Updated 11th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.
Here. Take a look at this. Take a good look at this.
A picture paints a thousand words but a youtube video paints a million words.
Last weekend was a mega weekend for Suanne and I. We organized three back-to-back dinners starting on Friday where we had a duck feast. This was followed on Saturday and Sunday where we had Alaskan King Crab dinners. There are so much eating it is scary to think of it. We had never attempted such a crazy thing before but it was just a coming together of a perfect storm.
The kickoff of our feasting marathon started with the Duck Feast at the Man Ri Sung Korean Restaurant. No, it was not the the Man Ri Sung in Coquitlam where we once had a memorable meal. That Man Ri Sung restaurant in Coquitlam closed a few months ago to make way for SkyTrain construction (or so the sign says). Man Ri Sung re-opened … and they have re-opened in Richmond.
Going back a few weeks ago, vanchow reported that the Chuan Xiang Ge Sichuan restaurant closed quite suddenly. It was unexpected because this is a favourite Sichuan haunt of many chowhounds. So it is good know that a popular restaurant like Man Ri Sung is taking over the vacated spot.
You may click on the picture above to show it larger if you can’t read the words.
Man Ri Sung is well known for their Duck Feast. When they were in Coquitlam, they had the duck feast for just $50 and that is good enough for … 4 or 5 people. So it was such a great deal then. That was two years ago. Today it is $59 which is not too bad.
It was Jenny of My Secret Eden who first discovered Man Ri Sung two years ago (see post here). This time I asked if she could help in the planning, especially in speaking to the restaurant. Jenny was a great help especially because Man Ri Sung barely know how to speak English. They speak Korean or Mandarin. Yup, Jenny did all the heavy lifting organizing this dinner behind the scene.
We managed to pull together 20 attendees for this dinner. So we got the only two large tables which was just nice for our party.
The restaurant is not really big. They can fit maybe 50 people but certainly not more than 60. The other tables were rectangular tables which is really not suited for a party bigger than 6. We were there early and were the first diners for that night. Don’t let the above pictures fool you. Later on that night, this is how the restaurant looked like:
The place was absolutely packed. If you think about it, they had re-opened just 1 week prior. There were people standing around waiting for a table. The place was quite chaotic.
The thing is that they have only ONE waitress that night. While she was scampering around trying to keep up, we did not sort of mind as much that night. Maybe it was because we were too engrossed with our conversation and took our sweet time dining that. But I think this is a big problem that Man Ri Sung need to fix quickly. Hmmm … I was thinking how much that waitress made in tips that night.
I noticed that most of the customers were Korean. I guess word gets round the Korean community. There are not many Korean restaurants in Richmond. I am so glad that they decided to re-open here.
This time quite a number of bloggers took time to join us in the dinner. Other than Jenny and R, there is DesignGirl of Foodology.ca with her entourage who had a bit of an adventure getting to the restaurant. I have a feeling it was all MY fault but DesignGirl is just too polite to pin the blame on me. Hehehe … you see, I gave everyone the wrong address. Read about their adventure here.
I heard that Cory was quite a charmer and I was glad that he kept the other table entertained. Cory is another blogger we just discovered. Of all blogs out there, his blog is unique. You see, he HAND-CODES his site! Us blogger whimps uses WordPress or Blogger. I did not know that people still do that.
Quenchiest Cravings was also there. I see these bloggers as the next wave of bloggers dominating the foodie scene the next few years. This is so encouraging because it is my dream that someday Vancouver will get known around the world for its diversity of food other being known as a very beautiful place. Yeah, one way to achieve this is to have a huge food blogger community larger than any other city in the world. Hehehe … that is my dream.
Our table was lucky. At our table was the elegant and sweet Elizabeth who is Korean. So we had the benefit of her explaining the food to us and help us throw questions to the chef. Knowing more about the food and the chef made the evening a lot more enjoyable.
Oh the food … the banchan was sort of disappointing. Having four banchan does not befit a feast. They should have served more. I expected more! Instead they serve the usual stuff: kimchee, seaweed, bean sprout and sweetish potatoes. Kind of boring isn’t it?
Our singular focus: The Duck Feast!
We ordered two ducks per table and added also a couple of other dishes (pancake and lemon chicken) to supplement the dinner. The duck feast menu is above (right) is clickable.
For the duck feast, you can have a choice of duck congee or hotpot noodle and a side of either rice blood sausage, japchae or pan fried dumplings. Note that you need to pre-order the duck two hours in advance.
