Fortune House Restaurant in Metrotown, Burnaby


There had been a string of successes at work these days. This is amazing considering that the air transport industry is supposed to be one of the hardest hit viz the economy in the USA. Did you know that within the top 10 airports in the world, USA has five airports listed as the busiest in passenger traffic?

The top two busiest airports in the world are Atlanta’s Hartfield and London’s Heathrow. Coming up behind them very fast is Beijing International. At the rate things are going, Beijing will overtake Heathrow next year. Atlanta’s busiest airport title is safe for at least 2-3 years more.

So in celebration of another great year at work and the successful roll out of some major projects, the head of the Vancouver unit decided that the team deserves some time away from work.

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We went to the Fortune House Seafood Restaurant. This is located in Metrotown.

This restaurant is popular and you can always bet there will be a serious line during busy hours. I think it is in part due to its location. This place lies smack at the busiest entrance in Metrotown. This entrance is the closest connection to the Skytrain station.

We had dim sum once here many, many years ago. I remembered that it was pricey and upscale … with some dim sum dishes costing like $7 or $8. But this time it felt like a normal dim sum place.

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We took up quite a number of tables at the back of the restaurant. We practically took up the entire back section. I am quite surprised that they allowed us to hog the tables given that there was a serious lineup outside — that is even though we had reservations.

They did not fuss when our party took a long time to trickle in. You know how it is sometimes that some people will came late because they just wanted to finish off their work before they come.

This is the kind of dim sum lunch I like because I get to talk! LOL! Among non-Chinese, I am the expert in dim sum and had fun cajoling people to try food they are not familiar with. So on my table are Mexicans, Turkish, Romanians, Canadians and Brazilians. How is that for a mix?

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Apparently the menu was already pre-picked! And they are nothing special, just safe ho-hum selections. I think budget was the reason. Moreover, I think whoever picked the menu wanted to play it safe too especially so many of the people are not used to dim sum. So we did not have phoenix claws (the Chinese name for chicken feet) and beef tripe and tendon and stuff like that — nice stuff like that!

The favourite seems to be the char siu bun above. I think it is because it resembles burgers. It was interesting observing even how they eat this. Someone tried to pick this up with a chopstick and of course it broke apart. Well, for this you eat this with your hands — like burgers!

Then another person on the table picked it up with his hands and immediately gobbled down the bun … like a burger! Oh no … he had to spit it out when I told him that he has to remove the paper underneath the char siu bun. LOL!

You know, Suanne makes awesome juicy char siu buns. No kidding … it is the best on the planet. Ask her nicely and she will make some for you. Allow me to let you on a secret … Suanne does not know how to say no.

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Most of the people are wary about the leaf that is used to wrap the sticky rice. Well, this is no difference to the Mexican Tamale to me. Maybe it is the stickiness of the rice. Yeah, people tell me that Chinese food have really weird textures.

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Beef balls. It goes without saying this is a favourite. For me, I don’t like it. There is no kung fu in making this — no elaborate steps and such.

This reminds me. There was once I brought a group of non-Asian friends to try dim sum. One of them only had … siu mai for the whole brunch and he had three baskets of it … all to himself. So now I know that siu mai is safe because they can see what is in it. Even dumpling like this below …

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… people are wary. I have a few questions thrown at me “What is in it?”.

“I don’t know” I tell them. For me, I just eat and then find out later what is in it.

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I am sad to report that the noodles above is also popular with the folks on my table. These guys are eating like Arkensen!

I mean the noodles is nice but you are not suppose to like this over all other dishes.

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Yeah … this one too. Since they could not see what is in it, some of them were quite apprehensive about this. One even used the communal chopstick to poke at it to see what it really looked like inside. He he he … in Chinese etiquette this is a no-no just like in most cultures.

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The boiled Chinese broccoli was surprisingly quite popular. Crunchy stem and leafy leaf … this was my favourite dish for the day.

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I enjoyed my role at the table that day. It is fun helping people explore food as much as I enjoy exploring all sorts of food and cuisines too. I know I wanted to do so many things with chowtimes readers.

I really want to organize something like “Adventures in Exotic Chinese Dim Sum for Uninitiated Brave-Hearted Souls”. Yeah … everyone must give all kinds of food a try.

