Sun Yee Chinese Restaurant – Alaskan King Crab Dinner

Restaurant: Sun Yee Chinese Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Seafood
Last visited: March 16, 2012
Location: Vancouver, BC (Victoria-Fraserview/Killarney)
Address: 5728 Victoria Drive
Bus: SB Victoria Dr FS E 41 Av
Price Range: $10-20+ ($10-15 mains)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!

Food: 3-3.5
Service: 3.5
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • Local Cantonese favourite
  • Authentic Cantonese cuisine
  • Busy at peak hours
  • Chinese & English menu
  • Good combination menu
  • Very casual
  • Good for groups
  • Family friendly
  • Very affordable
  • Accepts credit card
  • Dine in/Take out
  • Free delivery
  • Open late

**Recommendations: n/a

I never noticed it or even knew about this restaurant. I wouldn’t even be really inspired to visit it until my Friday night dinner was planned here. Apparently the word around the Chinese community was that they were offering a great deal for Alaskan King Crab and that it was actually quite good too. Well with prices for Alaskan King Crab going up almost every day, I am determined to meet my Alaskan King Crab dinner fixes earlier on.

Let’s face it. The outside looks like a dive and since I parked in the back and entered through the back (it’s how these restaurants work sometimes), I ended up walking through the kitchen. I tried to avoid looking, but it didn’t necessarily look clean and tidy. I kind of expected it though and this was just based on observation. However, I didn’t really let that stop me because the restaurant was packed and it is very popular with the Chinese locals in the neighbourhood. Sure that doesn’t always tell me the whole story, but it’s better than an empty restaurant. For those who know Sing Yee Chinese Restaurant in Richmond, BC, this actually felt almost the same although I prefer Sing Yee.

Anyways this is what I came for. The Alaskan King Crab Set Menu. It’s that time of the year again for Chinese style Alaskan King Crab Dinners – see my post on them here. Although this isn’t normally where I would go for this sort of dinner or a Chinese meal in general, it was a “bang for your buck” restaurant and the price and quality was fair.

So if the higher end Chinese restaurants are a bit intimidating or too fancy for your tastes, but you still want to try this sort of dinner, than this is an option. Alaskan King Crab is always good and it doesn’t have to be experienced at a fine dining restaurant to be enjoyed, although those are still worth trying at least once. Sun Yee Chinese Restaurant isn’t the best in town for Alaskan King Crab and it’s a very “every day” kind of place, but it’s good for the price and their regular menu seems promising from what I tried and saw on the other tables.

On the table:

Sun Yee Appetizer Platter3/6 (Good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • It’s not a fine dining restaurant, so you take it for what the restaurant is.
  • The jellyfish was crunchy, but not well marinated with sesame oil and sugar. I could only taste salt and it was overly salted too.
  • The pork hock slices were extremely fatty (way fattier than normal) and although well seasoned, it was too much fat for me.
  • The beef slices were moist and tender and they were actually quite good and well seasoned.
  • The honey garlic spare ribs were a highlight and particularly good here.
  • They were crispy and sweet, and the meat was tender and they were just very well flavoured with a balance of sweet, salty and nutty from the garlic.
  • They were good enough to make me want to order them a la carte and I’m not even crazy about honey garlic spare ribs. I like them, but don’t have to have them.

Steamed King Crab with Garlic Sauce4/6 (Very good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • This is always a great dish and they did a pretty good job with it here, but I wouldn’t mind the garlic a bit more browned.
  • The garlic was nice and sweet as it should be, but usually it comes a bit darker although never crispy.
  • The meat was juicy and sweet, but a couple pieces were actually a bit undercooked.
  • The plate comes with a lot of steamed garlic crab sauce which the legs sit on top of.
  • They should offer the option, but if they forget, make sure you request that sauce to be tossed with noodles for an extra $10. It’s worth it.

Deep Fried Spicy & Peppery King Crab Knuckles3/6 (Good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • This is one of my favourite courses for the Alaskan King Crab. It was good here, but there is better and I do like the Spicy Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles from Empire Chinese Seafood better. The restaurants are on different levels though.
  • This one wasn’t spicy enough and I wanted more jalapenos.
  • It was nicely salted with a bit of white pepper and I do love this seasoning in general but just wanted more spice.
  • I found them a bit too battered, but they weren’t over fried and the meat was still moist.
  • The immense amount of nutty fried garlic is the best part and I could eat scoops of it.
  • A lot of people ordered this style with their regular daily crab too.

Dried Scallop & Fish Maw Soup2.5/6 (Okay-Good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • The soup was a bit thick and the quality of the scallops and fish maw weren’t great, but they were decent and still edible.
  • It also has a bit of egg white and it can come off as a bit slimy and gluey, which the ingredients naturally are.
  • This soup is commonly eaten with a teaspoon of red vinegar mixed in.

Snow Pea Tip in Consomme2/6 (Okay)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • The pea shoots were a bit old and tough to chew, but the consomme was great.
  • The consomme was rich with flavour and not just salt and I could taste the ginger infused in the vegetable and soup.
  • Alone the pea shoots were still kind of bland, but the soup was the redeeming factor.

Golden Mushroom with Fish Ball3.5/6 (Good-Very good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • I found this dish on the bland side, but I really enjoyed all the ingredients in it and the fish balls were pretty good.
  • The broccoli was fresh and tender, but the sauce was bland and a bit thick with too much cornstarch.

