Posts with tag "chinese food"

The Lazy Cook: Chinese Steamed Fish

One of the simplest and purest ways in cooking fish is to just steam it. I grew up eating a lot of fish year round. A whole steamed fish is often associated with Chinese New Year as the Chinese word for fish, Yu, means abundance. Also anything associated with water is considered lucky in Chinese culture.
You can use a variety of fish for steaming like tilapia, cod, halibut, striped bass and yellowtail snapper.

- 1 whole fish (usually about 1-2 lbs). When you buy the fish, you can ask the counter person to help clean, degut and descale it for you. Also can ask them to slice open the fish at the belly if you don’t want to do this at home
- ½ cup of soy sauce (I use a mix of sweet and regular soy sauce)
- teaspoons of salt and sugar are optional
- ¼ cup of oil (we’ve gone fusion and have used oils like sunflower, vegetable olive, grapeseed, etc oils)
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 3-4 stalks scallions diced or julienned (divide the white and green parts)
- 1 small piece of ginger (1 inch or so) thinly sliced (can slice into matchstick strips if you julienned the scallions)

1) One last clean and dry the fish then transfer to a big enough plate, belly side down
2) Make 3-4 shallow diagonal slices on both sides of the fish
3) Stuff the cavity of the fish with the white cut part of the scallions and some of the ginger, and lightly season all over with the salt
4) In a shallow pot or wok, put in your steam or shallow rack, and add about 2 inches of water. Bring to boil then turn to medium to med-high heat
5) Place dish of fish into steamer or on rack
6) Steam for about 10-15 minutes until fish is cooked, opaque, and flakes easily with a fork
7) Remove the fish from the wok/pot
8) Mix and pour the remaining soy sauces and sesame oil over the fish and strew the remaining scallions and ginger on top
9) Heat oil in saucepan over high heat for about a minute then carefully pour the hot oil over the steamed fish

And that’s it! Easy, simple, and elegant!

Searching for Superwaiter

It was suppose to be a pre-birthday dinner for my mom at our local Chinese restaurant, Golden House Seafood.  A little get together for a nice low key night with family and friends. Even though Golden House is a small restaurant of about 8-10 tables, they serve dishes that are considered on the quality high end side (ie you’re not going to find Chop Suey and Fortune Cookies here). As much as we like the owners and the food, this uncharacteristically bad night turned out to be almost a Shakespearean disaster in service. We’re regulars at this restaurant so if I’m saying it was bad…it was truly bad.

We ordered 6 dishes to share and it took almost 2 hours to serve 5 of the 6; it took so long that we just cancelled the last dish. For any restaurant to take 2 hours, especially a Chinese restaurant, to turn out 5 platters is ridiculous. Every time we asked for anything, we would have to repeat ourselves and to different waitresses. How many times did we ask? Let me count the ways – to cancel the last dish took 2 waitresses and 3 requests and to ask for the bill from the same waitresses took 4 tries. I had to actually walk up to the counter with my wallet in hand and pay at the cash register.

I did feel bad for them that they only had 2 chefs in the back instead of the usual 3. But the waitresses spinned around the room inefficiently and frenetically….and let me repeat that this was a restaurant of 8-10 tables ONLY.  This made me think, no wait…. reminisce, of the ‘Super Waiter’ who worked at this location.

This particular spot at the corner of 49th and Fraser has had a few turnovers of Chinese restaurants.  I don’t remember what it was called previous to Golden House but it served dim sum and similar quality cuisine.  But I will always remember this one waiter that took care of EVERYTHING all by himself and he did it well.  He was so efficient it felt like there was a waiter per table: he greeted, served tea, took orders, remembered your order, filled the teapots, cleaned the tables, set the tables, got you that extra chopstick/spoon/napkin/hot sauce, brought the food, served the food, handed you the bill, got you your change and had a smile while doing it all.  I have a few friends who’ve gone to the restaurant and can vouch for this mysterious super server.

Because of him, my standard for excellent efficient service is pretty high.  If one humble hard-working smart waiter can manage 1 small restaurant all by himself, I’m expecting above par service if a place has a size of a small army as its wait staff (I’m looking at you Guu Gastown).  I don’t know where he’s gone to but a full ‘kowtow’ to his hospitality amazingness.

It is truly mind-boggling to have experienced one of the best and one of the worst services at the same location but different restaurant.  Well at the end of the unfortunate dinner, the owner did give us a discount off of our meal; that little compensation didn’t ease our frustration nor hunger…instead it made us decide to not go back for awhile and made me wonder where Mr. Superwaiter has gone off to.

Golden House Seafood
6520 Fraser Street
Golden House Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Dinesty Chinese Restaurant

There’s only a few restaurants in the lower mainland that I want to go back to other than the food. One of those places is Dinesty, a Northern Chinese cuisine restaurant in Richmond. The cuisine is decent but why I come back is to check out the cool action that happens in the busy open kitchen.

It’s fascinating to watch the chefs work their magic over the stove or nimbly make the delicate dumplings. I’ve visited the restaurant since it opened. And like some restaurants at the beginning, they put in extra effort in presentation and service. I remember the xiao long bao dipping sauce came as a tray of plated julienned ginger, a cute little bottle of the sauce, and sauce dishes. It was all very quaint and diy but now each table gets a couple of prepared dishes of sauce: more practical and efficient than cute.

It was around 1pm when we arrived and the restaurant was still busy. After a 15 minutes wait, we finally sat down with the best designed menu: I should have taken a picture of it (or try to steal one ;). It was really nice laid out and most of the menu items were professionally photographed…so all the dishes looked extra delicious.

Since we were at a Northern Chinese restaurant, of course we had to order the xiao long bao

First thought was ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Dumplings’. I’ve been spoiled by Lin Chinese and The Place, so I was disappointed when I saw this small version arrived at our table. It was not particularly ‘soupy’ nor filling at all.

Next was the pork pot stickers

They were more like pot sticker fingerlings. I liked how they were pan fried so that the skin got crispy but alas not much filling either.

It was a chilly day so we got a bowl of minced preserved vegetable and pork noodle soup

This was the winner for me. There was plenty of noodles for about 5-6 serving bowls and heaps of the minced veggie and pork on top.

Lastly, I asked for the minced bean curd and spinach appetizer because it seemed like every other table ordered it.

It was a super simple healthy dish with a strong hint of sesame. I mixed in some chilli oil and it actually made it taste better.

Throughout the lunch, the waitresses seemed frazzled and rushed. It felt like they were always helping one more table before coming by to ours.

I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat at Dinesty again soon but it’s decent, and most importantly, clean and with a cool open kitchen.

Dinesty Chinese Restaurant
8111 Ackroyd Rd
Dinesty Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon