H – Hue Oasis – “A Host of Colourful Flavours”

The Hue Oasis Restaurant in the Skky Hotel was a pleasant surprise.  My companion and I, even though neither of us had been there before, had high hopes and we were not disappointed.

We entered the restaurant through the foyer of the hotel and picked up local magazines as we went in.  We were seated at a table next to a large, clean window that looked out over the parking lot, the Alaska Highway, the airport and the mountains beyond.  

The table was large for the two of us and was set with sparkling and sleek silver chopsticks and long spoon placed side by side on the matching rest.  Beautiful and elegant against the dark table.

We were handed menus by the broadly smiling young woman who had greeted and seated us.  The menu was a veritable treasure trove of Japanese and Korean dishes.  Appetizers, entrees, specials, and a huge section devoted entirely to sushi.  And many photos accompanying the amazing descriptions.

The names of the dishes described an exotic garden of delights:  Jabchae- delicious potato noodles sautéed with vegetables; Bi Bam Bap- traditional Korean rice with vegetables, beef, fried egg; Kimchi- spicy fermented napa cabbage; Beef Yaki Udan- assortment of stir-fried vegetables on traditional Japanese noodles and soy garlic sauce; Hot Stone Bibambab; and, for those needing something that sounded slightly more familiar, even Kimchi Bulgogi Poutine.  And, as you can imagine, there were many vegetarian choices.

We just couldn’t decide.  So, we ordered green tea while we perused the offerings that were laid out like jewels before us.  We kept changing our minds, amid laughter, and when the young woman came to take our order, we were surprised to find that we had decided upon exactly the same thing!  Should we start again, trying to choose different dishes.? Nah, we decided to just enjoy the fact that we thought alike, as great minds often do.

Sizzling and spitting, the amazing aroma wafting ahead, our orders arrived one at a time, balanced on two hands and held aloft like the prize it was.  The Chicken Yaki Udan danced and glistened on a cast iron platter chased by a well-worn wooden serving board.  Mine was set down before me and the young woman hurried away to bring my companion her matching offering.

We looked down at our meals with delight and reached for our utensils.  The beautiful chopsticks.  Which I am able to use.  Most times.  With sticky rice.  My companion and I looked at each other and silently nodded.  We needed forks.

They were brought graciously and without fanfare and we felt that we were still dining quite oriental, even though we were using western utensils.  The food was tasty, exotic without being so different as to be strange.  A pleasant surprise to the palate while still being comfortably familiar.

We were attended to almost surreptitiously and we felt duly honored.  The check arrived only when it was asked for and, then, promptly.  The total was surprisingly low- the size of the portions and the detail of the dish had me expecting to pay more.  I was thoroughly and happily satisfied.

The Hue Oasis is open year round from 11:30 to 2:30 and 4:30 to midnight Mondays through Saturdays and on Sunday from 11:30 to 2:30 and 4:30 to 10:00 pm.  The restaurant is inside the Skky Hotel across from the airport at 16 Burns Road.  

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