The Jade Seafood Restaurant

**Update! The dim sum chef is now at Empire as of September 2012.

Restaurant: The Jade Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: February 3, 2011 – **Updated post here
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 8511 Alexandra Rd
Price Range: $10-20 (dim sum) $ 30-50, $50+ (dinner)

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

Food: 4.5 (from what I tried, but I also didn’t order)
Service: 3
Ambiance: 4
Overall: 5 (based on multiple visits combined)
Additional comments:

  • Authentic Cantonese cuisine
  • Fine dining Chinese
  • Popular for fresh seafood
  • Local favourite/Busy
  • “Chinese Chef of the Year” Tony Luk
  • Voted “Best Dim Sum”
  • Award winning Chinese restaurant
  • Some modern Chinese dishes
  • “Customized Cuisine” available
  • Banquets/events
  • Reservations recommended
  • 15% off Take Out Menu before 6:30pm
  • 9-11am 20% off
  • Dim Sum/Lunch: Mon-Sun 9am-3pm
  • Dinner: Mon-Dun 5pm-10pm
  • Free parking
  • See my Jade Dinner post here.

**Recommendations: Updated post here. For dim sum: Steamed Mushroom Dumpling, Steamed Pork Dumpling, Deep Fried Shrimp Ball with Almond Chips, Steamed Jin Chong Cao & Chicken Bun, Baked BBQ Pork Bun, Steamed Beef Ball with Bean Curd, Baked Mushroom Pie, Steamed Vegetable with Preserved Vegetable, Mixed Mushroom Chow Mein, Blueberry Glutinous Ball (I’m curious about their Sauteed Pumpkin with Salted Egg & Deep Fried Milk). See my Jade dinner post here.

Did you notice I had a hyperlink to Jade Garden’s website?! Yes, WEBSITE. How unheard of! Asian restaurants will rarely have websites and I’m as surprised as you are! However Jade Seafood Restaurant is one of the “big players” in the Chinese restaurant scene. It’s located on “eating street” on Alexandra Road in Richmond, BC, which is home to much of Metro Vancouver’s best Chinese food.

Jade Seafood Restaurant has received much attention in the last few years and especially this year. It recently won Gold for “Chef of the Year” as well as “Diner’s Choice for “Best Dim Sum” at the 2011 Chinese Restaurant Awards. I don’t necessarily think it’s “the best dim sum” because I haven’t tried their entire menu, nor have I tried all the dim sum restaurants in Metro Vancouver. However I will say it’s popular with the Chinese locals and it is a general favourite. It’s not my “go to” dim sum spot, but I do come for dim sum and dinner on an occasional basis. I haven’t had a bad experience yet and some of their signature dishes are pretty fantastic.

21 dishes. This was an epic dim sum to the start of a great year! Last year I had Chinese New Year dim sum at Top Gun J & C Restaurant (see here), which is still up there on my list, but this year we decided on Jade. Originally the plan was Red Star Seafood, but I admit we did have a change of heart after all the “award winning” clout Jade has been getting.

I was last to arrive and therefore I missed out on the majority of the ordering, which is unfortunate but understandable. The items on the table would not be particularly my choices and some of them are catered to very traditional Chinese tastes. On the other hand, Jade Seafood has made a mark by offering “modern Chinese dishes” created by their award winning chef, Tony Luk. I’m actually pretty happy to say that I really enjoyed them too! I’m quite surprised because I’m not usually a fan of “modern Chinese”, but when authentic Chinese restaurants do it, they somehow manage to do it right. I just like authentic places trying new things rather than modern places trying to be authentic. It’s a concept thing for me.

Jade is a fine dining, upscale Chinese restaurant so prices are a bit steeper as expected. They also offer “Customized Cuisine”, which I’m incredibly intrigued by. It sounds very inspired by Japanese Omakase, where the Chef creates a customized menu for you based on available ingredients of the day. This makes individual or couple dining much easier since dishes will be smaller and served in Western style. I’ve never seen this being done before, but once the idea is out there… it will spread quickly and I’m excited.

On the table:

**Steamed Mushroom Dumpling 5.5/6 (See updated post for them here)

  • $4.88
  • This is one of their signature items and award winning dishes. I would definitely say it’s worth trying.
  • Yes, it is very good and original, but at the same time it has rather basic flavours. It’s a mixture of mushrooms in a very well made rice flour wrap.
  • The dumpling skin is pretty perfect. It’s thin, chewy and has a great resistance to it.

  • The inside is generously filled with sweet Shiitake mushrooms, Enoki mushrooms, Oyster mushrooms and I perhaps 1-2 other ones.
  • It’s nice and crunchy with a soft and chewy skin and the textures are just beautiful with lots of juicy mushroom flavours and textures.
  • The natural moisture from the mushrooms are the sauce and it gives the dumpling a very slippery texture that was very enjoyable.

