It took us TWO trips before we got to try the CRA award winning dishes from Ken’s Chinese Restaurant.
We thought we got our bases covered. Since it was a long drive from Richmond to Ken’s and there are THREE award winning dishes we wanted to try, we called ahead for reservation and asked if they serve the specific THREE dishes we were looking for.
The THREE dishes?
“Yeah, yeah, we have it”, they said over the phone.
So we made the long drive there with the boys complaining over and over again why we had to drive all the way across the bridge for “something to blog about”. LOL! When we arrived at the restaurant, the table was reserved for us. We did not even look at the menu and this time we even brought along the Chinese language list so that there is no misunderstanding of what we wanted.
You know what is the problem with many Chinese restaurants? They are so impatient with your questions over the phone that they will just say what you want to hear without checking. Well … it was when we were already served tea and all that they said they ran out of Pink Scallop!
We were NOT going to eat if they only had two of three dishes. I complained to the captain that I called ahead already and was told that they have it and that we came all the way from Richmond. Unhappy was I was, I must say that the captain handled the situation pretty well. He told me that if I come again he will guarantee that the pink scallops will be available, even if we want to come back a few hours.
We said we rather come back the next day, same time.
So we went back on Sunday. And true enough, this time the captain was expecting us. LOL! The first thing he said to us was “the scallop came in at 2PM yesterday” and that he made sure he reserve four for us as promised.
That wasn’t so hard, isn’t it? I always have respect for people like that who immediately fixes things that went wrong — and not be defensive. Things will go wrong once in a while but it is the manner one goes about fixing mistakes that makes the difference.
Ken’s Chinese Restaurant calls themselves a Hong Kong Style Cafe. I felt that they deserve a better description than that because this is one restaurant that had consistently won awards after awards with dishes that are not typical of HK Style Cafes.
Ken’s Chinese Restaurant is located on Kingsway in Vancouver, somewhere between Knight and Fraser.
Oh I did mention that Ken’s won three CRA awards. They won:
- Winner in the Crab category in 2009
- Gold in the Clams, Oyster and Scallop category in 2010
- Silver in the Crab and Lobster category in 2010
Above are some of the pages of their menu. It was a lot of pages and so I just took pages of their set, combo and specialty sections.
When I saw the word lobster on the name of this dish, I was expecting the worst. It wasn’t so bad and it did not burn a hole in the pocket. The Braised Lobster and Taro Noodle Hotpot costs … $18.30. The serving was good enough for two people. Maybe 2.35 people. Something like that.
It was served in a sizzling hot pot which stirs up a bit of an aroma. Makes us want to just dive in immediately … except that the rice was not there yet.
Ken’s Chinese Restaurant is another of those super busy restaurant. You really got to hunt the waitress down to get what you want. For us, the captain was paying us a lot of attention because of the issue the previous day and so all we had to do is to flag him down and it is “kau tim”.
The lobster was already nicely pre-cracked. So we did not have to fumble with crackers and such. Getting to the meat was easy.
The lobster was braised with ginger, green onions and onions. It is the juice, the gravy or whatever you call it that scores for us. It was just lovely with rice. You know, I could eat this without the lobster and yet I would be happy.
We like the bundled up vermicelli which Suanne thought must be what is called the Taro Noodle. It has a springy texture and is easy to eat.
The Golden Dungeness Crab was last year’s winning crab dish. What a beauty, isn’t it?
We had the same crab dish in Suhang in Richmond. This one is better than Suhang’s — they are moist’er, gold’er and overall nicer.
This is $11 per pound. We had about 2.5 lbs.
The good — it is coated with rich salted egg yolk.
The bad — the meat sticks too much to the shell. Does it mean that the crab is not fresh if the flesh sticks to the shell?
While we were eating, the Big Guy Ken came out to help in the dining area. He was cleaning tables! I know because the captain introduced Ken to us saying that for this dungeness crab dish, only Ken will personally cook it himself. Only the master chef, no one else. I don’t know if the captain is talking big or not but I will take it at its face value.
Hey, you guys have not answered my question yesterday (about the crab in Ningtu) … is the thingy in the middle the roe? Or what do you call it? If it is the roe, how do we always end up with a girl crab, not a boy crab. One more question — how to you tell a girl crab from a boy crab anyway?
Anyway, according to Chinese tradition, this nicest part of the crab are to be left to the eldest at the table (ME!) but our boys are no respecter of Chinese traditions.
They serve lemon TEA with the crab, not lemon water … oh never mind! You know what I was about to say.
This is what we missed the day earlier, the Baked Live Pink Scallops.
Not cheap. This is $5.50 each. The price changes depending on the size of the scallop of the day.
My advice for you is to call ahead to make sure they have it before you turn up. The captain said that they sell this out fast and they don’t keep this live scallops for long. Good scallop need to be fresh, really fresh.
The sauce is called Portuguese Sauce. It has a mild curry flavour, cheesy and is really rich.
We don’t have that fine tastes, so this dish is kind of lost on us. The sauce was fantastic but the scallop was so-so.
Sigh. It’s our boys who wanted this. The Malaysian Style Fried Rice is $9.50.
So I asked them if they are good. Actually I don’t even have to ask them because they will ALWAYS says it’s good. To them all fried rice is good.
This fried rice is a bit spicy with some pungent belacan (shrimp paste) flavour. I think it was too greasy.
Other than the scallop which was kind of overpriced for someone like us who doesn’t appreciate scallops, the prices were fine.
We like Ken’s. This is one fine Chinese restaurant and the HK Style Cafe description doesn’t do justice to what Ken is capable of.
See the note at the bottom of the receipt? Yes, we will. We will come again.