Roaming Dragon revisit: Fusion Fish and Chips and Addictive Fried Rice Balls
Burrard and Robson, downtown Vancouver
Roaming Dragon has been back on the streets this summer for a while now. I didn’t get a chance to try them at Trout Lake Farmers Market but I certainly satisfied my fried rice ball craving today. Back on Roaming Dragon’s menu are their usual classics, Chinese pork belly sliders, Korean Short Rib Tacos, Fried Rice Balls and Soba Noodle Salad. We tried these last season and loved them.
The crispy and delectable Chicken Karaage was already sold out by the time we were in line and it was only 12:30! The new menu items include the Roaming Dragon Sub and another one of my deepest food vices: fish and chips made with tempura battered Oceanwise Sockeye salmon. We ordered these along with some fried rice balls.
We waited for 15 minutes or so in line. One of the owners came out of the truck with a young intern in tow to chat with customers. They have interns at Roaming Dragon! I’m sure you can apply through their website.
I’m glad we placed our orders early because right after we did, they ran out of fish and chips. This new menu item is already extremely popular and when I finally tasted it, I understood why.
Coated in a salty and mildly spicy Togarashi (Japanese chili pepper) seasoned batter, the salmon was moist, tender and flaky on the inside with the perfect ratio of batter to fish. The batter was incredibly light and crispy, delicate but still packed with flavour. The Togarashi spices in the batter really added another flavour dimension to the deep fried salmon, making this a very unique fusion fish and chips dish.
Usually with most fried fish, the fried batter is only an accessory and the real star of the show is the fish inside the batter. But not at Roaming Dragon. The Togarashi batter is fitted on the salmon like a smart, slick jacket, holding it’s own on the flavour stage in equal partnership with the clean, sweet and rich flavours of the Sockeye salmon.
The fries were also seasoned with Togarashi and it really added a kick to them, creating an extra dimension of flavour to crispy fries. I like that the fries here are nice and thick-cut, creating more surface area for seasoning!
I even ate most of the side of coleslaw that came with the Salmon and chips, and this is coming from a girl who doesn’t like vegetables! The red cabbage was fresh and crunchy and not overdressed. I love the colour of red cabbage, it’s so dramatic and loud.
Another new menu item is the Roaming Dragon Sub: a Vietnamese style sub in a French Baguette topped with spicy mayo, cilantro, and pickled cucumber, daikon and carrots, we ordered this with shredded pork. The pork was really piled on the sub, you can see a bit of it peeking out in the picture below. The sliced pork was tender, wonderfully seasoned and there was so much of it that it makes this sub a very substantial lunch. The daikon and carrots also add extra colour and texture to the sandwich and the cilantro adds a light, refreshing flavour.
The french baguette bread was also very soft on the inside with a nice and crisp, crusty top, it was the perfect vehicle for all of its tasty ingredients, soaking in the mayo and juices from the vegetables without getting soggy.
Now, what we came for: the Fried Rice Balls! Each ball was about the size of a golf ball with a very crispy, breaded and deep fried crust. Inside each ball was tasty fried rice packed with ingredients: Chinese sausage, shrimp, chicken, bamboo shoots and mustard greens. Each ball was drizzled with curry and teriyaki aiolis. I don’t know how they fry it so the rice never gets mushy. The Japanese rice inside each ball was still sticky, salty and al dente. There is so much texture and flavour rolled up in these balls, they become amazingly addictive.
Also, useful to note, Roaming Dragon also caters. They have catered one of our office parties and everyone at work still talks about those Fried Rice Balls.
I must visit Roaming Dragon again soon, I’m already craving the Fried Rice Balls again!