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Chinese in Vancouver 2002 - 2006


mamster
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I tried a hole-in-the-wall (around 10 tables covered with cheap plastic) restaurant in Port Coquitlam last night and was impressed.  It's called PoCo Ocean Restaurant and is in the same strip mall as Mayan Art Cafe but on the opposite side and around the corner from Pier 1.  If any of you happen to wander out this way, give the place a try. Definitely a better alternative to Hon's which is across the street.

Rhea, I have relatives in PoCo and we also head over to PoCo Ocean every now and again as my relatives are semi-regulars, so to speak. Good quality food; we've never been disappointed. And, yes, certainly better than Hon's.

Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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Shanghai River has really civilized surroundings and their dim sum list (shanghainese style) is something that I will check out again.  But - the soup dumplings were a bit better (I like homestyle) at Shanghai Wind.

I declare ---- a TIE!!

I disagree.

We went to Shanghai River for the first time last night. What a place. I know you can't declare a place your favourite after one visit, but damn things have to slip a long way with future visits for it not to take top spot.

The Talent family consensus was that SR had considerably better soup buns. The wrapper was the only part I like at SW better. The soup is far better at SR. Cleaner, clearer and far less heavy. Like a really delicious consumme, rather than the very heavy stock inside the buns at SW. Shanghai River's meat was less dense, less pate like and looser. Don't know what the official soup bun standard is, but I prefered them. The wrapper at Shanghai River is thinner more delicate (like the rest of the ingredients), but I prefered the thicker version at Shanghai Wind.

In addition we ate duck lettuce wraps. Braised bean curd skin with assorted meat (which was absolutely phenomenal in it's variety and quantity of assorted meats. There had to be at least ten animals on that plate, most in multiple variations.) And Shanghai Soup Noodles. Service was great, down to serving the noodles into individual bowls, although perhaps that was in response to seeing the disaster that was created with the duck wraps and they decided noodles were far beyond out range of expertise.

$50.00 including a seven dollar tip. Pretty good value too. Not quite Shanghai Wind, but them the surroundings are about one hundred times fancier.

And we observed the same phenomena that taunts as at Shanghai Wind, namely dishes of incredible looking food walking by, that for the life of us we can't see on the menu. Platters of "corned beef" surrounded by steam rolls.

Fantastic restaurant. Really really good.

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The Talent family consensus was that SR had considerably better soup buns. The wrapper was the only part I like at SW better. The soup is far better at SR. Cleaner, clearer and far less heavy. Like a really delicious consumme, rather than the very heavy stock inside the buns at SW. Shanghai River's meat was less dense, less pate like and looser.

Clearly the union of the Greater and Lesser Talents with a good soup bun was a consummation devoutly to be wished.

*groans*

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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Shanghai River has really civilized surroundings and their dim sum list (shanghainese style) is something that I will check out again.  But - the soup dumplings were a bit better (I like homestyle) at Shanghai Wind.

I declare ---- a TIE!!

I disagree.

$50.00 including a seven dollar tip. Pretty good value too. Not quite Shanghai Wind, but them the surroundings are about one hundred times fancier.

Fantastic restaurant. Really really good.

Keith

I am glad you liked SR. Really - it proves to me that you and your family are soooo Hong Kong - it is almost like a form of parallel evolution.

That being said - I too am very keen on exploring the rest of the menu at SR. Though I do like the Soup Buns at SW - I am much more interested to returning to SR. The service and the surroundings are top notch and the quality of the dim sum (small plates) seem very high.

I was trying to be diplomatic - but I am glad that you found declaring a winner easier.

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I'm not the ultimate authority on Sichuan cooking, but some of my friends have a lot of experience with it, and they seem to think that Golden Szechuan on Broadway, near Burrard is pretty good and authentic.

The hot pot there also seems to be very popular, but I'm not a huge fan of that fashion of eating - everything winds up tasting the same.