Chicken Feet with Supreme Soup n/a

  • $7.99
  • Nooooo!!! I hate feet! And I really can’t even get myself to try chicken feet. I just can’t get over the fact that it looks like real life baby hands.
  • I didn’t order this, obviously. The people that love chicken feet, did love this dish so it was a 5/6 for them.
  • I did have the soup though and the soup was delicious, but catered to Chinese tastes.
  • The soup tastes like a very flavourful chicken stock with some dry cooking wine. It has a very savoury start and then it’s followed by a strong and bitter woody ginseng finish. It has medicinal qualities and flavours, but in a good aromatic way, and it’s also very healthy.
  • There are gogi berries and dried Chinese dates, but I couldn’t taste their flavour in the soup and I expected it to be sweeter. It was definitely more savoury than sweet.

**Steamed Pork Dumpling 4/6 (See updated post for them here)

  • $4.48
  • A very typical dim sum dish, but they did a great job with it! I think Good Eat Seafood even does a better job though – see here.
  • The skins were a bit sticky and dry, but the meatball itself was nice and juicy. It was mixed with big chunks of prawn and a little bit of sweet Shiitake mushroom. The whole thing was very moist and not overcooked, with an equal ratio of pork and prawn.
  • I love the crunch of tobiko and it didn’t cook with the heat, so it was put on fresh and last minute.

Steamed Fish Paste Rice Roll – 3/6

  • $5.38
  • It comes with soy sauce separately, which is poured over top before enjoyed. There’s also Hoisin and sesame sauce for dipping.
  • This is the new version of a very popular Chinese dish. They’re not the only place doing it, but it’s not common in every restaurant either.
  • Traditionally it’s made with a savoury Chinese donut in the middle, but this is the new healthy version. They replace the donut with fish paste wrapped in a bean curd skin. It’s supposed to imitate the donut, but for me I prefer the unhealthy donut version.
  • The fish paste is wrapped around dried bean curd skin which is deep fried until crispy, so it’s a great contrast to the soft and chewy homemade rice roll wrap on the outside.
  • I wasn’t a fan of the fish paste though because they use orange peel in it and I really don’t like that flavour in this circumstance. On the other hand the fish paste, which is more like a fresh fish meatball, was soft and tender and made well.
  • The orange peel aroma and fish paste is a pretty traditional Chinese combination that I’m not so keen on. It was just too much going on especially with the nutty and sweet sauces as well.

Pan Fried Lamb Dumpling n/a

  • $4.48
  • I didn’t get to it fast enough! I really wanted to try them too because these aren’t common at dim sum places.
  • I think it’s served with a sweet chili soy sauce vinaigrette. The people that had them enjoyed them, but they also weren’t raving about it either.
**Deep Fried Shrimp Ball with Almond Chips4/6
  • $4.48
  • These are new to the menu. I’ve tried these before at Rainflower and Vivacity and it is a modern dim sum dish.
  • I enjoyed them best here. They were crusted with slivered almonds and the shrimp ball was incredibly juicy, tender, crunchy and well seasoned.
  • Besides the shrimp being noticeably juicy, they were fried perfectly and very crispy and not oily. The almonds almost seemed toasted, or they seemed baked after being deep fried.

It was also served with a side of sweet and sour sauce which made it seem like a prawn spring roll, but much better. I loved the nuttiness of almond with the juicy prawn.

**Baked Mushroom Pie 6/6

  • $4.88
  • Chef likes mushrooms and I love mushrooms! Actually Chinese people really like mushrooms because they represent wealth and prosperity. This was my order.
  • I had the opportunity to try it at the HSBC Restaurant Awards – see here, but I had to try them on location to see if they were as good. And you know what? They were even better!
  • I don’t care, I’m giving these a 6/6 as “non-Chinese” as they were. This was definitely modern dim sum and it is a signature dish that is very catered to Western tastes.
  • It taste more like a quiche when I had them at the award show (which doesn’t count considering circumstances), but this time around they tasted like mini mushroom pot pies! It was delicious!
  • It totally tastes like a chicken pot pie, but made with Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms. It had a generous layer of baked cheese over top which is NOT Chinese, but it was all still incredibly tasty!
  • Mushrooms + melted ooey gooey cheese in a tender buttery pie pastry shell… sign me up!
  • If you like this you might also like the Baked Seafood Pie with Portuguese Sauce at Top Gun J & C Restaurant.

