Restaurant: Kalok Seafood Restaurant 加樂海鮮酒家 – Alaskan King Crab
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: April 29, 2012
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: I prefer their dim sum over dinner based on this experience. For dim sum: BBQ Pork Pastry, Fish w/Ginger & Onion, Black Bean Beef Fried Flat Rice Noodle, Young Chow Fried Rice, Steamed Sponge Cake
It was my last Alaskan King Crab of the season. Thank goodness BC Spot Prawns have kicked in though because I’ll need something else to look forward to. My stomach seriously just growled thinking about it… but I think that’s partially because I’m hungry. *Break*
Okay I’m back. I professed my love for Alaskan King Crab when I announced the start of the season back in March – see Follow Me Foodie to Chinese Alaskan King Crab Dinners. Of course there are several ways of preparing it and other cuisines that offer it, but the Chinese way is something everyone must experience once. They truly celebrate it. Being that the main ingredient is quite expensive, the meal is not cheap, however it is something that is challenging to prepare at home – see Follow Me Foodie to Sunday Night Dinners – Alaksan King Crab 3 Ways (Euro-Asian style) for how my foodie friends did it. On the other hand compared to Western fine dining, this will seem like a bargain at around $35-65 per person with a group of 8-10 people depending on the set menu and level of restaurant.
I used to believe that all Chinese restaurants prepare Alaskan King Crab more or less the same way, so that it didn’t matter where you went for it. However that’s certainly not true now that I’ve explored more of the restaurants offering it. I don’t have a particular favourite, and none have been disappointing so far; but since the Alaskan King Crab comes in set menus, I would perhaps lean toward a restaurant where I would enjoy the other dishes they offer as well.
On this occasion I came to Kalok Seafood Restaurant which is a rather new player in the Richmond food scene. I’ve come here once for dim sum before (see here), but had yet to experience dinner. As soon as I sat down I was presented with about 50 menus. It was like I was handed a deck of cards. There was actually only about 14 menus, but still. Although the Alaskan King Crab dinner comes in a set menu, some of the dishes can be selected from their regular menu so you’re not limited to the “same old”.
Personally I preferred the dim sum over the dinner based on this evening. It’s not a bad place, but it’s just very average. Many of the dishes I’ve had better elsewhere and it just seemed like a homestyle approach to Chinese cooking, but not in that “authentic” way. It just lacked a bit in technique of a quality Chinese restaurant. It’s not considered a “cheap place” or fine dining and the portions were also slightly smaller compared to most Chinese places. The prices are on the more affordable side and the room is considered comfortable, so it’s not a bad trade if you focus on the ambiance more than the food.
On the table:
- What most Chinese people will call “pigeon” they are actually referring to squab.
- The meat is sweeter and comparable to duck, but less fatty if you’ve never had it.
- The squab meat was on the dry side, but the execution was oily, so the dryness was slightly masked.
- The skin was crispy and it wasn’t bad, but I prefer the one at Sing Yee or Sun Sui Wah.
- $198 (for 8lbs Alaskan King Crab) Includes 2 main courses. + $15 for deep fried knuckles. + $8 for garlic tossed noodles.
- They didn’t prepare it especially good here, but they did a fine job with it and the dish itself is just excellent.
- The king crab legs are steamed with finely minced garlic and topped with scallions.
- The meat wasn’t as good as it was during the beginning of the season, but that’s not the restaurant’s fault. It’s just the end of the season.
- The garlic is sometimes a bit more brown, nutty and fried, but on this occasion they were soft, creamy and sweet.
- The sauce is made from natural crab and garlic juices and a splash of Chinese cooking wine.
- You have to make the request for them to save the garlic crab sauce on the plate so they can prepare the noodles.
Make sure you make the request for the Baked Alaskan King Crab Fried Rice too. I didn’t know the request had to be made and I thought it was part of the set menu. It’s an additional charge, but so worth it. The fried rice would normally come at the end and be served in the crab shell head. We did however ask them to save the steamed crab sauce garlic juices for the noodle dish.
- This course is additional charge, but you should request it for an additional $8.
- They use the garlic sauce left on the plates from the steamed crab legs to make it.
- Again, the sauce is made from natural crab and garlic juices and a splash of Chinese cooking wine.
- It comes with your choice of egg noodles or E-fu noodles (the soft white noodles) – see the difference here, but I prefer egg noodles. I prefer the E-fu noodles with Chinese cream sauce.
- The egg noodles (wonton noodles) were crunchy and not overcooked and they weren’t powdery either.
- They are really saucy noodles and I think they add some butter for a slightly creamier sauce.
- It’s especially fragrant from the garlic crab juice and they have that rich salty umami flavour.
- This was an additional $15 – do it.
- I actually liked these better than the steamed garlic legs.
- The second Alaskan King Crab course is always the deep fried crab knuckles.
- The crab knuckles are usually lightly battered and fried with garlic and chilies, but in this case they were seasoned differently.
- They were still lightly battered and fried, but the sauce they used was a sweet soy sauce and they fried it with onions, garlic, ginger and scallions.
- It’s not a complicated sauce, but the sweet and salty balance is perfect.
- It was the same sauce they use on their excellent Fish Ginger & Onion dish they serve at dim sum that I always order.
- They were still delicious with this sweet soy sauce and it was an unexpected yet positive surprise.
