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Canton Cooks

My family has been going to Canton Cooks since back in the 90s. When I went to college, my Chinese classmates (exchange students), homesick of home-cooked food, would always drag me to eat here every chance they can get. Ask any Chinese who’s been in the city long enough and they all go to Canton Cooks for a taste of home.

A regional/ethnic restaurant is only as good as its chef. I don’t care how “nice” the owners are — if the chef isn’t good, the food won’t be. To appreciate the great Cantonese cooking here, you must order from the Chinese menu. Here are my family’s favorite dishes at Canton Cooks.

Canton Cooks

No visit of ours is complete without the Beef with Bitter Melons in Black Bean Sauce. Let me warn you, this is an acquired taste for the non-Chinese or the non-initiated. I grew up eating this kind of authentic food so I love it. It’s a bitter-salty combination of slices of bitter melon in black bean sauce. Delicious!

Canton Cooks

The Salted Fish Fried Rice here is so good. Just like at Penang’s they use big flakes of dried, salted fish here. The saltiness of the fish is tempered by the blandness of the rice. Really, this is already a meal in itself.

Canton Cooks

Canton Cooks
sauteed shrimp paste

The Dragon Soup is a magnificent soup. It has winter melon and slices of tender chicken in a clear broth with egg whites stirred in. Add the shrimp paste (available by request) and you have a hearty, comforting soup.

Canton Cooks

We love the Ono Choy in Garlic Sauce. Ono Choy is a foot-long weed that grows in swamps in Asia. It is called straw vegetable in English due to its hollow body. This vegetable grows year round but I haven’t seen it in Atlanta for a couple of years now. When not available, a good substitute is the snow pea leaves. I prefer Ono Choy because of its crunch. Still, they’re both delicious.

Canton Cooks

For noodles, we always get the crispy noodles topped with brown gravy, meat/seafood, and Chinese broccoli. Let the noodles soak in the gravy for a minute or two and you get this saucy noodles which is so flavorful.

Canton Cooks

My mom, sister, and I love crabs so much that we have to get two orders of the whole fried live crabs every time we visit. If you’ve never had fried crabs, I suggest you go now. It is heavenly.

Verdict

We’ve eaten though the entire Chinese menu at Canton Cooks and every single dish is superb. It’s like eating in China and Hongkong. If you want authentic Cantonese food then you must go here. Service can be slow during peak times and service is typical of China — you have to flag them if you need something. Still, the food makes up for it. Even if you order from the American menu, food is extremely good.

More pictures here.

Insider tip:
Located in the plaza where Whole Foods is at.
Closed on Wednesdays.

The scoop:
5984 Roswell Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30328
(404) 252-0322

Canton Cooks on Urbanspoon

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13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Meeyam // Oct 6, 2008 at 11:37 pm

    we love canton cooks! as in love love love. :) snow pea leaves and bagoong, yummy!

  • 2 Chloe // Oct 6, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    The other place we love is Royal China — the chef was “imported” from China (real Cantonese cooking) — they have THE best dimsum, too.

  • 3 V // Oct 7, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Is Royal China on Roswell Rd, just inside the perimeter?

    OT: No RIP for Havana Sandwich Shop?

  • 4 Chloe // Oct 7, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    V: Canton Cooks is on Roswell Rd just a little bit outside the perimeter. Same location as Whole Foods plaza.

    Royal China is on New Peachtree Rd perpendicular to Chamblee-Tucker and Buford Highway inside the perimeter.

  • 5 Chloe // Oct 7, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    P.S. It looks like its RIP for Havana Sandwich Shop. Owner doesn’t want to re-open (for now, at least).

  • 6 LeslieK // Oct 7, 2008 at 11:44 pm

    We just moved to the Sandy Springs/Dunwoody area and I am so happy this place is close to home. I can’t wait to try the salt & pepper squid.

  • 7 Jeff // Oct 8, 2008 at 10:45 am

    I have eaten at Canton Cooks before and I had heard of the Chinese menu. I always assumed the Chinese menu was in Chinese and I wouldn’t know the top from the bottom. Is this not the case?

  • 8 Chloe // Oct 8, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Jeff — the left side of the menu (inside cover) is part of the Chinese menu and is written in English. Chinese menus are always written in Chinese. You can just tell them, for example, that you want chicken and they will recommend Chinese dishes. They have very helpful servers here who will steer you away or point you to the right dish. Just ask. And don’t get intimidated.

  • 9 Lorenzo // Oct 8, 2008 at 6:55 pm

    Is “on choy” the same as what’s sometimes called “water spinach” or, in Vietnam, “rau muong”? If so, I LOVE the stuff. Unfortunately, at least some states (FL, for example), and maybe now the USDA though I haven’t checked, have classified it as a noxious weed, invasive species, whatever, and restricted the ability to cultivate it.

  • 10 Chloe // Oct 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    Lorenzo — yes! It is the same as rau muong. I also LOVE the stuff. I checked the USDA’s website and you’re right, unfortunately, it’s still under the Noxious Weed category. Too bad. Love, love the stuff.

  • 11 Havana // Aug 14, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    Havana will open this summer same location same food call for more info 404-636-4094 Best Cuban sandwich in Atlanta….havanarestaurant@bellsouth.net

  • 12 Canton Cooks, Sandy Springs GA « Food Near Snellville // Sep 2, 2009 at 8:10 am

    [...] the hearts of plenty of patrons and plenty of bloggers (see Chow Down Atlanta’s review here,  and Blissful Glutton’s review here). So I went, ate, liked it a great deal, and then was [...]

  • 13 Newsflash: Crawfish and more… // Oct 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

    [...] of Canton Cooks’ (Sandy Springs) owners (without the blessing of the other owner) has opened a new sister restaurant [...]

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