Kirin Restaurant – Vancouver (City Square)

Restaurant: Kirin Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese
Last visited: March 7, 2010
Location: Multiple – Vancouver, BC (Fairview)
Address: 555 W 12th Ave (Inside City Square mall)
Price Range: $30-50

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5 (for Kirin locations overall, but 3 for his location/occasion)
Service: 1.5 (had a rude server)
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 5 (for Kirin locations overall)
Additional comments:

  • Multiple locations in Vancouver
  • Since 1987
  • Executive Chef Allen Liu
  • Considered the fine dining of Chinese cuisine in Vancouver
  • Extensive menu
  • Famous for fresh local seafood
  • Large selection of seafood
  • Some exotic meats
  • Big portions, dine with 4+
  • Winner of numerous Chinese dining awards
  • Set menus/Group menus available
  • Open for dim sum in the morning
  • Private rooms available
  • Brunch/Lunch/Dinner service
  • Dim sum available – brunch
  • Reservations recommended
  • Closes Mon-Sun 2:30pm-5pm

**Recommendations: Almost any seafood will be good here: Garlic steamed Alaskan King Crab legs, Peking Duck Crepes, Duck Lettuce Wraps, Pumpkin and fish (I don’t know what the exact name of the dish is called, but they’ll know what you’re talking about), Coconut Tapioca dessert…the menu is too big I could give lots more.

Kirin is a popular Chinese fine dining place to book private events and parties. They offer a variety of set menus for all occasions and this time I tried the Chinese New Year dinner banquet menu. It was 13 courses and I ate it all by myself…lol just kidding…but if you go for dinner at Kirin it should be in a group…much more enjoyable because dishes are made to be shared. The set menu for groups is always more affordable as well. The 13 course Chinese New Year dinner menu I had would cost around $40-45/head?…I think…I paid a ticket price for the event so I’m not sure exactly sure.

The dessert portion of dinner (last 3 courses) will be posted tomorrow!

Chinese New Year Brunch #1 & #2

Chinese New Year Dinner at Shun Feng – Kirin was better.

Chinese banquet dinner at Imperial Chinese Seafood Restaurant – Kirin was definitely better.

On the table:

Kirin Special Platter with Whole Roasted Pig5/6

  • There are several versions of this platter and the items depend on price. This one is a bit pricier and it came with (clockwise from 12pm): smoked salmon, roasted pig, beef hock slices, shiitake mushrooms wrapped in tofu skins and the classic jellyfish in the middle (a must). Served cold.
  • Smoked Salmon6/6
    • Not many restaurants offer this on the cold appetizer platter. It’s come up in the last few years and I love it. It’s not thin slices but nice thick sashimi slices. Served with soy and wasabi.

  • Roasted Pig – 5/6
    • Traditional and a must for any special occasion. They did a great job here. Very crispy crackling pig skin and very tender meat. It was super fatty though – like half fat. Not too salty either.
  • Beef Hock Slices – 4.5/6
    • There are tendons… not for me. But people who like this stuff said they did a good job here. Not dry. Rating according to them.

  • Shiitake mushrooms wrapper in tofu skins6/6
    • One of my favourite appetizers that come with this dish.
    • They’re loaded with a shiitake mushroom stuffing. Nice and plump, juicy and sweet.
  • Jellyfish – 2/6
    • They should be salty and a tad sweet. These were just overly salty. These ones weren’t spicy… sometimes they have a little chili oil. I enjoy them with XO sauce.

Kirin XO Chili Sauce5/6

  • AMAZING! Minced up dried scallops, shrimps, ginger and chilies. Salty, spicy but not too spicy and just divine. I eat it by itself…as an appetizer before my appetizer.

Braised Dried Oyster, Pork Tongue & Black Moss 3/6

  • Lol mmmmm right? I know it doesn’t sound good!… Unless you’re Chinese and familiar with it.
  • This is a very traditional Chinese New Year dish and it represents wealth so you have to eat some of everything.
  • Parts of this were okay for me…this one’s hard to rate because I’m not a fan of cooked oysters – and in this case dried AND cooked… or am I a fan of pork tongue. I’ve tried this before, but I still tried it again.
  • The dried oyster is almost tougher, firmer and more rubbery in texture. It’s almost like oyster jerky. They’re not smooth and they have a pungent seafood/oyster taste.
  • The pork tongue was sliced thin and tender…but just not for me.
  • I love black moss! It’s basically fungus with a hair like appearance. Sounds gross, but it’s not! It has a melt in your mouth texture and almost tastes like seaweed when it’s melted. I had it at my Chinese New Year dinner at Shun Feng too.