Steamed Spare Ribs & Pumpkin with Olive 3/6

  • $4.18
  • Most people would be happy to see more spare ribs than pumpkin and olive, but I actually wanted more of those things.
  • This is a modern take on Spare Ribs with Black Bean Sauce. There’s still some black bean sauce but it was used in the sauce rather than as a marinade.
  • The pumpkin was Japanese Kaboocha Squash so it’s much sweet and they were tender pieces underneath the ribs.
  • The olives are Chinese preserved olives and they’re almost like the texture of mushy soft rehydrated prunes. They have a salty bite to them, but they don’t taste like Mediterranean olives.
  • I love the idea and ingredients in the dish, but I wasn’t a fan of the dried orange peels they had on top. They were large shreds of them and their flavour was so strong it overpowered a lot of everything else. I don’t hate dried orange peel, but I do find a little goes a long way and they need to be used sparingly.
  • I was not a fan of the quality of ribs, which I never am at dim sum, but in this case they were particularly bony.
  • I loved the idea more than what was actually served.

Beef “Tender” in BBQ Sauce n/a

  • $4.38
  • Gotta love the authenticity of spelling mistakes at Asian places! They meant “Beef Tendons in BBQ Sauce”… how unintentionally misleading.
  • I’m not a beef tendon girl, but these were snatched before I could even have a bite. I wanted to have just a bite.

  • On the other hand I did get to try the sauce and I wrote “tastes like Asian BBQ sauce” even before I knew the description of the dish.
  • The bottom of the dish caught me by surprise! Well what do we have here?! Are those fries? Yes, they were fries.
  • This would never fly at any fine dining Western/European restaurant and I say it barely flies at a Chinese restaurant, but they can get away with it much easier. It tasted like soggy frozen fries… the sauce was delicious though.
  • The sauce is a sweet tomato sauce with chili, garlic and black pepper so it had nice heat, but wasn’t too spicy. It was particularly sweet, but I did enjoy it and wanted to dip pulled pork into it.

Steamed BBQ Pork Bun 4/6

  • $4.18
  • These were made very well, but I just didn’t like the flavour of the marinade as much.
  • Sometimes BBQ pork buns can have a slight medicinal taste due to the interaction of 2 sauces used in the marinade. I really dislike that taste and I got a bit of it here. I just like the savoury and sweet BBQ pork marinade, but this one had that flavour I’m not a fan of.
  • The bun was incredibly soft, fluffy and moist and the meat was very good qulaity, tender and overall it was a well made BBQ pork bun. I just can’t get over that taste and it could be the brand of Hoisin used, and I know it wasn’t the 5 spice powder, because I like that.

**Steamed Jin Chong Cao & Chicken Bun4/6

  • $4.28
  • These were unexpected because they came with a prawn inside as well. I don’t normally care for chicken buns and more often than not I prefer BBQ pork buns, but these were very good.
  • The bun again was super fresh, soft and fluffy and the inside could have had more chicken meat, but the filling was nonetheless very flavourful. I usually see the chicken minced in a meatball, but this version had shredded pieces of dark meat chicken.
  • It was savoury, juicy and it had a nice and strong chicken flavour. I’m not sure why it was yellow, but it might be from the chicken oils or a pinch of curry/turmeric powder for colour, although I couldn’t really taste that flavour.

Three Kinds of Dumplings n/a

  • $4.48
  • This is a special new item added for Chinese New Year.
  • I didn’t get to try them as much as I wanted to.
  • I think it was steamed pork meatballs topped with quail’s egg (top), black moss (mushroom fungus – symbol of wealth), and the last was a slice of abalone (right).
  • The ingredients are very symbolic to Chinese New Year.
**Steamed Vegetable with Preserved Vegetable5/6
  • $6.99
  • This is also unique to the restaurant and I loved it! It’s very catered to Chinese tastes, but it’s still delicious.
  • It was a Chinese cabbage called “Yau Choy” (almost like Chinese broccoli, but softer and sweeter) topped with a mixture of salty and tangy dried and preserved ingredients.
  • The topping was a mixture of bean sprouts, preserved crunchy Chinese Napa Cabbage which has a very salty bite (Chinese version of a caper?) and small and large dried shrimps.
  • It was very aromatic with also shreds of sweet ginger and another preserved Chinese radish that has a tangy salty bite.
  • It was so aromatic and every bite was crunchy and very savoury with lots of seafood flavour from the pungent shrimp jerky. There was also a slight heat to follow.
  • The dried shrimps don’t look appetizing, but it’s just like seafood jerky and it’s a Chinese delicacy. They’re expensive and they give you a lot and it adds terrific flavour to any dish.

