Restaurant: Kalok Seafood Restaurant 加樂海鮮酒家
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: November 27, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: 1008 – 8300 Capstan Way
Subway stop: Aberdeen Station Northbound
Price Range: $10-20 (dim sum) $20-30+ (dinner)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Chinese owned/operated
- Authentic Cantonese cuisine
- Busy at peak hours
- Affordable dim sum
- 25% off before 11am
- 20% before 11:30am
- Complimentary tea
- English/Chinese menus
- Family friendly
- Free parking
- Mon-Sun Dim Sum/Lunch 9am-3pm
- Mon-Sun Dinner 5pm-10pm
**Recommendations: BBQ Pork Pastry, Fish w/Ginger & Onion, Black Bean Beef Fried Flat Rice Noodle, Young Chow Fried Rice, Steamed Sponge Cake
After Follow Me Foodie to New York, Follow Me to Jamaica and Follow Me Foodie to Montreal & Quebec City, I’d say it’s definitely time for some Follow Me Foodie to dim sum! It’s been a long time since we’ve seen each other. I must say I’ve been avoiding it on all my foodie trips just because I’m confident none of those cities will compare to the quality of dim sum we can get in Vancouver. We pride ourselves on our Asian cuisine and we’re spoiled by endless options for it, especially in the category of Chinese food and dim sum.
Kalok Seafood Restaurant is one of the newest additions to hit the Richmond, BC dim sum scene. It’s located in Union Square Shopping Centre and although it’s quite hidden, it’s known to Richmond’s Chinese locals. The space has changed hands and names a few times in the last few years, but it’s always remained a Chinese restaurant.
I’ve actually come here on three occasions now to check out the menu. It’s not because my first visit was so impressive, but it’s more because it’s still a new place that people are curious about. It’s a very spacious restaurant and it’s quite busy, but the turnover is fast so the wait is never long.
One of the biggest draws is really because it offers 25% off before 11am and 20% off before 11:30am and free tea at both seatings. People love deals and discounts… especially Asian people… I can say that right?! Anyways Kalok Seafood is great value if you’re in early. You snooze you lose! It’s not the cheapest and not the best dim sum for sure, but it’s decent.
It has an extensive menu, free parking, spacious seating, nice atmosphere, and it appears clean, so what more can you really ask for? Yes, I already mentioned you get free tea. Go ahead with the 10% tip if you wish (j/k!).
I find dim sum always relatively “cheap” anyways, so I have my spots that I prefer and I don’t mind paying a bit more for it. On a global scale, it’s probably great, but Richmond has a lot of competition for dim sum. For me, Kalok isn’t my first, second, or third choice, but I wouldn’t complain about coming. It satisfies the craving and it’s good for group dining, so if you’re not picky about your dim sum, then sure, why not?
On the table:
- It’s the test. I used to have 2 orders of this for myself as a kid, and now I’m almost tired of them, but it’s somewhat of a “must”.
- I like them, but they’re not great here. They’re good.
- I was more impressed with the stuffing than the skins.
- The skins are relatively thin, but they’re not as chewy as excellent ones.
- The prawns were decently seasoned, crunchy, juicy and still in somewhat whole pieces and not mashed which is always a good thing.
- I find these more exciting than the prawn dumplings, but they’re entirely different.
- They’re perhaps a bit more “adventurous”.
- They’re made in house and the skins are very thin and chewy which is good, but also breaking which isn’t good.
- They were steaming hot and stuffed with a mixture of dried shrimps, ground pork, Chinese celery, cilantro, chives, water chestnuts and peanuts.
- I usually love anything with nuts, but for some reason I’m never crazy about Chinese peanuts and using them in these, although it’s the style of the dumpling to have them.
- These ones had more peanuts than normal too, unless it was just the one I ate.
- The mixture was flavourful, aromatic, creamy and somewhat slimy (Asian sauces tend to be), but it has good textural contrast with so many ingredients.
