East of East Dining Series: Beaver Sailor Diner
Beaver Sailor Diner
1820 Hollis St, Halifax
This is the second chapter of the East of East Dining Series in which I will showcase different types of East Asian dining experiences that are available to us here in Halifax. In February we went to Canton Garden for dim sum. Today’s journey takes us to Beaver Sailor Diner, which is tucked away on Hollis Street beside the Bluenose II. Whoever came up with the name “Beaver Sailor” is my hero because it’s unforgettably quirky and pays homage to its location on the east coast of Canada. Love it.
This is a family run diner, specializing in bubble tea (and other fun drinks), desserts and hand-made Chinese noodles. Despite being somewhat of a hidden gem, Beaver Sailor made The Coast’s #25AllRight and the “Best 25 Places to Eat” in Curated Magazine. My dining crew (Halifax ReTales, Machzy, and Denton) had all been to Beaver Sailor to try the acclaimed “seafood oil sprinkled noodles” and we were eager to try more noodle dishes, as well as a few desserts.
Our Dinner at Beaver Sailor Diner
Hot and Sour Chicken Wonton (12pc $12.99/8pc $8.99):
Hand-made chicken wonton with cold mixed spicy sauce
This was my favourite plate of the day! Good choice, ReTales! Perfectly firm wonton noodles encased a flavourful filling of seasoned ground chicken and were served in a pool of spicy oily sauce that is neither too hot nor very sour – just delicious. I could see these becoming a cult status dish in Halifax, as they are unique (to us), yet approachable. They are shareable, but one could easily polish off a whole plate.
In case you are wondering, these are served hot. The description says “cold sauce” but I think it just means the sauce isn’t heated?
Stir-fried Mutton Noodles $16.99
Noodles with sliced mutton, green pepper, black fungus, onion and chili
Denton ordered the mutton noodles and a Matcha Lemonade with a salt milk cap. He says, “The ‘salt milk cap’ isn’t salty, but it added a sweet creamy body to the lemonade. It might be a bit excessive for an everyday order ($1.50 extra), but it definitely elevates the drink to something special.”
His mutton noodles were a hearty bowl of tender meat and vegetables draped atop a sizable portion of long, thick chewy noodles. Denton described it as “greasy, but the satisfying heavy meal sort of greasy”. He commented that despite the large chunks of chili and garlic, it wasn’t actually spicy but just seemed balanced.
Braised Beef Noodle Soup (Reg $12.99 Sm $9.99)
Noodles with braised beef, tea egg and vegetables in soup (no egg in small size)
Machzy was pleased with his beef noodle soup, which used the same delightfully bouncy noodles as the other dishes we ordered, but within a rich & spicy broth. The broth was seriously good, “flavourful and balanced” says Mach. We would have preferred a fattier cut of beef, but it was nice and tender and supported by its flavourful backdrop.
PeKing Fried Bean-Paste Noodles $8.99
Noodles with crab meat, eggs, fried bean-paste, green onion & cucumber
My order of noodles kind of resembled Spaghetti Balognese, only the sauce was thick, murky, and black. Beaver Sailor even concedes on their FB page, “I know it looks a little bit ugly and gloomy…. But don’t be scared by its look, give a try and you will love it!” Indeed, this dish is full of umami flavours!
This is a rendition of “Fried Sauce Noodles”, a popular dish in Beijing of bean paste and ground pork. Beaver Sailor’s version subs out the pork for egg and crab meat.
You gotta stir it up really good to mix it with the noodles, but the payoff is great.
What is bean paste, you say? Well, there are different types. There are sweet varieties like red bean paste, usually found in desserts. Then there are the fermented bean pastes, usually made from soy beans. I’m sure you’re familiar with miso and black bean sauce. Well, Beijing is known for its “Yellow Bean Paste” (or “Ground Bean Paste”) and this is traditionally what is used in “Fried Sauce Noodles”.
Matcha Mubic (3pc) $4.99
Milk pudding with matcha topping
Mango Grapefruit Grass Jelly Sweet Soup $6.50
Grass jelly, mango chunks, grapefruit, coconut milk and mango sauce
Black Sticky Rice with Mango in Vanilla Sauce $6.75
Black sticky rice, mango chunks, coconut milk and milk
We really enjoyed these new-to-us desserts. They were light and refreshing, which was very welcome after all of the spice and umami that had bombarded our palates.
The “Mubic” desserts are jiggly milk puddings that come in 4 varieties: coconut, chocolate, matcha and Oreo. We ordered the matcha (powdered green tea) which had a slightly bitter-sweet edge rounded out by the mild, cool pudding.
Then there are a bunch of “Sweet Soup” desserts which you can get with either “grass jelly” or “sago” (think tapioca pudding). Ours was a soup of coconut milk, mango sauce, flecks of grapefruit and chunks of fresh mango. I really like grass jelly. It’s similar in texture to a jello jiggler.
The rest of the table preferred the sticky rice dessert, which was sort of a sweet-soup-meets-rice-pudding with a clump of warm black sticky rice in the middle.
“The noodles were excellent, the meal was satisfying, and there’s a wide variety of unique options on the menu compared to other local restaurants (I still have to go back and try their pumpkin noodle soup).” – Denton
As for the service, it was entirely passable, but the restaurant was very warm. I hope they invest in some air conditioning for the summer months!