Halibut with Green Onion & Ginger 3.5/6

  • $8.99
  • I love almost any kind of deep fried fish made with Chinese style, however I’ve had better versions than this one, although this was still good.
  • The shallots and onions were still very crunchy and they didn’t have time to release their natural sugars so I didn’t get the maximum flavour from them.
  • The fish was marinated in soy sauce before being lightly battered and deep fried, but it needed more sauce since halibut tends to be naturally dry.
  • I prefer Kirin, Empire Chinese Cuisine, or Rainflower‘s version of deep fried fish.

Minced Meat on Rice in Clay Pot 4/6

  • About $6-7?
  • I couldn’t find this in English on the menu, but it’s offered somewhere.
  • It’s a Chinese style coarsely ground pork patty served on top of rice. There’s some garlic, shallots and onions and it’s mixed together and steamed. The meat was moist and well flavoured and the rice wasn’t dry, so that’s as much as you can really ask for in this dish.
  • It’s a very home style Cantonese dish and it’s more or less comfort food.
  • The meat mixture is savoury and and sometimes they have some preserved salty bites of pickled Napa Cabbage, but I didn’t have any in my portion.
  • It’s a very good dish that can be easily enjoyed by anyone.

BBQ Pork and Preserved Pork on Rice in Clay Pot n/a

  • About $6-7?
  • I also couldn’t find this in English on the menu, but it’s offered somewhere.
  • I didn’t get to try enough of this to say, but it’s not really for me. I can’t appreciate Chinese style preserved meats for some reason.
  • The BBQ pork wasn’t very tender and it almost seemed cured, but perhaps it was supposed to be?

Desserts

If you know my blog, you know how I feel about desserts. I love them. BUT when it comes to Asian desserts, I have no love. I guess you can say I have American or European tastes when it comes to desserts. Also Asian cuisines are not known for their sweets and they often don’t even like sweet things, so that’s why their desserts are never that great or suitable for most Western tastes.

On the other hand I made quite the dent in the Jade Seafood dessert menu because they had a few things that sounded pretty good and interesting. I’m still always willing try and explore because you never know…

Baked Egg Tart 3/6

  • $3.68
  • I wouldn’t order egg tarts, but when they’re on the table I’ll have a bite.
  • These are pretty mini and bite sized and they’re pretty good! Not too sweet and made fresh in house.
  • The pastry was more like thin sheets of flaky and crispy phyllo sheets. I could have used a bit more pastry, but it was still good.

Baked New Year Cake2.5/6

  • This is a special item new to the menu specifically for Chinese New Year.
  • This was their own creation. It was a sweet sticky rice cake called “New Year Cake” and it was topped with a pineapple bun crust that has no actual pineapple, but it tastes like a short bread cookie.
  • I don’t really like New Year Cake, but it was pretty good here. It’s served warm and it’s very chewy, sticky and gummy and it’s made with rice flour and brown sugar. It’s not very sweet at all but has a caramel like flavour, but way less intense and sweet.
  • Eaten together I kind of felt like I was eating a Fig Newton or Nutri-Grain Bar, but instead of fruit puree it’s a chewier sticker rice cake.

Steamed Layer Cake with Egg4.5/6

  • $3.98
  • I actually really liked this! It was made very well for what it was.
  • It’s a layered warm sponge cake and there’s a bit of caramelized coconut custard and egg yolk layers in between.
  • It was moist, soft, chewy and slightly sweetened. It’s quite mild in sweetness, but it’s very aromatic and enjoyable.
  • You can’t compare it to Western style cakes, but it’s unique and good in the Asian category of desserts.

Pan Fried Pumpkin with Red Bean Paste Cake 1.5/6

  • $3.88
  • How cute are these?! So cute!! They were miniature pumpkins and they’re bite sized.
  • The stem was purely for decor because it was a piece of celery, which does not taste good with the dessert.
  • The pumpkin cake doesn’t taste like pumpkin but more like a sticky chewy cake made with rice flour. It’s very lightly sweetened, but I still couldn’t taste pumpkin.

  • And this is when I stop enjoying it. I hate red bean. So for me this dessert is pretty to look at, but not to eat. However, it was the last dessert to be finished and no one really liked it that much.

**Blueberry Glutinous Ball (Cold) 5/6 (See updated post for them here)

  • $4.28
  • Yummy!!! See if I didn’t explore the menu I wouldn’t have discovered these!
  • A Chinese dessert I really like!! This was 100% my order and I could have eaten the plate.
  • However this is very modern and not really Chinese at all, but good for them for starting something new and delicious!

  • It’s a chilled mochi, but it’s not frozen. The inside is filled with fresh whipped cream that’s semi melted as well as frozen blueberries that have thawed out so they’re a bit wrinkly.
  • The mochi skin is super soft and fresh, but some of them had harder bottoms which meant air got to them.
  • The inside was a super creamy semi melted mixture of whipped cream and blueberries and it came across as sweet blueberry yogurt without the tang. I loved these!

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