We met for our weekend family dinner at a new restaurant in Marpole called Tai Tung. Well, it’s new in the sense that they just opened the doors for business a few days earlier. This place still had the reefs and bouquets of flowers outside the doors, indicating that they are newly opened. This is actually the newly opened sister restaurant to Dai Tung on Kingsway in Vancouver.
We’d patronized the Kingsway location many times in the past and enjoyed the experience, so when this location opened, it was automatic that we had to try it, especially since this location was closer to home.
We arrived fairly early, and had reservations (although it probably wasn’t really necessary, we were one of only three parties in the establishment at the time).
We ordered a set menu. The first dish to arrive was braised crispy squab.
This was pretty good. The squabs where hot, the meat was moist and the skin crispy. But I’d hard for me to get excited about squab. I won’t turn it down when it’s offered to me, but it’s not something I would order for myself.
The second course was the daily soup. This was served to us individually, so I didn’t get the opportunity to photograph the entire serving container. It’s a nice broth, full of the flavor of the stock ingredients (pictured at the top). Unfortunately, it’s hard to make a simple clear soup look special in photos.
The third dish was stir fried crab in supreme soy sauce.
Well that’s what the menu said. What ever they chose to name it, this dish is a home run. It’s a fresh Dungeness crab, butchered, and quickly stir fried with onions, ginger, scallions and soy. The aroma from the ginger and scallions was amazing, the crab is tender, moist and slightly sweet. The onions are caramelized until sweet, and the soy adds the right amount of saltiness. The shell of this crab was surprisingly delicate, and easy to crack and peel apart.
I love Dungeness crab, and this is my favorite preparation of it. I could eat this all the time (if it didn’t cost so much).
The fourth course was sautéed seafood and greens.
This was a combination of scallops, prawns, white fish (not sure of the species, I think it was tilapia) with snap peas, celery, carrots and leeks. This is a nice dish of delicate flavors, and crisp greens. As an aside, this was the only greens in the meal, so I was thankful for that. Set menus in chinese restaurants tend to be light on vegetables because it’s hard to justify charging patrons a lot of money for plate full of veggies, and the chinese patrons are likely to walk away unimpressed if it happened.
Our fifth course was fried rice with seafood and fish roe.
This is a very good fried rice. It’s properly seasoned and aromatic, studded with egg, small morsels of squid, crab, prawns, gai lan, and garnished with fish roe. This would be considered a “new style” fried rice, but I still prefer yeung chow fried rice. I know its old school and considered cliché, but that’s how I like it.
The final course was our dessert, red bean soup.
This was okay. The red beans are slightly sweet, and (thank goodness) there was a very mild dried orange peel flavor (I’m not a fan of dried orange peel, and some places, the flavor is quite pronounced). This was served a little on the luke-warm side, as opposed to hot, and it tasted just okay. I lacked some depth of flavour. I think the fact that it was served warm instead of hot might have contributed to this.
The cuisine served here is largely comparable to that served at the Kingsway location, and given the restaurant’s proximity to home, I suspect that we’ll be dining here again in the future.