Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant on No 3 Road in Richmond

Updated: 17th Dec 2014; This restaurant has moved to River Rock.

It had been a long while since we had Dim Sum. Six months to be exact. Not sure why … I guess we are not much of a morning meal blogger ourselves.

Sea Harbour had been around for a very long time. Believe it or not, I still remember the last (and only one) time we were there … 9 years ago!

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The facade of Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant had not changed all these years. They looked the same and if I may add, a less than impressive looking one from the outside. We do notice though that there are always a lot of cars parked in front of the restaurant during meal times.

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The looks from the outside is misleading. Sea Harbour is one of the more upscale dim sum places in Richmond. The decor shouts opulence with chairs upholstered in gold fabric, newish looking carpets and tables with double table cloth.

Service is impeccable. They all looked well trained and well groomed with clean pressed uniform. Needless to say, the service were polite, quick and attentive. The wait staff actually always keep their heads up to look for eye contact in case you need them!

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Since we don’t read Chinese, we asked for an English one. We were pleasantly surprised to see they have the version in English with pictures.

Looking around the neighboring tables, we see a number of tables of non-Asian customers. Mind you, Sea Harbour is as authentic a dim sum place as it gets but I think the reason that even non-Asians eat here is probably because of the user-friendly menu. All Asian restaurant should have these kind of menu.

However, the ordering sheet was only in Chinese. We had to cross check the numbers on the ordering sheet against the Chinese characters on the menu.

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We try to not order the normal stuff. You know, like Siew Mai and such.

First one above is the Deep Fried Seafood Salad Roll. It is filled with mayonnaise and crusted with panko. It was rich as expected of anything with mayo. $5.

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The Shrimp and Fish Maw Bean Curd Roll. We like the smoothness and lightness of the bean curd roll with freshness of the seafood. The bean curd roll is somewhat more “egg-y” than normal. They make good quality dim sums. This is a “large” dim sum item … $5.

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Neptune Wonton Noodle on No 3 Road, Richmond

Having missed dinner, Suanne and I decided that we should go out for supper. In many parts of Asia, where there are always places to eat at any hours of the day, suppers are meant to refer to the meal after normal dinner time … usually late at night.

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It had been many years since we went to the Neptune Wonton Noodle. This restaurant is positioned as a cheaper version of the Neptune Sharkfin Seafood Restaurant and is located just side-by-side to it (on Akroyd and No 3 Road). This is the restaurant with the green entrance … the more expensive one is the one with the red entrance.

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Neptune Wonton Noodle, despite the name is actually more famous for its other food than wonton. I don’t know if people really order wontons here at all. It is a popular spot for late night supper and opens until 2AM.

When we were there past 10:15PM, the place was packed — and noisy as expected of such a place. Walking in, one cannot help but notice the fragrant aroma of herbal soup — which is a specialty of Neptune.

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For a busy Chinese restaurant, Neptune’s service is fast and efficient. More importantly, it is not rude … but then they do not smile much. At least one does not feel ignored or offended from poor service as one might get from busy restaurants.

They have a well arranged menu, sensationalized by the hour of availability. It took us a while to figure the sections we should be looking at. Take a look at the menu at the bottom of this post … they have exotic congee and noodles … like Lobster Congee ($14), or Sharkfin with Tossed Noodle ($13) or Abalone with Noodle Soup ($20). Well, you get the idea.

Other than these exotic ingredients, most of their other menu items are pretty cheap at less than $10.

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We knew what we wanted here … their famous Hot Pots. This is not the all-you-can-eat hot pot here but specialty hotpot. A lot of tables orders this for supper — with the Drunken Chicken our favourite. There are a few hot pot options on the “Chef Special” on the menu.

We ordered the Drunken Chicken Hot Pot Assorted Plate. The name is kind of confusing but I have you know that this is like a two course hot pot. This costs $27 and is meant for 2 person.

The “first course” is a consists of half chicken. I think this is Free Range Chicken that they provided. It appears firmer, leaner and less fat.

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The soup goes changes as we progressed with the meal. It started off with a clear herbal soup with rice wine and wolfberry (in Cantonese, Kei Chee). It has a distinctive “tong kwai” (Anglelica) smell to it — absolutely lovely. (more…)

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Congee Noodle House on East Broadway, Vancouver

It was one of those days.

Normally we eat in for breakfast but that one morning, we decided to eat out. We did not know where and not caring for what too. We got into the car and decided that we will just drive around and see if there is something we fancy. And oh … the criteria is, it has to be somewhere we had never been to before because we wanted to blog about it.

