Roaming Dragon Tasting Party: District 319
Roaming Dragon knows how to throw a party! Setting up at District 319 for the night to launch their new Spring menu created by Consulting Chef, Tina Fineza, Roaming Dragon invited food bloggers, media and friends to sample the new menu. I have never been to District 319 on Main Street but as soon as I turned the corner and saw the famous Roaming Dragon trucks parked in front, I knew I was at the right place! Some bloggers and foodies in attendance included Rick, Sophia, Colene, Anita, Vincci, Scott and Maurice.
With a red carpet rolled out and lots of hungry guests gathering in the lobby, the party quickly started. I was hungry! Heading straight for the hot food stations set up inside, the first item that I tried was a scallop ceviche, beautifully presented on an Asian soup spoon. I am actually a real sucker for any food that is gracefully presented on an Asian soup spoon. I think it’s so practical and stylish. The scallops were delectable. I admit though that I took more time taking pictures than eating them. Which I now realize was unnecessary since I had a pro photographer like Maurice by my side. The more extraordinary photos in this post are taken by him; such as the photo below of Malaysian spicy “debil” chicken tacos.
The scrumptious little tacos were filled to the max with sambal braised free-run chicken, green onion mayo, coconut and pineapple on corn tortillas. I love corn tortillas and can eat them on their own so I was easily won over by these tacos. I found the chicken slightly spicy but the fresh chunks of juicy pineapple were great cooling elements. The mix of sweet fruit with the spicy chicken created quite the flavour explosion. I highly recommend these tacos.
Another good item (albeit a bit on the messy side) were the Vietnamese Sloppy Duck: 5 spice viet-style ground duck, hoisin mayo, pickled red onion and purple cabbage, mint and cilantro, all in a soft brioche bun. The pickled red union and cabbage looked absolutely gorgeous perched on top of this sandwich; they were tasty too, sour and sweet and crunchy. The duck was well-flavoured, I thought the 5 spice would be a little bit stronger though. The bun was soft and slightly sweet, a great vehicle for the tender duck meat and dressings.
Next up were the Korean Bulgogi Gordita: Bulgogi-style shaved beef brisket with apple-suichoy kimchi and Asian mayo in a sesame fry bread. The beef brisket was tender and flavourful and I loved the sweet and spicy kimchi but the bun was a little on the chewy side.
I don’t usually rave about salad but the Roaming Dragon “chop” salad gets kudos for being such an interesting mix of flavours and textures. Served in a cute little cardboard take-out container, the salad included suichoy and purple cabbage, Thai basil, mint, goji berries, coconut and pineapple, peanuts, pickled green mango tossed with a garlic-cilantro vinaigrette. I used to hate goji berries as a kid but somehow they work beautifully in this diverse salad. I love the colours and the flavours with the burst of juice from the pineapples and the refreshing coolness from the herbs.
Washing down all these delicious bites were Roaming Dragon’s signature beverages. I ordered the Roaming Dragon Lychee Basil Lemonade. It was filled with real, gigantic chunks of lychee, which I loved. The drink was sweet, refreshing and the perfect, tasty palate cleanser.
One of my favourite snacks are sliders and Roaming Dragon had a great selection: first up was the Thai Dragon burger: 1/4 pound 100% heritage Angus beef burger, with mayo, napa and purple cabbage, Thai basil and pickled jalapeno and cilantro on a soft brioche bun. The burger was nice and moist and almost too adorable to eat. I also enjoyed the tasty mayo and the hit of spice from the jalapeno (I think my tolerance for spice is getting better!)
The fan favourite of the night were the Japanese Tuna Tataki Sammies: seared “Organic Ocean” albacore tuna with Japanese 7 spice crust, Yuza-mayo, crushed rice crackers, jalapeno and nori on a brioche bun. I didn’t think I would love this slider so much since I’m not even the biggest tuna fan. But as soon as I took a bite of the silky and smooth tuna meat with its flavourful seared crust, I was sold. Actually, it took me nearly half the night to taste one of these little sliders, every time a tray came out from the kitchen, the sliders disappeared in milliseconds. They were that good.
Everyone was thrilled to see a Roaming Dragon classic make the rounds: the famous pork belly sliders. Guests literally gasped when the first tray came from the kitchen. The sliders tasted just as I had remembered them, soft, fluffy steamed bun with a big, juicy piece of pork belly nestled in, soaked in delicious hoisin sauce. I’m so happy this item is still on the menu!
Another Roaming Dragon classic are of course, the fried rice balls. These were also just as I had always remembered them, with their crisp crust and tasty rice inside.
Along with the fried rice balls, another bite-sized treat were the Malaysian Lime-chili tofu grilled burrito. A totally vegetarian item but I loved it nonetheless. And the bright purple cabbage looks stunning and appetizing. I particularly loved the crisp wrapping.
A creative fusion dish was the Indonesian beef rendang poutine: fries with cheese curds, braised beef, lemongrass, galangga, red chili and coconut cream. The poutine had a unique citrus flavour to it, it took some getting used to, but I love the tender beef and the big cubes of cheese curds.
Roaming Dragon spared no expense for this party, with a full lineup of entertainers taking the stage throughout the night from the Taoist Tai Chi Society to dragon dance drummers. Videos and slides of Roaming Dragon’s media coverage was shown on the big screen as well. It made for a vibrate, exciting and tasty evening!
We were given lovely party favours when we left, actually, we were so excited to find out what was inside, we tore open Maurice‘s box on the street as soon as we left the party (after snapping some pictures first of course!) to find some gourmet fortune cookies inside: chocolate covered, with candied ginger, cinnamon and toasted slivered almonds.
I can’t wait for Roaming Dragon to hit the summer streets with this amazing new menu! They’re also available for catering, check Roaming Dragon’s newly revamped website for details: www.RoamingDragon.com.