* This review is part of a 2015 series of reviews on restaurants in Edmonton’s Chinatown! Check out other reviews in my Edmonton Chinatown Series here! and as a family plug: do consider visiting King Noodle House Pho Hoang, my family’s restaurant, as a Chinatown option too! *
This week my friend Diane and I went for lunch in Chinatown at Tao Garden Restaurant (9642 107 Avenue).
Tao Garden is tucked behind the Lucky 97 Supermarket, across the street from the old Asian Express Hot Pot restaurant.
I had never heard of it until recently, when I saw another food friend Lesley eat there. Diane had also been not too long ago! Apparently they’ve only been open for about 10 months.
Tao Garden’s biggest claim to fame is their Build Your Own Noodle Bowl option. It’s like an express version of hot pot! You get a sheet to select your preferred broth, noodles, and toppings. Each bowl (includes two toppings) is $10.50 (which I am told is actually a price increase from when they first opened). The bowl also comes with a hot or cold beverage included.
Diane ordered their little sheep broth (it’s a brand name, not actual little sheep! Lol) with round vermicelli noodles and watercress with brisket.
I of course can’t just stick with two toppings when I know I can add more (any additional toppings after your included two cost $1.50 each) so I got a Tom yum broth with udon noodles and steak, shrimp, luncheon meat, and enoki mushrooms.
Your bowl includes some cabbage and bean curd sheets too (they look kind of like unfilled wontons).
It is pretty tasty broths!
We both ordered the hot milk tea, which isn’t anything special but comes in cute mugs.
You also have the option to get some sides including: spring rolls, century egg, tofu, dumplings, Chinese long donuts and more! You can also get congee or some rice dishes, a bigger “hot pot” (not to be confused with all you can eat hot pot) and you do get to choose from a pretty varied list of soup toppings if you do the build your own bowl!
The service wasn’t the speediest. It took over a half hour to get our food out to us, which is precious lost time during lunch hour but our server and the older woman who took our money at the end of the meal were both very friendly!
The inside of Tao Garden is pretty typical of a Chinatown restaurant – kind of faded with retro chairs and plastic table coverings. It’s definitely your classic family-run noodle shop.
Overall I thought it was great! I love meals that give me more options to choose what I want and I can’t resist choosing lots of toppings. ;) Everything as very tasty. You get quite a bit of broth, noodles, and toppings for the super cheap price. It is filling for sure.
Tao Garden is a great addition to Chinatown and I know I’ll be back! It fills the noodle and soup craving and really is like a quicker, cheaper, smaller, but satisfying hot pot noodle bowl equivalent.
I’m really glad Lesley mentioned Tao Garden recently so it was on my radar, and I’m glad Diane suggested we go there for our bi-weekly lunch date! We will certainly be back! :)
As a side note: parking options include mainly residential. Do not pay for meter parking – please! So not necessary in Chinatown. Tao Garden also accepts cash or cards (debit & credit)!
So have you been to Tao Garden? What did you think?!