Floata Seafood Restaurant

Restaurant: Floata Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: October 2010
Location: Vancouver, BC
Address: 180 Keefer St
Price Range: $20-30

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

Food: 1.1 (I did still eat it)
Service: 1.5
Ambiance: 2.5
Overall: 1.5
Additional comments:

  • Located in Chinatown
  • Largest Chinese restaurant in Canada
  • Started in Hong Kong
  • Seats 1000+
  • Formal Chinese dining
  • Dim sum/lunch/dinner
  • Popular for banquets
  • Private rooms
  • Karaoke available
  • Catering available
  • Free parking (Validation required)
  • Floata – Review 2/Revisited

**Recommendations: n/a

Floata is located in Chinatown and it’s the largest Chinese restaurant in Canada seating over 1000 people. It has old roots stemming from Hong Kong and a famous name, but when it comes to quality you can forget about it. Honestly, forget about it… don’t come here. That’s the first time I’ve ever written that and it’s a teeny bit influence by this experience. they used to have a second location in Richmond and it closed down a few years ago… thank goodness.

Floata. Seriously this restaurant has been around for ages and it’s iconic in Vancouver for poor Chinese food. Fine, maybe I’m generalizing a bit, but no Chinese person I know would come here unless it was for a banquet, wedding, or some special event that required more than 400 seats. I would never chose to come here willingly.

I’ve probably been to Floata at least 15 times and it’s always been for a special occasion. However this time was one of my worst experiences. It could be my worst experience in eating history… besides that time when I was in the Philippines swatting off the flies trying to share my chicken skewers.

Anyways on this occasion I tried their Golden Dragon Wedding Menu – the most gourmet menu they offer. Since this was a very large banquet I cannot fairly “rate” the food since it’s basically being mass produced. However I’ve had “mass produced” banquet style Chinese food a lot so I have an idea of what it should and shouldn’t be like. Also, when a restaurant ruins almost every single dish, it’s hard to give the benefit of the doubt that they can do better.

Additional note: If this gets the attention of health inspectors I will update this post and say the “issue” has been addressed.

On the table:

Roasted Suckling Pig Combination Platter – 1.5/6

  • Barbeque pork, pork hock, jellyfish, beef slices, roasted suckling pig (centre)
  • I’m a bit surprised this was their most gourmet platter… mediocre.
  • The jellyfish was pretty salty and the quality wasn’t great.
  • The suckling pork was pretty salty and at least the skin was crispy. This is traditional and a must have for any Chinese celebration.
  • I’ve had much better and juicier barbequed pork.

Deep Fried Stuffed Crab Claw with Shrimp Paste – 1.5/6

  • Yes it was a banquet so they were pre-prepared and sitting around waiting to be served… so they were completely shriveled. You can see the wrinkly batter. They weren’t oily though because the grease had enough time to absorb back into the batter…
  • The taste of the shrimp paste was not bad but there wasn’t much crab, and the little crab there was, well it was dry.
  • Most Chinese restaurants will offer this version as well as the less gourmet version (without the crab).
  • They’re much better at Empire Seafood or Shun Feng Seafood. (Follow links to see both versions)

Geoduck & Clam with Vegetable in Bird’s Nest – 1.5/6

  • There was maybe 5 snap peas and a ton of celery underneath.
  • The clams were alright… a bit chewy and the quality wasn’t great.
  • Stale bird’s nest.

Shark’s Fin with Crab Meat in Superior Soup – n/a

  • I don’t eat shark’s fin… which means I could have eaten this soup because there was barely any in this “SHARK’S FIN SOUP” anyways.
  • It’s one of the crappiest looking shark’s fin soup and I hope they charged half the price it normally costs.
  • Oh and added note! My friend had a plastic zip tie in his bowl. Yup… a PLASTIC ZIP TIE.

Live Lobsters in Superior Broth – 3/6

  • The lobster was good, but the sauce was a bit gummier than usual.

Sliced Abalone with Chinese Mushroom and Vegetable – n/a

  • Canned abalone.
  • I barely touched this… why you ask?? Because the table next to me called me over to show me THIS

BARF ALL OVER YOUR SCREEN! WHAT THE F?!?!!? Wash your vegetables Floata!!! This is a LAYERED dish… how could you miss that?!?! That’s a f@#$-ing HUGE a$$ caterpillar to miss! On the bright side… it wasn’t furry…ew. SICK. Ew. EW! I try not to “ew” food, but I think it’s justified here.

So… tell the server and send it back… let them bring another one… and oh what do we have here?!?

ANOTHER f@#$%ing giant caterpillar! Okay fine, this one was a bit smaller… but it’s still there! Do you see it?! It’s curled up on top of the mushroom! Fail. EPIC FAIL.

