JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Hey Foodies!
We're tasting all the Cantonese flavors and getting crispy, saucy, and sweet at a Jacksonville favorite that's now at a bigger location. First Coast Foodies is going to Blue Bamboo Canton Bistro on San Jose Boulevard.
"We serve classic Cantonese food," said Dennis Chan, chef and owner. "There's the comfort food like pan fried noodles where both sides of a noodle pancake are seared and then we put a nice soothing gravy stir fry on top. Our sweet and sour chicken is a full breast of panko breaded chicken with a classic sweet and sour sauce on it."
From the minute you step inside and smell the deliciousness, you'll want to eat it all.
"Some days I'll have a plate of all five, each of the five!" laughs Chan, holding an appetizer sampler. "We started making this when we were five years old. We wanted to symbolize every year with a dumpling."
The restaurant just opened at the new location less than a year ago. They have a bar, space for parties, cooking classes, and chocolate made on-site by Pastry Chef Suzy McGrath.
Chan made First Coast Foodies some lunch bowls to try. They have more than 10 flavors to choose from.
"This is one of our Szechuan chicken lunch bowls," Chan said. "It's got a lot of flavor and our pickup was very quick on this you can get back to work in a short amount of time."
First Coast Foodies' favorite was the red curry shrimp bowl.
"It is Southeast Asian flavor with classic Cantonese stir-fry," said Chan.
Don't forget to order a favorite appetizer.
"These are our dragon whiskers and I think our restaurant ancestors will be happy," Chan said. "It's one of our most popular appetizers. When we first opened, we opened in a restaurant space called the Dragon, and so we wanted to give a nod to the ancestry."
The appetizer is julienned strips of zucchini that's breaded, fried, and served with garlic chive ranch dressing.
Chan also creates his award-winning cake. You can come learn how to cook like him in their cooking classes.
"Sometimes we'll do sushi," Chan said. "Sometimes we'll do classic wok cooking, sometimes we'll even take field trips to our local Asian market."
But first, take a field trip to Blue Bamboo and taste the flavors that go way back.
"My family has been in the Chinese restaurant business for over nine decades here in Jacksonville, so I'm kind of continuing a family legacy," Chan said.