Polly and I met up on a Saturday morning for dim sum. Polly recommended this fairly new Top Chiu Chow Cuisine on Capstan Way. Her family had been to this restaurant once and they all like it.
We were there early, i.e. 10 am, just after they opened for business. This is because Polly has to go to work at noon.
We were their first customers that day. The decoration is pleasant and modern for a dim sum restaurant. This restaurant seats 72.
Even the tea cup and tea pot is not of tradition shape. They are more modern looking.
We were served complimentary fried peanuts and sour mustard for snacking before our orders arrive.
We ordered a few items to share. We like most of the items and we will be back to try other items. The captain who served us told us that the restaurant will launch 20 over new items in 2 weeks time.
One obstacle here is the restaurant menu is in Chinese only. Fortunately Polly reads Chinese.
Our first item is a Chiu Chow Pepper Sour Mustard Pork Stomach Soup. This is one of Ben’s favourite soup. This bowl of soup is $6.80. It is equivalent to 4 servings of the small bowl. More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Updated: 20th May 2011: This restaurant does not operate 24 hours anymore; check out their business hour at the end of this post.
Traditionally the Chinese celebrates the Chinese New Year over 15 days. I don’t think anyone does that anymore but in some Asian countries people still take a week off for the celebration. This is very much like what we have in Canada during the Christmas-New Year holidays.
On the first day of Chinese New Year, Suanne and I went to look for a new restaurant to eat. Too bad it is a school day and so Arkensen and Nanzaro did not join us.
It was just a few weeks ago I heard that the Gala Seafood Restaurant had closed. They are known for their cheap dim sum. And now a couple of weeks later, there is a restaurant with a new name re-opened at that place.
The new restaurant name is Jubilee Chinese Restaurant. It is located in the Union Square strip mall.
Actually I had never been to the old Gala restaurant before. It was Suanne who went there and blogged about it.
This restaurant looked quite fancy. It is decked in gold and they have the expensive looking gold seat covers. Not knowing anything about this restaurant we were fearing that this is going to be expensive. We were thinking that this will not be a place where we could get $2 dim sum like when it was still Gala.
The dining hall is huge. It is so big that it was difficult to count the number of tables, let alone how many seats there are. We estimated that they have 30, maybe 40 tables in all.
The waiter told us they had opened for a week already. When we asked the captain, she told us that this is a completely new management and staff including the chef.
We learned that this is a Chiu Chow restaurant and the surprising thing is that they are opened 24 hours. That was what the captain told us. She said that for now, they will open 24 hours and so you can come in at any hour and they will serve the appropriate food for the hour (i.e. dim sum in the morning and da-lang for late night suppers).
Actually the prices were … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
It had been almost five years since we last visited this restaurant next to the T&T Supermarket on Cambie Road. The Hou Lok Restaurant is actually one of the earliest restaurant posts I had written.
This restaurant is so low key that for the longest time I had forgotten about them. Even driving past this restaurant I did not even notice it is there. It came back on my radar when Keev organized a “dalang” chowdown with a focus … get this … chicken TESTICLES! You gotta read the fmed’s report on chowhound here.
No we did not join that chowdown because it was held late night on a weekday.
Suanne and I went to Hou Lok last week to have their late night supper. In Chinese it is called “dalang” but we were not exactly sure what that word means. At that time, we were thinking that it could be from the word “da-lang-jan” as in shivering in Chinese.
Well, Suanne found out the following from a forum:
“Da lang” is 打冷. The 冷 is not pronounced in Cantonese, but same as Chiu Chow pronounciation for 人 (different tone).
In older Cantonese da 打 can mean eat, while the Cantonese 冷 has the same pronounciation as, but different tone from, the Chiu Chow word 人. The Chiu Chow people in HK used to call themselves “ga gi lang” (?) 自己人 among fellow Chiu Chow people.
So combined “Da lang” 打冷 means “eating Chiu Chow people’s food” (it’s more like a slang).
Anyway, Suanne and I are more familiar with using the word “siu yeh” for these late night suppers.
Hou Lok is one of those restaurants that we feel left out. They have a lot of special dishes pasted on the walls throughout the restaurant and they are all in Chinese only.
The restaurant is quite well maintained but we could see that it is also a well seasoned restaurant. There are so many new restaurants in Richmond that a restaurant this old just stands out.
