Restaurant: Spicy Szechuan Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Szechuan/Dim Sum/Shanghainese
Last visited: December 24, 2010
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 100-8151 Anderson Road
Price Range: $10-20 (dim sum), 20-30 (for dinner)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3.5 (based on few items I tried)
- Specializes in Szechuan cuisine
- Lots of Shanghainese/Cantonese options
- Dim sum/lunch/dinner
- Known to Chinese locals
- Reasonably priced
- Lots of variety
- Chinese/English menus
- Accepts MC/Visa/Interac
- Mon-Fri: 11-3pm, 5:30-10pm
- Sat-Sun: 10-3pm, 5-10pm
- Closed Tuesday
**Recommendations: n/a, haven’t tried enough to say
Spicy Szechuan Seafood Restaurant isn’t really hard to find, but you probably wouldn’t notice it or consider dining there unless it was recommended. It’s a pretty discrete restaurant in Richmond in a relatively dead mall complex. Generally it was a pleasant surprise and one of those places that mostly Chinese Richmond locals know about, like Suhang Restaurant and Deer Garden Signatures just to name a couple others.
Asian food is sometimes hard to “rate” because there’s easily better ways to execute some of their dishes, however by messing with the execution it somehow also messes with the authenticity. I’m not an expert in Asian cuisine, but I eat a lot of it so I usually come at it from an angle of how it stacks up against to other restaurants in the same caliber.
I heard good things about Spicy Szechuan Seafood Restaurant before, but because of it’s rather isolated location it’s not usually something that comes to mind when deciding where to eat. The inside is actually a lot nicer than the outside and it’s a pretty large restaurant. The name suggests it specializes in Szechuan cuisine, but the menu has a lot of Shanghainese options and what I tried seems like it caters to Cantonese tastes. They do offer all three cuisines, but I would call it very Cantonese style Szechuan and Shanghainese food, so it wouldn’t be my pick for authentic Shanghainese or Szechuan cuisine in Richmond. It was still good and well priced and I do want to go try more items, but I wasn’t floored by anything I ordered.
To my surprise the restaurant was actually pretty busy for lunch and dim sum, the staff and clientele were pretty much all Cantonese. I tried ordering a popular dish from each cuisine to get an idea of what they do best. This was actually Christmas Eve lunch before heading to Le Gavroche for Christmas eve dinner – see here, and Ramen Santouka for Christmas eve dinner #2 – see here. It was quite the full day, literally and figuratively… but what’s new?!
On the table:
- Found under “specialty dishes” – check.
- I had to see why it was so special and unique.
- They look better than they tasted, although they don’t taste bad and I’d think most people would enjoy them. From a “foodie” perspective they could be better.
- The meat was falling off the bone, but the quality of the meat wasn’t great and it wasn’t really tender. It was still chewy so I think they boiled the ribs on high rather than slowly stewing and braising them on low temperature.
- There not as flavourful as they could have been, but the marinade is still good. It’s quite sweet with a hint of licorice flavour and I could taste Chinese 5 spice powder which includes a nice amount of cinnamon and star anise, hence the licorice. The flavour was well infused throughout the meat.
- It was almost like Chinese BBQ pork meets soft pork jerky and it resembles that flavour and texture as well.
- The red sauce actually wasn’t that saucy and it was more like a clear coloured sweet syrup with some aromatic spices, but it’s not spicy at all.
- 8 pieces $5.95
- Standard Shanghainese dish – check.
- They’re actually really cheap here and they’re not bad, but not the best XLB. They’re very Cantonese style in flavour.
- The skin was incredibly thin, I think one of the thinnest I’ve had, but a bit too thin that it almost broke and wasn’t as chewy.
- They held a decent amount of soup, but it wasn’t hot enough.
- The broth wasn’t as rich or creamy as the ones from Shanghai River, Suhang Restaurant, Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen or Shanghai House. Yeah so basically, they’re not the best here, but I would still order them if I came again, because they’re decent, just not authentic.
- The pork filling was very good, but the thing is it tasted more Cantonese than it did Shanghainese. It tasted more like Cantonese pot sticker filling or gyoza filling with more ginger, garlic and onions. Shanghainese fillings can have these ingredients as well, but usually they’re not as heavy on them and the meat is just slightly different.
- Popular Szechuan dish – check.
- This is a classic Szechuan soup, but this time it was made with noodles and was recommended.
- Again, it was a very Cantonese style of hot and sour soup. For one it wasn’t that spicy at all, which is a characteristic of traditional Szechuan food, and I would have liked it more spicy. They definitely make it less spicy for their Cantonese clientele.
- The traditional Szechuan one also usually has pork and sometimes pieces of pork blood in the broth, but this one had some seafood instead. I’m not a fan of pork’s blood really unless it’s Chef Consentino’s Pig’s Blood Parpardelle from Incanto, so I didn’t mind it’s absence.
- There was lots of ingredients like soft tofu, carrots, black wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, carrots, scallops and some shrimp.
- The soup was a bit thick and gravy like similar to a sauce rather than a soup and it absorbed into the noodles very rapidly. I would have preferred more soup because it’s supposed to be a soup noodle bowl.
- The “soup” is salty and sweet and decently tangy with red vinegar.
- I think they used some soy bean paste (Cantonese version of Miso paste) in the base because it was quite savoury, but not salty. There’s no seafood or meat flavour in the broth, so it was otherwise quite bland without that complex flavour I expect from soups.
- I like the texture of the crunchy ingredients, since the noodles were so soft. The noodles aren’t made in house though, which unfortunately I find a lot of restaurants aren’t doing as much anymore.
- The prawns were savoury and actually very good here. Whether they were frozen or not (probably frozen), they tasted fresh and they had a great crunch because they were cooked perfectly.
- Overall I’ve had better sweet and sour soup, and it was still good value, but nothing I’m anticipating to order again.