Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant

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Hoitong Chinese Seafood restaurant is definitely a hole in the wall hidden gem. I’ve walked by this restaurant many times but have honestly never cared for what was inside. However, my mom suggested we try it for our family dinner and after some Googling, I realized the chef has won many awards. The chef is actually over 70 years old but still cooking up delicious food.

 

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The restaurant is quite small, with only around 6 family sized tables. So even if you are only a table of 4, you will sit in a big round table. Because of the limited tables, there are essentially only 2 rounds of dinner service. Be sure to make reservations in advance as it is usually fully booked. The decor is simple and not lavish at all, but it doesn’t matter because the food is the star here.

 

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Seems like there is only a Chinese menu, so bring a Chinese friend if you can’t read it!

 

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To start, we had their daily soup which was chicken feet with beans. Not the most visually appealing, but the soup was full of depth and warmed our tummies.

 

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Roast Squab

To start, we had the Roast Squab which came piping hot! These were also one of the largest and meatiest squabs I’ve had at a restaurant. This dish requires pre-order so make sure you call ahead. The skin was really crispy and the flavour was on point. Not too salty but still flavourful.

 

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Mushrooms Stuffed in Bean Curd with Baby Bok Choy

For veggies, we had Mushrooms Stuffed in Bean Curd with Baby Bok Choy. Usually, I don’t think much about this dish since I assume it’s not that difficult to make, but wow this dish had me wanting more. The bean curd was so silky smooth, and the sauce was absolutely delicious! Again, it was not overly salty which I really liked.

 

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Sweet and Sour Pork

And onto the famous dish at Hoitong – the Sweet and Sour Pork. I know what you’re thinking… how can sweet and sour pork be so special? The dish uses pork cheek therefore the meat is super bouncy. The batter is thin and the sauce has just the right amount of sweet and tangyness. A must order!

 

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Stir Fried Milk and Fried Tofu

Another famous dish is the Stir Fried Milk. We got this along with the Fried Tofu to pair. I’ve had deep fried milk before but this was my frist time having stir fried milk! Wow, this was so silky and creamy and I think there was even some crab meat inside. I can imagine this taking a lot of skill to make! As for the Fried Tofu puffs, they were lightly battered with the tofu inside being bouncy.

 

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Lotus Leaf Seafood Rice

Another pre-order dish is the Lotus Leaf Seafood Rice. I mean, how cute is the presentation? It looks like those hats people wore back in the day!

 

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The rice is not cheap at around $30, but the portion is actually huge and we had enough leftovers for lunch the next day too! The rice was moist and packed with scallops and shrimp.

To end our meal, we got complimentary taro and coconut sago. Love how this was not too sweet and a perfect way to end the meal. Chef Tong even came out to say his thank yous to each dining table! That is something I have not seen before and I noticed he actually had so many regular customers. Overall, we were all happy with our meal. Despite some higher prices, the execution and quality of food was great. Definitely an elevated home cooking experience!

Pros:
– Great execution of dishes
– Well-balanced flavours while not being too salty or oily

Cons:
– Ambiance is not that nice

Price Range: $30-40 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 5 Service: 4 Ambiance: 2.5 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4.5

 

Hoitong Chinese Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Dynasty Seafood Restaurant

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Vegetarian Bean Curd Roll and Vegetarian Chinese Crispy Pork Belly

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant has won many awards over the years. I have no idea why I have not visited it until now! Located on Broadway and Willow, there is actually free parking below the restaurant. It looks like there is pay parking, but if you tell the hostess which stall you parked at, then you will not get towed or ticketed.

To start, we had some vegetarian appetizers including the Bean Curd Roll and Chinese Crispy Pork Belly. The Bean Curd Roll was quite typical and I wouldn’t say it was anything special. However, the Chinese Pork Belly was super interesting because it has the flavour and texture of real pork belly! I can’t figure what the fatty part is made of, but the meat portion is made of bean curd and the crispy skin seemed to be fried bread. I’ve never seen something like this before!

 

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Chicken in Soya Sauce (half)

Next up was the Chicken in Soya Sauce which we got half an order of. I believe you have to pre-order this dish. The chicken remained moist and the soy sauce was light and therefore not overly salty.

