Another component of my birthday celebration was two separate feasts in Richmond. I don’t usually blog about Chinese food because I don’t eat out at Chinese restaurants very often. Well, mom can cook awesome Chinese food so why bother dining out (haha another shameless plug for mom!) Yet this time around the dishes were rather complex and fancy so I think it’s worth paying the price and enjoy the food without any hassle in the kitchen.
The first restaurant was at Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood Restaurant. It’s a small family owned restaurant; it used to be nearby Yaohan Centre but since it’s relocation it’s now minutes away from Richmond Centre. After all these years the restaurant is still run by Mr. and Mrs. Leung who are probably in their 60s. You can see through the kitchen pass through that Mr. Leung is doing the cooking and Mrs. Leung is calling out the orders.
So along with my parents we ordered our favourite dishes there. Its Shark’s fin soup was in a clear, chicken broth made from scratch, and it’s steamed individually in their little pot. Braised sea cucumber & goose’s foot and Fresh abalone & goose’s foot are gourmet items, but they’re recently priced at this restaurant. My all-time favourite there is the Scrambled eggs with fish maws. It looks so simple but it’s so tasty. The combination of scrambled eggs, fish maws and yellow chives gives you a variety of texture to enjoy.
Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood Restaurant
160 – 8191 Westminster Highway, Richmond
The second restaurant is Empire Chinese Cuisine which is located in the heart of the foodie town in Richmond, aka Alexandra Road. It’s no different from other big scale Chinese restaurant; but what’s so special about this dinner is that it’s a big group and that gave me the opportunity to try something different. We ordered a pre-set dinner for 10 people, banquet style. It’s very typical at Chinese restaurants where they provide you with pre-set dinners, especially for special occasions like weddings, birthdays, Chinese New Year, Moon Festival, etc. This particular menu had a component that’s suitable for a birthday dinner, the Birthday Buns (sou bao). They are shaped like peaches and are filled with lotus seed paste.
So let’s start from the beginning. I called it a feast because the menu had 8 dishes, plus Fried Rice and two desserts (one of which were the birthday buns). We had BBQ meat/appetizer platter, Crab’s claws, vegetables, Shark’s fin soup, Braised abalone, lobsters, Crispy chickens, and Fish two-way. You may notice a few overlaps with the dishes I had at Hoi Tong, so here are my insights after comparing the two dinners:
- I like Hoi Tong’s shark’s fin soup. Empire’s was a thick soup, thanks to the use of corn starch, and I didn’t like it.
- Empire had much much bigger crab’s claws. The crab’s claw is in fact the actual claw being wrapped with shrimp meat. The bigger crab’s claw means more shrimp meat on the outside.
- Hoi Tong had bigger abalone but they’re both pretty good.
- Empire’s menu for 10 can serve more than 10 people. The portion size was quite generous.
- Both restaurants are priced quite reasonably. At least in this case, Empire’s menu was only $400 + tax total for everything listed above.
The quality of food with both restaurants were quite good. I was a happy camper after each dinner. I’ll definitely return for more.
Empire Chinese Cuisine
8251 Alexandra Road, Richmond