Table setting was very Korean. Someone remarked that it was the first time he had seen the spoon wrapped in paper sleeve. I had come across this many times and had taken it for granted. But now thinking about it … yeah … is there a story behind why Koreans take the extra effort to wrap the spoon up but not the chopsticks?
Most of us don’t have the hand muscles to use Korean chopsticks. They are made of metal which I have never come across Chinese chopsticks made of metal. Someone was telling us that the once upon a time the chopsticks were made of silver. The emperor or someone important uses silver chopsticks because it can change color when it comes in contact with poison. Is this a myth? LOL!
Anyway, you really need to develop a different set of hand muscles to use these chopsticks. They are very narrow but it does force one to use chopsticks in the proper manner.
The table was set … and we waited (OK my fault!) and waited for the Foodology entourage. So we all got hungry.
I think this is because I told everyone to “come hungry” and they all came hungry. I swear I detected throats swallowing saliva during the agonizing wait.
So we started first and asked the chef to save one up one duck for the Foodology entourage.
Here is the man behind the ducks. His record for 1 day 50 ducks!
Chef Sang Myung Lee will personally carve the ducks in front of every table. I think this is what makes it so unique and made Man Ri Sung such a memorable meal. It wasn’t fancy or anything like that. It is just a simple act and made a lot of difference. I think if the ducks were carved in the kitchen and no one saw what the chef looks like, the duck is probably half as delicious.
Chef Lee is Korean but was born in China. He lived in Korea for only approximately three years before he migrated to Canada 10 years ago. So his cooking is by and large more Chinese than he is Korean. Hence the Peking Ducks. He had been cooking ducks for almost 20 years already.
Chef Lee is a friendly person with a ready smile. It was hard to speak to him because he doesn’t speak English. When Jenny and Elizabeth spoke to him in Mandarin and Korean, he was more than expressive.
The above is for the duck. It is the wrap and the julienne green onions and onions.
The above plate is all the meat from 1 duck which was a lot. There is a difference between the Korean Peking Duck and the Chinese Peking Duck.
The Chinese Peking Duck is normally served in two course. In the first course, they will serve only the skin of the duck which is made crispy and eaten with a pancake like wrap. There are no meat in the first course. The meat of the duck is then stir fried to make a second course which is eaten with a lettuce wrap.
However, with Man Ri Sung’s duck, most of the meat is in the first course. So it is more delightfully looking at so much meat. When it is served the steam from the still hot duck makes it even more enticing.
Man Ri Sung’s duck is barbequed. They BBQ it in a charcoal brazier. Oh never mind … here … I’ll let Elizabeth describe this to you in her own words:
“I called the restaurant and confirmed with them that it is a BBQ duck. They BBQ it in a charcoal brazier which look like the picture in the attachment (I tried to copy and paste it but no luck). It is the actual photo of the charcoal brazier that the Chef used back in Coquitlam so I am guessing it is the one that he uses in Richmond as well. You can notice that there is a nozzle at the bottom that collects all the fat and oil from the duck. It is called Beijing style BBQ duck, which Koreans call Jeon Chi Duk (全聚德). They use fruit charcoal (I’m guessing charcoal made from fruit tree wood). They do not cut open the duck’s stomach to remove the intestines and such but take them out by the anus of the duck (lovely I know). After the removal of the insides, they go through 12 different process involving water and fire. It is sometimes viewed as cruel. The article that I am translating from does not go into details. The article that I am translating from is an interview done by a Korean newspaper back in 2007. I got the picture of the charcoal brazier from there as well.
Isn’t Elizabeth wonderful? She did the research for me!
The assembly is simple. Just smear the wrap with some bean sauce.
Then add the julienne onions and green onions.
You know, to come to this dinner, it is best you invite vegetarian friends. This is because they can stop at this stage and enjoy the wrap.
The non-vegetarians may proceed to the final assembly.
The duck is charcoal grilled and so it is not fatty at all. Eating this is very informal. You really need to use your hands and you can enhance the taste 100% if you have soju with this. None of us had soju but yeah, some of us was saying how good it would be.
OK. I’ll give you a second while you swallow your saliva before reading on. Take your time. Don’t hold it. You can get choked.
Ready to carry on? I can’t wait forever, you know.
DesignGirl said that eating this is like eating cancer.
And I just realized that I love eating cancer. LOL!