 

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Deep Fried Bean Curd Sheet Wrapped with Taro

The star of that night was the Deep Fried Bean Curd Sheet Wrapped with Taro which is another dish you need to pre-order. The bean curd is shaped like a Buddhist’s prayer beads. Inside each ball is filled with mashed taro. The bean curd itself is deep fried so its really crispy. It is then served with a sweet and sour tomato and cucumber salsa which really opens up your appetite.

 

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Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Tofu

An item off their regular menu was the Salt and Pepper Deep Fried Tofu. The tofu was extremely crispy on the outside which the inside still soft and smooth. We loved the peppery flavours of this dish and it wasn’t too spicy at all.

 

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Chiu Chow Double Sided Crispy Pan Fried Noodles

To finish our meal, we tried a really interesting dish that is not commonly found or well executed in Vancouver. This is the Chiu Chow Double Sided Crispy Pan Fried Noodles which is served with sugar and vinegar. The noodles are extermely crispy and you are supposed to drizzle vinegar and sprinkle sugar on top of the noodles. They also provide you with some chopped up chives to pair. I have never tried this dish before but I really enjoyed it! I especially loved putting sugar on it! A must try if you are adventurous!

Overall, we were quite impressed with Dynasty Seafood and I can see why they have won so many awards. I think one key reason is because the dishes are much more creative than typical traditional Cantonese dishes you find at other restaurants. The dishes are also well presented and the servers were all quite professional and attentive. The ambiance is right on and has the same feel as Kirin and Sea Harbour. Although the prices are much higher than other restaurants, this is definitely the spot you will want to bring guests that you want to impress. I can’t wait to come back to try their dim sum!

Pros:
– Creative and well-executed dishes
– Nice ambiance and good service for a Chinese restaurant

Cons:
– Dishes can be on the pricier side
– Many of the more interesting dishes require pre-ordering

Price Range: $20-40 per person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

 

Dynasty Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Wild Rice

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Note: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Thanks to VancityTastes, I was invited to a media tasting for the launch of Wild Rice‘s new summer patio menu. Wild Rice used to have a location in Vancouver, but now it is located at the River Market in New West. I don’t frequent New West, so I had never actually been to the River Market and was surprised to see that the area is right in front of the waterfront. With the warm weather now, they have opened up their patio, which is right in front of the water. What a beautiful space to enjoy your meal!

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You can also choose to sit indoors, where there is both a dining area and a lounge if you’re looking for a quick bite and drinks. The interior is dimly lit with modern decor and the best part is their open kitchen concept. You can sit at the lounge and want the chefs do their thing. Wild Rice is known for the fact that they make their dishes as you order. That means nothing sits under a heat lamp and nothing is reheated. They also source their ingredients from local farms and partners with Ocean Wise for seafood. We also learned that the owner learned cooking from his grandma, so all dishes have an Asian flare and are meant to be shared. I’d say that the owner has put his own twist and modernized the traditional dishes, so is more Asian fusion.

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Gin & Tonic

To start, we had a Gin & Tonic. This was rosemary infused, featuring a Victoria premium cocktail gin and mixed with tonic water.

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Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

As for food, we started with a Vegan Kale Caesar Salad which featured a cashew tofu dressing, roasted garlic, crispy chickpeas, olives, red onion, and balsamic reduction. The kale tasted fresh and crispy, but the star was definitely the crispy chickpeas. I think they might have been fried, because they were super light and addicting! And I don’t even usually like to eat chickpeas since I find it to be too dense. Overall, the salad was light and refreshing, perfect for the warm weather.

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Gluten Free Polenta Fries

The Gluten Free Polenta Fries were a beautiful golden yellow and was battered with cornmeal, topped with green onion, and served with a side of chili aioli. Personally, I am not a huge fan of polenta because of how dense it often is. For me, I found the fries to be dense and the cornmeal texture to be a little overwhelming. However, that chili aioli was addicting, and complemented the fries well so they weren’t as heavy feeling.

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Vegetable Potstickers

The Vegetable Potsticks were all perfectly wrapped and pinched and pan fried to a beautiful golden brown. The filling includes smoked tofu, napa cabbage, shiitake mushroom, and carrot. To dip, there was a ponzu dressing on the side which gave some acidity.

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Gluten Free Salt & Pepper Squid

My favourite of the night was the Gluten Free Salt & Pepper Squid. The squid is lightly battered and fried, then topped with jalapenos, grilled lime, house tartar. The squid was not tough at all, but just the right chewy bouncy texture.