Service wise we were well taken care of. Anyway there were only three other tables taken that night and so getting service when we need it was not a problem.
This restaurant is definitely a restaurant that specializes in “da lang”. They open at 5 PM and keeps open until 4 AM in the morning!
As we got seated, they have us a sheet of 2-sided menu. The one on the left (click to enlarge) was the one we ordered from. It’s amazing … they have 80 dishes listed and every one of them is $5 only. If you order four items (i.e. $20), they will give us a complimentary large bowl of congee. If not for the free congee offer, we would have ordered just two, maybe three dishes.
The first of four dish is the Szechuan Style Spicy Chicken. The Chinese name for this dish is Weird-Taste … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
Update 02-Jan-2011: T-Hut is reported closed recently. Refer comments on this post below.
Wait! Don’t go! Continue reading.
I know … the name of this restaurant, T-Hut Cafe, is a very unimaginative name … BUT, let me tell you … for the food geeks and those who like savouring all kinds of cuisines this is one restaurant you will want to take note of.
I know. One look at the restaurant, you would have brushed it aside as a hole-in-the-wall. They have the worse looking awning I had ever seen. For the casual passerby, they may even think that they are no longer in business.
From the name T-Hut Cafe, I actually thought that this is a Bubble Tea House. Would you not?
Even the red on yellow sign at the top of the door says “Taiwanese Snacks” and “Beef Noodles”. In the past life, T-Hut surely must have been a Bubble Tea House. They just did not bother to change the name … nor even the sign. It is misleading because they don’t serve Taiwanese Snacks or Beef Noodles here. No siree.
T-Hut Cafe, dear Friends of Chowtimes, is a Chiu Chow restaurant.
And a very authentic one at that too.
Suanne and I stumbled upon this restaurant about a month ago as we were walking along Fraser after having iced desserts in PinPin. I almost walked into the sandwich board placed outside the restaurant. That was when Suanne said that the three words shabbily painted on the board says “Chiu Chow Choy”. In English that means Chiu Chow Cuisine.
I can’t believe how bad a job they did with the sign. They just hand painted the three words over the board without even bothering at least to paint the background. Such shabbiness.
With what little Chinese Suanne knows, she managed to pick out some of the words on the hand written sign pasted outside the door of the restaurant. She saw words like:
- Golden … award … Chiu Chow … oyster omelet
- Famous … belly warming … pepper … sour mustard … pork stomach soup
Hmmm … those were the descriptions of a typical Chiu Chow cuisine.
We thought that was interesting but we did not even bothered to take down the address or even the name of the restaurant. We just knew it was on Fraser somewhere near PinPin with the intention of checking them out sometime in the distant future (given how long our to-try list is!).
A few weeks later, I casually mentioned this restaurant on the post on Cabin 5555 (see here). The next thing we know it, JS and Grayelf was already talking about checking this place out. Gosh, they are such dedicated foodies. So JS organized a chowdown in T-Hut and asked if Suanne and I wanted to go.
What kind of a question is that? LOL!
I made reservation for dinner. When I called, the lady who picked up the phone was clearly very proud of her own restaurant. Actually she was almost bordering on cockiness. She was talking to me like I already knew their specialty dishes and sounded a bit disappointed whenI told her well, I don’t know what I wanted. I only wanted to make a reservation and was not prepared to order the dishes too. She was telling me I must pre-order the “Low Sui Ngap” (translated as old water duck). She went on rattling a few dishes which went swosh over my head. So yeah, because of her enthusiasm, I said sure … reserve a “Low Sui Ngap” for us and that we will order the other dishes when we get there.
So we met for dinner … the six of us. The inside of the restaurant is not much better than the way it looked outside.
The tables are small and cramp. And they can only accommodate two larger tables (seats 10 and 8) which were booked for the night already. The next bigger sized table is six which is oddly arranged with a couple of chairs jutting out to the corridor. Yeah, we were forced to take that odd table.
The lady was very chatty. And she has a very noticeable accent which I assume is Chiu Chow. She told us they are from Swatow and had actually been here for three years already … and all these while choses to operate under the radar. She also said that they do not want to advertise or promote their business because they cannot handle any more customer than they already have. He he he … lets see how this changes things after this post gets published on chowtimes.
