Restaurant review: Fortune House Seafood Restaurant

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I attended a banquet at the Fortune House Seafood Restaurant in Metrotown Shopping Center. It’s located on the second floor, on the south side of the mall, close to the bus terminal.

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The opening dish was a cold assorted meat platter

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This is a cold platter of assorted meats, this time consisting of barbequed pork, pork hock, roasted pork belly, barbeque duck, and sliced marinated jellyfish. Roast pork was fairly lean, the cracklins had some decent crunch.  barbecued pork was pretty good.  The jelly fish was underseasoned (it doesn’t have any flavor if its own, the flavor comes from a marinade made from sesame oil).

This was followed by deep-fried prawn ball with almond coating
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Pretty much as named, this is a ball of minced prawn meat, formed into a ball, rolled in duck yolk, then rolled in toasted almond flakes, and deep-fried.  It had a nice crunch on the toasted almonds.  The prawn inside tasted okay but was very firm.  The seasoning was good.

Next came cuttlefish and chicken with snow peas and celery
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This is a stir fried platter of sliced cuttle fish, sliced chicken breast, with snow peas, celery, carrots, scallions and ginger.  The snow peas and celery were crisp and al dente.  The cuttlefish properly cooked, tender with just a little bite.

The next dish was fish maw soup with seafood and dried scallop
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This is a seafood soup made with fish maw (bladder), shreds of dried scallop, and prawns in a fish broth.

Soup flavor was just okay.  The dried scallop and prawns were barely noticeable.  Needed some tangyness from acid, fortunately rice wine vinegar was available as a standard condiment.

Next dish was stir fried lobster with ginger, onions and scallions
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This is two lobsters, segmented, dredged in seasoned starch, and stir fried with ginger, onions, scallions.  Unfortunately, this was slightly overcooked; the lobster meat was a little tough.  It’s a shame since this should be one of the highlight dishes in the menu, and is probably one of the priciest.

No to be outdone (price-wise) the next dish was braised abalone and peashoots
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This is whole braised abalone foot, served over blanched peashoots with a savory brown sauce.

I actually like abalone, but not in this format.  I prefer it sliced thin.  Whole abalone has a rather chewy texture.  But the flavor is excellent, and the seasoning was good.  The peashoots were a tender al-dente (if the word is appropriate for vegetables).

The following dish was steamed whole rock cod
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This is a whole (gutted) rock cod that’s steamed until cooked through, and dressed with soy, sesame oil and fresh scallions.  The server partially fillets the rock cod upon serving. Rock cod is a firm white fish with a mild flavor.  Much of the flavor in this dish comes from the soy, oil and scallion dressing.  This was pretty good.  The fish was the correct doneness, and flavors were on the mark.

This next dish (according to the menu) was supposed to be soy sauce braised whole chicken.  But instead, it was crispy skin chicken with prawn chips
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Not sure if we were presented with the wrong menu, or there was a last-minute substitution, but regardless, this is a whole chicken, air-dried, seasoned then blanched with searing hot oil until cooked.  It’s butchered into bite sized pieces and served with crunch prawn chips. This was well executed.  The meat was cooked to the right doneness and was still moist, with the skin crispy.  The seasoning was spot on.

The next dish was seafood fried rice with abalone sauce
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This is finely diced chicken and scallops, stir fried with carrots, dried shiitake mushrooms, and shredded dried scallops, then served over white rice with a savory sauce. This was a little disappointing because it was under seasoned, needed salt.

The companion dish to the rice, was braised e-fu noodles with enoki mushrooms and shrimp
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This is e-fu noodles, blanched in hot water, and drained, then stir fried quickly with small shrimp, enoki mushrooms, sesame oil and oyster sauce.  This was noodle dish was just okay.  The noodles were a little over done, and were a bit mushy.  And the season was off, it probably needed more oyster sauce.

The meal was followed up by two dessert courses, the first was chinese petite fours (peanut cookies and lotus bean pastries)

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The peanut cookies were light and crunchy with a nice peanut accent from whole roasted peanuts. The lotus bean pasty is just that, a flaky wheat pastry (not unlike filo) surrounding a center of lotus bean paste, baked and served warm.  I don’t care for this pastry.  Not because of poor execution, it was prepared well enough, I just don’t like the wheat pastry; it’s bland and tasteless (I think it’s supposed to be like that).

The last dish was red bean soup with rice balls
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This is a chunky sweet soup made from partially pureed sweet red beans and dried tangerine peels, served with several glutinous rice balls.  The rice balls are filled with sweet black sesame paste.   The red bean soup was okay, I could barely taste any tangerine peel (which is a good thing, since I don’t care for it), but the rice balls were a little firm and hard.

The service was as can be expected from a chinese restaurant (efficient but otherwise aloof).

The room is expansive, but still someone crowded.  But it’s well light and otherwise comfortable.
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