We drove along No 3 Road in Richmond … could not find any. Decided to cross the Knight Street Bridge and try driving northwards along Main Street … nope, nothing. It was until we got to Broadway, we decided that we’ll not be picky and just go to the next one we spot.

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It just happen that the Congee Noodle House is just at the intersection of Broadway and Main. We were getting hungry already and decided, we’ll just chance it.

It sure one of the better days that morning. The sun was out … one of the rarities this winter. I so look forward to spring this year more than any other. Thinking of it now, I hardly played at all this winter.

I was kind of afraid that parking would be a problem. But it was much easier than I thought. They actually have a large parking lot at the back of the restaurant.

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The Congee Noodle House is surprisingly larger than I thought and definitely busier than I imagined. I mean, I don’t really expect a congee house right at this spot of town.

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You know what we love best? The music they put on. It was Sam Hui’s soft sentimental songs. Suanne has a complete collection of Sam Hui’s songs at home. Sam is the king of Cantopop and undisputed “God of Song” in the 80s … he he he … and that shows our age! Anyway, if you’re into Cantopop, enjoy this song as you read the rest of this posting.

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I learned something new that day. I had always wondered why there are rice grains in the salt shaker. Suanne claims that this keeps the salt from clumping together. Is that right … you reckon?

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We noticed that every table had congee — so, it would be a safe bet to order congee. As a matter of fact their menu is dominated by congee with the front page of the menu saying the following:

Congee is a popular kind of traditional Chinese diet which has been around for thousands of years. It is mentioned in many ancient Chinese books, some of which date back to the very beginning of Chinese history. One ancient record describes the preparation of a “Celestial Congee” which contains curing powers that overcome certain chronic diseases affecting the kidney and the spleen. It can also build up body health. A Sung Dynasty poet, Lu You, wrote in a poem on congee “All mortals crave for long life. They do not understand that the key lies in the present. For me who live in the vale, my philosophy is easy and simple: eating congee brings health and leads to immortality”

Nevertheless, it is totally believable that eating congee maintains good health and prolongs life. From the modern medical point of view, congee — a semi-liquid diet — regulates and enhances our appetite. it brings healthy digestion and helps the body to readily absorb nutrition. The benefits of eating congee are irrefutable.

Their congee is really smooth … the kind that they blend it to near puree-like. (more…)

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Master Hung BBQ Restaurant on Blundell and Garden City, Richmond

Shawn (Suanne’s brother) loves Master Hung. When he was staying in our place a few years ago, I remember how he would take my bicycle to Master Hung to buy their roast duck twice or trice a week. He likes it so much we think he could have roast duck everyday if given the chance.

It had been a long while since we last went to Master Hung since we don’t normally drive through this part of Richmond. It was like out of sight, out of mind.

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Master Hung is located on Garden City and Blundell. What brought me here was the thought of roast duck. I don’t think there are many places which specializes on Cantonese Style Roast Duck here in Metro Vancouver … well, not that I know of. Most BBQ Chinese joints specializes on Roast Pork of which the one in Parker Place is absolutely our favourite.

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Master Hung appears to us to be very much a neighborhood restaurant. They do have a lot of customers who works or stays nearby because many of the customers does not really dress up (i.e. many in their work clothes) here. We also saw that they have quite a lot of people ordering take away.

There were quite a number of empty tables. Since the smaller tables were taken up they seated in their larger tables. Before we know it, they came by and asked if we mind sharing a table with another party of two. No way, we said. We hate sharing tables with strangers.

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We did not realize initially. We were wondering why Nanzaro asked for pen …

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… they have Sudoku printed on their paper mats. This is the first time I had come across this. Pretty clever, I thought.

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Master Hung provides free soup of the day. The menu calls this “low for tong” which literally translates to old flame soup … i.e. soup that had been boiled for a long time. The soup was quite flavorful but more importantly it does not seems to be laden with MSG.

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We ordered half a Roast Duck which costs $9.80. We absolutely love the shining reddish-brownish crispy skin … a sign of a well made BBQ Roast Duck. One thing I wish they serve with this is scallion. I know, scallion normally goes with Peking Duck, not Cantonese duck … but still I think it would be great.

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The scrumptious Roast Duck was deliciously moist. The plum sauce as a dip is good but I personally prefer hoisin sauce. OK, some of you would tell me that hoisin sauce is normally served with Peking Duck but still.

The duck meat is consistently fleshy and thick here in Master Hung. That’s what I love so much about it because many places serves skinny duck meat.

