I just got back from a belated birthday dinner with the folks, and we inhaled an eight-course meal. To be honest, it’s a little uncomfortable sitting in front of the computer right now, but I’ll soldier through it for you.
Our meal consisted of:
1. shark’s fin soup
2. crab with ginger and green onion
3. pork with vegetables
4. fish belly and dried scallop with baby bok choy
5. crispy skin chicken
6. salted chicken fried rice
7. lemon soupy dessert thing
8. laughing cookies and almond cookies
The food was pretty nice, actually. The crab was really nice and fresh, and while I’m not a big fan of fish belly, the sauce accompanying the fish belly went really well with the underlying bed of baby bok choy. I thought the pork was a little overcooked, but I did like the snow peas that came along with it. The rice had an al dente texture, which I liked a lot. Mushy starch is one of my least favourite things. The crispy skin chicken – which is exactly what it sounds like, a cooked chicken that’s deep fried so that it has paper-thin crispy skin – is served with a dish of peppery salt, which makes an otherwise good dish into an amazing one. There’s something about the rush of sodium in to the bloodstream, via my taste buds, that is a wonderful sensation.
Also, in a surprising twist, dessert was really good. Chinese desserts are generally half-assed and/or awful (for example, red bean soup) but the lemony soupy dessert thing – technical term, of course – was quite good. The hint of lemon went well with the subtle sweetness, and it was nice and light. Chinese dessert soups tend to be too thick, almost gloppy, which has the unpleasant effect of triggering my gag reflex.
And the cookies! Laughing cookies are these little balls of dough that are rolled in sesame seeds and then fried. The ball forms a sort of fracture as it cooks, and the end product is this bite-sized cookie that looks a bit like an old man’s mouth when his dentures are out. Also, there were these really yummy almond cookies. Usually almond cookies are pretty unobtrusive, but the texture on these was great: crumbly and sweet.
My only complaint? Service is kind of strange – there are tons of waiters standing around but they don’t seem to be assigned to any one table, so it’s hard to get one’s attention. And they hover when you don’t want them around, but are nowhere to be seen when you need something. I really wish they had communicated our eating speed to the kitchen, because the food kept coming out faster than we could eat. It’s not all that nice to be eating in a rush because you want to try the next thing while it’s still hot. I swear, 5 dishes showed up in the span of 3 minutes. It was like something out of Hogwarts.
608-650 W. 41st Avenue, Vancouver