  • The fishballs aren’t those curry fishballs, but tofu fishballs that are normally found at Chinese hot pot restaurants.
  • These ones were actually pretty good, soft, tender and a bit chewy.
  • They’re not as dense as the traditional curry fishballs and they’re very airy and light due to the tofu mix in.
  • If you want the premium version of tofu fishballs ($29/lb) you can get them from Sun Chiu Yeung (in the mall across from Richmond Public Market) – see more about it here. They are good, but an investment.

Egg Noodles Tossed in Steamed Alaskan King Crab Garlic Sauce3/6 (Good)

  • Additional $10 to Alaskan King Crab Set Menu.
  • This dish is offered for an additional $10 and I would highly recommend it.
  • They use the leftover steamed garlic crab sauce from the first course.
  • The sauce is tossed with egg noodles, Chinese chives and bean spouts for another course.
  • The egg noodles aren’t great here and not crunchy, but I didn’t expect premium noodles anyways so it was okay.
  • It’s a very simple dish, but simple is good.

Deep Fried Crispy Chicken3/6 (Good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • The chicken was pretty good and even the white meat was incredibly juicy.
  • The skin was crispy, but a little too browned and the oil might have needed a change although it didn’t affect the flavour.

The grand finale Alaskan King Crab course! Just wait until you see the other side!

Baked Fried Rice with Seafood4/6 (Very good)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • It usually doesn’t come with this much cheese and sometimes none at all, but I like the cheese.
  • All Alaskan King Crab dinners have this as the third crab course. It’s another favourite.
  • They use the crab tomalley to make the rich and buttery cream sauce.
  • Kirin’s version includes crab meat in the rice (see here) which is why I like theirs, but even without the crab meat this is still a good course. This one didn’t have much crab meat.

  • The rice seemed a bit too fresh so it didn’t fry as well. I didn’t get any wok aroma, but it was moist yet not soggy.
  • They actually fried the rice with some canned pineapple which was original to this restaurant and I liked it. It was almost like Thai style pineapple fried rice, but it doesn’t taste Thai.
  • Think of this as a Chinese style cheese and rice casserole if you’ve never had it.

Shimmy Baked Pudding1.5/6 (Poor-Okay)

  • Alaskan King Crab Set Menu $258 for 10 people (Market price)
  • I’ve never heard of it being called “Shimmy Baked Pudding” and I have to chuckle. I think they meant “Sago Baked Pudding”, but forgive the translation…. or just be entertained by it like me.
  • I love this dessert and it’s one of my favourite Chinese desserts, but their modern take on it really did not work. It should look like this – see Baked Tapioca Pudding.
  • Instead of the delicious baked crispy crust everyone looks forward to, they replaced it with marshmallows.
  • Marshmallows is just not right and I can’t even be open minded about it. I’ve never seen this done before and it was really disappointing.

The black part is black sesame paste which is quite common if it isn’t taro paste. Although it didn’t actually taste bad, it can’t even compare to the original and it doesn’t do the dessert justice at all. I can’t even blog about this in detail without getting upset, so I won’t.

This is not from the restaurant, but earlier on in the day I ate this “cake”. It was on the kitchen counter and I thought it was a sponge cake, but it was actually a sponge. Doesn’t it totally look like a sponge cake though?! I didn’t eat it, but I bit down on it before I realized.

On another random note, we also had this taro cake someone brought to Sun Yee and my sweater matched it perfectly! This really has nothing to do with the post, but I was excited and I didn’t let my earlier “sponge cake” experience scar me.

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8 Comments

  • Bow says:

    Another King Crab feast,eh? Well, you’re right, the cooking at the Sing Yee isn’t high end and unfortunately the price fixe Alaskan king Crab dinner can’t be sold at $15o/ea. Yet a $300 dinner for 10 is better than some bad meals at places like the Keg, Earl’s…which would charge you more for less food. The fish maw soup does look gloopy…also add white pepper to the red vinegar. Marshmellows ? Ugh ! No Thanks !
    Did you go out to have a cappucino and a proper dessert afterwards ?

  • hamsup says:

    It really does look like a sponge cake.. thanks for the good laugh !! 🙂

  • patti wan says:

    This post was so entertaining ! I’ve had 2 AKC dinners this mo. and that will be the last as I’m leaving for San Diego tomorrow . Will try some of your recommended places while there .

  • gish says:

    Where does one get a taro cake?

  • Bow says:

    @gish,buy a purple taro cake at Goldilocks Bakery(Broadway and Fir).

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – yes! My dessert was the taro cake! 2 slices! You know me well loll

    @hamsup – lol thank you!!!! I felt so dumb!

    @patti wan – You are!!!? Omg!!!!! Yes please try Extraordinary Desserts and if you go to Urban Solace tell the owner/chef Matt I said hi!!! He’s great!!

    @gish – Oh you can get it at almost any Chinese bakery! I would suggest La Patisserie on Marpole or St. Germain Bakery! I really like it!

    The one at Goldilocks is Filipino style and the one I had was Chinese style. The Goldilocks one is great and they offer a taro ice cream cake too. I’d try both.. they’re similar but the Filipino ones can be a bit sweeter, not as much fruit, and the taro is usually in the sponge cake… the Chinese one the taro filling is actually taro and it tastes like a bubble tea.. I really like it.

  • Linda says:

    poor girl! i read about your sponge situation on twitter… hope it wasn’t too disgusting 🙁

    mmmm maybe i should go here for alaskan king crab dinner.. it is super cheap for sure and it looks pretty decent, aside from the dessert of course lol

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – go go go!!! I think the price already crawled up, but it’s still cheaper than most.

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