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
This Post Has 41 Comments
Thank you Ben for the shout out!
I agree, though the food was overall good, but we were pampered with first few dishes…after that…the dishes didn’t seem too appealing…hahahaha!
As for the smoked duck…the “cooking process” seemed a bit different…but that’s what the “supplier” told me…hahaha! I should try making it at home!!! LOL!!!
Glad you liked the Sweet & Sour Pork Cheeks…my ATF at TG…and it’s BG-special to eliminate all bell peppers…LOL!!!
LMAO thank you for the compliment Ben! I am flattered hehehe!
I was just checking all the out clicks from this post a moment ago. I found out that there was an astounding number of out clicks to your site … many times more than other links and definite a strange trend. I think people wants to click to your site to see how you look like. 🙂
Thank you Buddhagirl and Buddhaboy for organizing this dinner. The food is good and the company is even better. As for the duck, it is so good I ordered 2 of them. We will have roast smoked duck instead of roast turkey for Christmas dinner.
You are very welcome Crispy! Thanks so much for supporting us! And we are thinking to do the same for Christmas…duck instead of turkey!!! Hehehehe! We’re stealing your idea!!!
Damn. I’m sorry I had to miss this one.
I’m with the Buddhas on bell peppers – the stuff doesn’t belong on Chinese food.
Now to do some sleuthing about the secret supplier of smoked duck around town…(I suspect that most places that serve it do not smoke their own duck.)
Agree…bell peppers and Chinese food DO NOT MIX! LOL!!!
Nice spread! I can see why the Buddhas like it so much.
Oh before I forgot, for those who wants to order the Sweet & Sour Pork Cheeks at TG, make sure you request to eliminate the bells peppers…if no requests, then it does come with the yucky bells…heheheh…
So make sure you ask for “走椒…咩椒都走”…HAHAHAH!
Hehehe Buddhagirl, without the bell peppers in the S&S pork cheeks they lose the fillers. So they will have to put more meat in it. I’d be curious if they will do that without extra charge. BTW, the other night that we were there for dinner, I asked if they can substitute eggplant instead of tofu in the 8 treasures hotpot just like what you usually do. They agreed but wanted to charge me 2 dollar extra for that. Me being CL (Cheap Lechon), I decided to order something else. Maybe we should always go with you when eating at TG. You are a very VIP customer there and can get anything you requested. 🙂
They charged you extra for that??? I will ask them…honestly I usually not the one looking at the bill so I am not sure…but I definitely will check for you…but it’s stupid to charge extra…grrrr…next time go with us Crispy!!!
Maybe I’m in the minority for “not hating” bell peppers in Chinese food. But only if they’re still al dente.
LOL!!! Actually, Buddha Boy is ok with bell peppers too! But I really don’t like it…so I do it my way!!! LOL!!! I am so self-centered!!! LOL!!!
I love bell peppers in S&S Pork. I like them more than the pork…
Winnie you eat too healthy!!! LOL!!! We like meat more than veggie…hehehe…or in this case…”fruits”…hehehe!
Note to self: go out and order S&SP with Winnie. She gets all the peppers, onions and I get all the pork and pineapple, LOL
I like the pineapple too if they use fresh and not canned version. Yes. My boyfriend usually get to eat most of the pork. I usually only eat 2 or 3 pieces out of the whole dish and finish up the peppers, onions and we both fight for the pineapples.
Really ? Some restaurants use fresh pineapples rather than canned ? Which ones ?
(I like my S&SP crunchy with a distinct layer of fried batter on the outside, and not much sauce, with the pork pieces half lean half fatty). On Lok on Hastings make pretty good ones, and so does Hon’s.
Another awesome post, Ben! I can no longer keep my curiosity at bay and want to ask a few questions: how do you love eating so much and do it so well but still keep in shape?
I love how you take so many pictures, some of them down to the bite details, how do you manage to not get your gears all greasy while eating AND taking pictures? For example, I would think you needed both of your hands to eat the crab!
My last question is, how do people usually respond to your taking pictures? Have you ever been told you couldn’t snap away? And how do you NOT draw attention when you snap away?
OK, I got a good idea and do a post to answer all your questions. I think you will like it. Stay tuned. 🙂
But I can answer the question about taking pictures in restaurants. I think after going to so many places over the years, we are very comfortable in taking pictures and we have no problem whatsoever even if we are asked not to take pictures. So far it had not happened to us — no one had asked us to not take pictures. One thing we make sure we do NOT do is to respect people by never using the flash even though I have a really nice flash. It is disrespectful to use a flash in a restaurant setting. Another thing we do is that we ask for permissions to take pictures of the menu and make sure they are OK with it. If they have a problem (some do), we will be OK with it. One way to circumvent asking for permission is when they have take-out menus or if their menus are on websites (theirs or otherwise).