Sautéed Chicken, Prawn & Scallop3.5/6

  • There are actually sugar snap peas on the bottom too.
  • A tad greasy, but very fresh and the veggies were nice and crisp.
  • There were nice big pieces of chicken and lots of medium scallops, but not much prawn. I didn’t even get one and everyone should have gotten at least one…maybe someone took mine? Bastard…j/k =p
  • It was a very simple dish with an onion, garlic and ginger sauce. The sauce was very light though…you can’t even see it.

Snake Meat, Abalone & Dried Seafood Thick Soup – 3/6

  • The menu said “snack meat” which is VERY deceiving…could that ‘misprint’ be intentional?
  • Anyways snake meat doesn’t bother most Asian people so they wouldn’t need to fake a misprint anyways. I can’t say it’s a popular dish (especially in Vancouver) but people still order it.

  • The snake is not the black strands you see (as one might think)…it’s actually the dark shreds of meat (above) that look like chicken…and guess what? It tastes like it too! Actually it almost tastes like dark meat turkey. It’s good!

  • The other ingredients are black wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots and other dried seafood like scallops.
  • It’s a very chunky soup with lots of crunchy textures. It’s very flavourful and quite thick.

  • It came with a side plate of toppings: wonton crisps, cilantro and lemon leaves.

Live Lobster & Crab5/6

  • With light ginger and green onion sauce.
  • They have around 8 different sauces and this isn’t my favourite but it’s still really good. I had their butter and cream sauce last time.
  • The lobster and crab were sautéed perfectly and everything was very tender.
  • I still think the sauce has some butter to it because I could taste it. It has a very light ginger and green onion taste – it’s not spicy, it’s more like onion gravy. It’s pretty thick too.

Beef Tenderloin Cube & Fish4/6

  • Sautéed beef tenderloin cube and fish with black pepper and basil. The menu says “prawn” but it was really fish…it was a misprint. I’m sure you can get it with both…prawns would be better and probably not deep-fried.
  • This isn’t common to come up on a banquet menu, but I’m glad it did!

  • The beef tenderloin comes across as honey garlic spare ribs. It has the same sort of flavour because they use some honey as well as black pepper and basil. The flavour is aromatic, sweet and spicy from the black pepper.
  • Even the deep fried dish was good. It could have been crispier but it was still good.
  • I had the non-banquet version of this dish from Kirin New Westminster which was better.

Crispy Skin Free Range Chicken 5/6

  • Topped with shrimp crackers.
  • This is also a must for any traditional Chinese banquet menu.
  • I’ve had many of these…and I can say that this one was done very well!
  • The chicken is marinated in brine before deep frying it so it’s very juicy, moist, tender and flavourful.
  • It’s big pieces of chicken with skin as crispy as the Peking duck.

Baby Bok Choy & Bean Curd in Consommé 3/6

  • This is good, but also a very simple dish. A traditional set menu always has some healthy vegetable dish – this was the only vegetarian dish by the way.
  • It has a very neutral/natural healthy flavour – nice break from everything else.
  • The consommé is their superior house stock which is good but has MSG. You’re supposed to drink it like soup.
  • The bean curd is basically tofu skins. It’s the same stuff that was wrapped around the mushrooms in the Kirin Special Platter (1st course).

Scallop & Chinese Mushroom Lo Mein1.5/6

  • It looks boring and tasted boring for me.
  • First it was unexpected and very unusual to have as part of a set dinner menu. The noodle dish is always E-Fu noodles for banquet menus…I guess they decided to switch it up. I prefer E-fu noodles.
  • These were the wonton egg noodles and I like them better with soup. They were a bit dry, but not overcooked.
  • The presentation was so boring! The Chinese mushrooms were actually Enoki (Japanese) and they had clumps of them throughout. For me there wasn’t much flavour to these in general and hardly any dried scallop – hence lack in flavour.

Special Fried Rice in Lotus Leaf1.5/6

  • Special fried rice wrapped in lotus leaf.
  • It has the flavour of sticky rice and the taste wasn’t bad, but it was just soooooo dry. It was so hard to eat.

  • They fry the rice first and then put it in the lotus leaf and steam it before serving. The rice totally dried out and it was such a waste although it made for nice presentation. That’s about it though.
  • It had small slices of nice lean BBQ pork but that also dried out in the cooking process.

Dessert – last 3 courses, posted here! I find their desserts better than most other Chinese places.



Kirin (City Square) on Urbanspoon


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