This was our Foodie Family’s, quarterly group meet up; to celebrate birthdays past and ones on the horizon, all while eating good Chinese food. Seven well established food bloggers, embarking on 1 restaurant of the group’s choosing; and reviewing it with their own lens, while taking on the critiques of the other 6. Those present today included: Sherman of @shermansfoodadventures, Joyce of @vanfoodies, David of @pickydiners, Areta of @foodgressing, Hanson of @noshandnibble, and Diana of @foodologyca; by way of handheld device.
Today’s destination was New Fishport Seafood restaurant. Still fairly new considering they opened pre-Covid, and the last two years were pretty much a write off for the hospitality industry. We would order 7 dishes to share family style, made easier by way of a lazy Susan.
One of us (Areta), was resolute to her cleanse, so had asked to order and have her own dish; not being able to commit to the fatty, oily, and fried dishes we as a group wanted. A request she cleared with all of us, prior to coming, and one she had announced to the restaurant’s service team. Her ask was for a whole soy sauce chicken, which she politely requested to have as the first dish to come to the table. This was done knowing that such a dish is typically the last to be served, and knowning she was hungry and there was nothing else she could do but watch the rest of us eat. Sadly as predicted, this was the last to arrive and she was the last to eat.
But more on this later, as the review is written in the order the dishes arrived and in which we ate them.
Our larger table was situated by the entrance to one of the restaurant’s private rooms. And as a result, we were able to admire the visually stunning dishes that were being ushered to the VIPs. Dishes that included the likes of larger abalone in shell, individual crawfish platters, and a duo of lobsters that was literally fire. The latter was a visually smokey dish, thoroughly seasoned with chilli peppers that burned. Its spicy nuance flooded the entire restaurant, causing all the other guests (ourselves included) to hold their breathes, rub the tears out of their watering eyes, and sneeze in discomfort. The only solution was to open the back alley door, and have the cold wind chill you to your bone. All that, and the general cigarette smell that wafted in, did much to dampen the dressier ambiance of the place; as well as the occasion of our meal.
We started with the Crab meat with fish maw soup. A pot-full brought to the table and doled out by one of their staff. Individual bowls to self season with red vinegar and white pepper, that came communal. A warm start to get the appetite going, and one of my favourite Chinese soups for its lovely texture. A broth with a thicker consistency to slurp, accentuated by the globs of rubbery fish. It reminded me of soft boiled cartilage in texture. The maw could have been softer, but it did hit the spot. Not bad, but not one of the best renditions I have had.
The Baked lobster with glutinous rice in lotus leaf was a stunning presentation. This was a whole lobster, as the head and tail tip was included, but we weren’t given a looky-loo at its entirety before we bought in. It is chopped up for ease of picking sweet lobster meat from saucy shell, and served atop a generous portion of sticky egg rice. The rice was perfect, plenty of flavour and the ideal base for everything we had to follow. Shame, that the lobster with it was over cooked.
I liked the Fried cauliflower with persevered pork for the crispy texture of the vegetable. This would be our one vegetable dish, that is typically present at any multi course Chinese feast. The sweet cured sausage and pork belly were dry and chewy, tasty as nibbles, but they didn’t do much for the cauliflower.
We often find ourselves gravitating towards any order of Sweet and sour pork, as we find it a good gauge of all other Chinese restaurants. A staple to help judge the quality of food from one place to another. The version here was more sweet than sour, the tartness of the sharp, raw vegetables helped to balance out the sugars. The pork was on the fattier side, whereas I wanted more meaty morsels and them to be fried crispier.
The Fried shrimp cake was pure disappointment. With its name/description in Chinese and the price tag at $25.80, we expected something doughy and a lot more substantial. This was essentially a fluffy egg omelette with frozen shrimp and julienned leaks. Good, but not for a dressier Chinese restaurant, let alone one that specializes in seafood. And honestly, something you can make just as easily at home, and maybe even better with more ingredients therein.
Similarly in expectations not being met. The Shrimp sauce with pork belly did not deliver on our experience of pork belly. We were expecting something braised and caramelized. This was thin slices of over cooked pork, served in a pool of sauce, yet still bland, almost boring.
And finally the whole Soy sauce chicken. We were all able to try Areta’s chicken, and was my favourite dish of the night. Absolutely tender meat, served chilled, resting in a pool of the amazing, sweet light soy sauce. I wish I was the one to order a whole chicken for myself.
In short, with so many Chinese restaurant options availability, this one bears no repeating. The meal would definitely be memorable with its highs and lows, but there are so many other Chinese restaurants worth exploring.
New Fishport Seafood Bistro
620 SE Marine Dr, Vancouver, BC V5X 2T4