After work experience today, I met up with my wifey for dinner. We haven’t seen each other since school ended, and even during school we couldn’t hang out much because one of us was in tryhard mode. (Totally not me.) I was craving bibimbap, but instead of going to a Korean restaurant because Wifey is Korean, I suggested to try Ali Shan so she has options other than the food she’s accustomed to eating everyday. 😛
Ali Shan is a casual restaurant at Crystal Mall that serves up simple and very inexpensive Chinese/ Taiwanese food. Most of the meals on the menu are actually under $10! They have a bunch of Asian rice and noodle options, as well as Western inspired dishes like spaghetti and casseroles. There’s a variety of Taiwanese style appetizers, along with desserts and drinks including bubble tea.
Cozy and chic interior..
They had miniature menus that I couldn’t help but grab, mini things always get me. (‘:
The first thing I noticed on the menu was their claim of MSG-free food, kinda rare coming from an Asian restaurant. This was followed by another bold call- naturally flavoured beverages. Really? Most places nowadays use syrup and powder in their drinks! Well, my taste buds aren’t sensitive enough to detect traces of MSG, so I can’t really tell you whether or not it was used. And erm, I didn’t order any drinks.. yeah. I apologize for my uselessness. #failblogger
Japanese Style Chicken Curry on Rice ($7.50): Hmm.. Wifey ordered Japanese Style Beef Curry on Rice. The waitress informed us that the kitchen has made an error when serving the dish, and asked if we wanted them to remake it, though Wifey didn’t really mind.. Besides potatoes and chicken, the curry had onions, cucumbers, and red bell peppers, and a heaping of rice. Wifey said the curry was pretty good, but she has low standards in general LOL. She picked out the bell peppers and cucumbers because she had difficulties eating them with her braces, so I ate them. The veggies were nice and crisp, however, there wasn’t much curry flavour to them at all. Wifey’s rating: (4/5)
Bibimbap ($8.90): This seemed to be a popular choice at Ali Shan because literally all the tables around me ordered the same thing. Not sure why it took so long to come.. I was just chatting with Wifey as she awkwardly tried to eat her food with the absence of mine. I had asked for the gochujang to be served on the side, but they ended up bringing it in with the sauce on top, and told me to “scoop it out”.. wut. Anyways, the bibimbap was served hot in a stone pot and had a base of rice topped with cucumbers, kimchi, cabbage, stir-fry onions and mushrooms, generous portion of beef bulgogi, plus of the course the raw egg. My complaint is how oily this dish was. As I scraped off the crispy bits of rice stuck on the pot aka the best part, I noticed all the grease seeping in. I understand that they do need some oil there to clean the bowl off, I just found it excessive.. The seasoning for everything was alright, it mixed well with the plain white rice especially with the hot and sweet gochujang. Although I did find the sour cabbage really strange of a flavour.. the kimchi pretty average.. Unfortunately, the meat was also on the dry and tough side, making it hard to chew. Not the brightest bibimbap I had. (2.5/5)
Each meal came with a bowl of tofu seaweed soup too.
Having lived in this area for most of my life, I’m not sure why I haven’t been to Ali Shan until now. It’s not a bad choice if you’re just looking for a quick, cheap meal- you definitely get what you pay for. The service was acceptable, better than most Asian restaurants if I say so myself. They made a couple of mistakes, but kept apologizing for them haha.. Note that they accept cash only. I learned it the hard way. (Wifey had just enough to pay for her bill, so thank you Papa Rae for coming out and rescuing me.)