Restaurant: Dynasty Seafood Restaurant (皇朝海鮮酒家)
Cuisine: Chinese/Seafood/Dim Sum
Last visited: March 21, 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC (Fairview)
Address: 108-777 West Broadway
Phone: (604) 876-8388
Price Range: $30-50+ (About $18-25 dim sum/person, $30-50+ dinner/person)
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Since 2009
- Executive Chef Sam Leung
- Dim Sum Chef Garley Leung
- Fine dining Chinese
- Award winning
- Local Chinese favourite
- Chinese/English menus
- Mon-Sun Dim Sum 10:00am – 3:00pm
- Mon-Sun Dinner 5:00pm – 10:30pm
- Free underground parking
- Reservations recommended
**Recommendations: Braised Duck with Mixed Mushrooms 沈魚落雁 (must order 1 day in advance), Deep Fried Bean Curd Stuffed with Vegetable, Jumbo Prawn in Spicy Sauce, Sauteed Crab Meat with Egg White, Candied Taro in Chiu Chow Style, Duck in Special Sauce, Dimpling with Truffle For Dim Sum: Pan Fried Milk Custard, Peanut Pastries, Assorted Pastries, Deep Fried Taro Dumpling and Deep Fried Shrimp Dumpling, Turnip Pie, Crispy Seafood Roll, Pan Fried Pork Bun, Steamed Black Truffle Dumpling, Baked BBQ Pork Bun
Wow. What an experience! I’m grateful to have been going for Alaskan King Crab dinners for years now, but I haven’t had one like this ever. I’m still gushing about it and it’s been weeks since this epic dinner.
I tend to gravitate towards Chinese restaurants in Richmond, but that doesn’t mean Vancouver or other parts of Metro Vancouver don’t offer excellent Chinese food. When it comes to Chinese fine dining in Vancouver I recommend this place.
I am a bit biased because I know Executive Chef Sam Leung, who is a member of the BC Chefs’ Association (board I sit on) and I have judged him in the BC Chefs’ Association’s Chinese Chef of the Year competition. Regardless, he is considered one of the top Chinese chefs in Vancouver and has won international culinary competitions cooking Cantonese cuisine. Although he is trained in traditional Cantonese and Chinese styles of cooking, his signature dishes may have West Coast inspiration and modern plating. Chinese food is often served in family style portions on large platters, but Chef Leung is capable of both, which is a requirement in the competitions he enters.
The restaurant is a popular local favourite amongst the Chinese community so reservations are strongly recommended. The ambiance is much like many of the other upscale Chinese restaurants in Metro Vancouver, but you get a peek of the mountains, so a window table is nice.
I came here specifically for the Alaskan King Crab dinner, which I haven’t experienced at Dynasty before. It’s one of my favourite times of the year and it competes with my excitement for BC Spot Prawn season. Actually, Alaskan King Crab season is the equivalent to BC Spot Prawn season for many Chinese. If I had to pick one, I’d pick the king crab though.
Alaskan King Crab is available year round, but this is when it is in season. The season typically starts sometime around late February or early March and goes until April (it varies every year). This is when the meat is best, the crabs are healthy and big, and the prices are cheaper. By cheaper I mean $28-35/lb compared to $50+/lb when it’s out of season, but still available. It is a luxury ingredient and this is a special occasion meal, but nowadays no one needs a special occasion, they just need a group of 6 or more… and a credit card.
Many fine dining Chinese restaurants offer this special Alaskan King Crab dinner, but not all menus are created equally. Affordable Chinese restaurants sometimes offer it too, but the execution may not be as refined and some of them are shady. For example, they might cheat the weight of the crab or charge you for a bigger crab than the one served. Some nice Chinese restaurants are guilty of this classic bait and switch tactic, but you can feel confident coming here regardless of who you are. Established places with solid reputations tend to be a safe bet.
The standard set menu for an Alaskan King Crab dinner will have the steamed garlic crab legs, deep fried crab knuckles and baked Alaskan King Crab fried rice, but for additional costs diners can add more Alaskan King Crab dishes. Alaskan King Crab 3 ways is the minimum, but some restaurants offer 4+ ways which may include a crab soup or noodle.
The Alaskan King Crab can be 7-13 lbs or more (typically 10 lbs for a big one), and the rule of thumb is “the bigger the better” (that’s what she said). My rule of thumb is “bigger crab, and invite less people”. Usually, restaurants portion about a pound of crab per person, but “go big, or go home” is my mentality, but do as you please.
