Written By Adam Cantor Places / Restaurants / Victoria Mar 26, 2015 Traditional and Home Cooked Specialties at The Cozy Place: A Fresh Way to Eat Chinese Food SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter PinterestThe Cozy Place, as its name suggests, is a restaurant founded on the idea of comfort food, Chinese style. International students eat here because owners Scott and Amy Ng fuse the restaurant-style cooking with the dishes that are common to the dinner table of families in China. Chef Scott Ng began his training at a cooking school in southern China, but since then he has studied the northern style of Chinese cooking as well, and thus fuses both the savoury/sweet flavours of the south with the complex and sometimes-fiery food of the north. Students from all regions of China enjoy this fusion, both for its creativity and for its authenticity.The Cozy Place has a steady cliental of regulars—all sorts of people in the neighbourhood stop in for their favourites. Some of the people at city hall (not to name any names) come in and dine here on a daily basis. This is quite an accomplishment for a restaurant that has only been open since Canada Day 2014.Scott and AmyThe Cozy Place is an excellent place to start if you wish to broaden your knowledge of Chinese cooking—or perhaps, better said, Chinese eating. Scott and Amy are extremely friendly and forthcoming and because they are cooking out of love, they delight in discussing the composition and history of the dishes they prepare. Scott stresses to me that there is no MSG in his food. It is a shortcut, he explains to me, that provides easy flavour but causes nasty headaches. The Ngs painstakingly bake a new broth every day for their soups and dishes, and it is in the slow cooking of the ingredients that the flavours come alive.Following Les Chan’s suggestion that I trust the kitchen, I let Scott make whatever inspired him, and then we all sat down together and had a meal. Trusting the chef is a grand Chinese tradition, Scott says. He always asks if customers want something spicy or mild, and what allergies they have, and then he goes to work. If people are not comfortable with this then they can sample from the menu.For this meal, we had five unique dishes:1 – A spring roll, stuffed with shrimp.2 – Chicken wings, deep-fried.3 – Hot and sour soup.4 – Sweet and sour pork.5 – Dragon eggplant.The hot and sour soup is at this point a well-established classic on the menu of most restaurants. We had it quite mild, because Scott was not aware of how intense my addiction to spice is; however, he told me that some of the northern students who come in request a nearly insufferable level of spice in the soup. The trick to hot and sour is in the consistency. The soup needs to have a little thickness, yet at the same time retain clarity in the broth. This is achieved by slowly adding the thickening agent (often cornstarch) to the soup as it boils. It is an art.I’m leaving most of these dishes description free, so you can discover them on your own. They were all delicious. The dragon eggplant is so neat, though, that I want to comment on it. A Chinese eggplant is simmered with medallions of ground pork and beef fitted into sliced slots along the eggplant’s back. The combination of textures and flavours is wonderful. The colour of the dish alone, when it comes to the table, is worth the act of ordering it. It feels like an event when it comes to the table. Scott originally learned this recipe from a northern Chinese chef who came to work at his restaurant, but he has since changed the spice mix and preparation to suit is own style. It is a lovely dish. I recommend The Cozy Place because it offers something different from regular Chinese-Canadian food (which I love, don’t get me wrong) in a space that is not intimidating at all. The restaurant is also accommodating to vegetarians (for example, they keep two different broths for every soup, so there isn’t even any secret meat broth in vegetarian soups), and Scott plans to expand the vegetarian options in the future. Enjoy!The Cozy Place 1692 Douglas St Victoria, BC V8W2G6 (250) 382-3123 FacebookChinese FoodRestaurantsVictoria SHARE VIA: Facebook Twitter Pinterest Written By: Adam Cantor Born and raised in the mysterious East (by which I mean Ontario and Quebec, not Asia), Adam migrated out to British Columbia in search of adventure and fortune. He had been at different times a scholar, a musician, a poet and a ... Read More You may also like Events / Food News / Places April 28, 2021 CITY EATS May|June 2021 At press time, restaurants, pubs, bars and food courts remain closed for indoor dining. One silver lining is that the weather is warming up and more ... 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