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Berry Mojito

Switching up my drink, I tried the Berry Mojito which featured crushed bramble berries, mint, lime, and rum. For me, the drink was very fruity so I could barely taste the alcohol. You could easily drink many of these without noticing the alcohol! Dangerous!

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Chicken Adobo Steamed Buns

A new menu item they just added are the Chicken Adobo Steamed Buns. These Chinatown baos come with a soy braised soft boiled egg, house pickles, and roasted garlic. The flavours were great, but I think many of us were confused as to why the buns were only filled with the chicken adobo near the bottom. The bun was soft and fluffy, but we just thought the construction of the bun was a bit odd.

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Mini Poke Bowl

The last savoury dish was the Mini Poke Bowl. This features ocean-wise salmon on scallion verde rice, onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, spicy pineapple, cucumber and seaweed. Definitely not the authentic poke, but the flavours worked together with a nice kick from the spiced pineapples. I also liked how there was a soy marinade throughout the rice and not just at the top. I always find it difficult to mix all the ingredients together, so it’s nice that the soy is throughout the rice so you don’t end up with just plain rice at the bottom.

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Twisted Fashion

To finish, we had the Twisted Fashion which featured bourbon, ginger reduction, and orange bitters. A much stronger drink, this is not for everyone. I actually quite enjoyed this as it had a hint of ginger which brought bit of sweetness to it.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

For dessert, we had the Gluten Free Chocolate Cake which was served with raspberry sauce and mint ice cream from Tre Galli Gelato Cafe from next door. I think the cake is normally served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, but not sure why it got switched up. The mint ice cream was great, but I think the vanilla ice cream would have been a better pairing. The cake was a delicious molten-like cake and many of the bloggers had more than one serving!

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Overall, the new summer menu at Wild Rice features a colourful array of light, refreshing dishes. Many of their dishes are also perfect for vegetarians or those who require gluten-free dishes. With such a nice patio and waterfront view, this makes a great summer patio spot for drinks and dishes.

Wild Rice Market Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant – 4 Decades of Dim Sum

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Last month, I was invited to Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant co-hosted by ChineseBites, Stephanie Yuen, and Gojoy Berries to celebrate 4 decades of dim sum. Pink Pearl has been opened for 40 years since the 1980s and is one of Vancouver’s oldest Chinese restaurants.

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 Steamed Shrimp Dumplings

First up were some Steamed Shrimp Dumplings which are a staple at dim sum. The shrimp was juicy and wrapping was thin.

 

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Liver and Pork Dumplings

The Liver and Pork Dumplings date back to the 1980s and I’m definitely not a fan of this version. I much prefer the modern version with the tobiko fish roe on top. Liver is quite chalky and I only really eat it when it’s in congee.

 

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Duck Web Wrap

The Duck Web Wrap is also from the 1980s and I quite enjoyed this version. Wrapped inside the bean curd is also taro, ham, and mushrooms. However, all the ingredients easily fell out, so execution-wise, it doesn’t really work out. However, flavours were great together!

 

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Mini Steamed Pork Bun

Another staple at dim sum are Steamed Pork Buns. Great dish to fill you up.

 

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Shrimp Toast

Another 1980s dish is the Shrimp Toast, which I’ve never seen at dim sum. I actually quite enjoyed this as the shrimp paste is put on toast and then deep fried. A little greasy, but I think this should be back on the modern day menus!

 

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Steamed Sticky Rice Roll

Steamed Sticky Rice Rolls are literally carbs on carbs. These buns are filled with sticky rice so can get quite filling.

 

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Handmade Steamed Beef Rice Rolls

Rice rolls are now filled with a variety of ingredients, but beef and shrimp rice rolls are always a staple.

 

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Handmade Steamed Shrimp Rice Rolls

 

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Lotus Wrapped Sticky Rice

Most restaurants serve their Lotus Wrapped Sticky Rice in smaller portions (usually two or three fit in a container), but these are one gigantic portion, so you share it amongst your table.

 

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Pan Fried Half Moon Dumplings

Another dish from the 1980s is the Pan Fried Half Moon Dumplings. It comes with a dipping sauce with chives, but I found the batter of the dumplings to be a bit too thick. Not a fan of this, but it seems like I’m not a fan of most of the dishes from the 1980s!