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Their other specialty of Master Hung is the Roasted Crispy Pork. It is very fatty but that is what makes this great … six layers of alternating lean and fat meat topped with a very crunchy crispy pork skin. This plate is $8.80. Between Parker Place and Master Hung, I still think that Parker Place is better in most counts. (more…)

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McKim Wonton Mein Saga in Richmond

The past week was awfully foggy here in Vancouver. We got only a few breaks of the sun. It was kind of drabby, makes one so lethargic. In weather like this we did not want to really go far.

So we went to this place called McKim Wonton Mein Saga because it was just a few minutes drive from home and we get to avoid driving down the dreaded No 3 Road.

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McKim Wonton Mein Saga is quite a name, huh? It is named McKim because it is located on McKim Way and Garden City Road.

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Although the name does suggest that this is principally a noodle house and their menu tout themselves as “The best Wonton Noodle House in Town”, we were told that we should try their Set Lunch/Dinners.

Service wasn’t particularly great. There were hardly anyone there at 5:00PM (we eat early most days) but it took an awfully long time for them to set us up and take our orders. What irks me really is how they took our order … at times acknowledging our order with grunts. *mmm* *argg* *mmm*. Speak up!

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Their Set Lunch/Dinner allows you selection from about 120 different dishes ranging from seafood, vegetable, beef, pork, duck, chicken, etc. Since there are just the three of us, we ordered the Set Dinner for 3 which costs $40.

Besides a selection of 3 dishes, the set dinner also includes soup, rice and dessert. We were surprised the soup came in a pot. Normally, one would just get a bowl each.

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The soup was pretty good too and does have really big pieces of meaty pork. That was a good start. Unfortunately, I have to say that it goes downhill after this. (more…)

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Lam Chu Kee Restaurant on Union Square in Richmond

Updated: 7th Mar 2010: This restaurant had closed.

>Oh … you all should take note of this food blog that we had just taken notice of the past couple of weeks. It is called Eat N About and is authored by Wendy. Wendy blogs about restaurant reviews primarily of Asian restaurants in the Richmond area. If you enjoy chowtime’s dineout reviews, I am sure you will enjoy Wendy’s blog too.

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One of Wendy’s review was to this place called Lam Chu Kee. Last weekend we decided to pick this place for our lunch. Lam Chu Kee is located at 3779 Sexsmith. It is at the south side of the strip mall where Ellie and Vogue is. If not for Wendy’s review we would not have given this place a second glance. From the outside it looked so uninspiring.

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We were the first customer that morning. We meant to be there for brunch but because the boys took forever to take a bath and brush their teeth, we only got there at around 11AM. So instead of brunch, it became more like lunch.

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I saw quite a few moist ducks hanging by the display near the kitchen. I thought it could be one of their specialty. I ordered the Oyster Sauce BBQ Duck Mix Noodle. It is $7.25. It was good, I love it.

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What I like especially is the cut of duck I had which had the right amount of fat and the skin is so crispy. The meal came with plum sauce. Can anyone tell me why plum sauce is about the only type of sauce for roast duck? (more…)

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Tai Hing Congee and Noodle House in Richmond

It snowed the night before. It was one of those mornings, you know. The air was chilly and we all wanted more than just cereals for breakfast. We wanted something warm, hot and I could see Suanne hinting under her breath that she wanted to not make breakfast that morning. She does it ever so subtly … like commenting there are not enough eggs for everyone and that we are down to only two Costco croissants. LOL!

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The boys were too lazy to go out and so was I. The main problem was not so much as the drive and all … it is because we gotta brush our teeth, take a bath and put on going-out clothes. That is Suanne’s rules. It is like a formal event or something. Before we go out, Suanne will insist we all must, at the minimum, take a bath, brush our teeth, comb our hair and put on street cloths. This time she compromised … she allowed us to go out “as is” as long as she does not have to make breakfast. Deal … we said!

So we all gingerly rescued our yesterdays clothing from the laundry basket and pull it over our head (after taking a quick whiff it is humanly acceptable). We quickly combed our hair using our fingers and made sure we zipped our mouth unless absolutely necessary during the short drive. Suanne, being the ever so prim and proper, went through the rituals. She kept very quiet during the drive because I can see that she was beginning to turn blue from holding her breadth. It was not that bad, really … and it’s all in her mind, we told her. We assured mum that once we take our first bite, the smell will theoretically dissipate.

We knew about this place called Tai Hing. It is very well known for being cheap and no frills kind of a breakfast place. This is exactly the type of place where 73% of the people comes in without combing their hair.