- I wasn’t keen on the 5 spice seasoning, but it’s in the name so I can’t complain. It was subtle and it wasn’t bad, but I just prefer the standard soy sauce gravy they usually make it with.
- It’s called “Cantoness Dumpling” on the menu.
- This had less textural contrast and ingredients in the filling than the 5 Spice Swatow Style Dumplings, but they’re not bad.
- This is the Cantonese style which is much more simple than the Swatow style of the dumpling.
- The skins weren’t as thin or chewy, but they’re still made in house.
- It was stuffed with saucy ground pork that was a bit gummy from the corn starch, but that’s quite common of Cantonese food again.
- The pork wasn’t that fatty which is good and it wasn’t dry either.
- There were also minced carrots and chestnuts in the mix for crunch and flavour.
- It was a typical soy sauce gravy, but I wouldn’t mind a bit more salt.
- The flavours were much more basic than the 5 Spice Swatow Style Dumplings so it’s good “beginners” dim sum.
- These were massive shiu mai! They were the size of two normal ones.
- They’re definitely made in house and I wish the tobiko display was nicer, but I’ll let that go.
- They were probably 50% pork and 50% shrimp which is fair since most places will give more pork than shrimp.
- They were plump, juicy, moist, and the stuffing was somewhat loosely packed together.
- They’re really soft and tender and quite good, but not my favourite.
- I wouldn’t mind a couple more shiitake mushrooms since not every dumpling had one.
- Personally I prefer Red Star Seafood’s shiu mai – see here.
- I’m not a fan of these in general so I’m biased.
- I still tried one and they’re made in house, but I still don’t really like them. People that like these thought they were pretty good.
- They’re really soft and tender fish balls made with pureed fish, cilantro, Chinese celery, and perhaps some orange peel I could mildly taste.
- They’re quite fishy tasting and they’re not flaky, but almost spongy.
- The fish bones are also pureed into this, and I could still tell and I really don’t like that, although this characteristic is usually a sign of “freshness”.
- I’m not a fan of the orange peel in there, but traditionally that’s how it’s made and how people would prefer them.
- It’s apples and oranges, but I prefer the curry fishballs over this. These are gourmet fishballs and they are healthy for you too.
- I usually love these (4.5/6), but they’re not great here. They’re okay.
- I suggest trying them at Grand Dynasty in Burnaby or Empire Seafood in Richmond, who also does a good job with them – see here.
- I prefer the inside to be stuffed with minced pork curry or seafood curry and this just tasted like pureed onion curry sauce. I couldn’t really tell if it was onion or what though.
- The curry sauce isn’t spicy, and it never is, but it was more mild than normal.
- The shrimp was slightly overcooked and I’ve never really seen it made this way.
- There was a decent amount of mashed creamy taro (similar to mashed potato), but I prefer more.
- The outside was crispy and fried well and I liked the textural contrast as always.
- They weren’t too greasy, but the quality of the filling wasn’t great and they were slightly bland I wouldn’t mind more salt and curry flavour.
- Personally, I prefer the traditional soy-based minced pork mixture over the curry, but each restaurant and chef has their own style.
- I love this dish and it was okay here again. I like it better at Red Star Seafood – see Pan-fried Eggplant stuffed with Fish Cake
- It’s more expensive to make them with shrimp though, so it is “better” when they offer it.
- It was good, but I just wanted more flavour to them.
- I wanted either more garlic or some black bean sauce and I couldn’t tell what sauce it was supposed to be.
- I think it was just a standard soy based sauce, but it was a bit gummy and heavy on the cornstarch. Again, it tends to be, but it’s perhaps a bit more noticeable here.
- The eggplant was big, plump and tender and there was a decent amount of pureed shrimp paste on top.
- They’re deep fried so the shrimp is somewhat crispy, or at least you can tell it’s been deep fried, but it’s not greasy either.
- I wasn’t going to order these, but they were walking around with them fresh from the oven and they just looked so darn cute! And good!
- 100% of the time I’ll go for the Baked BBQ Pork Buns over these, but they sold out, so this was my rebound.
