The 2011 HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards Winners
A recap of the winners, diners’ choices, critics’ choice awards & my thoughts…
So where are all the skinny chefs in North America?! Well of course at yesterday’s 2011 HSBC Chinese Restaurant Awards ceremony! It was actually really unusual for me to see so many Chinese chefs outside of the kitchen. The dedication and commitment they have to staying inside the kitchen… is something that is actually just typical of the Chinese mentality. I’m pretty confident in saying that the Chinese are one of the hardest working nationalities.
I should add that it was even more unusual for me to see these Chinese restaurants so involved with the “mainstream” media. What’s next?! Joining Ocean Wise?! Yeeaaahhh… let’s not get ahead of ourselves and just work on getting them to ban shark’s fin first. People, it has NO nutritional value OR flavour! Okay I’ll stop the rant, nonetheless I couldn’t be more happy to see these talented chefs and wonderful Chinese restaurants enjoying their well deserved spotlight.
Unfortunately I couldn’t stay for the whole event, but I will recap on some highlights. I feel that this is a bit unfair for me to mention only part of what I saw and not include everyone, but if I mentioned everything in this lengthy award ceremony I’d have a 2000 page essay, which is even long for me. I kid you not I’m writing this at 4:30am right now… anyway, here goes!
The 2011 Diners’ Choice Awards
As much as I do appreciate this category, I can’t say I agree with all the winners. However if you didn’t exercise your vote it doesn’t really give you a “right” to complain. Or I’ll just speak for myself because I can’t really say who I would have even picked since I haven’t tried every single Chinese restaurant in Metro Vancouver. I only know that based on some of the results, I would have already had another favourite. However, that’s not to say that the chosen restaurants didn’t deserve the award. I actually mentioned my thoughts on this whole “judging process” in a post last year – see here. The Diners’ Choice Awards is actually based on public online voting so these winners are supposedly representing the public vote…
I have been here for dim sum and dinner and I do like the food here. I missed dim sum last week, which was actually at Jade Seafood Restaurant, and it’s been a while since I’ve come here for dim sum so I don’t really want to comment any further. However I do like their signatures dishes: Steamed Mushroom Dumplings and Grandpa’s Smoked Chicken – see here. The Smoked Chicken actually did score them the Gold Award in the Critics’ Choice Signature Dishes “Chicken” category.
If you go for dim sum I would also recommend trying their olive fried rice. It’s made with a Chinese olive that’s salty and a bit pickled. It almost looks like seaweed, but I love its flavour and this dish is also original to Jade Seafood Restaurant.
This was predictable, but well deserved. However I do find Kirin Restaurants quite inconsistent. When you have more than one restaurant, more often than not, I find quality control becomes an issue. I mean with one Executive Chef how do you determine which restaurant to assign him to? Nonetheless I prefer the New Westminster location (see my post here) and Richmond location over the Vancouver ones (see my post for Cambie location here).
First off, I’m not a fan of “modern Chinese food” because I don’t find it ever works as well as say modern Japanese food. However Bao Bei Chinese Restaurant was first to convince me otherwise and I do support it. See my post for Bao Bei Chinese Restaurant here. I mean I can’t say everything I ordered blew me away, but what I did have was promising. I would recommend ordering the more fusion items because with the more traditional items I couldn’t help but to keep comparing them to the real deal.
Other Diners’ Choice Awards included:
- Northern/Shanghainese Restaurant: Dinesty Chinese Restaurant (I’ve posted on quite a few Shanghainese restaurants lately and although I haven’t tried Dinesty, I’d like to also highlight Suhang and Shanghai House)
- Cantonese Dim Sum Restaurant: Jade Seafood Restaurant (see all my dim sum posts here)
- Fine Dining Restaurant: Kirin Restaurants
- Modern Chinese Restaurant: Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie – my post here)
- Casual Restaurant: Ho Yuen Kee Restaurant
- Hot Pot Restaurant – Landmark Hotpot House
- Taiwanese Restaurant/BBT Cafe: Pearl Castle (I’m going to give a shout out to Dragon Ball Tea House, I also think this category should be separated into 2)
- Hong Kong-Style Cafe: Deer Garden Signatures – my post here
- Best Hong Kong Style Milk Tea: Lido Restaurant
- Best Congee Noodle House: Congee Noodle House
- Chinese Bakery: La Patisserie (I’m going to give a shout out to Saint Germain, New Town Bakery and Maple Castella Taiwanese Bakery)
- Vegetarian Restaurant: Bodhi Choi Heung Vegetarian Restaurant
- BBQ Shop: HK BBQ Master
- Service: Hakkasan Contemporary Chinese Cuisine (Chinese restaurants are not known for service, so it doesn’t surprise me that a modern restaurant won. Hakkasan is really small and pretty unknown to the public and it gives me an idea on the type of people voting…)
- Dining Environment: Kirin Restaurants (since they have 4 locations… how does that work?)
- For Critic’s Choice Signature Dish Awards & Gold Distinctions please see here.
- I’m not sure why the Diner’s Choice Awards and Critic’s Choice Awards are organized so differently. The diners’ seem to vote for their favourite restaurant establishment while the critics’ seem to vote for their favourite dishes at a particular establishment.
GOLD AWARD: Tony Luk, Executive Chef, Jade Seafood Restaurant (Middle)
SILVER AWARD: Sam Leung, Executive Chef, Dynasty Seafood Restaurant (Right)
BRONZE AWARD: Wing Ho, Executive Chef, Fortune House Seafood Restaurant (Left)
Executive Chef Tony Luk actually won himself an Omega watch (sponsor)… it’s a fabulous prize, but unfortunate that he can’t even wear it on the job…
I must give a shout out to the Critics’ Choice Most Innovative Signature Dish Gold Award: Dungeness Crab with Wild Rice from Red Star Seafood Restaurant. Amazing. Modern that works! (Photo taken from another night)
We also got to sample some of the winning dishes: Barbeque Pork from BBQ Pork Master, Steamed Mushroom Dumpling from Jade Seafood Restaurant, and a Baked Mushroom Pastry. The mushroom pastry I was very excited about just because it was new, but it was also quite good. It was a Chinese version of a baked cream of mushroom quiche and it’s another one of Jade Seafood Restaurant’s signature items offered at dim sum. The pastry was similar to an egg tart, so shortbread like, soft and tender, and then the filling was mushrooms in a cream sauce.
6:07am… I’m hungry and this post did not help…