Friday, May 7, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I'm back in my hometown of Vancouver for a couple days before embarking on a cruise to Alaska with my family. Feeling slightly jet-lagged but that hasn't stopped me from enjoying some Chinese 'comfort food' with my parents.

Nancy Wonton House

Yesterday I tried 'shui kau' dumplings for the first time at Nancy Wonton House. Shui Kau (or sui kau) are like 'wonton on steroids', stuffed with shrimp, pork, mushrooms, water chestnuts in a golden-hued wrapper:

We also ordered some chow mein (fried egg noodles) with beef & broccoli. I always try to eat chow mein (thin Cantonese egg noodles, not the 'East meets West' rice dish that masquerades as chicken chow mein
in certain areas of the US) whenever I'm in Vancouver because it's impossible to find in New Jersey where 'lo mein' dominates Chinese-American take-out menus. There was an slight upcharge for substituting broccoli for the generic vegetable (ie. bok choy) that normally comes with it, but my dad likes to know exactly what vegetable he's getting:

Lean pork with century egg congee (Kris' favorite):

The congee was accompanied by Chinese donuts - warm, slightly crispy, but tender inside:

Finally, braised bean curd on rice (a bargain at $5.95):

Well, I know I'm back in Vancouver when 'assorted beef guts' is a regular menu item:

And I totally know I'm back in Canada when I hear
Gowan playing on the radio (those darn Canadian content rules) but I digress... my mom enjoyed the food so much she said she wanted to go back for Mother's Day.

Western Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant

This morning, we made an effort to arrive bright and early at Western Lake for dim sum and still found it mobbed at 10 am. We tried going there yesterday around noon but left after waiting for almost half an hour. Normally, you'll find my parents at Golden Harvest for dim sum, but we were determined to find out whether Western Lake was worth all the hype. My mom says you have to be aggressive when trying to get a table, otherwise you'll just be ignored and other guests who arrive after you will be seated before you. If you happen to have a Cantonese-speaking person in your party, have them get the number from the hostess, otherwise they might give you an imaginary number that never gets called (like the number they gave my non-Asian husband yesterday). Today, I had my tough-as-nails Chinese mother harass the hostess every few minutes and she managed to get us seated after only 10 minutes.

At Western Lake, you mark what items you want on a checklist (rather than waiting for old-school steam carts to come around). All dim sum dishes ranged from $2.75 - $4.95.

#2 Steamed Prawn Dumplings (har gow):

#3 Steamed Shui Mai Dumplings:

#11 Steamed Beef Tripe & Beef Tendons:

#18 Steamed Mini Sticky Rice Wraps with Dried Scallops:

#31 Pan Fried Chive Dumplings:

#32 Deep Fried Prawn Spring Rolls:

#34 Pan Fried Eggplant with Shrimp Paste:

#39 Baked B.B.Q. Pork Pastries

We found all the dim sum at Western Lake to be of high quality and everything was served piping hot. The shui mai were some of the biggest and juiciest I've had. Kris was mighty impressed with the size of the stuffed eggplant but a little disappointed that they didn't have
wu gok (deep fried taro turnovers). Despite a good experience overall, I highly doubt Western Lake will replace Golden Harvest as my parent's standard dim sum restaurant. My mom said that she doesn't feel like fighting with crowds whenever she wants to have dim sum, plus my dad enjoys the preferential treatment and the quieter environment of Golden Harvest. But it's always fun to change things up once in a while.

Nancy Wonton House
5257 Victoria Dr
Vancouver, BC V5P 3V4
Tel: (604) 327-1862

Western Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant
4989 Victoria Dr
Vancouver, BC V5P 3T7
Tel: (604) 321-6862

Golden Harvest
4818 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5V 3R8
Tel: (604) 321-4448

Tomorrow, we're headed to the 4th Annual Spot Prawn Festival kickoff, from 12 - 3pm at False Creek Fisherman's Wharf. See you there!



doggybloggy said...

assorted beef guts is only more funny when they say 'served your way' ...we did an Alaska cruise last summer for my parents anniversary, we had beautiful weather - have fun.

Sue said...

Wow, what a food feast! And I'd like to take your mother with me to board a rush hour train in Penn Station. No problem getting seats then!

Have a fantastic trip. And enjoy being home.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow, what a great assortment of food and wonderful ideas for my trip later this summer. You can keep the beef guts though. Hope you don't get seasick - I'm looking forward to all the details.

Jenn said...

It's been a while since I've had myself some really good Chinese food. Yum!!!

Have a great time on your cruise. I can't wait to read all about it. :)

info said...

So glad you made it to Vancouver safely. I hope you have a wonderful time and enjoy your cruise. Hope you get to eat all the foods you remember.
*kisses* HH

foodhoe said...

everything looks wonderful, but this is the first time I have ever seen tripe and thought it looked tasty... like succulent golden honeycomb! I went on a cruise last year to Alaska with my family, it was so lovely and the scenery was amazing. Have a great trip!

Anonymous said...

Lots of great eats there, quite a feast! Enjoy your visit!

Carolyn Jung said...

Assorted beef guts?!? So this is a menu staple in Vancouver? Too funny! After all, one can't have just one kind of beef gut. To really have the experience, you must have an ASSORTMENT. Hah.