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The Glory of Ming

05/07/2011,  Source: Asian Restaurant NewsPrint  |  Back


Chinese cuisine has become more popular than ever around Canada. The big market for healthy Chinese cuisine has motivated many restaurateurs to adjust their offerings in order to better cater to changing tastes. Xinong Zhou is one of those owners who has adjusted his offerings and in the process grabbed a larger market share in the highly competitive restaurant industry.


In 2003, Zhou took over a time-honored restaurant with a history of around 50 years, and renamed it “Ming Dynasty,” a name which embodies the grandeur and magnificence of the restaurant’s history. Zhou chose to maintain the restaurant’s classic tones while also mixing them with contemporary touches. Covering approximately 3680 square feet, the Ming Dynasty seats up to 90 diners and boasts two party rooms that accommodate about 50. The spacious dining hall is designed to create an inviting and comfortable vibe, which is further enhanced by the soft lighting and soothing music. Each of the party rooms is decorated in a different style so as to cater to almost any type of event.


However, its real strength is the superb dine-in experience that it offers. Along with its stylish décor, Ming Dynasty also offers an amazing menu jam-packed with Chinese cuisine, making it a big hit among the residents of Nanton. The gamut of dishes which totals over 200 items has been mostly localized to cater to the locals’ palates. It covers a wide range of options, including appetizers, such as Spring Rolls, steamed dumplings, noodles, deep fried chicken wings, and dry spareribs. Also featured are various types of beverages including sodas and juices; along with salads, burgers, steak, and sandwiches.


Of course, the mainstays are its large selection of pork, beef, chicken, and seafood entrées. Among these delectable creations, Sesame Chicken and Ginger Beef are the top sellers. These dishes can be found at just about every Chinese restaurant, but Ming Dynasty’s has differentiated their offerings by using their special homemade sauce.


Zhou’s inspiration comes from cooking shows, cookbooks, and industry magazines which keep him up to date on the latest news and trends in the restaurant industry. His years of cooking experience have helped him develop a unique insight into how to serve exactly what patrons are looking for.


One of the dishes Zhou strongly recommends is the Sesame Chicken. The chef selects quality free range chicken and slices it before dressing it with a layer of cornstarch. This gives it a crispy coating while keeping the inside tender and juicy.


Other crowd pleasers include Ginger Beef, Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Spareribs, House Special Lo Mein, House Special Fried Rice, and also a bounty of seafood dishes including Salt and Pepper Squid, Butter Garlic Shrimp, Almond Ha Ding, and Sei Ha which is an especially tasty treat for those with seafood cravings.


Ming Dynasty caters to the demands of diners seeking healthy alternatives. The chefs use little salt or oil—giving dishes a lighter flavor. Many times, foods catered to those with health restrictions or preferences seem unappetizing or unpalatable. “It’s not easy to prepare dishes in a healthy manner because that requires a reduction in the salt and oil used—thereby affecting the taste,” Zhou reveals, while adding that he and his chefs use trial and error to develop their recipes to perfection.


Customers can also be sure that the food they’re enjoying is fresh, too. The first step to accomplish this is to only use the freshest ingredients possible. Zhou believes that artful positioning and blending of sauces complemented by utilizing only the best cooking techniques makes for quality that an absence of freshness can never compensate for. Following that tradition, he purchases materials for their freshness; even paying a higher price to guarantee original flavor in a dish. High quality ingredients are delivered at least three times each week from a large and trustworthy catering supplier. Anything that doesn’t meet Zhou’s standards gets rejected and he never overstocks.


Zhou is looking to set the bar higher by offering the kind of overall experience that exceeds customer expectations. Service is undoubtedly an indispensable part of it. The staff upholds the tenet “Give customers a smile”, and they believe that friendly gestures, such as a sincere smile, and genuine care, will help improve each customer’s dining experience. On any given day, you’ll see the staff racing around the restaurant, busily refilling drinks, and placing orders. Sure they are busy but if you ask for something not on the menu, the knowledgeable staff will stop and take some time to suggest some tasty creations or interesting combinations.


They are always ready to serve. Having been open for eight years, the restaurant has been through a lot of ups and downs. Things weren’t so smooth during the first few years, a common problem for many new businesses. Without too much advertising, the restaurant relies on word of mouth which is gradually built on customer recognition. Mr. Zhou’s commitment to quality and affordability is what sustained the restaurant during hard times.


It is an uphill climb for many restaurant owners who have toiled in the industry for decades. Like many owners, he started in supporting roles, gaining experience through hard work and perseverance. Now, Zhou’s work day starts at 8:00 am in the morning purchasing ingredients from a local market and preparing for the lunch rush. Busy throughout the day, he doesn’t rest until the restaurant closes at 9:00pm in the evening. This demanding job brings him a feeling of accomplishment, especially  when the customers tell him how much they like a particular dish.


“We strive to make sure every one of our customers is happy,” says Zhou.


Zhou is now in the process of opening another restaurant in July, hoping to extend his interpretation of Chinese cuisine far beyond Nanton.


Ming Dynasty Chinese Restaurant


Location: 1911 - 20 Ave. Nanton, AB T0L1R0

Phone: 403-646-2880

Offers: Dine-in, Buffet, Take-out, Party Room    

Cuisine: Cantonese Cuisine, Mandarin Cuisine

Signature Dishes: Sesame Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Ginger Beef, Sweet and Sour Spareribs, House Special Lo Mein, House Special Fried Rice  

Year of Establishment: 2003