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Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood

Food Review by Steve Polyak (From GayCalgary® Magazine, October 2017, page 51)
Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood
Image by: GayCalgary
Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood
Image by: GayCalgary
Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood
Image by: GayCalgary

This restaurant is hidden away in a corner of a strip mall. Unless you know that is exists, you would never find it. Solid blinds were down when we arrived, so we could not see into the restaurant. When we entered, we discovered it was packed. It only holds 40 people, but with large banquet tables and very little space between the chairs, you could not walk through. We were seated by the front door, so I decided to skip going to the bathroom for the night.

The food was ordered for us by a Chinese food expert, Lee Man, who explained our meal. There are photos of the restaurant’s dishes on the wall so, if you don’t know what you want but can recognize it, you can point and order. This is not really your typical restaurant. It offers a limited menu, which is only in Chinese, and they are only open in the evening for dinner with two-time slots: 6pm and 8pm. You must phone in advance and reserve. You can’t walk in and expect a table.

A large soup tureen came out first. The waiter served out the fish maw soup. Maw is the air bladder of fish, which helps keep it up right. This is a delicacy and is usually served on special occasions. It has been a while since I have had this type of soup, and it is just as remember. It is the best way to start dinner: knowing that the chief created a perfect opening dish got me excited for what was next.

Next was a whole chicken with crispy skin, all chopped up into pieces you could pick up with chop-sticks. It was flattened out and came with the head. The meat was juicy, and the skin was crisp – I wanted some hoi sin sauce to eat it like Peking duck. I wanted to attack it but, knowing it was to be shared and there were more dishes coming out, I was worried of having too much.

Then we had fried milk. I don’t think I have ever had this before. It came with deep fried tofu bites to dip into it. The Fu pay goon with vegetables is tofu skin rolls which, I know for Rob and Justin, it was not their thing. I did enjoy it, but I am used to eating very traditional Chinese food.

During our dinner, one of the waiters brought out a fresh and alive grouper which they made into a pan-fried dish. They want to make sure you know that the fish was just pulled out of an aquarium and fresh, not frozen.  They served it whole with the head and tail still on. The meat was perfectly cooked and flakey.

For those customers that don’t have the taste buds for some of the very traditional items on the menu, they did serve us sweet and sour pork. This was one of the best versions of sweet and sour pork I have ever had. The pork was cubed into nice large pieces as were the pineapple, and the red and green peppers, and it didn’t have a ton of sauce, which was a nice change. I have seen places serve it with more sauce than pieces of food and so the pork becomes mushy, where here the pork pieces still had a crispy coating.

What they brought out next was something that we all wished there was another serving of: chicken wings stuffed with ham and bamboo shoots. First off, I never knew you could stuff chicken wings, but to stuff them with ham made a great combination. They were served over a bed of cooked broccoli.

One of the last dishes we had was the deep-fried taro root and fried duck. When it came out, I did not even know there was a duck on the plate. It looks like a loaf, which is the deep-fried taro root on top of the duck. It had been cut up into eight portions, making it easier for sharing, with julienned vegetables around the outside edge and topped with a maraschino cherry. I love duck, and this was a very interesting way of serving it.

Hoi Tong Chinese Seafood is award winning and it is always chock-full for each of the settings. The owner, who does most of the cooking, is in his 70s and his wife works alongside him getting the food out. For their age, they manage to make truly some authentic Cantonese food, and they are happy to do it for as long as they can. This is a fine dining restaurant and a lot more expensive than other places we have been to for Chinese cuisine. It might not have a fancy decor,  but you are paying for the experience of the award-winning chief, and there with friends to share authentic Cantonese food.

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Contributor Steve Polyak |

Locale British Columbia | Richmond |

Topic Food | Travel |

Photo Gallery Richmond, BC |


Image by: GayCalgary

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