- It wasn’t a bad rebound! They’re fresh, hot and made in house.
- I was more impressed with the pastry than the stuffing.
- The pastry was soft, tender, flaky, buttery, moist, and nutty from the sesame seeds.
- They were decently filled and all the way to the corners, but the filling wasn’t as good as normal.
- The BBQ pork wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t as saucy and the colour was a bit bright from the dye. It was “okay” BBQ pork.
- The meat wasn’t all fat which I like, but it just wasn’t as well marinated and savoury and sweet as I prefer.
- I had to come back on another occasion to order these since they were sold out on my first visit.
- I always cross my fingers it’s going to be the Mexican bun topping and not the pineapple bun topping. This was the pineapple bun topping. See the Mexican bun topping on the Baked BBQ Pork Bun here.
- The topping is my favourite part. It’s crispy and sweet, but this one had a slight egg yolk like flavour. I didn’t mind it, but I could tell.
- The buns were nice and soft and a sweeter type of bread, but I did want more BBQ pork stuffing.
- The meat wasn’t all fat which is good, but also not as saucy, marinated and flavourful as I prefer.
- I always choose the baked BBQ pork buns to the pastry kind, but here I prefer their BBQ Pork pastries to these.
- It’s a typical home cooked Cantonese dish that’s “always best when mom makes it”. It’s one of those dishes.
- This one was okay. It’s good if it’s your first time trying it, but if you’ve had it before, it’s likely you’ve had better.
- The meat was very tender, but it almost seemed too pureed and like meatloaf. It kind of is a Chinese style “meatloaf” or meat patty though.
- It was topped with crunchy preserved Chinese radish and some minced Shiitake mushrooms.
- The meat is marinated in soy sauce and other Asian seasonings and it’s not difficult to warm up to.
- The rice was fine and the portion is good for the price, although it’s not a whole lot of meat.
- It also comes with a side of sweetened soy sauce for you to pour over top, so you’re not just eating plain rice too.
- I generally love these things (5/6) and I really like the mushroom kind, but this one was okay.
- I found the texture a bit too soft and slimy and I wanted more crunch from the mushrooms and found them almost over steamed.
- It was stuffed with Enoki mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms and I think Oyster mushrooms, but I could barely taste the oyster mushrooms.
- You pour a sweetened soy sauce on top of these before eating them.
- They were going for the Kirin presentation, but I prefer Kirin’s Rice Roll with Chinese Donut more.
- It’s basically a rather neutral tasting deep fried dough wrapped with a rice roll served with soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sesame sauce.
- Generally, everyone loves these, unless you’re a “I don’t eat deep fried foods” person.
- The roll was nice and bite sized which I like, and I prefer the donut thinner like this rather than super thick.
- The donut wasn’t that crispy though, but the middle was soft. I usually like it crispy with a soft and fluffy centre.
- I also prefer dried pork fluff/floss in between the donut and rice roll wrapping, but this one didn’t have that.
- The rice noodle was good, but it didn’t have the dried shrimp which is rare to get and more expensive. Some people don’t like it though, which is fine, but I like it.
- It was a good ratio of wrapper to donut and this was decent for what it was.
- This is one of my favourite things (6/6) and it brings back childhood memories, and they’re pretty good here.
- They’re a bit oily and not as tender and delicate as some, but I’m quite sure they’re made in house.
- It’s simply rice noodles rolled up, but to get them nice and thin with a chewiness is the trick. These are “rustic” in execution and slightly denser than I prefer.
- Sometimes they have dried shrimps and chives in the rice roll, but these just had the onions sprinkled on top.
- They’re pan fried and rather neutral in flavourful with a bit of soy sauce for savouriness.
- There is hoisin sauce and sesame sauce served on the side that you eat it with.
- I like when they sprinkle these with sesame seeds too.
- It’s not difficult to make and I find steamed vegetables always so overpriced at dim sum, but we still ordered it.
- Not every place will have a good vegetable stock though, and this one was great!
