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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Beijing Restaurant

Sorry dear readers....I'm quite upset that I cannot blog on my phone and have to use a laptop. I really dislike this inconvenience of having to use a laptop and transfer the pictures from my phone. I'm in between deciding what to purchase next... an ipad, a new smart phone, a laptop or a puppy. I'll eventually get them all but just figuring out the timing.

Anyways, you're here to read about yummy food. During the long weekend, I went to Beijing Restaurant with my family for Alaskan King Crab. It is starting to be the season so it's a good chance to eat this type of crab. To fish this, it's actually very hard and potentially dangerous for the fisherman. "Alaskan crab fishing is very dangerous, and the fatality rate among the fishermen is about 80 times the fatality rate of the average worker. It is suggested that, on average, one crab fisherman dies weekly during the seasons," as mentioned in Wikipedia. Click here if you want more info

If you have not had Alaskan King crab, read this article from the Globe and Mail. It talks more in detail about this: Alaskan King Crab is all it's cracked up to be.

So here is a picture of our 13lb King Crab that my family ate. In Chinese restaurants, they like to show you the fresh seafood so that you know what you are getting. Truth is, I only believe this at reputable restaurants. With other places, I always worry that they will show the seafood to you then in then kitchen, change to something that is less fresh. I don't think that this place would do such a thing. 

The first dish we had was Steam King Crab Legs in Garlic. The meat was nice and firm and definitely fresh. The flavour was a little bland and could use a little more garlic and salt. Nevertheless, the crab meat was succulent!

The second dish was Smoked Sea Bass. Wow! This was amazing! The sea bass meat was buttery in texture and just melted in your mouth. The smokiness complemented very nicely with the fish meat texture. I really enjoyed this very much. It was beyond perfect! They served this with mayonnaise but very unnecessary as it killed the taste and texture of the fish. The fish alone was more than sufficient!

Our vegetable dish was snow pea shoots cooked in superior soup with garlic. What is this you ask? Have you eaten snow peas? Well they are these: 

The leaves are collected as vegetables and cooked in Chinese cuisine by stir-frying or simply boiling them. The pea shoots can be found at a Chinese grocery story. 

Getting back to our meal, the pea shoot was cook in superior soup. I'm not 100% sure how to make that soup but I know that it's using Jiahua ham and chicken. Chinese soups are used for flavouring foods and I have been told by a client who works as a Chinese chef that really good Chinese restaurants do not use MSG but use this soup to flavour their food. 

What happened to the crab? Well, here is the second dish. It is deep fried crab joints in salty peppery seasoning. That is the literal translation of the name and also how it tastes like. I guess if you've had Chinese styled dry ribs in a bar, you'll have a general sense of how this taste, expect less salty and less oily. I think it's because of the batter that is used to deep fry that crab was less oily or at least felt like it. Again, I would have like the flavour a little stronger and more chili peppers and garlic on top.

We also ordered fresh scallops. I was disappointed with this because I didn't think it was good quality was fresh but didn't have that seafood taste. Sorry readers, when this dish arrived, I was so excited that I ate it before I took a picture. What you see is an empty shell. :)

This next dish was using the crab's shell and stuff it with rice. It was Portuguese styled rice, which is a creamy mild curry like sauce. At least that's what it seems like for me. This was nice.

With the steam crab legs in garlic, there was some clear sauce which mainly consisted of water and the "juice" of the crab while it steamed. We added this Chinese noodle called E-mein. It was really good. You have to be someone who enjoys subtle flavours to enjoy this, as the flavours are not strong so may not suit everyone's palate. You can taste the crab, the garlic and some onions. I have to say, this was another of my favourite dish that night.

Lastly we had Crispy Chicken. This is a very common chicken dish at a Cantonese styled Chinese restaurant.

The meal was very good and we enjoyed it very much. The meal cost $600 for 6 people. It's expensive because the crab was large plus generally quit expensive; however it was not the most expensive Alaskan King Crab meal that my parents had. They have one meal that cost them $500 for 4 people. Of course my parents don't always eat like this but when it is the Alaskan Crab Season, they do sometimes like to splurge a little. 

Final Thoughts:

The meal was very nice because it's always nice to enjoy meals with my family. I think family always make the meals more enjoyable. The food that night was good but I wouldn't say spectacular as it was just missing a little something. I don't know what this something was, but maybe it was a dash of salt or a dash of spice. It wasn't terrible though so I have to say that I did enjoy my meal. 

I LOVED the smoked fish. It was so good. Like I said, the texture was buttery and smooth. It was definitely the winner of the night. The second was the E-Mein noodle. 

Hopefully I'll figure out a way to blog so that I can keep my readers interested in my food adventures, whether it's my own baking/cooking or trying out restaurants!

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