Restaurant: Continental Seafood Restaurant 辛運海鮮酒樓
Cuisine: Chinese/Seafood/Dim Sum
Last visited: August 18, 2011
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond)
Address: 11700 Cambie Rd
Bus: WB Cambie Rd FS No. 5 Rd
Price Range: $10 or less dim sum, $20-30+ dinner
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Traditional Cantonese cuisine
- Chinese/English menus
- Live seafood tanks
- Popular for dim sum
- Push cart dim sum
- Popular for take-out BBQ meats
- Known to Chinese locals
- Nightly live entertainment
- Ballroom dance floor
- Very affordable prices
- Large space/venue
- Free parking
- Dim Sum/Lunch/Dinner
- Monday 10am – 12:30am
- Tuesday 10am – 12am
- Wed-Thurs: 10am – 12:30am
- Fri-Sat: 10am – 1am
- Sunday 10am-10pm
- Banquet dinner post
**Recommendations: Double Boiled Winter Melon Soup with Mixed Seafood, Black Cod & Eggplant, Sauteed Beef and Seasonal Vegetable with Satay Sauce, Golden Crispy Roasted Pork
Chinese New Year Eve is tomorrow so I’m continuing the Chinese theme! I posted on a few different types of Chinese New Year menus yesterday (see here), but perhaps there was still nothing you fancied? Well that just makes you picky because I had quite the variety! Kidding… sort of.
If you don’t have reservations by now, you’re likely screwed since all the “best” and popular Chinese restaurants have been booked for weeks/months. However here is an option that might still be available. It’s one of Richmond’s largest Chinese restaurants and you might be able to get seated for dim sum if not for dinner… and if neither, then there’s also their discrete take out window. It’s not the best place for Chinese food in Richmond or Metro Vancouver, but it’s not bad either, and your procrastination leaves you with slim pickings anyways.
I’ve been coming to this restaurant since I was in elementary and I’ve seen it change names, chefs and hands on a few occasions. To be honest, I usually dread coming to this place because I know I’m usually in for a long banquet dinner featuring very mediocre mass produced food. The thing I look forward to the most is the Dairy Queen Blizzard I get for dessert since it’s conventionally across the street.
Although I’m not crazy about the food, the reason for the return is usually due to mandatory obligations and the fact that my parents love ballroom dancing. Yup! This is the “hot spot” in Richmond for the Chinese baby boomers. They come to eat, sing and dance… or in their words, “eat, sing K, and disco”.
I’ve blogged about a banquet dinner at Continental Seafood Restaurant before (see here), and I’ve never really been impressed. I rarely come here for dinner since I come here enough for banquets throughout the year, but when “K and disco” are a must, then I can bet my parents’ dancing shoes that I’m likely to end up here.
Anyways, on this occasion I was definitely caught by surprise and I ended up being incredibly impressed with the food, quality, portions and price. I think the majority would agree that banquet dinners don’t properly represent a restaurant, and this is a perfect example. Sure, it might have just been a good day, but regardless, the food was good enough to make me want to come back on a regular night and that’s what matters.
Personally, I find it extremely difficult to order at pretty much all Chinese restaurants even if they have English menus. The menus are the size of bibles and the descriptions are vague or poorly translated. Well it’s no different here, but I’m hoping to help!
On the table:
**Double Boiled Winter Melon Soup with Mixed Seafood (Advance Order) – 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)
- You have to order this in advance and it’s enough for at least 10 people which makes it $5/bowl with more left for seconds.
- What better time of the year than to have this healthy comfort food/soup?
- It’s a premium soup that exists in Hong Kong, but it’s not that easy to find and it’s even harder to find in Metro Vancouver, so it’s quite special.
- It’s an entire winter melon that’s carved and used as a pot.
- Needless to say, I loved the presentation.
- Although it might not be “the best” in Vancouver, it’s not something easily made at home and this one was still excellent, so I would say it’s definitely still a must try.
- The winter melon is super tender from being boiled and the meat gets scraped and scooped into your bowl. At the end it’s just the outer shell of the melon.
- The winter melon is extremely tender, juicy, soft and creamy and it just absorbs all the flavours of the soup.
- It’s naturally sweet and very mild and neutral in flavour and comparable to a cucumber, zucchini or perhaps squash, but less filling and not starchy.
- The soup was full of ingredients like dried scallops (Chinese delicacy), fresh mushrooms, Shiitake mushrooms, straw mushrooms, Chinese broccoli (kai lan) slices, dried red dates, boneless dark meat chicken, little pieces of pork shoulder, pieces of duck, ham, crab, fresh prawn, and fish maw (Chinese delicacy).
