Bian Lian or face changing is an ancient Chinese dramatic art. It’s truly something to behold and is part of the rich cultural experience a guest at Dragon Legend can expect. Performances take place every Wednesday evening starting at 6:45 p.m.
The masks are brightly painted and represent characters from Sichuan opera. Each colour represents a different character and the faces are highly differentiated. The performer wears an elaborate and vivid traditional costume moving quickly to fast paced music alternating movement with poses. With a swipe of the fan or a movement of their head their entire face changes before the eyes of an astonished audience. The secret of the face change has been passed down from one generation to the next within families. Traditionally only males were permitted to learn Bian Lian, the theory being that women do not stay within the family and would marry out passing the secret to another family.
The buffet style dinner does not have the cluttered feeling of many similarly styled restaurants. The food is laid out on spacious tables in moderately sized wok like dishes which remarkably remain full throughout the evening with piping hot food. There’s the usual selection of salad and soup bar and of course, there is fried rice, noodles and the staples of sweet and sour pork and sesame chicken.
For guests preferring a more North American meal, there is roast beef with all the fixings or fried chicken with French fries. However, there is also an extensive sushi selection, and a wide range of seafood including octopus, grilled squid, muscles, oysters, shrimp, crab, scallops, salmon and several lesser known fish. There are also traditional Dim Sum items like pork dumplings, sticky rice in a lotus leaf and Su Mai (pork and shrimp dumplings). A lovely surprise was the crispy Peking Duck and the fresh made noodles which you could combine with the broth and protein of your choice into a fragrant lighter meal. Each buffet table seem to yield something familiar and yet also offered something entirely new. Discovered this terrific restaurant during York Region’s Chopstick Walk. Dragon Legend is located at 25 Lanark Road in Markham. 905-940-1811.