Jason

Editor

EatVancouver.net

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Where do Chinese Families go when they want good food - but also want decent prices and don't really care about the decor?

A place like Koon Bo on 41st and Fraser

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I went with my Uncle and Aunt as a Autumn Moon Festival thing.

The food here is cantonese and quite good. In fact, their roasted squab has been the best I have had recently - crispy, meaty and roasted to a perfect doneness ($16 for each squab). The other thing that we always seem to order is their version of a hand shredded chicken salad - it comes with shreds of jellyfish, slivers of preserved vegetables, crispy won ton skins and sesame seeds. It makes for an appealing appetizer.

We also had BBQ duck, Scallops w/ Gai Lan, and my guilty pleasure - Sweet and Sour pork. It was all quite good and fed all 4 people handily for $70.

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eatvancouver Posted Yesterday, 06:13 PM

The hot pot there also seems to be very popular, but I'm not a huge fan of that fashion of eating - everything winds up tasting the same

Dude - I hear you - everything does end up tasting the same in a Hot Pot. I prefer doing it at home so that I can concentrate on getting the best vegetables.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Shanghai River has really civilized surroundings and their dim sum list (shanghainese style) is something that I will check out again.  But - the soup dumplings were a bit better (I like homestyle) at Shanghai Wind.

I declare ---- a TIE!!

I disagree.

We went to Shanghai River for the first time last night. What a place. I know you can't declare a place your favourite after one visit, but damn things have to slip a long way with future visits for it not to take top spot.

For what it's worth, I'm in agreement with Mr Talent. I prefer the thinner wrapper (definitely much harder to make) and the size is a perfect mouth popper (no need to bite in half).

But don't order the crab roe version - very dry and not worth the extra $$.

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At Empire Seafood (in Richmond, next to London Drugs on No. 3 Rd.)

for ten people, set menu, $499

Cold platter (jellyfish, smoked salmon, cold marinaded pork and beef, surf clam)

Everything on the platter was fresh and moist, and the surf clam was marinaded underneath so it was tasty, yet looked clean on the plate.

appetizerr.jpg

Abalone (one per person) with pea shoots

Very tender, but not unlike what my parents do at home...so it didn't stand out as being anything particularly special to me.

abaloner.jpg

Crab claws

My parents got this mainly for my little cousins. I've never been a fan of this dish--it's basically processed shrimp paste and maybe some crab. It tastes like there's quite a bit of filler, and the texture is "springy".

crabclawsr.jpg

Shark fin soup

This is "teen gao" (translated = "sky nine"?) shark fin, which is supposedly quite good quality. It was good...I add Chinese red vinegar to mine, always.

sharkfin.jpg

Scallops and shrimp, green beans

I've never liked blanched scallops very much--I do like them seared with a crust. But this dish was not bad for what it is.

scallopsandshrimp.jpg

Lobster (2)

Very fresh...though I am partial to the cream sauce preparation (especially with yee mein underneath! Or the other sauce that's a bit spicy...)

lobster.jpg

Mandatory starch filler--fried rice with shrimp and vegetables and lots of goopy sauce

Ehh...not my favourite.

rice.jpg

Ling cod and Chinese ham, gai lan

The restaurant called my parents during the week, apologizing that rock cod was not available. :sad: Steamed rock cod with the hot oil/scallion/soy/ginger is usually one of my favourite dishes at these dinners...ah well. Anyway, this is a "classier" preparation, fillets of cod alternating with Chinese ham and shiitake. I do love fish cooked on the bone, so this didn't really do it for me. (Fish was very fresh, though. No doubt it had been swimming earlier in the day.)

fishandham.jpg

WINNER OF THE EVENING--Crispy chicken!!!!

