Love for the Locals: Wheat Garden Noodle & Dumpling Bazaar

Normally, my Muslim friends aren't able to enjoy non-vegetarian dishes in Chinese restaurants because the meat is not Halal. When talking about food, Halal refers to meat that is hand-slaughtered (as opposed to being by stun gun and butchered by machine), and a diet free of pork and alcohol. (For more information about Halal, you can visit Canadian Halal Foods.)

That aspect of the Edmonton food scene changed very recently with the opening of Wheat Garden Noodle & Dumpling Bazaar (10703-103 Street, Edmonton, AB) just last month. Wheat Garden is a quaint little restaurant in the heart of Chinatown that serves traditional northern Chinese noodle, rice, and cold dishes, and all of their food is certified Halal!

Wheat Garden Noodle & Dumpling Bazaar is situated where the Old Szechuan Restaurant used to be.
Shortly after hearing about its existence, my friend, Wajeeha of W.S. Photography jumped at the chance and planned a lunch. She, along with other Muslim Edmontonians, usually doesn't get to eat meat-based dishes in Chinese restaurants, because they aren't prepared with the appropriate Islamic dietary restrictions in mind, so she typically replicates them as best as she can in her own kitchen. However, she made a good point - that she doesn't have a frame of reference to compare her dishes to. I was curious to see how it compared to other Chinese noodle and dumpling shops I had been to, and I hadn't eaten northern Chinese food in quite a while, so I was eager to join in on the adventure. We had to wait until the weekend when all of us were available at the same time, but it was well worth the wait (even though it ended up just being 3 of us). Wajeeha brought her camera too! All of the photographs from inside the restaurant were taken by her!

The interior of Wheat Garden looks similar to your typical Chinese neighbourhood restaurant, but with more natural light coming in from the windows. It wasn't too busy near the end of the lunch hour, so Wajeeha was able to snap a few shots of the empty eatery without getting strange looks from other dining customers.
The furnishing is quite simple with a few shelves from IKEA and a couple of TV screens to play Asian dramas and music videos on. Each table has WiFi access information for their customers to use! 
While we waited for another friend to join us, Wajeeha and I ordered the Dumplings All-in-One ($13.99) plate, which is essentially a combination plate of the various homemade dumplings they offer. Fillings included beef, lamb, shrimp, and chicken mixed with carrot, cabbage, or parsley! All winners. It was the first time I ever had lamb in a dumpling, but it was an interesting experience nonetheless!
The dumplings paired very well with the Chinese black vinegar... Mmm... (Also modeled in some of these photos is my souvenir from my visit to Boston last summer.)
I opted for the classic Beef Soup Noodle ($11.99). The broth was a very classic Chinese beef broth with thin slices of beef, daikon radish, chopped leek and parsley, with a little dab of their house-made chili oil.
The noodles were most definitely house-made. They had the perfect texture...so smooth, and delicious. There are actually 4 types of noodles that you can select from on the menu, varying in thickness and width, but I'm betting they are equally as mouthwatering.
Both Wajeeha and Samaiya opted for the Soup Noodle with sliced beef in hot and sour soup. With a trade for a spoonful of my broth, I got to try the hot and sour soup as well. It was delicious too, with a peppery kick at the end.
The verdict? I am definitely coming back. Not only can I dine on authentic northern Chinese noodles and dumplings for a reasonable price, but I can bring all my Muslim friends with me! I can't wait to try the other menu items, and for their business to pick up!

This lunch really got me thinking though. We chatted about the other Chinese eateries in Edmonton that are Halal friendly, and how they're usually some sort of fusion cuisine, rather than pure and authentic Chinese food - apparently we have a Chinese-Caribbean restaurant in town?? There are also quite a few places that claim to offer Chinese or Pakistani foods aren't necessarily authentic, and it's a bit cringe-worthy to know that some people think that eating rice with soy sauce is an thing that we do. Did you know that a real Kashmiri Chai is supposed to be light pink in colour? My mind is blown! I'm not naming names, because regardless, that stuff is still delicious.

But here's to you, YEG! Where should I go for some authentic South Asian food? Bengali, Bhutanese, Indian, Nepali, Pakistani, Sri Lankan...I want to know it all!


P.S. A big shout out to Wajeeha for the awesome photos! Please check out her website, Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!

Wheat Garden Noodle & Dumpling Bazaar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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