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.
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Oh wow! That tapioca pudding looks just like something I had in a Chinese restaurant in Vancouver ages ago and have been looking for a recipe ever since! Delicious!
It’s funny that yesterday I thought of Koon Po (@ Fraser & 41st) and wanted to suggest to you to have the Chow Times gathering there.Rumors said their roasted squabs are better:P Went there 2 months ago and the food’s still good. Service was as expected, like you mentioned above…”you really need to call their attention if you want anything.”
OOoh you didn’t have their famous dishes! Everytime we go we order the In-house Roasted Duck and the Tilapia 3-ways (comes with the best fish soup ever)! You should definitely try those next time. The duck has the crispiest skin ever.
That sounded yummy. Likes the sound of the Tilapia 3-way dish. Looks like we gotta go back again!
Jul 20, 2019
I ‘ve never been to Koon Lock Seafood
Restaurant on Fraser St ,
I passed by it quite a few times during
the week and it was never busy.
I imagine it was busy on weekends
The restaurant itself has been around
for a long long time , it was pretty old
looking from the outside.
Since then the restaurant had a complete makeover it is now called
Deer Garden .
My cousin said the deep fried chicken
I haven’t been to try yet.
As for Koon Bo on Fraser St & 41 St
I haven’t been to yet.
My cousin said it was good , her
daughter liked this place.
The restaurant is never busy .
There are alot of chinese restaurants
in Vancouver that I haven’t tried .
I always go to the dim sum restaurants
that I know are good.
“Koon Lock is located on Fraser and 27th.” – contrary to the title, this must have been just a typo.
Good catch! Koon Lock is located on Fraser and 47th. Oh yeah … send me your recommendation for Taiwanese Crispy Pork/Chicken Chop.
There’s a new bubble tea/food joint on Kingsway just east of Nelson. In fact it’s maybe 3-4 doors west of that Korean restaurant (next to the Chevron) you reviewed. Sorry I didn’t take note of their name.
The other one is on Royal Oak, about 100 feet north of Rumble, on the east side. Directly across street from yet another Chevron. I like their lunch combo boxes better. Place is frequented by high schoolers from Burnaby South. Again I don’t even know the place’s name.
Related to above is another Taiwanese restaurant this side on the west side of Royal Oak, adjacent to the Chevron. It’s call Sunflower Cafe. Decent beef noodles and other popular Taiwanese foods. Again the clientele is mostly young people, bringing an upbeat but civilized ambience. I come to Sunflower or the place across the street about twice a month.
I’ve been to the one on Royal Oak across from the Chevron before…I can’t remember the name either hah. It’s too far for me to go to, and yea it does get busy at lunch time.
I tried the roasted squabs at Koon Bo (which is the brother’s restaurant of Koon Lock) and I still think the best is from Sun Sui Wah on Main Street – as well as the best tapioca pudding is also found at Sun Sui Wah.
I live in the neighborhood and have been both to Koon Lok and Koon Bo restaurants. You should try out Koon Bo’s shredded chicken salad…it was listed in Van Mag’s 101 Things to Taste Before You Die list
The thing to definitely get at both Koon Bo or Koon Lok is the shredded chicken salad. That’s what keeps me coming back…
I love those tapioca puddings. My favourite is at Top Gun J&C (“Jeem Dong”) Restaurant in Richmond on McKim Way. Theirs uses black sesame instead of yam and (unless I’m mixing it up with some other place) has a crispy top.
Oooh, that pudding is exactly the recipe I’ve been looking for. It’s only available at 1 dimsum place in nyc as far as I know..
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