, but it was pleasant tasting and crunchy.

The pork was not crispy. It had been at some point, but was then stir fried in a lot of sauce and oil. Ultimately the tofu and pork were indiscernible, other than the pork had a bit of fat dangling from it. The only notable seasonings in this dish was ginger and soy. It made me think that this might be someone's idea of comfort food, as it was by no means bad tasting, but was not my taste.

The duck lo mein was simple and tasty, albeit a little unimpressive. The BBQ duck we like, accompanied by noodles tossed in sesame oil and a bowl of broth. All three things were mild, but tasted good - again I thought of comfort food, although this dish hit closer to the mark for me.

All in all, we weren't overly impressed with the style of cuisine, but in some part at least I think this could be a matter or taste. I could imagine easting the duck lo mein in my pajamas on the sofa, if I was at home with a bad hangover - a little bland, but tasty.

In the future, I think we'll stick to the takeaway, which I am a big fan of. Grab a whole duck for $17.5 or half for $8.25, and the pork goes for $7.28-$7.68 a pound - both are super tasty. They also have standard Chinese bakery items available. If you don't want your duck hacked up in the Chinese style (bite size with bones to pick the pieces up with), you need to jump in right away and direct the old lady with the cleaver to package it the way it is.) That said, it has recently come to my attention that if you have it chopped up, it makes a great and easy addition to a potluck party 

reviewed March 3, 2007