We went to dinner at a canteen. Actually we had a feast in a canteen. And it was not just any canteen. It was Buddha Boy and Girl’s (BB&G) personal canteen.
The Top Gun J&C Restaurant is known as BB&G’s personal canteen because they eat there all the time. I think it must be AT LEAST once a week. LOL! They had eaten here so many times that they had loaded over 200 pictures of the food they had on Urbanspoon (see link here) … on just this one restaurant alone! So no one argues with BB&G when they declare that Top Gun J&C is their personal canteen.
The thing is we need to hear from them why they always go to this restaurant. They claim they don’t own shares in this restaurant. Do you believe that? Let’s see how they “defend” this. LOL!
After reading so much on this canteen, we asked BB&G to organize a chowdown there. We just gotta see what it is that makes them go back again … and again … and again … and again ….
So nine people went to this dinner and it was well represented too. Representing the foodie group were Crispy Lechon, Doris and Joyce. We even have Derek of PanDa Fresh Bakery … yeah, the very pleasant young chap who is behind the Croissant Bus. Representing the foodie bloggies are Elaine of O My Sweet Tooth who I declare is the second prettiest food blogger in Vancouver. The host is BB&G and of course chowtimes (represented one half by the prettiest food blogger in Vancouver and I think one half by the handsomest food blogger).
So there you go … we have people who eat food, people who sells food and people who writes about food. What more can one ask for?
Actually we had been to this restaurant before but it was for dim sum. I still remember that dim sum (post here) with JS and TS and ET and Christina. Oh BTW, after a hiatus of five months(!), ET and Christina had started blogging again. Go to their site and drop them some comments to spur them on to blog more!
Top Gun J&C is part of a group of well known restaurants. Their restaurants includes
- Garden City Hot Pot in Richmond
- Kingsway Sushi on Kingsway, Vancouver
- Richmond Sushi in Richmond
- Top Gun Sushi in New Westminster
However, Top Gun J&C is the flagship restaurant. The name of J&C stands for Japanese and Chinese but I think it refers to the cuisine that the GROUP specializes on and not that this particular restaurant serves both Chinese and Japanese food. This restaurant is primarily a Chinese restaurant.
While waiting for everyone to turn up, we had something to munch on. They served us XO sauce and peanut.
The XO Sauce has chunky ingredients with lots of dried shrimps — quite big ones and they were rather chewy. While this is nice, I find that the best is still the ones that I had in (Western Lake).
Buddha Boy recommended that we mix the XO Sauce with the peanuts. It was good and because BB&G knows the restaurant so well, we could ask for as many servings as we wanted. Remember? This is their canteen?
We started with Tea Smoked Duck (香茶鴨). This is NOT something from the restaurant at all. BB&G bought this from a place that they refuse to tell us where. There is a story behind this tea smoked duck.
Some of you may remember that Alvin Garden won the Silver award for the Duck Category in the 2010 Chinese Restaurant Award (see this post). Well, according to BB&G, Alvin Garden did not make the smoke duck at all and yet they won silver. We were told that Alvin Garden got their award winning duck dish from another supplier who smokes them at home! LOL!
So, BB&G went out of their way to get the duck from their secret supplier and brought it to us to try — so sweet of them. The duck is very nice but slightly different from Alvin Garden’s (who briefly deep fried it). Word has it that the duck is marinated for a week and smoked for 3 days.
The first dish was the Winter Melon Soup (冬瓜盅). It was a good start … the soup was steamed in the winter melon itself.
The soup was … lovely and has a chockfull of nice ingredients like crab, prawns, chicken, roast duck, duck gizzard, and mushroom. Amazing stuff.
What I enjoyed particularly is the winter melon flesh. They are sweet tasting and warming. The texture is just perfect. It takes kungfu to make it such a way that it is not too soft and mushy and yet not too uncooked.
Next up is the Baked Seafood in Portuguese Sauce (葡汁焗海鮮) which is served on an oyster shell. Look at the size of it compared to my fingers … it was delightfully large.
It was very hot. It was also soft and rich and quite difficult to make out what the seafood was. Taste wise it was lightly spicy with a mild curry flavour. Portuguese Sauce is made famous from Macau and primarily made of curry and coconut milk.
We all enjoyed this. Perhaps what would make it a bit better if the seafood is more recognizable.
This a special kind of Typhoon Shelter Crab with a twist (避風塘炒雙蟹) and is the creation of Buddha Girl. Well, many of you had tasted Typhoon Shelter Crab before but I bet not many of you had ever had this with fried rice Typhoon Shelter style.
This was the one dish all of us wanted to try coming to this dinner!
Firstly the crab was very well deep fried until the shell was crispy. It was so good that everyone stopped talking when we had this. We had our hands and mouth busy dealing with the crab.
Typhoon Shelter Crab is reportedly a specialty from the boat community in Hong Kong. Today it is a vanishing community but one of its legacy is this famous dish.
While this crab is good, I so wish that they had used chilli to cook this too like the way it is supposed to be. That will give it more kick. So this dish is predominantly garlicky.
The crab meat is moist.
Underneath the crab is the fried rice. There are lots of crispy bits of garlic and Chinese celery … and again only if it had more chili. The fried rice is dryish and not brown enough but otherwise this is something I like a lot.
This is another dish I like … a slightly higher end of Sweet and Sour Pork. This is Sweet and Sour Pork Cheek (金枝玉葉).
They creatively served this with lychee which gives this common dish a twist in taste instead of the regular bell peppers and pineapple. Lychee and the pork cheek and the sauce does work very well together.
The pork cheek was marvelous. It has a more crunchy and meaty texture than ribs. You should try this dish made this way next time you order this in a restaurant.
The Egg Tofu in Pork Sauce (肉醬扒玉子豆腐) was a normal’ish dish. Nothing particularly exciting, just plain old fashion comfort food.
This one, one must eat this with steamed rice because the sauce is really meant to go with it.
The Crispy Chicken (當紅炸子雞) was kind of flat. Maybe it was because we had so many great dish already … or maybe everyone was already stuffed. I noticed that the table went for the crackers more than the chicken. I find that the skin were not crispy enough. I had tasted better ones to tell the truth.
Under normal circumstances, the Fish Cakes and Green Beans Stir Fry (魚鬆炒四季豆) above would have been great but in relative comparison to the other dishes, this is just so-so and a bit too oily.
The Baked Black Sesame Pudding (黑芝麻焗布丁) was really nice. It was not too sweet.
Unlike other restaurants who bakes this dish with sago and taro or lotus paste, they have this mixed with black sesame paste. So it is creamy with a lightly sandy texture from the black sesame paste. I like the way the restaurant makes this.
We ended up with a complimentary dessert soup made of Sweet Potato, Snow Fungus and Red Dates. It was refreshing and gingery.
Guess how much all these costs … $30 per person only!
We had a great time. The company was excellent. The food was memorable. I can understand why BB&G regarded this as their canteen.
Thanks a lot Buddha Girl and Buddha Boy for organizing this wonderful dinner. So when is the next one?
9am to 3pm; 5pm to 10pm
Closed on Wednesday