I asked her for the menu. She brushed me aside and said “no menu” … and at the same time pointed to the wall. That is their menu. You may click on the pictures above to show it in larger image.
There are a lot of dishes but I know that the best of the best is the ones on the largest of posters.
The orange ones said something like … old water duck (again!) … American duck … special selection … small … Chiu Chow … sand … taro.
The red poster had words like … half deep fried … yellow flower fish … Chiu Chow … big … stir fry … vegetable … minced meat … fried rice.
Sorry those were some of the smattering of words we know. LOL!
I told the lady boss I can’t read Chinese and she told me don’t worry, she will decide for us! Frankly, that works for us because she seems like she sounded so confident she knows what we wanted.
Actually, we were at her mercy.
The first dish that came is the one I pre-ordered the day before. This is called the “Low Sui Ngap” … the old water duck which is a very traditional Chiu Chow dish.
The “old water” refers to the … More on following page. Click here to continue reading
This restaurant had been replaced with a new restaurant, updated on 11th Oct 2008
When Suanne and I started blogging on chowtimes, we just did it because, well, it was an in-thing to have a blog. One thing led to another, today we have over 700 entries. We are still amazed at how the site had grown and that people actually find the blog interesting enough to return to the site. We still have not quite figured it out why chowtimes readers comes back.
What really kept us going is that we found that there are actually quite a few loyal followings of the site. I think it was sometime in October or so, I volunteered to organize a Chinese banquet for readers of chowtimes. Frankly, Suanne and I were pleasantly surprised to find that there are actually people who were interested — and that too, from readers who we don’t know.
In all, 9 people attended. Of everyone, LotusRapper, who came with his lovely wife, is the only person I had ever met. I had not met Ed from ededition.com but had been following his blog for sometime already. Then there was this gregarious Tiffanie who owns a chain of ice cream parlours — yummy, Suanne and I is going to check it out someday. Joseph, a true foodie, was also there. And the charming couple, Cissy & Henry … people Suanne and I would want to be like when we “grow up”. Two (Jennifer and Gigi) of my favourite bloggers could not make it.
The choice of going to Tong Kung Chiu Chow Restaurant boils down to one thing … snakes. More about that later.
One thing about Chinese banquets, you really need a lot of people. For the uninitiated, many formal Chinese restaurants offers 8-10 course dinners. These are mainly for weddings or celebrations. The menus are a fixed price for a table of 10. Most of the good menus will start from $180. I had seen one menu that costs $998!!
Selection for the restaurant was quick and easy. For us, the criteria was simple, we wanted to not spend not more than $200 and it had to be a Chinese Banquet. We gathered the menus from a few restaurants and selection was made within a week. For some of us, it was the “Snake and Shark’s Fin Soup” that led us to choosing Tong Kung.
Tong Kung have three standard menus that costs $168, $198 and $238. We chose the $198 menu which has 10 courses on it.
Tong Kung is a Chiu Chow (Teochew) cuisine restaurant. It is located on Park Road in Richmond, just a ear shot away from the Richmond City Hall. We decided to meet early, at 5:30PM. We were the only people there then but it soon filled up very fast. We told ourselves that since there are so many people, we can’t be wrong choosing this restaurant.
I know very little about Chiu Chow cuisine. Here are MY perceptions … Chiu Chow cuisine is really big on seafood, maybe because the region is along the coast of south east China. It is generally bland and devoid of spiciness, unlike other Chinese cuisines that have stronger flavours and spices. I would say that it is very close to Cantonese cuisine.
The Cold Crab was the first dish and an excellent choice for starters. The way the Chiu Chow prepare the cold crab is that they steam it first and then served it chilled. I have no idea why they do that and what it does to the flavour … anyone knows?
Seems like crabs are big in Chiu Chow cuisine. We loved it. For me, I put aside the eating utensils and just used my hands. Using hands is OK because this does not have sticky gravy, sauce and stuff all over it. Don’t know about you all, but eating with my hands is the ONLY way to handle crabs.
The roe is purportedly the best part of the Cold Crab. It is OK taste-wise, I guess … but it sure does not look good.
Next came the Assorted Meat and Duck Platter in Chiu Chow Special Soy Sauce. I sure don’t know what “special sauce” is but the Chinese word for it is “low sui” which is roughly translated as “old water”. I am guessing that this is stocks that had been thickened over and over again.