- Fish maw (gas bladder) is a chewy, jelly-like spongy tube and it has a slight crunch. It’s a bit slimy and acquired, but I really like it. It doesn’t even really have a flavour and just absorbs the flavour of everything it’s cooked in.
- It was a clear soup that wasn’t oily and it didn’t taste like an intense meat and seafood soup.
- It was more of a savoury vegetable and chicken soup.
- The meat and seafood was obvious, but the flavours didn’t really infuse into the soup since there were no bones or shells used.
- It was more flavourful than a standard vegetable soup of course, and although it was a light broth, it was full of hearty ingredients and flavour.
Golden Crispy Roasted Pork & BBQ Duck – 4/6 (Very good)
- $15.80, 1/2 BBQ Duck $16.80
- Golden Crispy Roasted Pork – 4/6 (Very good)
- I had the suckling pig last time too (here), but it was even better than I remembered this time around.
- The pork was ultra tender, falling apart and almost melting as you can see in the picture.
- It wasn’t as fatty as last time with a better balance of lean meat and fat, but the fatty parts were still a bit chewy and gelatinous rather than creamy.
- It had a delicious crispy crackling skin that was well salted and overall it was delicious!
- BBQ Duck – 3.5/6 (Good – Very good)
- The duck had a sweet soy sauce marinade and it was tender and moist.
- For some reason it tasted more like squab than duck and it wasn’t juicy, but still moist.
- It wasn’t too fatty (which I like) and it had a crispy skin, but the fat part was still slightly gelatinous for my liking rather than creamy.
- It was a good BBQ duck, but there are others I prefer in Richmond.
- Half $16.80 Whole $29.80
- I’m not really a fan of this dish, but it was still good for what it was.
- It was covered with crispy nutty fried garlic chips which I could have used more of.
- It was salty and oily with an unexpected spicy kick at the end, but I wouldn’t say it was a spicy dish.
- The chicken juices were strong and it was likely in a brine of cooking wine, salt, sugar, ginger and garlic before it was steamed and drizzled with sesame oil.
- The free range chicken was flavourful moist and juicy, but I prefer mine slightly more slippery and silky smooth.
- Usually free range chicken like this tends to be a bit on the dry side, but this one was nice and oily and well done.
- I had this last time too – see here, and I think it was better last time with more garlic.
- For a change I also recommend The Jade Smoked Grandpa Chicken from The Jade Seafood Restaurant.
Green Onion Ginger Oil – This is the condiment for the chicken. This was a very chunky version of it and I liked it. The garlic seemed nuttier than usual because they fried it and it also had some fried onions/garlic/shallots in it for extra flavour. There was a good ginger and onion balance and it was well salted and I actually like the frying method better than having it raw (which I do also like).
Fresh Rock Cod Steamed – Whole Fish – 4/6 (Very good)
- Current price
- The fish was fresh and it was boneless and skinless so very easy to eat.
- The fish was firmer than expected, but not like halibut either. It was moist and light, but a bit mushy rather than flaky.
- The vegetables included carrots, scallions, snow peas and celery and it actually wasn’t all celery which is good.
- It was simply sauteed with soy sauce and a bit of garlic, ginger and onions, and it was quite a standard and simple dish, but done well.
- It was slightly oily, but only as oily as expected.
**Black Cod & Eggplant – 4.5/6 (Very good-Excellent)
- I love black cod (sablefish) and eggplant, so naturally I’m going to love this dish.
- The sable fish was lightly deep fried in huge pieces and although the skin was slimy, it tends to be when it’s made in a clay pot like this since it’s covered with sauce.
- The fish was very moist and juicy (as black cod usually is), but it was a bit slimy since the gravy was a bit thick and oily (as it tends to be in clay pots).
- I expected it to be black bean sauce, but surprisingly it wasn’t.
- There was some ginger, garlic and onions and the sauce was the standard soy sauce, garlic and maybe oyster sauce gravy.
- The eggplant was tender and plentiful and super creamy with all the sauce and there were also pieces of fatty pork in it.
- The pork just made the dish richer, heartier and more flavourful.
- If you’re familiar with these clay pot dishes, than this was good, but if you’re not, then the slightly slimy texture may take getting used to.
Pan Fried Prawns with Wasabi Sauce – 1.5/6 (Poor-Okay)
- I was pretty disappointed with this modern Chinese dish and expected something very different.
