This is one of the reasons I enjoy Chinese Bites dinners because even with my love of hole in the walls, there are always some that I might’ve overlooked. Interestingly enough, Ken’s Chinese Restaurant has been featured in Conde Nast Traveller in 2010 with their Golden Dungeness Crab dish being a highlight for travellers visiting Vancouver – but we’ll get back to that in a bit.
Our meal started off with a Fish Soup with winter melon and dried scallop. Soup is commonplace in many Chinese restaurants as a palate cleanser and get you prepared for your meal – you’ll see this often at places that serve set meals or at weddings. The soup was piping hot and full of shrimp, fish pieces and vegetables – overall though, it wasn’t too heavy to take away stomach space for the rest of the meal. Most places will serve a clear broth but I enjoyed this particular fish broth that’s more tastier than the clear broth offerings.
The rest of our dishes came out in quick succession, so here we go:
Ken’s Specialty Chicken – a staple in Chinese cuisine, was a nice, large portion. The chicken itself was tender and the skin was not too salty.
Lobster with Konnyaku in Hot Pot – probably one of my favourite dishes of the evening is a deep fried lobster served with Japanese potato Konnyaku. The lobster was springy and tender and came easily off the shell, the gravy gave it more moisture without drowning its natural flavour.
Our next dish is the Crab with Garlic & Spicy XO Sauce and was legitimately my favourite dish of the evening. There’s something super enjoyable about jalapeno peppers, garlic and XO sauce all tossed together – even more enjoyable when it’s on crabs. There were a lot of good, meaty pieces on the dish and if you skip the jalapeno peppers, you can still eat it just fine if heat isn’t your thing.
Finally the pièce de résistance (that’s right, I’m going fancy on you for a split second) – the Golden Dungeness Crab. It’s made with Salted Chinese Egg and while the concept is interesting and not something you’d see anywhere else, I personally was a bit underwhelmed. The flavouring was good and salty but the texture is a bit on the grainy side (which you’ll get with using egg), but not particularly my personal taste. I honestly thought their Crab with Garlic & Spicy XO sauce was a real treat.
Braised Fatty Layer Pork is another Chinese staple that I enjoy. Here at Ken’s, the pork belly is extremely tender and soft (so soft it fell apart with my terrible chopsticks skills). The gravy atop is a nice compliment to the pork belly that is already stewed in delicious flavour.
Pan Fried Chicken Fillet with Spicy Thai Sauce – this dish was fine – the chicken was nice and tender – but nothing to write home about. A good portion (although not entirely sure whether this is a regular sized portion or if they had given us extra), it was passible. The Spicy Thai sauce is actually sweet and sour sauce we use for dipping our lumpia in at home.
Baked Seafood on Rice – while it might not look very appealing, baked seafood on rice is one of my favourite dishes to order when we’re at a Chinese cafe. Probably not so great health wise cuz it’s mostly carbs, but something about the baked rice with cream sauce and a good portion of seafood (squid and shrimp were the most notable) makes me happy. I enjoy the baked seafood on rice that is half tomato and half cream sauce – if you ever want to try that version out.
Malaysian Fried Rice is next, and it has all the staples of a great fried rice: green onion, scrambled egg, diced meat, soy and choy. The rice was very flavourful in comparison to the baked seafood on rice.
Finally, the Black Pepper Diced Beef Tenderloin. This was one of the highlights of the evening as well – the tenderloin is so tender and still pink inside! It’s hard to find a Chinese restaurant that can do that with beef (but then again, most people don’t go to a Chinese restaurant for steak) – but Ken’s does is perfectly. The black pepper is complimentary to the overall taste and isn’t too harsh in flavour. The accompanying vegetables are good too – there are a bit too many onions but that’s just a personal preference – but I wasn’t really in it for the veggies!
Overall, I’d like to come back to Ken’s Chinese restaurant and try other dishes along with ordering the items I enjoyed last night.