I made previous arrangements with the restaurant and custom ordered a menu instead of ordering from their Alaskan King Crab set menus. They offer a good selection of Alaskan King Crab set menus for different party sizes (for groups of 8-12, but you can go with 6). There were certain signature dishes I had to add on top of my set menu. Therefore the following meal is not representable of a standard Alaskan King Crab set menu, however arrangements to have something similar could be arranged.
Again, this has been my favourite Alaskan King Crab dinner to date in Vancouver, which is internationally recognized for their Alaskan King Crab dinners. Executive Chef Sam Leung killed it… and even plated it beautifully.
On the table:
Robert Mondavi Chardonnay 2010, Napa Valley
Alaskan King Crab Salad with Avocado & Caviar – 4/6 (Very good)
- Served with brown rice pilaf and natto
- I’ve never had anything like this served at a Chinese restaurant, but again I ordered a custom menu so there were a few surprises.
- Chef Leung has incredible platter presentations, but individual plating is something he’s been working on over the last few years.
- In a Western context this plating might look “hotel” or old-fashioned, but in a Chinese context it’s unusual and modern, since its uncommon.
- This dish is not traditional, but his own take on an Alaskan King Crab salad.
- It was a bit West Coast, Japanese, Californian and then Chinese in the way it came together.
- I didn’t find the brown rice pilaf necessary and the Japanese natto beans were a bit random with everything else, but it didn’t taste bad.
- Natto is acquired though and the texture is very slimy and often compared to snot in texture… it just takes getting used to and I like it now. The flavour is a bit smoky.
**Alaskan King Crab Claw in Supreme Stock – 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)
- You know you have an incredible soup when it’s better than the fantastic Alaskan King Crab claw in it.
- If you order Alaskan King Crab 5 ways, usually there will be an Alaskan King Crab soup.
- However few offer the soup and even if they did, it would not look like this. This was original.
- I’ve never had this soup before and very few, if any, Chinese restaurants serve this as a course.
- When I see the crab claws like this, I think of the deep fried crab claw stuffed with shrimp paste, but this was pre-breading.
- The soup was rich, but not greasy or oily.
- It was rich with flavour and I could taste the intense cured ham and chicken stock used to make it.
- On top of the claw is shredded Chinese cured ham which is comparable to the highly prized Iberico ham in Spain.
- The soup had umami and it was made with patience, care, and high quality ingredients.
- There was a subtle ginger and onion aroma in the soup too.
- The crab claw had a nice crunchy shrimp meatball around it and it was cooked well, but the soup knocked it out of the ball park.
Fried Pork Chop – There was one person at the table who couldn’t eat shellfish (torture), so this was his fried pork chop which was actually very good.
Steamed Garlic Alaskan King Crab Legs – 5/6 (Excellent)
- If you’re a purist, you’ll enjoy Alaskan King Crab this way the most. This is all about the crab.
- The Alaskan King Crab legs are always served steamed with lots of minced garlic. The more garlic the better.
- They did an excellent job here, but I liked the flavour better at Jade Seafood in Richmond.
- It almost looks the same, but that one I think had more garlic.
- The garlic is steamed so it’s sweet and compliments the crab well.
- You can pay extra and add a tossed noodle in garlic King Crab drippings course.
- This is when they take the remaining juices on this Steamed Garlic Alaskan King Crab Leg course and toss it with your choice of noodle (thin wonton wheat noodles, or thick e-fu wheat noodles.) I almost always add it – see here.
- The juices or sauce on the plate are just the natural juices for the crab legs infused with the sweetness of garlic and some salt.
- There might be some Chinese cooking wine (cooked out) and a bit of sesame oil as well, but it depends on the chef/restaurant.
The 3rd and 4th-ish course (which is usually 2nd with an Alaskan King Crab prepared 3 ways dinner) was the deep fried Alaskan King Crab knuckles. The knuckles are always deep fried. Usually you can pick the sauce or seasoning for it, and the most popular choice is spicy chili salt at any Chinese restaurant serving this. I love that one, but I also love these two versions chef chose.
Typically you can only select one sauce/seasoning for the crab knuckles, but again, I ordered a custom menu so this is not normally a feature here. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it will most likely be a bit extra to get two different seasonings unless you buy two crabs.
The snake shaped sliced cucumber garnish divider was a sign of the chef’s excellent knife skills.
Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles with Soy Sauce, Ginger & Onion – 5/6 (Excellent)
- Served with pan fried soy sauce chow mein
- I don’t know any Chinese restaurant serving a side/carb with the crab knuckles, but they did it here.
- Underneath the crab knuckles was pan fried soy sauce noodles (mein).
- The knuckles were deep fried and then wok-tossed in a soy based sauce with green onions, ginger, and bean spouts.
- They knuckles weren’t saucy, but still a bit wet so they weren’t as crispy as I like. The meat was moist though and they were cooked well.
- The deep fried crab knuckles is usually my favourite Alaskan King Crab course.
**Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles with Salted Duck Egg Yolk – 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)
- Served with rice rolls
- This was my favourite. I love salted duck egg yolk as a seasoning on deep fried seafood (be shrimp or crab) and I loved this!
- The deep fried crab knuckles were extra crispy with the salted duck egg yolk seasoning which has natural umami.
- It has a sandy or grainy texture since it is cured egg yolk, but I love it.
- It was well seasoned and cooked with great aromatics.
- Long’s Noodle House serves a signature Crispy Rice with Salted Egg Yolk and this is the same seasoning. Love this dish.
- See Delicious Cuisine’s Deep Fried Shrimp with Salted Egg Yolk (worth the drive).
- See Jade Restaurant’s Sauteed Pumpkin & Prawn with Salted Egg (also worth the drive).
- It came with an unexpected side of pan-fried rice rolls (think Chinese-style gnocchi) which again I’ve never seen served with crab knuckles. This was a bonus.
- It was sautéed with a bit of Chinese celery, Chinese cured ham, scrambled egg and fried garlic and/or crispy shallots (?).
- I love these rice rolls which is Chinese comfort food and often seen at dim sum either steamed or pan-fried.
Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011
**Braised Duck with Mixed Mushrooms 沈魚落雁 – 6/6 (FMF Must Try!)
- $56-58 (Must order 1 day in advance)
- This is Chef Leung’s signature duck course. I would confidently call it one of my top 5 duck dishes in Vancouver.
- What a beauty. Incredible value and an incredible dish. I want everyone to try this even if you dislike duck… but how could you?!
- I couldn’t believe this was only one duck. It was a monster duck.
- It came with a savoury and sweet soy sauce sauce made with maybe oyster sauce and/or the braising liquids from the duck (?).
- The sauce wasn’t too oily or rich though and it was not reduced or thick like a Western sauce, but not watered down in flavour either.
- It was quite sweet and obviously sweetened with sugar which is typical and maybe star anise.
- I think I could taste a bit of cloves or warm spices infused in the sauce.
- The bottom was a criss-cross of soft green onions.
- The duck was insanely good. It was braised so it wasn’t too fatty and a lot of fat had rendered out.
- It would be amazing if the duck skin was crispy, but it was braised and not intended to be crispy.
- The fat was tender and not too thick, for duck at least.
- Both the breast meat and the dark meat were tender, well flavoured, and moist.
Underneath the top layer of sliced duck was a mound of wild mushrooms including enoki mushrooms, brown mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, fresh shiitakes mushrooms, and chanterelles. Mushrooms are symbolic for prosperity and health in Chinese culture, so they love using mushrooms in dishes. I love mushrooms and duck, so I loved this.
It was served with chef’s house made honey mustard. It tasted like Chinese hot mustard with Western honey mustard and mustard seeds. It was sweet, savoury and a bit spicy with a dijon-like kick. It was a great sauce, but I didn’t think it was necessary and it didn’t really suit the duck which was already served with a delicious sweet soy-sauce. Good enough sauce to order a bowl of rice to soak it all up with.
**Baked Alaskan King Crab Egg Custard with Tobiko and Vermicelli – 5.5/6 (Excellent!)
- The final Alaskan King Crab course (6th one) was this.
- I’ve never seen it served at any Chinese restaurant and I think it was chef’s own creation.
- I was expecting the standard Baked Alaskan King Crab Fried Rice with Portuguese Curry Sauce, but this was an unexpected switch up.
- The egg custard was the Chinese steamed egg custard (traditional comfort food), or for a Japanese reference it was like chawanmushi (Japanese savoury egg custard).
- For an Italian reference it was like panna cotta, and it was steamed with dried scallops (Chinese delicacy), crab, tobiko and green onions.
- The custard was smooth, but a bit stiffer than a chawanmushi or a classic Chinese steamed egg dish.
- It was not gushing seafood or chicken soup when I broke into the custard. I love that part too.