 

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Wok Fried Lotus Root and Vegetables

Featuring Gojoy gojiberries, this dish has an abundance of vegetables and the lotus roots really give it a great crunch. The gojiberries themselves are very fresh so they are not your typical wrinkly dried gojiberries.

 

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Gojoy Gojiberries Gelle

For dessert, the first dessert also featured the Gojoy gojiberries. The jelly is light and not too sweet.

 

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Black and White Sesame Roll

Laslty, the Black and White Sesame Roll are subtly sweet and a good way to end a usually greasy dim sum morning.

 

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Overall, it was a great experience to try dim sum dishes from over 4 decades, many of which I was unfamiliar with and haven’t seen on modern day menus.

 

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From May 1 – August 31, 2017, Pink Pearl is holding a fundraiser with a dinner menu for 10 – 12 people for $568 including tax and gratuities. Net proceeds will go to the Vancouver Food Bank and Vancouver Sower Society. More details on Pink Pearl’s website.

 

Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

MYST Asian Fusion – ChineseBites Media Event

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Two weeks ago, MYST Asian Fusion opened in Burnaby. The parking lot in the front can get filled up quickly during peak hours, but free street parking is available along Kingsway. The restaurant features a variety of Asian inspired dishes and has modern decor that even lights up at night giving a lounge feel. We were invited by ChineseBites to check out some of their dishes.

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Calpis Butterfly Pea Flower and Strawberry Lemon Butterfly Pea Flower

There is a long list of drinks available, including your typical bubble tea. They also have a few versions of the Butterfly Pea Flower, which has become a popular drink on many bubble tea shop menus.

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Green Apple Slush

Their Slushies are also super cute, with marshmallows and chocolate eyes. Liquor is also available for drinks, including my favourite Taiwanese fruit beers!

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Steamed Sticky Rice Dumplings

Onto food, we tried the Steamed Sticky Rice Dumplings which are common at Shanghainese restaurants. Because there is rice inside, I find that this dish tends to be on the dry side.

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Assorted Deep Fried Basket

The Assorted Deep Fried Basket was filled with deep fried squid, pork blood, and chicken. A great dish to share.

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MYST Deluxe Marinated Pork with Rice

This dish was definitely a deluxe take on the classic Taiwanese marinated pork on rice. It was topped with lots of Taiwanese sausage and a sunny side egg. Mix it all together, and this was delicious and full of flavour!

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Marinated 3 Item Combo (Seaweed, Dried Tofu, Pork Ear String)

The Marinated 3 Item Combo is common among Taiwanese cuisine. Not my favourite though as I am not a huge fan of pork ear.

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Chives, Shrimp & Pork Dumplings

The dumplings were simple but very tasty and flavourful. The chili soy sauce on the side was addicting!

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MYST Beef Noodle Soup

The MYST Beef Noodle Soup is filled with shank, tripe, and tendon.

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TaiNan Style Egg Noodle Soup

A very different noodle compared to the above, the TaiNan Style Egg Noodle Soup is less flavourful but a great option if you want a more clear broth.

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Fried Chicken in Chili Pepper

The Fried Chicken were large in size and deep fried to a golden brown while the meat remained moist. Yummy!

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Preserved Cabbage with Shredded Pork Fried Rice Cake

A simple dish, but very tasty, with the rice cakes being just the right amount of chew. Not too oily either.

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Delicious Sandwiches

A classic favourite for kids, these sandwichese were filled with tomato, egg, ham, and cucumber.

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Skewers

  • Pork intestine $2.25/each
  • Lamb $2.25/each
  • Pork $2.25/each
  • Chicken $2.25/each
  • Fish cake $3.50/each
  • Chicken gizzard $2.25/each

When I say MYST has a large variety of dishes, I’m not kidding because they even have skewers! You don’t need to go to the night market to get your fix of these. However, I did find that they lack the char that the night market ones have.

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House Special Spicy Lamb Hot Pot

My favourite of the night was the House Special Spicy Lamb Hot Pot. It was filled with tender slices of lamb, imitation crab, and a variety of vegetables. The broth was spicy and very flavourful! This is served with rice and a few side dishes.