- The menu said “pan fried”, but it was very obviously deep fried and the batter was very thick and mushy with no crispiness or crunch.
- It looked and tasted like deep fried prawns tossed in a mayo salad dressing and I couldn’t taste an Wasabi sauce either.
- The wasabi sauce was just some wasabi paste/powder mixed with some mayo an perhaps honey. It had a bit of a powdery texture.
- It wasn’t spicy and more sweet and carried very little wasabi kick.
- The prawns were cooked well and tender with a crunch, but the batter and sauce just wasted it.
Buddha’s Feast with Pumpkin– 3/6 (Good)
- I know it sounds super “Caucasian” to order “Buddha’s Feast”, but the pumpkin was the selling factor for me!
- It’s basically a vegetarian dish, but this was a modern yet traditional Chinese way of making it.
- Note it’s not actually vegetarian because it had fish maw (gas bladder) in it (Chinese delicacy).
- The ingredients were traditional Chinese and a bit exotic, but the pumpkin was the modern twist.
- It was half a Japanese Kaboocha Squash used as the bowl and the whole thing was creamy, sweet and super saucy.
- It was perhaps too saucy and the vegetables were all a bit slimy and it was almost soupy.
- The sauce just tasted salty with soy sauce and it was quite basic and not offensive, but texturally a bit goopy.
- It was filled with fresh crunchy bamboo shoots, baby corn, crunchy chestnuts, a couple Shiitakes mushrooms, soft black wood ear mushroom, straw mushrooms and fish maw.
- I would have liked more Shiitakes and I wish the chestnuts were soft.
- The broccoli was tender and the fish maw (gas bladder) was unexpected, but it’s what made it worth the price.
- Again, fish maw is a chewy, jelly-like spongy tube and it has a slight crunch. It’s a bit slimy and acquired, but I really like it. It doesn’t even really have a flavour and just absorbs the flavour of everything it’s cooked in.
**Sauteed Beef and Seasonal Vegetable with Satay Sauce – 5.5/6 (Excellent!)
- We had chicken, pork, duck, prawn, fish and needed beef!
- This is a very typical dish, but it was excellent here! I was very impressed with the quality of beef and how tender it was.
- The slices of beef melted in your mouth and it was nice and saucy with a satay sauce likely made with garlic, ginger, soy, sugar and a little chili.
- It was sweet and savoury with a little heat, but it wasn’t spicy and just creamy in texture. It wasn’t dry at all.
- The seasonal vegetable was Chinese broccoli (kai lan) and it was young, tender and crunchy and cooked perfectly.
- I hope they’re consistent with this dish because it was a sure winner.
Braised Fish Head and Tofu in Brown Sauce – 4/6 (Very good)
- It wasn’t the actual head, but pieces of the head. It’s the best part of the fish and has the most flavour although it might sound intimidating. It’s for the “real fish eaters”.
- This is for those who have graduated from eating fish with the skin and bones, and if you’re not even at that point, then you might not want to start here.
- It had the collar or neck, and pieces of the cheek which is my favourite part of the fish. The collar and neck is great too! They have great texture and flavour.
- The fish pieces were lightly battered and fried and it was a bit greasy, but that was a bit assumed.
- The pieces of fish have a lot of meat and the cheeks were big pieces of cheek.
- The meat was also easy to eat because the bones are big and easy to remove. The cheek just slides off the bone.
- It was sauteed with garlic and a typical soy sauce/fish sauce gravy and it even had a little bit of dark meat chicken in it.
- The tofu was lightly deep fried and crispy, just like the fish, and it was an interesting component for those who don’t eat fish.
- It should have come in a clay pot since it was braised, but it didn’t. It didn’t really bother me, but it adds to the fresh factor having it bubbling hot in a pot. On the other hand this makes it easier so people don’t pick through the dish.
- There were some hidden baby bok choy and mushrooms underneath as well.
Fried Rice with Shrimp & Chicken in 2 Different Sauces – 4/6 (Very good)
- Popularly known as Honeymoon Fried Rice, or Ying Yang fried rice, this is one of my favourite fried rices to be served at a Chinese banquet dinner, or really any Chinese dinner.
- It wasn’t exactly 50% of each sauce, but I do like the red sauce better so I was happy. Most like the cream sauce, but I actually like it best mixed.
- The tomato sauce was a bit too neon for me and I like it a deeper darker red – like this one at Gingeri – see Fried Rice with Shrimp and Cream & Chicken in Tomato Sauce.
- The tomato side has onions, chicken and tomatoes, but the chicken was a bit dry. It’s typically a Ketchupy sweet and sour like sauce, but this one wasn’t that tangy.