- If you like this dish I also strongly recommend the Pan Fried Prawn with Basil from Rainflower, which I think is the creme de la creme of this sauce with seafood.
- Around $13.99
- It was good, but also nothing I couldn’t find at another Chinese restaurant. It’s not even due to what it was, but how it tasted.
- The beef was tender and the usual, and then the Chinese broccoli were in huge pieces, but those were also tender yet crunchy and not overcooked.
- The sauce was just the classic soy based gravy and there was no apparent pepper flavour, spice, or many other seasonings.
- It was simply sautéed with garlic, ginger, onions and scallions.
- A version of this dish that I prefer is at Continental – see Sauteed Beef and Seasonal Vegetable with Satay Sauce.
- This was good, but it just wasn’t what the dish was supposed to be at all.
- I normally wouldn’t order a Taiwanese dish at a Chinese-Cantonese restaurant, but it wasn’t my decision although I didn’t mind trying their interpretation of it.
- It was supposed to be “Three Cup Chicken” that’s made with 1 cup soy sauce, 1 cup white wine and 1 cup sesame oil, but they just did their own thing here.
- The flavour of this dish was actually good, but it just wasn’t even close to the original.
- The chicken itself was very boney and I wasn’t keen on the quality, but that’s the kind they always use for this dish.
- The sauce was sweet and aromatic and almost reminiscent of the tea leaf soy sauce flavour used for hard boiled tea leaf soy eggs.
- It was slightly herbal, but not bitter or medicinal and the gogi berries in it sweetened it up nicely. The gogi berries are not typical of the authentic version of this dish.
- There were also shiitake mushrooms, garlic, onions and ginger and the chicken was tender and well marinated in the gravy.
- For an authentic version of “Chicken Taiwan Style” I would recommend trying the Chicken with Three Spice from Kalvin’s Szechuan Restaurant. It is available at other places, but Kalvin’s does a good job and it’s Taiwanese family owned and operated so the dishes are Taiwanese for the most part.
- This is normally an excellent dish, but it was just okay here because it wasn’t executed that well.
- This is typically a Shanghainese dish but Chinese-Cantonese restaurants will sometimes offer it too.
- The egg whites are sautéed in very little crab meat and the dried scallops were undetectable if even any. There should be some, but overall it had minimal seafood.
- The egg whites were super creamy, silky and fluffy and made with corn starch and milk. These ones were more starchy than I prefer, but well seasoned with salt.
- The raw egg yolk in the centre is mixed into the egg whites and it adds flavour and richness.
- It was sprinkled with tobiko on top, but this was a weaker version of the authentic Shanghainese dish. It just lacked the technique and ingredients.
- The egg whites sat on top of wonton crisps which got all soggy so I wasn’t a fan of that and I’ve never had wonton crisps served with this dish before.
- The dish is served with a side of vinegar which you sprinkle on top of the egg whites.
- Chinese-Cantonese restaurants can make this dish well too, but it just wasn’t great here although good if it’s your first time having it.
- I actually like the one at Empire Seafood Cuisine – see Steamed Broccoli with Crab Meat & Egg Whites. Jade Seafood does a nice version – see Fresh Crab Meat Sauteed with Egg White & Soy Milk and Kirin makes it too – see Stir Fried Assorted Seafood with Egg White.
- This is actually one of my favourite dishes.
- Again, this was not a great version of it, but it was still very good especially if you’ve never had it before.
- It’s a pretty heavy and rich dish and after 2-3 you start to feel them especially if they come near the end of the meal.
- It was very good here, but it was the very “homestyle” version and not the “fine dining” version and I prefer the fine dining version.
- They were lightly coated in salted duck egg yolk, garlic powder and perhaps some 5 spice powder so they were very aromatic.
- They taste salty, nutty and garlicky with a strong pungent umami flavour and savouriness from the “Shake and Bake” like coating.
- They have a powdery exterior texture which contrasts well next to the crunchy prawn.
- The prawns have no shell and I doubt they’re fresh, but they still tasted great.
- My favourite version of this dish is probably the one at Jade Seafood Restaurant – see Sauteed Pumpkin & Prawn with Salted Egg or the one at Delicious Chinese Cuisine – see Deep Fried Shrimp with Salted Egg Yolk. These are both very different styles, but excellent in their own ways.
- The dish didn’t taste bad, but again it was just slightly pedestrian and quite homestyle.
- The silky smooth tofu was mixed with I think egg white and it was well seasoned with salt and/or seafood stock before being steamed.
- The tofu had a lot of flavour on its own, but there were hardly any dried scallops which is a Chinese delicacy and desired part of the dish.
- The shrimps were frozen and minimal and the mushrooms were not great quality and also few.
- Texturally it was good though with the crunch of shrimp and Chinese broccoli.
- It was good in the context of a set meal and it tasted fine, but it’s just not something I would have to order a la carte again.
- As usual, the free red bean soup was served… why someone would want to pay for it I don’t know.
- As you know I’m biased with red bean soup, but I’ve decided to give it a try from now on. I have to be open minded about it to learn to like it… eventually. I hope.
- This one had no orange peel flavour and as usual it wasn’t that sweet, but I’m still not a fan.
- I’ll leave it as “n/a” until I feel like I’ve developed more of a palate for it.