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Tai Hing was absolutely full that morning, and I assume like every morning too from the looks of it. Some people had to wait for a table outside the restaurant in the frigid weather. They are highly popular because of one thing … their food is simple and their prices cheap. OK, that is two things. (more…)

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Dragon Garden Restaurant in Langley

Geoff and Joy and our family took a drive to Langley to visit Whitney and Ken on a Saturday. We wanted to introduce our new friends who had just landed in Vancouver from NZ recently. It was a long drive but was glad to find that they had finally completed the upgrade to Route 10 which makes the drive much more faster and easier.

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For dinner, Whitney recommended that we go to a Chinese restaurant. The way she put it is as if there are hardly any good Chinese restaurant in Langley and Dragon Garden is about the best it could get.

Dragon Garden is more of a Chop Suey, Sweet and Sour Pork and Fortune Cookies type of Chinese restaurant, if you know what I mean. Even the name tells you as much. You see most of these Chinese restaurant are not quite creative in naming the restaurant and uses a combination of words like Golden, Dragon, Inn, Garden, Gate, Imperial, Phoenix, Silver, Fortune, Lucky, etc.

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It was a Saturday evening and for the whole time we were about the only customer there. If not for us taking up a table for 11 people, they would probably have almost no business for the day.

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Let’s talk about table arrangements. In Chinese restaurants, larger tables are ALWAYS round and NEVER long. Most large tables will fit about 10 people. I find this arrangement more practical as one gets to interact with one another all round this way. Moreover, food are normally shared (i.e. formal dinners are not served individually) and it makes the sharing of dishes easier.

Dishes are not normally passed around but one unique thing is the “lazy susan” (see above). Tell me … are the Chinese the only cuisine that uses “lazy susans” on the dining table? I think they are.

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Whitney did all the ordering. Because of so many kids around, she ordered dishes that kids likes. (more…)

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New Hong Kong Restaurant in Richmond

I remember this restaurant very well. But then the last time we were here, it was so long ago. It must have been something like 5 years since we were here — most definitely before we started blogging. The reason I remembered this place was that it used to win Best Chinese Restaurant awards from either the Richmond News or Richmond Review.

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So, last weekend, I wanted to spend the entire weekend working on chowtimes … you know tweaking the template, planning for the “free advertising” idea, and such. What that means is that I meant to spend the weekend right in front of the computer. So, we went to the one restaurant that is nearest our home.

The New Hong Kong Restaurant is located in the strip mall on Garden City and Blundell. Forget about the address. You’ll see why below.

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I can’t remember this place being like this. The entire place looked old. The melamine bowls look faded. And newspapers were somewhat strewn in the front entrance. Not that I really mind but sometimes it does show how little they care about making a good showing. I mean, how much effort does it take to make sure that the papers are arranged neatly.

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We ordered the 3-person dinner special which costs $32.95 on the menu. For that we get soup, rice and fortune cookies and a choice of three dishes from a selection of 30 items.

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The soup sure had lots of veggies in it. Suanne said that it is called “sai yeong choy” in Cantonese. (more…)

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Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant on Kingsway, Vancouver

Even though we live in Richmond for many years our weekends revolves around the Metrotown area. We used to attend the church near Metrotown. Also, we forced our boys to attend Chinese language classes during Saturdays. So, for the longest time, we had our weekend lunch outings near the area. Those were the days before chowtimes.

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One of the places we frequented was the Rose Garden. We absolutely loved their delicious comfort food, huge servings and especially their low prices. Our boys were very young that we just ordered two dishes for less than $15 and that was enough to feed the whole family. Those were the days.

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It must have been 4-5 years since we last stepped into this place. It looked every bit the same — even the waitress was still the same but a bit more plum. They used to know us quite well because we almost always ordered the same stuff. But this time, we were like strangers to them. The place still looked the same.

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This time we noticed that the plates and cups were quite faded. It shows their age. I am not sure how long they had been in business but I guess they had been quite a fixture on this part of Kingsway.

I guess many of you know that restaurants come and go. There is a saying that of all newly opened restaurants, 80% of them will close within a year. And within the second year, another 80% of those who survived the first year will fold. It is those that manage to survive the second year who will thrive for one reason or another. The Rose Garden is one of those who I know will thrive.

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They have a varied menu. If you want westernised food like chow mein, they have it. If you want something more authentic Chinese, they have it too.

We choose from their Family Combo. Their “3-item” option costs $36 which includes soup, steamed rice and dessert. If you more people, they provide free dishes too. We wanted so much to order the 4 items but with the additional 1 free dish, it would have been way too much for the four of us. Someday, I’ll round up a few foodies and tackle their 8 items.

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The free soup was respectable — (more…)

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