- I think the custard was also made with the crab tomalley, just like how the Portuguese curry sauce served with the fried rice normally is, but I’m not sure.
- The vermicelli noodles were tossed with a bit of tobiko too which I wish they had give more of.
- Since the egg is not runny like a sauce, it was a bit unusual to eat the noodles with it.
- I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to mix the two or eat them separate. Either way they were both great.
- It is rice and noodles to compare, but I did miss the Baked Alaskan King Crab Fried Rice course despite this noodle course being delicious!
Chestnut Pastry and Sesame Yam Ball with Salted Duck Egg Yolk Custard – 3/6 (Good)
- Let’s be honest, if you grew up with a North American palate, or palate outside of Asian, it is most likely you find Chinese desserts suck.
- I grew up with a Canadian-Asian palate and I’m still not keen on them. I’ll eat them all, but genuinely enjoy maybe a handful. I’m working on it.
- The chestnut pastry is the one with the flour on top. The chestnut filling was quite dry and crumbly.
- The Sesame Yam Ball with Salted Duck Egg Yolk Custard I really liked, but it’s acquired.
- The yam skin is chewy and a bit like a mochi meets a doughnut. It’s served warm.
- The inside is a savoury-sweet and gritty-textured custard from the salted duck egg yolk.
- Liu Sa Bao or Lai Wong Bao (Chinese Salted Egg Custard Steamed Buns) is the most typical and classic Chinese dessert to use salted egg.
- The strawberry or raspberry and mango coulis didn’t serve a purpose though and it clashed with the traditional Chinese desserts.
- It was used for colour and presentation, but it didn’t go with the dessert.
Giovane Cafe’s Sugar Bun – 5.5/6 (Excellent!)
- About $4
- I feel like they changed this. It’s still good, but not the same. See before here.
- It used to be filled with vanilla pastry cream and now it tastes like whipped cream, but very good quality fresh whipped cream.
- So I “broke the rules” (actually Chinese restaurants are very open to you bringing your own dessert, just like they are with wine) and I brought my own dessert.
- If you’ve never had a Sugar Bun, you better go change that.
- It looks really sweet and rich, but it isn’t.
- It’s indulgent to finish a whole one yourself, but it’s not heavy.
- The cream is fresh, light and not that sweet at all and it doesn’t leave a greasy mouthfeel.
- The doughnut is lightly dusted with sugar and this is the sweetest part and it’s not even much sugar coating.
- It’s very thin, light, pillowy, airy and tender doughnut dough.
- Think cream puff meets a cream filled doughnut… but 2.0 version.
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Wow, the king crab dishes looked amazing! I remember having a crab dinner there a couple of years ago and it was amazing then too. Glad to see they’ve kept their standards up. Maybe it’s time to pay a revisit 🙂 I definitely want to try that duck as well.
I never knew that they (or any traditional Chinese restaurant I’ve been to, for that matter) were doing individual plating though. It’s not something I would’ve thought those kinds of restaurants would try, since their traditional clientele don’t really look for/expect it.
@Harry – yes! But remember to read my intro paragraphs! I explain the whole individual plating thing. This was a customized menu that was ordered in advance 🙂 Thank you for the comment and happy you’re inspired to try it out!
Hi Mijune, just had a king crab menu at sun sui way cambie a couple weeks ago. Was wondering how you felt about their offering. It seemed ok to me but your pictures looked way amazing better. Must try dynasty next time.
@Richard Lewis – Sun Sui Wah is the most popular in Vancouver… but not necessarily “the best”. I mean it’s a classic and solid spot, but there are places doing equally as good if not better. Dynasty I would say is more upscale and so are the prices. SSW is a good start, but I recommend trying other places so you have something to compare 🙂
@Richard Lewis – Keep in mind I ordered a custom menu here… so if you want something similar, show the restaurant these photos and have it prearranged if you want EXACTLY what I had.. otherwise they have other standard Alaskan King Crab set menus that are perfectly fine to order from.
We were a blue water last week, hoping to eat crab (father traveling from France and always eats crab at Blue Water). They had none! Not a crab available!
They spoke about poor quality, lack of availability and not being sustainable.
I’m wondering about the total bill for a dinner like this one?
Thanks for the review! Looks like an amazing dinner. What was the cost/lb for the king crab?
@Ruby – Hi!! I wrote it in the post, but it depends because it’s “market price”. It changes every week and the longer you wait the more pricey… out of season is really expensive, but I wrote pricing details in the post.