Manchu Wok at 18195 Yonge Street is a curious hybrid — an experiment in dining. Part fast food joint (we all know Manchu Wok from food courts) and part “something more,” it aims to please. The “something more” of Manchu Wok, East Gwillimbury is its stand-alone, almost castle-like heft. Parallel buddy (or rival?) to Boston Pizza, The Keg and Swiss Chalet in the Silver City parking lot, it almost seems as though it, too, could pass as a sit-down restaurant. The building is large and impressive.
Once inside, we see, though, that the familiar fast-food set-up is there. When we arrived on an early Wednesday evening, we found the place quiet but well-staffed. The woman behind the counter offered up samples when she saw we were having trouble deciding what to pick for our main course. We settled on Satay Chicken and sweet and sour nuggets. The nuggets seemed like a twist on the traditional chicken balls (warning: if you arrive with children, they will want these nuggets – they will not see any other choice under the glass pane but these – so be prepared). These entrees were accompanied by chicken fried rice, noodles, and mixed vegetables. We also opted for the egg roll add-on special.
The atmosphere was pleasant and calm.The egg rolls were exceptionally tasty, well worth opting-in. The Satay Chicken served as the star of the show.
EG Shines especially enjoyed the Satay dish’s fresh vegetables mixed in with the marinated chicken and sauce. The corporate website promises no MSGs – and indeed, there seemed to be a premium placed on “fresh” and “healthful eating” (at least in the emphasis on vegetables, the words “fast and fresh” in the slogan, images of fresh food on the walls and in the sleek design of the menu boards). It is likely true that Manchu Wok has upped its fresh vitalness in step with the rise of Thai food which holds this promise – so it will not lose its edge.
What is interesting is how Manchu Wok appears to be filling a unique new need. Movie-goers dining in the shadow of the Silver City behemoth might choose Manchu Wok over the sit-down restaurants because it is more economical (as fast food places are)- in times when economy is important and free time is short. One can still gaze out at the movie theater from one’s booth. One can still share excited laughter with a gang, before rushing over to catch Turbo. One can still go on a date at Manchu Wok feeling like this was an exciting place to go. Manchu Wok has its bases covered – it is also a drive-through (appealing to commuters/shoppers) . It will probably watch Green Lane and Yonge grow from its prominent, beckoning spot.
Our fortune cookie at the end of our meal read: “You tend to draw out the talent in others.” The same could be said of Manchu Wok – it is willing to bring out the best in its customers.
Photo credits: CDeep