Yellow River House

By Roberta Avery - back to list

COLLINGWOOD – Man Yuan went to university to learn about business, but it’s what he learned while working to pay his tuition fees that set him on the road to success.

The 33-year-old graduate of the business administration program at university in Liverpool, England worked his way through university in the kitchens of restaurants and learned to cook Chinese Provincial Cuisine - with flair.

In the one year since they opened the Yellow River House on Hurontario Street in Collingwood, Man and his charming wife Grace have been slowly building a reputation for good food, reasonable prices and friendly service.

The couple met in the northern town of Dal’ian in their native China shortly before Man set out for England to study at Liverpool University. Grace followed him to England and they supported themselves by working in Chinese restaurants.

Three years ago they applied for landed immigrant status in Canada and moved to Toronto.
There to Man’s disappointment, he found that his degree wasn’t enough to find him a job.
"My English isn’t very good and without Canadian experience it’s hard to get that first job,’’ said Man.

Even in Toronto’s Chinese business community there was no demand for his business administration skills. "Chinese businesses are small family run,’’ he said.

Then he heard about the boom times in the Georgian Bay area and that a friend who had a building right in the downtown core of Collingwood was willing to rent him some space for a restaurant.

The couple took the plunge and put their life savings into turning the building at 50 Hurontario Street into a delightful restaurant.

Stepping into the dining room with its muted orange walls and bright yellow tablecloths is like experiencing a breath of spring. The feel, which is bright, fresh and clean, is warmed by Grace’s sunny smile.
The 133-item menu is a creative blend of Peking, Szechuan and Cantonese dishes made with the freshest of ingredients.

On a recent visit I discovered that the three-course lunch special at $6.95 is one of the best values in Collingwood.

The first course of prawn crackers whets your appetite for the tasty food that follows.
Next comes a choice of about a dozen items including Satay of Chicken, Spring Rolls, or Sesame Prawn Canapes – mashed prawns on toast dusted with sesame seeds.

These portions are small, but very tasty and perfectly prepared.

Or if you prefer you can chose from half a dozen fresh soups including a delicious shredded chicken and sweet corn soup.

The main variety of main courses is dazzling, but I chose the old favourite sweet and sour chicken with fried rice.
The portion was huge, there was enough to take home for dinner that night and it was so good that it would have been a shame to have wasted a morsel so I ask for a doggy bag.

The lightly breaded chicken was tossed with fresh green peppers, onions and carrots in a pleasing sweet and sour sauce and was far superior to the battered chicken balls often served up for this dish. The eggg fried rice had just a little too much egg in it for my liking, but was still perfectly cooked.

Coffee or tea was included in the $6.95 cost, so it worked out to be as cheap, but far superior, to eating in a fast food restaurant. Man admits that the lunch special is not a money maker for the restaurant. "It gets people in and we hope they come back,’’ he said. I certainly intend to return.

Perhaps for one of the Yellow River House all you can eat feasts for four held on week nights for $15.95 per person. Or maybe the Emperor’s Seafood Feast, which includes mussels, deep fried garlic squid, three types of king prawn, scallops, and three types of seafood with bamboo shoots. The Emperor’s Feast is $52 for two people.

The Yellow River House also has an extensive take out menu with dozens of main course items in the $4.95 to $7.95 range. The Yellow River House is open for lunch Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner seven nights a week from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. For reservations or take out orders please call 1-705-444-1599.

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