Oh my … this is the best-est and and crispest-est and super-est wings I ever had. Oliver knows his wings, Marion knows her wings … and so does Ben. It is dry and super brittle that even the bones are “muncheable”.
Let me give you a tip and please don’t tell anyone. OK? Promise? Cross you heart and hope to die?
If you do go to Man Ri Sung, tell your friends that the wings are awful looking and no one ever eats it. Then tell them it looked cancerous.
Each duck will come with either a Duck Congee or a Hot Pot Noodle. Since we ordered two ducks for each table, we got one of each.
The Hot Pot Noodle had duck meat, mushroom, soy bean sprout, green onions, green vegetables and sesame seeds. Chef Lee came over and told us that there is no MSG and if we look very closely there is no oil in it.
The broth is not made with the duck carcass but Chef Lee uses the left over meat to flavour the soup.
Elizabeth did some more research and told us this:
“I wanted to clarify, I said that the hotpot contained sesame seed when they are in fact called perilla seeds. I originally thought that sesame leaf were actually the leaves of perilla plants but they are not. sesame leaf is from sesame seed, which is more common and more affordable. I love the perilla seed oil as it has a different fragrance and taste from sesame seed oil. That is about it for now. I haven’t done this much research since I was in university! I enjoyed it.”
Too much information for me. That was too technical but I am just amazed with Elizabeth’s research. She doesn’t have a blog yet but don’t you think she should start one? Yeah?
Let’s put our hands together and follow me:
“Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-Beth!”
The noodles are hand shaved. It was a bit soft and I wished it was a bit chewier.
Actually I thought I had MSG thirst after the dinner. I was not sure where the thirst came from but I thought I mention it.
If not the Hot Pot, you get the Duck Congee. The rice looks like a mix of brown rice and sticky rice. The congee was creamy and yet still has some chew to it. It also has red dates, duck meat and green onions.
We were talking about congee and we forgot the origin of the word congee. I thought someone mentioned on chowtimes before how that word came about. Anyone can remember?
We said that it should be called “jook”. The Koreans also call this “jook” and it is such a universal work. OK, can someone tell us what “jook” is called in Vietnamese, Thai, Tagalog, and Japanese?
The third course is made up of a choice of between:
- Rice Blood Sausage, or
We got Japchae and Rice Blood Sausage. Dumplings were too common. The Japchae was just OK and quite delicious and flavorful. We were debating on whether this is the right texture for the noodles which is a bit chewy and yet soft and sticky.
The word Japchae sounds like how the Chinese would say a mix of vegetables. Suanne has a recipe for Japchae here.
The Rice Blood Sausage was served with a dipping salt. This is made with pork blood, rice and potato noodle.
I am not a fan of this but it tasted not too gross. I just had to take that obligatory piece.
What to do? It is part of the bucket list.
The Seafood Pancake was an extra dish we ordered to supplement the Duck Feast. This is $14 and is served on a hot grill pan. Pretty good.
I love their Lemon Chicken ($15). Unlike Chinese style which is crispy from the deep frying, the batter is light and soft. The sauce is slightly spicy. I had a lot of this because I just love the sauce.
The Korean Tea dispenser delighted all of us. It is serve yourself for 25 cents. So all of us were digging for a quarter to try the drink. This is called Yuel-Mu-Cha and it tasted like toasted rice and is sweet.
Elizabeth does a better job of explaining this:
“The name of the tea is yeul mu cha. I looked up yeul mu on the dictionary and it gave me this: Job‘s
pearl barley. I have attached pictures of it as well (A picture is worth a thousand words – I’m sure you have seen it before). It is a tea made from the Chinese pearl barley. The tea that we drank from the machine is made to taste yummy and does not necessarily contain great amount of the Chinese pearl barley. It is mixed with peanuts, walnut, lots of sugar, etc. Therefore, I do not know how “beneficial” the tea is. It is a nice drink after a meal like coffee. As I explained at dinner, it is usually a drink for kids or people who do not want to drink coffee.”
OK, here we go again … all together now:
“Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-beth! Liz-a-Beth!”
Total damage was $18 per person including tax and tips. Not too bad huh?
Well, the food wasn’t spectacular-spectacular. It was interesting and an unique experience. It is a great group food shared among buddies.
This is something worth putting on the bucket list for the committed foodie. At least just so to say that “Been there. Done that”.
Here is the rest of their menu.