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MYST Jelly

For dessert, we tried the MYST Jelly which is tasted like wintermelon and brown sugar. Slightly too sweet for some as wintermelon can often be. The texture was also a bit odd as it seemed like too much gelatin was put in it.

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MYST Taiyaki

The MYST Taiyaki comes in a waffle bowl, with matcha ice cream, red beans, mochi balls, and a red bean filled taiyaki. The mochi balls are melon flavoured which was interesting! Not bad, but I found the mochi to be more hard than chewy.

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Strawberry Shaved Snowflake

The Strawberry Shaved Snowflake is definitely picture worthy. They are smart to use a bowl shaped like this to maximize the effect of the dry ice. As for the dessert itself though, I didn’t like the artificial strawberry flavour. Perhaps the mango version would be better.

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Hakka Style Sweet Rice Cake

Lastly, we tried the Hakka Style Sweet Rice Cake, but most of us were not a fan of it. Perhaps it was the dates inside which gave a bitter aftertaste. It also tasted like there was alcohol in it, which many of us were not fond of.

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Overall, there are hits and misses at MYST Asian Fusion, but the good thing is they have such a large variety of choices so there is something for everyone. They also open from 7:30 am for breakfast until 1am from Sunday to Thursday and until 2am from Friday to Saturday.

Myst Asian Fusion Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant

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The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant opened up a few months ago in Richmond. It is located next to Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity.

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The restaurant offers dim sum in the early mornings and lunch and switches to Cantonese cuisine for dinner service. What is more interesting is that they serve sushi and sashimi during dim sum service. Yes…that is a sushi bar behind the counter. Honestly, that made me question the food even more because who comes to a dim sum restaurant for sushi?

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The decor inside is definitely pretty nice, on par with the Yuan’s next door. They also have private rooms if you are hosting parties.

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Tea came in a fancy teapot along with a heater. However, because of all these appliances, we found it took up way too much space on the table.

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Shrimp Dumplings

We started off with the Shrimp Dumplings which were quite typical. Large shrimps inside but nothing out of the ordinary.

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Beef Rice Roll

The Beef Rice Roll came accompanied with two gai lans. The rice roll itself was quite thin and smooth.

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Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf

The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf was a decent size with a variety of ingredients including minced pork, dried shrimp and egg yolk.

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Steamed Custard Bun

Next up were the Steamed Custard Buns. Not super pretty in appearance with the odd bumps here and there, but there was a good amount of filling and the bun itself was light and fluffy.

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Pork Shiu Mai

They offer truffle shiu mai here as well, but we opted for the regular Pork Shiu Mai as my mom doesn’t like the taste of truffle. These were quite large and the wrapper was thin.

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Taro Mushroom Bun

An interesting dish was the Taro Mushroom Bun. The bun itself is actually filled with taro and the outside is decorated with cocoa powder to imitate a mushroom.

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Is this cute or what? Even has the stem! The bun itself is nothing special but the appearance definitely won us over.

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Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake

To finish our meal, we had the Steamed Malaysian Sponge Cake. This was a big portion but I found it to be a little too dense for my liking.

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Overall, we found The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant to be quite average for the price we were paying. The price is slightly higher than average, but the food was nothing too special. We also found the selection of food to be quite limited unless you want to venture into trying their sushi (which is quite expensive by the way). Not sure if I would return given the many options there are in Richmond.

Pros:
– Luxury ambiance
– Decent eats

Cons:
– Limited selection
– On the pricier side for the quality of food

Price Range: $15-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 2.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 2.5

The Deluxe Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

21 Nautical Miles – ChineseBites Media Event

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Seafood boils have been exploding in Vancouver and appears to be the new trend. I guess that means we don’t need to go down to Seattle for Crab Pot! A few weeks ago, I was invited by ChineseBites to attend a tasting at 21 Nautical Miles in Yaletown.

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The restaurant took over the previous tenant, Society, so the decor is still somewhat similar with high ceilings. High tables and chairs with a bar feel is what I would describe the restaurant. I do find that the decor is slightly odd for the type of food we’re eating, but we are in Yaletown.

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At the entrance though, you get the Asian decor with modernized paintings and cute chairs. As you can tell, the restaurant features seafood boils with Asian flavours.

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We started off with a 3 litre tower of beer. Definitely reminded me of the times when we had this in Spain, but I haven’t seen this anywhere in Vancouver yet. Great to share across the table! They also have wine and pretty much any other drink you want since they have a large bar.

