Eggroll Challenge

Last night we held an eggroll challenge to see who makes the best eggrolls in Ottawa. The idea came from a conversation with several people on twitter. Three names kept coming up in the conversation: Golden Palace, Dragon Fortune Delight, and Ruby Inn. We decided the best way to settle the argument was to hold a blind taste testing of the contenders. Dave Hicks and Shawna Tregunna were kind enough to host our challenge.

In Ottawa, the general opinion is Golden Palace has the best eggrolls in the city. In my case, I grew up on Ruby Inn eggrolls, and more recently, Dragon Fortune Delight. All three have one thing in common, they are all open ended eggrolls. We decided to add Wong's Palace for the contest since they are also open ended, and we'd heard good things about them.

One of the big surprises for me was how much attention the challenge attracted. I knew it would get some attention amongst my friends online, but it went much further than that. CBC's afternoon radio program, All In a Day, got in touch, and had me on their "D is For Dinner" segment last week (you can find the audio of the segment over on their site). I was on with Dave Niel from athe Piggy Market to talk about the challenge, and eggrolls in general. Dave brought some of his eggrolls along to try out. They were spicier than most eggrolls, and more like a spring roll with extra greens in the filling. Not to my liking, but I know some people are devotees. Anyway, the radio attention attracted a few extra people to the event, and got people in the city talking.

The event itself was a great success. Everyone took the judging seriously. There were four criteria to judge on: overall, filling, shell, and sauce. The sauce was the big surprise at first. I don't think any of us realized just how different they were from each other until they were all laid out side by side. This was a blind test. The samples were all laid out by someone not participating in the test. After a few instructions everyone dug into the food. It didn't take very long before all score cards were completed, and they could be tallied.

The big upset of the evening was for Golden Palace. There is a lot of press about how they are the best eggrolls in the city (The Citizen recently did a story on them claiming people order them for their last meal in the hospital). But during our blind test they were overwhelmingly the least favoured of the four. Their sauce was disliked by nearly everyone as well. The general consensus was their eggrolls and sauce were very bland, and the filling had a strong pork taste. The Golden Palace eggrolls are the only ones I would turn down if offered in the future.

The other three were very close in the final tally. All had excellent sauce and eggrolls. Personally I would be happy to eat at any of the three. So here are the final results: 1. Dragon Fortune Delight: 14.33 2. Ruby Inn: 14.31 3. Wong's Palace: 14.22 4. Golden Palace: 11.83

Thanks to everyone who was involved. This may be something we do again in the future. It certainly was a lot of fun.


All of the contenders laid out.


Some of our judges hard at work.