Fortune House Seafood 福聯海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

36 thoughts on “Fortune House Restaurant in Metrotown, Burnaby

  1. Pingback: Chow Times » Dim Sum 101 in South Ocean Seafood Restaurant on Garden City and Alexandra, Richmond
  2. Pingback: Chow Times » Dim Sum 101 in South Ocean Seafood Restaurant on Garden City and Alexandra, Richmond
  3. Extreme Dim Sum sounds great.

    Had to laugh in Japan. Went to a Korean restaurant and organ meat was called ‘inner darknesses’

  4. Awww. How can u call yrself PinoyGourmet when you havent eaten balut our national “Fear Factor” dish? Lol..just kiddin.

  5. Ben you can count me in,I have eaten snake,Lizard,Deer,Buffalo,Moose,Insects…….But Ironically I have never eaten and cant stand balut,

  6. Pingback: Chow Times » Weekend Musings (10-April-2010)
  7. I have been to Iran and there they were surprised when I enjoyed the national dish of Kalapache, Sheeps head and hooves boiled until tender and suerved with flat bread and pickled Vegetables such as cucumbers and peppers,

  8. I work at Metrotower, I literally walk by Fortune House every day in the mall.

    But the long midday lines turn me off from going there even occasionally. I’m impatient, I don’t like waiting in line for food. Their “reservation” system isn’t much better than if you just walk in and wait for a table. The few times my colleagues and I reserved a table for 12-ish, we still had to wait 20 mins or so just to get seated [rolls eyes].

    • ditto.. agreed. u think weekdays are bad. the weekends are worse. 😀 also they do have preferences for regulars, which can be anooying to some.

      reservation for lunch and dim sum is sometimes just a guide, adding 10-20 minutes not unusual.

      also since it’s been around a long time and somewhat reputable. it’s one of the cross-over mainstream Chinese restaurant so that adds to the popularity.

      • Speaking of cross-over Chinese restaurants, does anyone know the status of Pink Pearl since they burned down last Fall ?

      • Hi LotusRapper:
        I only mentioned organizing a “Adventures in Exotic Chinese Dim Sum for Uninitiated Brave-Hearted Souls” but am not so sure about Extreme Dim Sum. I was just thinking of stuff like pork liver, chicken feet and such. What would you consider Extreme Dim Sum? Are there dim sum more extreme than that?
        Ben

      • “Adventures in Exotic Chinese Dim Sum for Uninitiated Brave-Hearted Souls”

        I was re-thinking maybe title more like:
        “Offal Adventures in Chinese Dim Sum”

        or

        “Dim Sum Bootcamp”

        😀

        But “XDS” is such a catchy acronym [wink]

        In all seriousness it doesn’t matter what we end up calling it, I think the concept is understood and even desirable, it seems. Another reason and excuse for Chowtimers to get together and eat, drink and be merry.

  9. Eeewww! Thanks Jonnek. That’s not the first thing I want to see when I get up in the morning, let alone eat. Anyone for some balut?? LOL

  10. oh i agree with you all quite a bit, and maybe it’s my circle of friends…..maybe when cactus club or joeys serves tripe and tendon with a balsamic reduction they’ll be game!!

  11. been reading your blog for awhile. love it! my coworkers and i were going to buy some frozen dim sum and have it at home. even the thought of foong jao (chicken feet) turned them off. i quite enjoy eating that dish, but i’m not sure about the extreme dim sum. innards aren’t really my thing. and what is balut? oh……..so suanne. will you make me some of your awesome char siu buns? LOL….I work in Richmond.

  12. I always find it funny taking non-asians out for some form of asian cuisine Growing up with a japanese mother, i was exposed to all those “scary” meats and dishes so i’ve never been scared of dim sum, sushi, various meat parts…but i always get a kick out of ppl and the poking at random dishes!!

    • Ironic, if you think that, say for the “typical” (using that term carefully) Northern European-ancestor’d Canadian, whether he/she’d be Irish, Scottish, English (and Welsh) or from the Continent, cow, pig and sheep parts are very commonly used and found in their traditional everyday dishes, such as:

      [Wiki]

      Haggis – contains sheep’s ‘pluck’ (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in the animal’s stomach.

      Black pudding – blood sausage.

