Updated: 6th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed.
Some of you know me very well as an organizer of events. It’s just me … it’s just who I am. I simply enjoy putting together ideas, make a plan and see to it the plans work. Nothing gives me greater joy than to see people enjoying themselves.
When I was in my early twenties, I remember vividly that one camp that I had been part of organizing. It was a national camp of over 800 participants and I had played a huge part of organizing a city tour … 20 buses in all. Logistically it was a nightmare but I had such a kick seeing everyone single boys and girls coming back to camp happy, tired and late … no one missing and everyone had a great 10 hours away. Ah … those were the days … I’ll talk about those some other time.
For the past few years, I had also enjoyed organizing gatherings among friends … the biggest of which was a picnic the past summer which was attended by a whopping 50 people in all. Just two weeks ago, I initiated another idea for a gathering of my “lah speaking” friends (mainly ex-Singaporeans and ex-Malaysians). Since it is colder and wetter these days, outdoor events are out of the question. So, I initiated a Chinese Dinner for the same group of friends. Well, I said I initiated it because I did not organize it this time … WB offered to do it and she did it so marvelously well. I think WB will make an excellent project manager! [No, seriously WB.]
After narrowing it down from three restaurants, WB finally settled down on the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant which is located in the same building as T&T on Cambie. WB, with the help from Polly, did a great job in haggling a 9-course menu for just $168 (for a table of 10). This is amazing considering that Richmond Mandarin has a “Menu A” which costs $928 and their cheapest “Menu D” which costs $298. Moreover, WB managed to get the use of their VIP Room … for free!
We had a total of 30 people who came to the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant that night, about 20 adults and 10 kids. WB decided to create a separate cheaper menu for the kids while the adults go for the whole-shebang. Anyway, she figured that the kids would not care much for Peking Duck … the kids will actually be happier with fried rice and noodles … and the parent happier too because we don’t have to pay the full $168 for them.
Let’s start with the kids’ menu … first off … Fried Rice Noodles with Beef.
Then the kids had Deep Fried Chicken Wings. The kids started eating first … we wanted to make sure that the kids are all eaten and finished before we start our feast. But I was sooo hungry looking at the chicken wings. You see, I hardly had anything to eat that day in anticipation of this meal.
And the kids’ favourites … Fried Rice!! They looked so good and smell so good. They were all gone in no time. After the kids were done, they were let to run riot in the VIP room. He he he … my Nanzaro were tasked with keeping order. He did a great job. Nanzaro had perhaps something like 25 Bionicles which he does not play anymore. He divided his all-jumbled up Bionicle parts and gave it to the kids. I think the kids love that.
Here is the 9-course dinner we had … we started off with Peking Duck. This came in two course … starting first with the Peking Duck Skin. Yiup … that’s right … Duck Skin.
You don’t eat the Duck Skin just like that. We had Chinese Pancakes … warm and freshly made …
… together with Hoisin (Seafood?) Sauce with Green Onion “Flower” …
… assemble it together and wrap it up. This is certainly the favourite with everyone. For those who had tried this before … it’s the potpourri of simple flavours that makes this great. It’s the crispiness of the duck skin, the crunch of the green onion, the intensity of the Hoisin sauce and the supple softness of the warm pancake. We each had at least two … and everyone being so polite tried their darnest best pretending they don’t want more! Come on guys … next time don’t pretend! Go for it and finish it off!
The meat of the duck is then used for the second follow-on dish … the Duck Meat Stir-fry Lettuce Wrap. If WB did not tell me it’s duck meat, I would not have guessed. It had no semblance of meat at all. They are all chopped up finely.
We eat this as a wrap too … this time wrapped in lettuce leaf. There were so much duck meat that we asked for more lettuce leaf. I simply love the fresh, cold lettuce leaf. When we asked for more lettuce leaf, I actually cringed a bit because after WB had squeezed the restaurant out of so much, I was kind of fearful that service will suffer. But no … they were more than happy to give us more.
The next dish is the Crab Meat with Fish Maw Soup. Well, we would have loved Sharks Fin but at this price, obviously it was out of the question. The Crab Meat with Fish Maw was excellent. Know what fish maw is … it’s the gas bladder of a fish. Some say it is the stomach.
Anyway, I only know that the soup was great and can’t tell the maw from the rest of the stuff in the soup. There were more than enough for ten bowls … that’s good … because I know everyone want second helpings.
Next came the Hong Kong style crab. There are two large crabs for each table. The best way to eat this is to put down the chopstick and just use the hands. I noticed everyone turned quiet when we had this dish … he he he … everyone was too busy picking out the flesh from the shell. It was quite a bit of work. Yummy though.
Next came the Braised Rock Cod. It came with a lot of bean curd stick. I was too busy finishing off my crab that by the time I got down to this, all the fish flesh was gone! Oh yeah … you guys did not leave me any … but there were a lot of bean curd stick left though. Thanks a lot!
Since I did not get to taste the fish, I don’t really know how it was. But then judging by the bean curd sticks that everyone left for me, it must have been good.
Next came the something I have not come across in Chinese cuisine — it’s something made out of pumpkins. It’s called the Spare ribs with Japanese Pumpkin. Seems like it’s some stir fry ribs with mushrooms and served on top of some steamed (I think) pumpkin.
It’s just me … I just don’t like pumpkins. The pumpkin tasted like sweet potatoes if you ask me. The spare ribs? Well, they went so fast that I only got two crummy pieces. 🙂 The spare ribs were great but the pumpkin, that I don’t like.
The Beef Tenderloin was not particularly exciting … so … ho-hum. I like the sauce but since this is a 9-course dinner, steamed rice is not served.
The Whole Deep Fried Crispy Chicken came next with a heap of prawn crackers. The moment this dish hit the table, all the kids swarmed the table and before we knew it, they prawn crackers were gone. Good thing, they knew that Uncle Ben wanted to take a picture first.
I like these type of chicken dish. To me it’s like two separate dish in one … the crispy chicken skin and the thick white chicken meat. I always eat this in that order … first, all the skin … and then the meat. And the wing tips are the best too.
The rice (or noodles) dish normally come towards the tail end of a multi-course dinner. We had the Fook Chow Braised Rice. It was flavorful but by now, I had enough for the night.
Just then the battery in my camera died and I left my spare battery at home. Fortunately there were lots of cameras for that night. We ended with cookies …
… Green Beans Dessert Soup.
I had such an enjoyable evening — perfect in every sense. I know it was a lot of work in planning and communicating on the part of WB. I also know sometimes people think it’s an oft thankless job but wanted to let WB know that we’re appreciative of all the work. He he he … I know it is stressful at time, trying to meet everyone’s expectations. Good job!
And … yesterday, I asked if anyone would be interested to make it to a dinner at Shanghai Wonderful. I have so far three responses and if I get at least 1 or 2 more responses, we’ll be able to make 1 table. So, any more takers?