Updated: 12th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.
Koon Lock and Koon Bo — I had always heard of the names of these two restaurants before. Depending on who I speak with, I hear different stories. How these two restaurants were related and owned by brothers. Someone told me that they were owned by two brothers, yet another told me they are feuding and rival restaurants with a same origin.
Does anyone know the story behind these two famous restaurants?
Whatever the stories are, Koon Lock is one of the Chinese restaurants that appears to have a long history. While still popular, it had seen better days having been surplanted with the new Chinese restaurants that sprouted throughout the Metro Vancouver.
Koon Lock is located on Fraser and 47th. We went just before lunch time when they had a lot of tables empty. This quickly changed and by 12:30PM there were already a line waiting for tables.
We had wanted to come here for a meal of their more famous dishes like roasted squabs, honey garlic spareribs and crispy chicken skin. Unfortunately, they do not serve those kind of items for lunch as they are only available for dinner. What they have for lunch time is only the common Cantonese food items like congee, noodle and mixed rice dishes. We were disappointed and half wishing to leave — and making our way back here for dinner some other time. But we stayed.
We decided to order a dish from each section of the menu …
The first one was the Beef Brisket with Vegetables. This simple dish is surprisingly very well made. It is served steaming hot on a bed of steamed fresh vegetables. The meat was tender and has a noticeable fragrance of star anise. Eating this with steamed rice is nice particularly with the juices from the dish. This dish costs $7.25 which is cheaper than I expected.
The Scallop and Prawns with Steamed Rice costs $9. We all like how they managed to bring out the collective subtle flavors in this dish to the fore. The prawns were particularly delightful with its fresh springy texture. There were a few thin slices of scallop — if it was thicker it would have been better … and it would have probably been more expensive too. We enjoyed this.
They call this the Yunan Style Mixed Noodle ($7). This is plain noodles — simple, plain and not overpowered by sauces. I can taste the “kan sui”-ness of the noodle which I like but Suanne said is not good. You know, this dish is really good. The whole character of this dish is defined not by the sauce but by the noodle itself.
The boys, as usual, wanted fried rice. At least we persuaded them to not order Salted Fish Fried Rice. Instead they ordered the most expensive Fried Rice on their menu! The above is called Chef’s Special Yin Yang Fried Rice ($13). It is actually normal fried rice except that it is smothered with tomato sauce and cream sauce. He he he … they should have poured the sauces into the shape of Ying Yang.
We decided to get some desserts before we leave as we had time left before an event we want to go to. So we asked for a recommendation. The waitress immediately told us we must order their Tapioca Pudding with Yam. She said it so confidently we said sure, even though we don’t know what it looks like. She also told us that they need at least 5-8 minutes to make this.
It came in a big plate which is more than enough for 8 to 10 people. It was made fresh alright because we could see the steam rising from this dish.
This is about the best Chinese pudding I had ever tried. It has the perfect firmness which allows it to hold its shape and let the texture is smooth, punctuated with the tapioca. In the midst of this are small pieces of soft yam. We like this a lot. If we were to come again next time, we will definitely order this again. This large dish costs $9.50.
We could only finish half of the plate and had them to go.
The total came up to $48 before tips. Overall, Koon Lock was what I had expected. The service is lacking compared to high end restaurants. But then Suanne and I are never so hung up on this things very much. The food does take a long time to come and you really need to call their attention if you want anything.
Food wise, their lunch menu consisted of very common comfort food but they do make it a notch more flavorful than an ordinary restaurant. We like their food.