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Seafood Party: Garlic Butter

And then the Seafood Party started! The seafood boils come in a metal bowl and are dumped onto your table which has been covered with parchment paper. Each diner will have a mallet and wooden board so you can smash open your crab. You’ll also get plastic gloves and a bib so you can get as messy as you want! There is a two person minimum order and it’ll cost you $38.95 per person. This will get you BC Dungeness crab, selva tiger prawns, blue mussels, clams, corn and potato. If you want to get fancy like we did, you can also add on Alaskan king crab, lobster tail, and snow crab. There are also four flavours to choose from, and pictured here is the Garlic Butter. This is perfect for those who can’t eat spicy and is really the only option since the other three are all spicy. This was a crowd pleaser since you really can’t go wrong with garlic butter flavoured anything!

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Seafood Party: Black Pepper

Moving on to something a little spicy was the Black Pepper flavour. This flavour reminded me of the late night clams you get at Cantonese restaurants. The Alaskan king crab was delicious by the way. Normally, I don’t really care for king crab because I find that our BC Dungeness crabs are quite meaty already, but man, these were juicy! I highly recommend splurging a little to get the king crab here! One leg is plenty to share with your guests.

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Seafood Party: Xi’an Spicy

Another level up in terms of spice gets you the Xi’an Spicy. With red chili peppers giving that extra kick, I actually really enjoyed this as it had a depth of flavour and wasn’t just plain spicy and numbing. Oh and the tiny lobster tails were juicy and delicious.

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Seafood Party: House Special Spicy (5/5 Spice Level)

Then onto the spiciest you can get is the House Special Spicy. We had ours at 5/5 spice level, but you can choose how spicy you want when you order. Many of our group couldn’t take spice so this was a struggle, but I actually didn’t find it as spicy as I had though. I didn’t mind a few pieces in between the other flavours, but I thought that this was more of just plain numbing and spicy rather than having any additional flavour. If you like spicy, I would suggest the Xi’an Spicy instead since it has more flavour. And to be honest, I found the snow crab to be just average as they have long legs but the abundance of meat is very little. I like my crabs with lots of meat!

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Overall, the seafood boils are great with the seafood being quite fresh although many of the spicier flavours will cover any freshness. If you really want to taste the seafood flavours, I’d recommend getting the Garlic Butter. I also wish there was some bread to soak up all the flavours. The seafood boils are OceanWise by the way, so always a plus!

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Seafood Party: Wok Fried Spicy

Next up was the Wok Fried Spicy, a dry seafood dish which featured crab and spot prawns. These had a nice kick but the flavours really came from the outside crumbs covering the shell as the inside is not seasoned.

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Kung Fu Soup

To clean our palettes, we tried the Kung Fu Soup which is an abalone flavoured soup with goji berries. Served in a beautiful tea pot and cup, the soup was light but full-bodied. I loved this and highly recommend ending your meal with this to calm your palette!

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Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs

Other than seafood boils, they have some other dishes on the menu including this very interesting Stone Cooked Scrambled Eggs. The staff brings over a very hot pot with hot stones inside. They then pour a blend of eggs, shrimp, and green onions in the pot and cover the pot. Because of the hot pot and stones, the eggs get cooked. It’s fun to watch but the stones are not very practical because you have to scoop them out before eating the egg.

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Grilled Oysters

They also have Grilled Oysters which are filled with lots of garlic. I found these to be slightly too salty and you could barely taste the oysters.

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Chicken Wings

The Chicken Wings are flavoured with preserved plum but tasted like peanut butter to me. Very crispy on the outside but the salty and sweet flavour threw me off a bit.

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Beef and Lamb Skewers

The Beef and Lamb Skewers are flavoured with cumin spices and brings an Asian flavour. I found the beef (top) to be quite dry, so I did prefer the lamb (bottom) much more.

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Sichuan Style Boiled Fish

A new dish that the chef let us try was the Sichuan Style Boiled Fish. This is served with flat glass noodles and tofu. The tofu really soaked up the spicy sauce, while the glass noodles did the opposite. I think a different type of noodles would have worked better and the noodles were also too hard for my liking. This was made with a 5/5 spice level, but it can be customized for milder tastes. This was mostly numbing so I wish there was another dimension of flavour to it.