Ever since I was a kid, I always picked listlessly at my crispy chicken because it sometimes tasted "funny" (upon reflection, I think this is because sometimes the oil was old and dirty, and imparted a funny taste to the chicken. When I was a kid, I told my parents I didn't like crispy chicken because "it smells like McDonald's".) But this chicken was delicious--so moist, with fresh globs of yellow fat (I know this sounds unappetizing, but my eyes lit up when I saw that). The chicken tasted so fresh and..well, "chickeny". Delicious skin. I managed to stuff a few pieces down even though I was so full at this point.

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Dessert: glutinous rice balls with black sesame paste, and red bean soup

I love black sesame paste--too bad these were mostly glutinous rice. The red bean soup had a very strong taste of dried orange peel (a good thing if you like red bean soup. I don't, but my grandma drinks like five bowls whenever we have dinner.) I have a pic of the soup, but I think we all know what red bean soup looks like already, so... :smile:

glutinousriceballs.jpg

ETA: the price I had listed yesterday was the total amount of the meal, with tip. Also, the chicken dish we were supposed to get was "yeem gok gai" (salted roast chicken?) but they were sold out of those, and they offered us the option of the crispy chicken or steamed chicken instead.

Edited by Ling (log)
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Beautiful pictures, Ling! The abalone contributed a lot to the $600 price tag, I'll bet.

Abalone (one per person) with pea shoots

Very tender, but not unlike what my parents do at home...so it didn't stand out as being anything particularly special to me.

Was the abalone chewy or melt-in-your-mouth soft? Would it be awkward to eat a whole abalone without it cut?

Scallops and shrimp, green beans

I've never liked blanched scallops very much--I do like them seared with a crust. But this dish was not bad for what it is.

Typically for this sauteed scallop and shrimp dish, the scallop/shrimp are velveted in oil and not blanched. I trust it that this restaurant would do it properly?

Ling cod and Chinese ham, gai lan

...fillets of cod alternating with Chinese ham and shiitake. I do love fish cooked on the bone, so this didn't really do it for me. (Fish was very fresh, though. No doubt it had been swimming earlier in the day.)

This seems to be modelled after the "Gum Wah Yuk Shu Gai" (Chinese ham and chicken pieces laid alternately among green vegetables on the side). The ham usually is salty, the fish delicate and subtle. Interesting combination.

W.K. Leung ("Ah Leung") aka "hzrt8w"
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Was the abalone chewy or melt-in-your-mouth soft?  Would it be awkward to eat a whole abalone without it cut?

It was neither very chewy, nor did it melt in your mouth. It was tender--cut without much resistance. It would be awkward to eat it without cutting it as each abalone was the size of a small filet mignon.

Typically for this sauteed scallop and shrimp dish, the scallop/shrimp are velveted in oil and not blanched.  I trust it that this restaurant would do it properly?

Yes..."velveted" was the word I was looking for--I was thinking "oil-blanched"; my description of the preparation was probably wrong. :smile:

This seems to be modelled after the "Gum Wah Yuk Shu Gai" (Chinese ham and chicken pieces laid alternately among green vegetables on the side).  The ham usually is salty, the fish delicate and subtle.  Interesting combination.

It was tasty, but the subtle sweetness of the fish was kind of lost with the saltier ham in the same bite. I preferred eating the fish on its own, with the smokiness from the ham being merely an accent. :smile:

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Mandatory starch filler--fried rice with shrimp and vegetables and lots of goopy sauce

Ehh...not my favourite.

rice.jpg

That's not any fried rice - that's Fukien fried rice! Pretty common actually - I just like saying Fukien.

Great pictures - looks delicous. I am also guessing that the price tag was driven by the abalone. Gosh - I have not had crispy skinned chicken is soo long. Good stuff.

I was at Sea Harbour again last week and along with the usual crab w/ black bean, kabocha pumpkin sauce - there were a couple of new things to try:

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Braised goose feet with Pomelo skins. Pomelo's are those giant citrus fruits that you see in asian markets. The skins can cleaned and dried and then used as a base for some braises - they taste like bread with a slight citrus bitterness. I find them comforting.