      Crubeens – pigs feet/trotters.

      Steak & kidney pie.

      Faggots – minced pig offal (mainly liver and cheek), bread, herbs and onion wrapped in pig’s caul.

      Brawn – collection of meat and tissue found on an animal’s skull (typically a pig) that is cooked, chilled and set in gelatin.

      In some parts of Europe, scrotum, brain, chitterlings (pig’s large intestine), trotters (feet), heart, head (of pigs, calves, sheep and lamb), kidney, liver, “lights” (lung), sweetbreads (thymus or pancreas), fries (testicles), tongue, snout (nose), tripe (reticulum) and maws (stomach) from various mammals are common menu items.

      • most of the world eat offal and exotics. Asian, Africans, Europeans, more so in the rural areas. but it is available everywhere.

        it is mainly in NORTH America than we don’t eat the offal parts. we prefer chicken nuggets with marinara sauce. of course we all know what goes into say a Mcnugget… guess it’s true we eat with our eyes…. 😀

        Fortune Garden if the one inside metrotown, i’d use to go once a month many years ago. there were not many options in that area back then. they lost the chef and some managers left. i didnt go for a while.

        i think they have a better chef back in there and have improved. last i was in there was about two months ago. it was ok. definitely, better than the food pics you posted.

  13. Hi Lotusrapper, I didnt know about the secret dimsum menu. Im all game for extreme dimsum dining. Maybe as an additional challenge I’ll bring cooked balut as well. BTW, I’ve eaten pig uterus and I like it.

    • Maybe “secret” somehow came across as malevolent 😀

      What I meant was (and many of you will know) many restaurants have the “Chinese” menu along with a “non-Chinese” menu where the offerings are somewhat different.

      And even with Chinese clientele, you can still ask if the kitchen can make a dish that’s not on the menu. Chinese dishes tend to be quite modular in their preparation and cooking, so just because something you want isn’t listed doesn’t mean they can’t make it for you 🙂

  14. Is there any dimsum place that serves unique exotic dimsums? The most exotic dimsum I’ve seen so far is beef internals (tripe, spleen and lungs). Chicken feet and duck feet are not considered that exotic anymore.

    • Beef internals (often listed in menus as “assorted beef parts”, LOL) is common. If it’s not listed, you just have to ask for it. I know there’s this practice where many restaurants have certain DS items available only if asked (ie: by Chinese clientele), but otherwise not listed in the menus for fear of turning off non-Chinese clientele. It’s a shame, really.

      Having said that, while I can tolerate “pig uterus”, it’s not an item I’d specifically order at dim sum :-/

  15. Ben said:

    “I really want to organize something like “Adventures in Exotic Chinese Dim Sum for Uninitiated Brave-Hearted Souls”. Yeah … everyone must give all kinds of food a try.”

    Hey I’m game ! How about an “Extreme Dim Sum-ming” series for the hardcore among us ? I don’t do ’nuff dim sum in an average year, and when I actually get to it’s always with family during special occasions which mean the same-old, familiar dim sum items.

    I’d like to do a dim sum where chicken feet is the most mainstream item 😉

  16. I’m usually game with trying unfamiliar foods. Maybe with exception to balut and insects. Those just give me the heebie jeebies.

    When I was little, my grandma would make chinese herbal soups with cordyceps. I would eat it thinking it’s just a funny shaped plant. That was until I learned it was a fungus that grows out of living insect hosts (like caterpillars). Totally grossed me out!

    • Marike, if you see what processed crap goes into the average Oscar Mayer hot dog, the cordyceps would look pretty good in comparison, LOL !

      But yeah, the smell of those Chinese herbal soups was what turned me off big time, regardless of what was actually in them.

      • I’m not a big fan of hot dogs either. 😉

        There are a few herbal soups I actually enjoy (ginseng with chicken and wolf berry, etc), just not the hard core ones where the soup is pitch black.

      • Woah! Marike! Cordyceps are expensive! You should thank grandma for making them for you! Hehe, they go for about $8000.00 USD + a pound for those. My mom made them for me, and they just looked funky… until she told me how much they were – I had to force myself to eat them.

      • It actually didn’t taste like much, but now that I know what it *really* is…I can’t bring myself to eat it anymore. o_O

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