- The gai lan (Chinese broccoli) was nice and young and not tiresome to chew and it was cooked very well.
- It’s perhaps a tad oily, but it’s no more than what’s expected.
- This was another favourite and it was really well done.
- It came with a good amount of beef that was very well marinated and cooked. That was the highlight.
- The beef was really tender and the sauce was flavourful with black beans, ginger, onions and a few red peppers.
- The noodles were also good and separate and overall it was a solid fried noodle dish with a good amount of sauce.
- I didn’t get to try this, but there wasn’t much left and I heard no complaints or raves about it.
- For what it was, they do a good job with it here.
- It’s just fried rice with shrimps, BBQ pork, crunchy gai lan (Chinese broccoli), and scrambled eggs.
- Sometimes there are carrots, which is a bit Western, but this one didn’t have any. I wouldn’t have minded some peas, but it was a fair amount of other ingredients.
- The shrimps were nice and crunchy and the BBQ pork was slightly sweet and the rice was well seasoned and fried with separate grains and not greasy.
- I couldn’t really get that aromatic “wok” aroma, but it was still good.
- It’s called “Jecket Fish in Soy Sauce” on the menu.
- I prefer this dish at Rainflower in Richmond or Kirin.
- The sauce is delicious and it’s a sweetened soy sauce with garlic, ginger and chives fried into it.
- It’s deep fried, but it’s not battered or very greasy and it still tastes healthy.
- The fish itself has a lot of tiny bones and they’re not really crispy enough to eat through so you have to be careful when you hit the fins and tail.
- It’s a good dish and the fish is a firm white meat with a mild fish flavour, but I prefer the dish below, Fish with Ginger & Onion.
- This is probably my favourite dish here and I’ve ordered it on two out of three occasions.
- It’s a generous amount of lightly battered and deep fried halibut with a good amount of sauteed green onions, garlic, ginger, onions, and Chinese celery.
- It’s a very aromatic dish and it’s sauteed in sweetened soy sauce before it’s served so each piece is well flavoured, sweet and savoury and not soggy either.
- The pieces are served the Asian way with bones and fish skin, so be prepared. It’s halibut though so the bones are easy to get rid of.
- There’s a good amount of whole meat pieces and and they’re not overcooked.
- The ginger is fried into the oil and it’s not obvious in flavour unless you bite into a slice. It’s used for aromatics along with everything else, but I could taste more celery and soy than everything else.
- The fish tails are extra crispy and you can chew right through all the bones. Those are my favourite! Lots of calcium and it’s almost like shrimp chips… but with fish… and they’re saucy! (I’m trying to encourage you to try them if you haven’t)
- The tender and crunchy sweet onions, green onions and Chinese celery are delicious and I could just eat bowls of that alone.
- These were under the “fried & baked” cateogry and they should be under the “dessert” category.
- I love Portuguese Egg Tarts, but I’m not keen on Chinese Egg Tarts. Does that make me racist… ?
- These tasted a bit more like Chinese egg tarts than Portuguese egg tarts to me.
- They weren’t as sweet (like most Chinese desserts) and they were a bit eggy than custardy, but the pastry shell was great and it was nice and flaky and tender.
- They don’t offer regular egg tarts, but this would settle that craving.
- For what it is, it’s done really well here and it is a house favourite.
- It’s made fresh in house, served warm, and I could smell the almond scent as soon as it hit the table, but I couldn’t taste almonds. It does have almond extract though.
- It’s a very light, fluffy, soft and airy sponge cake that’s very lightly sweetened.
- It was very tender and moist and I could almost peel the layers of cake. When the cake is loose like this, it’s good.
- It’s made with eggs so it has an eggy flavour too, but it’s not like brioche. It’s way less rich than brioche because there’s no butter.
- I don’t like many versions of these, but I really liked this one because of the aroma, flavour and texture.
- I really like the ones from Empire – see their Steamed Sponge Cake and Top Gun J & C too – see their Steamed Sponge Cake.