So we gave Aroma Island a try last weekend. Its another asian restaurant in the Central Parkway W. plaza. This restaurant is based on Taiwanese and Chinese dishes.
First impression when we walked in around 5pm – very nice place… looks very nice, not many customers (yet). Modern wood/brown furniture and booths, very clean… Someone in management has some sense of style. Restaurant City immediately comes to mind!
The waitress (very, very nice girl) brought us a pot of tea. We took a sip of tea – wasn’t too fond of it. It had a bitter taste so either too strong or not a good brand of tea.
The menu looks great. I’ve never really had Taiwanese before (unless Bubble Republic counts – had their noodle soup once and it really gave me a bad flavour for Taiwanese food).
There were a couple of dishes shown in the photos at the back of the menu that we wanted to order. One was the tofu and shrimp dish (Its called Tofu and Shrimp Taiwanese on the menu, my mom makes something like this). The other was the sliced chicken (My mom usually makes this chicken, I haven’t had it in a long time). The waitress immediately tells me they have run out of the chicken dish….Boo!
So we look at the menu for a few minutes and order the Duck Tongue….. The waitress comes back after a couple of minutes and informs us they have run out of Duck Tongue…. They have a small portion left and can sell it to us at $3 off…. Booo again! (This is getting ridiculous). So we settle for the Oxtail HotPot.
Here is my feedback of each dish:
Tofu and Shrimp: Looks great. It came out in a big white platter of egg sauce. Single round servings of tofu garnished with a shrimp on top and fish roe. It tasted good – I can taste sesame oil in the egg sauce. The shrimp looks good enough. Maybe I would cook the shrimp 30 seconds longer. I think they did need that sesame oil and egg sauce to add some flavour. Personally, my mom’s tofu and shrimp tastes much better (she uses soy sauce in her dish).
Oxtail HotPot: I liked the way they served this meal – in a little pot over a hot flame. It was like a stew in a red sauce. At first bite there was a sweet flavour to the whole dish. It was a different taste. The sweet flavour quickly disappears and you are left with a great soft texture from the oxtail. Oxtail is mostly bones so this dish is very fast to eat.
I’m really curious how this sweet red sauce is made. I’m thinking its ketchup based (at least with tomatoes or tomato sauce). So, I tried to look up a recipe for taiwanese style oxtail, and this is what I came up with from Allrecipes.com – Taiwanese Style Oxtail Stew: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/taiwanese-style-oxtail-stew/detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=taiwanese%20oxtail&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page .
Now I understand that I think its the onions that gives it the unique flavour. What do you think?
Anyhow, I thought the food tasted pretty good while we were there. But later that evening, I ate some of the leftover oxtail at home. Then I got really thirsty and started to develop a headache. Thats when I realized that they must use a lot of msg in their cooking. (Usually msg doesn’t affect me at all).
So, yes I would visit Aroma Island again (the menu looks really good with lots of different food choices), but I would not visit that often. I am aware that most restaurants or food places use msg in some form or other. But because I was able to feel the immediate effects from the dishes I ate that night, it makes me cautious of overloading my body with too much unnecessary flavour enhancers in one sitting.
Address: Aroma Island – 1177 Central Parkway West, Mississauga, ON