Being a meat person, this was awesome. The duck wings though, I could not understand because there are so little meat to it. The pile of meat was heaped high … great stuff.
Next came the Crab and Prawn Balls. They are basically minced meat and shaped before being deep fried. Another meaty dish. I love the springy texture.
Well, the Snake and Shark’s Fin Soup was supposed to be the star of this dinner but when they came, we cannot see any evidence of snake meat let alone taste it. Anyway, I don’t even know what snake meat look and taste like … like chicken? Moreover, we could not really see shark fin too.
Lotus Rapper mentioned there is a strong orange peel taste. Suanne swore that there is that taste but to me I would not have known until told.
The next dish was simple. It is called Three Kinds of Seafood Stir Fry with XO Sauce. To me it does not look like there is XO Sauce in this but it tastes great. I like it better if seafood is cooked without strong sauces like XO Sauce anyway. It is a good dish to clear the palate from the previous dishes.
By this time, everyone should have felt full already … I sure was myself but we had just bareful passed the middle course. The Spiced Ginger Chicken, we think is the air dried. We did not eat a lot of the chicken although it looked tasty (it was).
Following is the Braised Mushroom with Goose Feet in Oyster Sauce. The mushroom and bak choy was good. In particular, I love the huge mushrooms. We had quite a few goose feet left — I think it is not everyone’s favourite. For me, I prefer chicken feet over this … this one has more bones and very little meat and skin.
The Steamed Fish was great. What fish is that … I have no idea. I can’t tell one fish from another. So, is this a pomfret? or a tilapia? or is pomfrets the same as tilapia? I have absolutely no idea. One thing I do know, the soya sauce poured over the white fish meat is always good.
There were two steamed fishes. Fantastic dish.
The second to last dish was the Chiu Chow Fried rice. None of us could eat anymore and we ended up asking for a doggy bag for this and other left overs. The tenth dish was the Red Bean Soup.
Overall, all the servings were huge. Certainly value for money. My only beef about this dinner was that whilst the service was great at the beginning, by the 4th dish, they had been taking out one dish after another way before we had started on the previous one. It is best enjoyed if they had only timed it better. I do think that the kitchen was not able to cope with all the people coming in and thus just messed up with the timings.
The damage came out to $27 per person including taxes and tips.
Suanne and I really enjoyed ourselves, although admittedly I was dead tired that day. For us it was great meeting the people who cared enough for chowtimes that they took time off to come to the banquet (some even drove all the way from North Vancouver to Richmond!). We would love to organize another event sometime in the future for sure.
We all like lamb; each has a different way of cooking it.
~ Chinese Proverb
Ever had one of those days when you have planned to eat out but do not know where to go? Well, Suanne always insists that we eat out on the weekends because she says that since I get the weekend off work, she deserves the weekend off herself too. Last weekend we cruised along No 3 Road and were not sure where we were heading to. I came across this little unassuming place right across from the new Aberdeen Mall (and just right next to the T&T Supermarket) along Cambie.
We were early and were their first customer for dinner. Needless to say, service were prompt. You tend to know that the food is really authentic when you see tacky looking hand written menus plastered all over the place — the Hou Lok Restaurant was one such place.
We ordered the Chicken Ball in Szechuan sauce. This is spicy and is cooked with lots of onions and green pepper. We liked the gravy/sauce in particular — goes great with steamed rice,
We also ordered the spicy long beans. Another spicy dish. The waitress were surprised we ordered two spicy dishes when we had our two youngs along. Well, they boys really like spicy food and so, it’s not a problem for them. The long beans were great, I enjoyed it alot. My mum makes a lot of them when I grew up in Malaysia but I so rarely eat this, I perhaps ate this once every two years!! Yummy!
We wanted a hotpot dish … very good especially when the day is cold and when we wanted lots of “chap” for the rice. So, we ordered something we have never tried before — the lamb with beancurd stick hotpot. It was not too bad but frankly, we would order some other hotpot the next time. The beancurd was nice but the lamb and gravy is a thad too “lamb” for our liking.
Overall, a nice meal although there were too much food. The menu is extensive but since we can’t read chinese, we miss out on the more exotic dishes. The price is just about average, We plan to eat at this place again sometime and try out their other dishes.