(Yes, I know I have eaten bugs before, but that was willingly and we ordered it at a restaurant in Hong Kong that specializes in it… don’t ask… just see the post and watch the video here.)

Deep Fried Crispy Squabs – 3/6

  • Also known as pigeons. No they’re not those dirty ones you see eating garbage. These are delicious, but they’re better at Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant.
  • They’re not the best here, but after passing on the soup and the mushrooms I just wanted to eat something that was okay.
  • They were a bit salty, but the skin was crispy and the meat wasn’t dry. It almost tastes like duck, but leaner.

Steamed Live Rock Cod – n/a

  • It wasn’t fishy tasting, but I can’t “rate” this because at this point I pretty much stopped eating.

Braised E-Fu Noodles – 2/6

  • These were alright, but the noodles were very short and bitty. They had a few mushrooms in there and some green onions.

Honey Moon Fried Rice – 2/6

  • I love this dish and this one was crap. I was so mad because I look forward to this. It’s supposed to look like a yin yang, but the presentation was awful. Does that looks like HALF cream sauce and HALF tomato sauce to you?! It’s just the laziest presentation. I’m surprised there wasn’t saucy finger prints on the handles of this dish.
  • The cream side was pretty crappy with canned mushrooms, but at least the prawns were good and tender.
  • The tomato side was alright with some slices chicken, onions, and tomatoes. Overall it was a very crappy version of this dish. Sun Sui Wah has a version see here, but that’s not even the best one, although it was very good.


Chinese Dainty Two (2 Kinds of Pastries)

  • Lotus Seed Roll/Square1/6
    • I’ve never seen or even tried the squares in the middle before. That’s actually a very uncommon “dainty two” to be served. It was a definite 1/6, not one person finished the whole thing. I rarely spit food out… I spat this out.
    • It was lotus seed paste rolled in almonds and nuts AND THE RED HOISIN SAUCE THEY USE FOR BBQ PORK BUNS! I thought I was eating dessert meat! The only person that would like these is Joey from Friends, who likes meat and jam in a trifle. They were savoury and not in a good way and there was no meat, but the filling started to taste like mashed up meat because they used Hoisin sauce… blah! They looked so good too, but they were so deceiving!
  • Almond Cookies5/6
    • Yay! At least theses were good! They were crispy and tender with almonds and coconut and very flavourful. They could have used an almond garnish like most restaurants would… but whatever, my standards are low for Floata.
    • At this point the only thing that would throw me off is if I saw a human finger as a garnish to my cookie. I wouldn’t even be surprise if the garnish was a fingernail.

Red Bean Sweet Soup with Lotus Seed & Lilyn/a

  • I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again… red bean dessert is not my thing.


Floata Seafood on Urbanspoon


  • KimHo says:

    Just like you said (and reflected by others, like Sherman), the reason why Floata is still in business is because they have the space that others do not. I guess if the party wasn’t that big or do something more on the Western style…

    As for that incident with the abalone dish, I might be about the only person who might say this but… I would have eaten it! πŸ˜€ No, really! Nothing says more “organic” than finding a carterpillar mixed in with your greens, hahahahaha! Now, seriously, when I was growing up, I did run into a lot of these carterpillars in the greens so I am not surprised in finding them. But, then again, I grew up in a different environment compared to most North American people so I might be the exception to the general rule. πŸ™‚

  • A.J. says:

    That is ultra gross!

    Were the dishes served to the table like that or were the catepillars found? I’d really like to know how the bugs got there as they’re above the vegetables…

    I haven’t been to floata myself for dinner in quite some time, but I have for dim sum. I’ll think twice about returning for any sort of food from now on.

    Your review is a public service!

  • A.J. says:

    That is ultra gross!

    Were the dishes served to the table like that or were the catepillars found? I’d really like to know how the bugs got there as they’re above the vegetables…

    I haven’t been to floata myself for dinner in quite some time, but I have for dim sum. I’ll think twice about returning for any sort of food from now on.

    Your review is a public service!

    Re-tweeting so everyone finds out!

  • Mijune says:

    KimHo – Yup! but even Western choices like hotels don’t seat more than 400 people… 500 max I think. I don’t even know if that caterpillar was an edible one… it’s probably covered with China chemicals if they were from the dried mushrooms. But it’s probably from the vegetables.

    I personally think you would have eaten it if it was SUPPOSED to be in there… but not if it wasn’t. Would you eat an earth worm if it was served in your pasta?

    A.J. – the caterpillars were found underneath one slice of the abalone. So it was somewhat “hidden”. The abalone is canned so it’s either from the veggies or mushrooms. Thanks for retweeting I hope EVERYONE is notified! I mean TWICE?! Unacceptable!