The other thing you see is a deep fried cuttlefish cake stuffed with a small piece of goose liver not sure if its foie gras). The fish cake itself is very springy (too springy for my liking) and tasted very fresh. You get a small nugget of goose liver that added a real savory note to the fish cake. It was a very good addition - with the goal of adding an additional dimension to the fish cake - rather than give you alot of foie. Used like condiment really. Here is an example of where I think Vancouver Chinese restaurants innovate well - incorporating something local or new - without being gimmicky or losing its way from basic Chinese cooking principles.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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^I like Yang Chow fried rice much better, and I especially like salted fish with egg whites in the fried rice! Mmmm....delicious. I guess the salted fish is an acquired taste though.

So I gather Sea Harbour is open again? I love pomelos, but I don't think I've ever had pomelo skin! My parents tend to stick with the set menus, with the typical items like the cold appetizer platter, squab (none yesterday, though, unfortunately), lobster, fresh fish, etc. I hope you organize a dinner though, so I can have the more interesting offerings! :wub:

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For the next few weeks, there is a visiting chef from Toronto (who has apparently won some huge awards in HK or China) who is preparing mini "Emperor-style" feast dishes (the feast is supposed to last three days and three nights) at a Chinese restaurant in Burnaby. I'll post the name of the restaurant in a few hours when my mom gets home...I just remember that the set menu was around $600, and the meal lasts for 2 hours, if anyone is interested in trying it. My parents were considering that restaurant for dinner, but they really wanted abalone for some reason, so we ended up at Empire.

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For the next few weeks, there is a visiting chef from Toronto (who has apparently won some huge awards in HK or China) who is preparing mini "Emperor-style" feast dishes (the feast is supposed to last three days and three nights) at a Chinese restaurant in Burnaby. I'll post the name of the restaurant in a few hours when my mom gets home...I just remember that the set menu was around $600, and the meal lasts for 2 hours, if anyone is interested in trying it.

That sounds awesome. I remember seeing an old Jack (redacted)-hosted episode of Ripley's Believe It Or Not in which a group of Japanese celebrities traveled to Hong Kong for just such a meal (which did last over three days). Although I doubt the roasted bear paw featured on the show will be on the menu at this event, this is something I would definitely love to try.

P.S. Ling, in your opinion, what is the best abalone in town? I've tried it at various restaurants but have always preferred the whole braised abalone at Sun Sui Wah (even over the abalone I had in Hong Kong).

www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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^The best abalone I've had was at Grand Honour at 41st and Granville about two years ago; they are supposed to be famous for their abalone. It's the Grand Honour on the east side of Granville (the one on the west side is a hot pot restaurant which I haven't been to yet.) Grand Honour had this pea-shoot dish that was carpeted with dried scallops...OMG...was that ever delicious--I ate almost the entire plate!

The restaurant in Burnaby is called "Fook Luen"...I think it's Fortune restaurant in Burnaby. My mom says it's where the old Eaton's center used to be. The visiting chef represented Canada in a cooking competition in Guangzhou.

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The restaurant in Burnaby is called "Fook Luen"...I think it's Fortune restaurant in Burnaby. My mom says it's where the old Eaton's center used to be. The visiting chef represented Canada in a cooking competition in Guangzhou.

Hmm. I've tried looking it up but the only Fortune Restaurant that comes up in my search is the Fortune Restaurant on the corner of Cambie and 41st in the Oakride Mall. I'm guess that aint it. No luck on "Fook Luen" either. :angry: Any idea where the old Eaton center used to be?

Thanks.

www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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Another weekend, another Chinese restaurant for the humble bohunks of the cat clan. We finally made it to Shanghai River out in Richmond and it was well worth the trip. Started off with some xiao long bao. I ordered them by saying that and not "steamed pork buns", which totally impressed the other cats. Uncle Cat then set to teaching himself some Chinese characters by looking at the menus and comparing items. He learned "pork" by the time we ordered. We also had the Shanghai Noodles (PapaCat's favourite - he orders this everywhere we go), sweet and sour boneless pork, and a diced chicken and chile hot pot. Everything was just delicious!