Taking pictures in restaurants are so common nowadays that people do not bat an eyelid over this. I am sure you had seen many instances where people take pictures of their food. It does draw attention but people will ignore it very quickly. Some restaurants do ask us about our taking pictures and we are open about it … and then make sure by asking if they are OK with it. In all cases so far, they are all OK.
Thanks for the reply, Ben! I agree with you so many people take pictures of their food nowadays (me included!) it shouldn’t be a wonder anymore, but I do still get shy sometimes because the people I go out with might be uncomfortable or get impatient with me taking a snap of every dish. lol.
I need to make sure not to miss the upcoming really good post in answering my other question! 😀
Thanks to Buddha Girl and Boy’s frequent posts about Top Gun, we’ve become regulars of the place! The food is not bad, the place is comfortable enough, and they take all our requests in stride. 🙂 We are there probably once in 2 weeks now, sometimes more frequently. The servers always ask if we want the baked tapioca but since we’re not big fans of that dessert we always refuse. The first time we were there they served us black sesame soup instead of red bean — I don’t know why but they never have the black sesame soup anymore.
We also go to Garden City Hot Pot, which also is not bad. My mother loves their empress(?) barbecue pork buns — I don’t know what it’s called in Chinese but they’re the ones with a pineapple/mexico bun topping — which she swears is the best in town. We’ve ordered the same buns at Top Gun but they’re not the same. My mother will only eat them from Garden City Hot Pot, nowhere else.
Hello JS! I believe the buns your mom likes are 貴妃飽…some places call it “Royal BBQ Buns”, some places call it “Empress BBQ Buns”…it’s one of my favorites at TG too!
Hi JS and Buddha Girl: You are referring to this and this right?
Yes!!! That’s it Ben!!!
Yup, that’s the one. My mother will only eat them at Garden City Hot Pot.
Come to think of it, last week we were at Garden City Hot Pot and Top Gun restaurant on Tuesday and Wednesday for lunch. I tried to get my mother to eat them at Top Gun and she had one bite and said the ones at Garden City Hot Pot are better. So, she didn’t even finish one bun at Top Gun! 🙂
LOL!!! We did quite the opposite…my sister and I went GCHP after we realized TG’s closed on Wednesdays (I totally forgot about it)…we didn’t like the buns at GCHP…the following week we went to TG and had it over there and it was much better…hahahaha…it’s personal preference…
Ok…the secret is…it’s by the same chef…hahahah! The buns are by the same dim sum chef situated upstairs (bigger kitchen)…
That’s what I tell my mother, that it’s probably the same guy making both of them since the restaurants are situated so close together. But she refuses to believe me LOL and insists the buns are not the same. Having tried both of them two consecutive days, I have to agree that the filling is a little bit different though. I think my mom likes the overall bun better at Garden City, the filling and the bun itself.
Does Garden City hotpot give Top Gun card holders 40% discount if you leave before 11:30 am? I know Top Gun J&C does.
Crispy!!! I think the discounts are different at every single location…I think only TG gives the 40% discount before 11am.
LOL!!! I didn’t know about the “same chef” until I spoke to the owners…hahahah!!! But I think they bake it on the spot so it must taste different…hahahaha!!!
The food looks delicious….sorry I missed out on this dinner. What a way to get your gastric juices stimulated by starting off with the XO sauce and peanuts…YUM!!! Would love to try this restaurant in the company of the Buddhas if the occasion would come up again…:-). May I suggest deep fried spicy crab on a bed of sticky rice?
Hello Michelle! I actually thought about that too!!! But Buddha Boy thought it would be way too filling…hahahaha! I also thought about the BFT crab on a bed of xo fried rice…hehehe!!!
Hi Buddhas: I was thinking about one great idea and that you guys would be the likeliest people to pull something like this off. I was wondering if you are game to organize a dinner that is a “mix and match” of common dishes/ingredients to create new dishes that is not so common? You know, like the BFT crabs+Fried Rice … along those lines. 🙂 I don’t know what else … like deep fried spring rolls with pork cheek? LOL! I tell you, people will likely be interested to attend. Ben
Interesting…that would need some time to think and plan since need to work it with the chef…hehehe…hum…does sound interesting…
They do have pan fried sticky rice with dried shrimps and Chinese sausage in their menu. Actually we ordered that the last time we ate there and it was very tasty. I’m sure it can be arranged to have that underneath the crab instead of the regular fried rice. All that is needed is a bat of Buddhagirl’s eyelashes. 🙂
CRISPY!!! You mean all we need is my “wah wah wah” complaints to the chef!!! LOL!!! My eyelashes wouldn’t work…imagine Miss Piggy…hahahahaha!
I think they’d do it if Elaine batted her eyelashes. :p
Ooooh…I think that would work…Elaine…we sent you to negotiate next time!!!
LMAO BG I am nowhere near as good as you!
WOW!! Now this sounds like my kind of dinner…..would love to attend this and would even be willing to be on the behind the scene consultation/planning process…:-).