  • Victoria says:

    Yeah, Kim, Mijune – I couldn’t eat it. Once I saw it, I decided I would forever be scarred and unable to go back there…

  • Inspector Stanley says:

    MJ – I am very impressed with your ATM (America’s Top Model) like photography and descriptive writing. What you wrote – is what I have been telling people all the time. I will visit your site regularly and provide my 2 bits….. Keep it up!!!

    Floata is now on my Boycott list………. I would think twice about this place…. Not only is the food dirty…. Read below…

    Inadequate Insect/Rodent Control
    Dead mouse found behind the staff lockers. Discard mouse -Clean out this area- fill and seal any holes found -Continue to monitor for any new activity -A high level of sanitation is needed to combat rodent activity -Reduce clutter and attend to cleaning items noted in this report -Ensure traps remain set and placed against the walls after cleaning

    Sanitation is poor and needs to be improved on a daily basis. Maintenance issues need to be addressed in a timely manner. Failure to maintain this premises in a sanitary manner in the future may result in further action by the Health Department such as Orders, Ticketing, Closure.

  • Mijune says:

    Inspector Stanley – Thank you so much for your comment and informative details! I think you made me gag again. I don’t know how they’re passing the test because it’s obviously still not clean and I don’t think they ever were. I need to get the word out the there because it’s a total health hazard. With a restaurant so large they must take extra care and ensure cleanliness. Thanks again for visiting Stanley.

  • Elaine says:


    How is it possible that it’s there TWICE!? If you sent it back the first time, they should be EXTRA CAUTIOUS with it the second time… seriously WTF…


  • Elaine says:

    Oh I meant to say, I love eating the suckling pig with sugar LMAO it’s sooooooooo good XD

  • Mijune says:

    My puke expression :O.’..;.;;’O (look sideways)

    lol and I know!!!! SO unacceptable!!!! and the thing is they were almost embarrassed for not being as embarrassed as they should have been. It was almost like it wasn’t the first time it’s happened… my assumption is that’s it’s not.

    oohhh with sugar? Never tried it! but I will now! Caramelized pig skin… I can see it!

  • Elaine says:

    Back in my grandparents’ hometown, we always dip the suckling pig in sugar. They are from Hakka origin but I am not sure if this is a Hakka tradition or not though…

  • Buddha Boy says:

    The city needs floata as a flagship tenant, it’s unfortunate that they can’t get a better operator to take over, the food has forever been crap. Perhaps their rent is just so cheap.

  • Sherman says:

    I usually don’t “hate” places because it is a very strong view; but I really can’t stand Floata. From it’s unsanitary issues, unrefined food, high prices and crappy service, it is a marvel they are still open. Definitely only reserved for people who want a big venue, tourists or do not know of better places…

  • Chubby Chick says:

    Oh gosh… I love reading your blogs when I eat and….. guess what it did to me this time Orz…
    Definitely not going there in the future!!! Thanks for writing about it Mijune!

  • Mijune says:

    Elaine – you’re Hakka? Check out this post I on Bak Kut Teh in Malaysia! http://www.followmefoodie.com/2010/06/malaysia-kedai-makanan-seng-huat-bak-kut-teh-pork-bone-tea/

    Sherman – I totally agree. I wonder what their Hong Kong restaurant is like. Rats as big as cats?

    Chubby Chick – lol! I’m sorry I probably ruined your appetite! Yes pass it on to friends and family that Floata is to be avoided!

  • ^_^ says:

    Floata is popular with the Chinese clan of Chinatown and City of Vancouver

    Food hygiene has gone down in the last 10 years. Now you know why I appreciate food bloggers, so I can feast my eyes on their photos and writeup w/o getting ill from bad food.

  • Bow says:

    Boy, the food must have been bad for you to stop[ eating…I have gone to wedding banquets there and the food is industrial, hotel style(hotel chefs graduate from bad cooking schools and serve mediocre food). Once at the Floata is once too much.

  • Mijune says:

    Bow – lol I guess I didn’t stop completely because I still wanted to try everything so I could report back…. I force myself for the love of Follow Me Foodie lol

  • Tom House says:

    Wow…this was a shocking review. I hope this restaurant got to read this…they need to close for a while…like forever! This was handled very professionally by you Mijune… considering just how bad the food was. You actually sent back the dish with the caterpillar and got another dish with another caterpillar? Maybe it was the same one and they tried to hide it in your second dish? Servers and chefs can be evil sometimes…

  • Mijune says:

    @Tom House – I bet you anything they haven’t seen this. I even wrote a comment on this post:
    “Additional note: If this gets the attention of health inspectors I will update this post and say the β€œissue” has been addressed.”… and nothing! They didn’t even take the price off that dish!

  • WOWSERS says:

    looks a bit on the Greasy side. I don’t like that much used cooking oil dispensed on my food!

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