- The cream side was creamy, but could have been creamier and it was slightly gluey from the corn starch.
- The cream side had tender baby shrimps and peas, but it was slightly bland overall.
- The fried rice underneath was just regular white rice and I was hoping it would have some scrambled egg in it at the very least.
Dessert – Red Bean Soup – n/a
- You bet there was complimentary red bean soup! And you bet right again that I left before it even came! Dairy Queen across the street was about to close!
- I’m not a fan of red bean, and like I said in the intro of this post, usually when I come to Continental I look forward to the Dairy Queen after (just out of convenience).
- It’s almost the only time I have DQ unless it’s an ice cream cake at someone’s birthday.
- I was incredibly disappointed they ran out of bananas and the service was actually pretty awful.
- I had to ask them not to charge full price for a banana split that had no bananas. Then they made it into a blizzard which wasn’t what I requested and sold it to someone else at full price. Ouch.
- This ended up being a triple sundae with marshmallow cream, pineapples and strawberry sauce.
- Really not the same without bananas and I should have just went with an ice cream sandwich or Oreo Blizzard.
Caramel Toffee Cookie Blizzard
- It was the flavour of the month so I was curious, but it was way too sweet for me. It was almost hurt your teeth sweet.
- The toffee cookie was pretty hard and again I should have just went for a reliable Oreo Blizzard or ice cream sandwich.
Good job well done!!!!!~
This place is a fav for those who love dining and dancing. Only ate here for dim sum, not the dinner menu. The Continental IS an institution in the Richmond Cantonese scene. The restaurant is huge. Prefer a whole steamed fish that I see moving, when the waiter brings it by the table…sometimes the fish pieces come from fish that are floatin’ upside down in the tank, very DOA. The blackcod is always a hit with me. I like it steamed on top of soft tofu and a black bean sauce or in a hot pot cooked with pieces of BBQ pork slices; haven’t had it with eggplant. Coming up to New Year’s am surprised you didn’t order dried oysters with black moss.
haha i love that you went to DQ afterwards 🙂
all the food here looks good and i definitely need to try that wintermelon soup! the roasted pork and the eggplant with black cod looks delicious 🙂 the fried prawns remind of of this other dish called walnut shrimp.. i actually saw it on triple D and i really like it lol
I was scrolling down really fast until I caught sight of the Blizzard cup …… what the ?!? LOL ! It’s really cute that you almost always go to DQ right after eating at Continental. Maybe it’s become like a Pavlov response for you: Continental —> DQ …..
“Sure, it might have just been a good day, but regardless, the food was good enough to make me want to come back on a regular night and that’s what matters”
Oh, maybe you’re beginning to be smitten by the “eat, sing K and disco” bit. Hey, I order hot water with lemon from time to time while eating out to make my parents not feel embarrassed as seniors, lol !
@Linda – Red Star Seafood Restaurant in Marpole does an excellent rendition of winter melon soup. Don’t recall how much it is, but I suspect it’s less than $50. And I also don’t recall having to advance order it. I’ve never been to RS’ Richmond location, ‘tho.
@Mimi – thank you!
@Bow – oh no this is an older post 🙂 Check out the “Last Visited”… I just posted in now 🙂
@Linda – I like Walnut Shrimp! It’s quite Westernized but it’s good! They actually have it at Kirin and a few other places too! They had it here! And at Floata 🙁
@LR – the DQ is the story I included in the intro of my first post I wrote for Continental! 🙂 I wrote “I always look forward to DQ after I come here because it’s conveniently across the street and I dislike red bean”…. lol I wrote it in the intro of this post too! I have lengthy posts though so I don’t expect ppl to catch it 🙂
I LOVE HOT WATER AND LEMON!!! lol I really do!
Really?! Less than $50? Pretty good deal, but i wonder if it has as much seafood.
@Mijune – I hope I’m right about the price of Red Star’s wintermelon soup. It was a few years ago, and I wasn’t the one paying (lol), but I do recall the dinner with the soup and about 6 other dishes came in at just under $200, so it’s only my best guess that the soup couldn’t have cost more than $50. Don’t recall the amount of seafood in it, but I distinctly recall there was “ho see” (dried oysters) and conpoy (dried scallops).
Funny, eons ago Mrs. Lotus used to work at this rehab clinic in the building immediately behind that DQ and upstairs to Kiyo Sushi !
Do you still have dinner and dancing in the evening? If yes, what is the schedule and what is the minimum charge? Thanks.