Canucklehead's soup bun battle photos are exactly right - a nice thin dumpling around a golden soup filling with a wonderful rich flavour to it. Two of the dumplings experienced premature desoupulation, however, when they stuck to the paper lining the steamer. REALLY delicious, though - much more flavourful than pretty much any of the dumplings I've ever had at dim sum before. We decided we're going to try Shanghai Wind's dumplings too for scientific comparison purposes.

The 3 dishes we chose were enjoyed by all - I found that in each of the dishes the flavours were much more pronounced, much fresher-tasting, and just much more all-around awesomer than many of the restaurants we usually try. If you sat me in front of 100 dishes of Shanghai noodles or sweet and sour pork or chile chicken from all the restaurants we've been to over the years, these would be the only ones that I would instantly recognize.

All in all, delicious and cheap (4 dishes and one drink, $47 after tax). Decor is lovely - open and warm, and when we arrived just before opening at 5, there were already about 4 or 5 groups waiting patiently outside. Staff were very helpful, great English and great suggestions.

Jenn

"She's not that kind of a girl, Booger!"

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P.S.  Ling, in your opinion, what is the best abalone in town?  I've tried it at various restaurants but have always preferred the whole braised abalone at Sun Sui Wah (even over the abalone I had in Hong Kong).

One more thing...I believe abalone is something we should be avoiding right now, due to sustainability concerns. I didn't really a choice at dinner, since my parents wanted to take my grandma out for abalone one more time (she's in her last stages of cancer). But anyway, something to consider before I send you rushing out to Grand Honour in search of abalone... :smile:

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I think they have a steamed/baked lobster on top of sticky rice entree that is pretty decent.

You can always also ask the servers what they have that is an in-house special.

I'm headed to Ho Yuen Kee on Fraser this week. Any suggestions for "must haves" on their menu? Anything I need to order ahead of time?

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Armed with a host of recommendations from this very thread, my wife and I headed out to Richmond last Sunday for an early dinner. Unfortunately, it was too early a dinner. Our first choice, Shanghai Wind was closed. As was our second choice: Chen's Kitchen. So we headed to Sea Harbour - which was also closed. As was Golden Sichuan. Frustrated and feeling very much like one of the contestant couples on The Amazing Race (the ones who are always getting lost and coming in second to last) we ended up at the food court in Yohan Center. It WAS open. I haven't been by in quite a while and I'd forgotten how good and inexpensive the food was. I had some excellent garlicky crisp-fried calamari, tender steamed chicken with green onions, and a homestyle tofu skin (just like my mother-in-law makes). Toss in a juicy half a barbecued duck and a couple of pieces of that sweeeeet Chinese sausage, lup-chong, and, voila - I couldn't have asked for a better meal. Definitely not your average mall food.

www.josephmallozzi.wordpress.com

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I had dinner with my boy at the Bo Kong Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant this week. We always get the colourful vegetable chop suey in a taro nest. I love the caramelized cashews and the fake ham. I have really freaked out some vegetarian friends by serving them that dish! We also had deep fried enoki mushrooms on deep fried tofu. That dish did not live up to my expectations. I think the waiter was actually trying to dissuade me from ordering it, but I didn't catch on in time. "U" loves the taro nest and the deep fried tofu. This was one of the first restaurants we ever took him to. He must have been one and a half years old. He sat in a high chair and projectile vomited broccoli all over the floor. The waitress paused. Then she said, "Babies do that sometimes." They certainly do. We left a large tip.

Sorry. T.M.I., I know. These are the memories families are made of.

Zuke

"I used to be Snow White, but I drifted."

--Mae West

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