Cantonese pub

Review: Emerging from the pandemic and in the spotlight comes chef’s choice Chinese cuisine in Vancouver

Chef’s Choice Chinese Cuisine is a Cantonese restaurant that opened in Vancouver during the pandemic. It specializes in old-fashioned dishes from Hong Kong and Guangdong.Jackie Dives / The Globe and Mail

Last name: Chinese cuisine at chef’s choice

Site: 955 West Broadway, Vancouver

Call: 604-558-1198


Food: Cantonese

Prices: Dim sum, $ 8.38 to $ 29.88; weekday breakfast sets for two starting at $ 48.80; banquet dinner for 10 from $ 598

Additional information: Open every day from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. reservations recommended; take out (UberEats and DoorDash); No terrace.

For lovers of Cantonese cuisine, the characteristics of excellent cuisine are fairly easy to recognize.

Traditional shrimp balls should be wrapped in thin, fluffy, slightly transparent skins that stretch well without tearing. A good filling will contain whole or hand chopped shrimp that are plump and juicy with a bouncy crunch (not chopped or mushy).

Chef’s Choice Chinese Cuisine, a terrific new Vancouver restaurant that emerged from the pandemic to win three awards at last week’s Chinese Restaurant Awards, makes exemplary har gow (listed on the menu as Chef’s Choice’s signature shrimp dumplings. ). And I really recommend you order this dish if you go for dim sum during the day.

But what about the gold coin chicken, steamed Cantonese soup dumplings, thousand-story cake and all the other old-school classics you can’t find in any other restaurant in the greater Vancouver area?

It was the dishes (many of them rare these days, even in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province) that helped make Chef’s Choice a “game changer” – a special honor bestowed upon him by CRA Chief Justice Lee Man.

They’ve also generated a lot of fun and friendly conversations among customers who haven’t tasted them in decades, which makes them a little less easy to judge.

Co-owner Louie Lee, speaking through a translator at a dim sum service earlier this month, scoffed at all the chatter: “People come in and say ‘Oh, you guys. should try to do it that way. This is how I remember it. Or “Why don’t you make this dish?” I haven’t had this for so long.

Since it opened last January, the restaurant has regularly changed its menu and added new revisited classics (mainly dim sum). If you go, focus on the old-fashioned series section of the menu and start ordering there.

But there are a few special elements that have stayed consistent and shouldn’t be missed.

Barbecue pork cheek and chicken liver.Jackie Dives / The Globe and Mail

The Gold Coin Chicken (also known and listed here as Barbecue Pork Cheek and Chicken Liver) was one of the winners of the CRA Critics’ Choice Signature Dish awards – for which, disclosure complete, I am a judge.

Rich, sweet, chewy, and slightly metallic, these artery-clogging chicken liver sandwiches nestled between sticky layers of barbecue pork are an old farmhouse dish that was originally a way for roast meat stall vendors to sell. the less desirable toppings. Here, it’s raised to haute cuisine standards with premium pieces of lean pork, homemade chashu sauce, and a slow-cooking roasting technique that crisps the outer layers of juicy pork. (This dish is available for lunch and dinner.)

Steamed pork and seafood soup balls.Jackie Dives / The Globe and Mail

The Steamed Minced Pork and Seafood Soup Dumpling was another winner of the CRA Critics’ Choice. While similar to Shanghai xiao long bao, these dumplings are much larger (served one piece per order) and even harder to make.

Delicate skin leaks easily and doesn’t always work. The yellow wrapper should be swollen with pork, shrimp and hot broth. If the dumpling is dry and shriveled, don’t feel bad to send it back (it happened to me once). But when they work out, you just prick that skin with your chopsticks, let the voluptuous broth spill over into your bowl, and inhale.

Portuguese chicken pie.

Layered sweet and savory steamed egg cake.Jackie Dives / The Globe and Mail

On my last visit to dim sum, I also enjoyed some Portuguese baked pies made from spicy pork warmly coated in a buttery yellow filo pastry; incredibly crispy spring rolls filled with shrimp, cheese and nori; and a sweet and savory layered cake made with heavy custard, salted duck yolk and candied winter melon.

Although I didn’t fully explore the dinner menu, I was very impressed when I went there last winter and had simply steamed Alaskan King Crab served. Don’t get me wrong, I love traditional Cantonese preparations served with large tubes of split thighs topped with garlic butter, egg whites, or ginger-soy sauce. And Chef’s Choice will serve it that way on request.

But it takes extreme confidence in Cantonese cuisine to say that this is an exceptional product and that we will serve it in its purest form.

This kitchen should be trusted. It’s run by Tommy Pang, the chef who opened celebrity chef Tony Seafood Restaurant in Richmond. Backed by a private investor, he and the owners (who are all from Chef Tony) recruited from a rich pool of senior Hong Kong-trained chefs.

Their wok frying skills – another hallmark of Cantonese cuisine – are impeccable.

And whether you’re going for lunch or dinner, call ahead and pre-order the Roast Chicken with Sticky Rice. The whole chicken is boneless, fried and stretched over a sticky rice cake sprinkled with sweet lap cheong sausage. I have eaten this dish before, but never so golden, chewy and perfectly ripened.

“Food is a source of comfort… and it’s flavors that take diners back to the simpler, happier times of their childhood,” Mr. Man wrote of the Chef’s Choice for the Game Changer Award.

But you don’t necessarily need those taste memories to recognize the craftsmanship and love infused into every bite. Chef’s Choice is quite simply one of the best Cantonese restaurants in Vancouver.

13th Annual Chinese Restaurant Awards

2021 Signature dishes chosen by the critics

For a full description of each winning dish and the other winners:

Gold Coin Chicken

Chinese cuisine at chef’s choice

Steamed soup dumpling

Chinese cuisine at chef’s choice

Ginger and green onion abalone stew

Bamboo Grove Restaurant

6920 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-278-9585 (no website)

BC Geoduck with scrambled eggs

Bamboo Grove Restaurant

6920 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, 604-278-9585 (no website)

Dry Aged Chinese BBQ Quail

Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar


Beef feather tripe with Szechuan pepper

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant

Black sesame balls

Asian heritage restaurant

The white rabbit

Kouign Cafe

Mixed fried appetizers

Memory corner


Signature Peking Duck

iDen & Quan Ju De


Yunnan Ghost Chicken Salad

Street aunt aperitif house


Dong bo pork

Suhang Restaurant

Pot of fish with sour cabbage

The fish man

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