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Crawfish Tower

Then came the Crawfish Tower which was a crowd pleaser with everyone trying to get the perfect shot with the liquid nitrogen smoke. However, I’m not a huge fan of crawfish just because I find that it’s a lot of work to get so little meat!

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The flavours were the same as the seafood boils, including garlic butter, black pepper, Xi’an spicy, house special spicy (spice level 5/5).

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Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce

As if we did not have enough seafood, the chef brought us the Blue Crab in Chef’s Special Sauce. This turned out to be a favourite with the dish featuring blue crab, chicken wings, chicken feet, and potatoes in a special chef’s secret recipe from his Xi’an hometown. I find that there isn’t much meat in blue crab, but this sauce was tasty!

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Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe

To finish off our large meal, we had the Mango Thousand Layer Mille Crepe. These are super popular these days, and even my sisters has been obsessed at making them. This was quite good with a nice layer of mango jelly in the centre. They told us it was directly imported from Taiwan but my sister actually found this at Price Smart when she was looking for crepe cakes to taste test. She’s pretty sure it’s the same one because of the special layer of mango jely in the centre. As well, when I ate it, it was slightly frozen so it seemed like it was frozen and then defrosted. So I guess you could still say it’s imported from Taiwan… It was still good but not even close to the ones at Lady M!

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Overall, 21 Nautical Miles definitely is a great place to visit if you want to try seafood boils with Asian flavours. The prices are not cheap, but you also get a fancier ambiance.

21 Nautical Miles Seafood Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

As part of a preview for Chopstick Fest, Jacqueline, Dennis, Stephen, Kym, and I were invited to try Liu Yi Shou Hot Pot Restaurant on Robson St., which will be a participiating restaurant for the festival. The festival will run from October 15th – 30th, 2016 and will have a similar concept to Dine Out Vancouver, but feature all Chinese restaurants.

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Liu Yi Shou is a Chong Qing style hot pot chain famous in China. It first brought their chain to Richmond under the name Thumbs Up Hot Pot, which I have yet to try. I think the two restaurant’s menus are pretty much the same though. The interior consists of booth seats with air ventilation from the prior barbecue restaurant.

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I love sauce bars so this is always an added differentiation. Here, I think you pay $2.50 to mix your own sauce with a large variety of ingredients. To be honest though, I usually stick with the simple soy sauce and satay!

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Chong Qing Spicy Broth and Wild Mushrooms Broth

We chose to split the pot in half and have two soup bases. One was non-spicy and was filled with mushrooms and goji berries. The other was their famous Chong Qing Spicy Broth at a medium spice level. They told us that their spicy is quite spicy, so we settled with medium. The medium was a spicy numbing flavour, as expected with Chong Qing style cuisine. However, I think this was tolerable, especially when we had the other soup base to eat in between. I’d definitely say I’ve had spicier at my Szechuan friend’s house.

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Fish Tofu

They have all your typical hot pot ingredients, including fish tofu, fish ball, enoki, bean curd, tofu, lotus root, potato and taro.

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Corn

We also sampled corn, luncheon meat, shrimp paste, fish filet, shrimp, and deep fried pork. All were very standard with everything you could find at your typical Cantonese style hot pot.

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Supreme Lamb

Meat is everything for me at hot pot, so I usually choose a hot pot restaurant based on the quality of meat. We were able to sample Supreme Beef, Supreme Lamb, and Sliced Beef. I loved the Supreme Lamb as it was buttery and tender. It also wasn’t gamey at all so many of the bloggers who don’t normally eat lamb didn’t even realize it was lamb! The Supreme Beef could be slightly more tender if it has more fat, but it wasn’t bad for sure. The Sliced Beef was the most chewy as expected because of the thick cut, but still very fresh.

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Overall, we were all pleasantly surprised by the quality of food at Liu Yi Shou. They are famous for their spicy hot pot, so definitely give that a try if you love spice. If you’re looking to fill up though, your bill might add up since it’s a la carte, rather than AYCE. However, the quality of food is therefore better than AYCE. Oh and for all you hot pot newbies, they have a list showing the time needed to cook different menu items! That’s something I haven’t seen before for sure. And did I mention, this is the only Chinese style hot pot you will find along the Robson/downtown area?

Liuyishou Hotpot Robson Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato