Beyond Wontons: Where to Find Vancouver’s Best Chinese Cuisine (Part II)

Despite Vancouver’s reputation for great Chinese cuisine, finding a stellar Chinese meal isn’t always easy in the city.  In my last post, I asked for your advice and talked about the Chinese Restaurant Awards, an annual competition that highlights the city’s best restaurants.

Armed with a copy of the Signature Dish Dining Guide (which lists winners of the awards), I headed to Richmond’s “Food Road” recently, where more than 200 Chinese restaurants are packed within the space of a few blocks along Alexandra Road.  My mission was to try several of the award-winning dishes at Jade Seafood Restaurant, a perennial winner of gold and silver medals in the competition.

Despite Jade’s winning history, I had never seen or heard of it before.  And, as I approached the restaurant, I could understand why.  It’s located on the second floor of an anonymous office building.  If you didn’t notice the small sign, you’d never know that one of the city’s best Chinese restaurants was located inside.

I made my way up the stairs and found a vast open dining room buzzing with activity.  Every last seat was filled for the dimsum lunch. In contrast to some  Chinese restaurants, the emphasis in Jade is on service.  Black-vested waiters zip from table to table, happy to offer explanations and advice on choosing the best dimsum options.

I started with Jade’s signature mushroom dumplings, which took home a gold medal for the best Cantonese dimsum in the 2010 Chinese Restaurant Awards.  Stuffed with oyster and shitake and enoki mushrooms, the dumplings came out steaming in a bamboo tray (Unlike many dimsum restaurants, Jade makes its dumplings to order, ensuring you’ll never get stale, lukewarm buns).  The dumplings were wrapped in delicate, translucent dough and seasoned with just a hint of truffle oil – in a whole different league from the bland, soggy dumplings served up in lots of places.

Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards

After a few more plates – buns stuffed with sweet barbecued pork; tender pea shoots sauteed with garlic – I moved on to another award winner, the clay pot chicken, which won a medal in the inaugural 2009 competition.  The chicken is marinated and baked until the skin is crispy.  Then, it’s cooked again in a clay pot with herbs and green onions.  The waiter brought the dish out in its clay vessel, warning that it was piping hot.  The chicken itself was moist and savory, nothing like a dry old rotisserie bird.

Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards

In the dimsum universe, Jade Seafood’s prices aren’t cheap – Plates range from $4-$10.  But the quality and the service easily justify the extra expense.

But that’s just one restaurant.  In Richmond alone there are hundreds – possibly thousands – more, waiting to be discovered.  If you’ve got a favorite, please share it by leaving a comment below.

Remy Scalza

Tagged: , , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

4 Responses to Beyond Wontons: Where to Find Vancouver’s Best Chinese Cuisine (Part II)