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New Mandarin Seafood Restaurant

Tonight I was one of a handful of food writers attending a private dinner at New Mandarin, the Chinese seafood restaurant located adjacent to the newest T&T location on Kingsway.

We were seated in one of their private rooms, with its entrance separate from the main restaurant. Our group was very familiar with the menu and went to work quick ordering our favourite dishes from a fairly dense listing. I, myself sat back and reaped the benefits of their work. They are as follows.

The New Mandarin assorted cold platter appetizer included everyone’s favourite jelly fish, the familiar dry meat slices, rubbery surf clam, and the smoked candied salmon that threw everyone for a loop. What I haven’t seen else where is the inclusion of salted egg yolk crispy fried fish skin, not that I am complaining as this was my favourite item of this assortment.

Having had Peking elsewhere recently, I wanted to compare the value and flavour here today: A $98 Peking duck two ways and a $78.98 Peking duck tow different ways. Not only do you save here, but you get more for your money as well. Two full dishes (not just skin and sugar for like with the first one) and plenty of it. The only hitch, you don’t get the spectacle of having it carved table side, not that many customers watch the pageantry.

The classic crispy duck peeled meat and skin served as a build your own wrap with thin crepes, green onion, and plenty of sauce. The sauce is the key to a successful Peking duck wrap in my opinion.

Our second course was the classic chopped duck meat with vegetable, eaten within a lettuce cup. You can’t make out the flavour or texture of the duck, given how small the chunks are, but once again having plenty of sauce is the key anyways.

Since we have had so much luck with the duck so far, we opted in for the Tofu and mustard green duck soup add on. This was a lovely rich soup, full bodied, with each sip heating you up internally. The soup is strained clear, and the bones and other ingredients gets scooped out into a bowl. This is then brought out for diners to pick at, or to simply get a visual view of what went into what you are enjoying now.

Our entire 8 person group loved the Shredded ranch chicken mixed with black truffle and cilantro. I liked the presentation of it being served in a wicker chicken basket, how meta. The chicken is served chilled, which only amplifies the fragrant flavour of the truffle. The dish acted as a great palate refresher.

The Lobster with consommé and yee-fu noodles is a show stopper, dressed with a whole lobster including head. It was seasoned on the milder side, I could have used some garlic or a sauce to dip bland noodle into. Although, I did like the choice of noodles for its thicker chew.

If you are only going to go with one crustacean, make it the Crab with salted egg yolk and rice cake. It is lot more flavourful than the lobster, but I still did not have as much flavouring as I want from anything salted egg yolk. My favourite part of the dish was the chewy rice cakes, but there was not enough to go around. And if we weren’t eating this in conjunction with other dishes, this one could have used a fresh element to it and more salt.

I liked the Stir fried string beans and minced pork with chili. A classic . The beans had a nice crisp, and a great texture to weed through your mouth.

I passed on the Stir fried pea tips with garlic because I am not a fan of wilted greens for their texture. Just thinking about them or reflecting on their scent leaves my mouth dry and my throat in mid-gag.

The Sweet and sour boneless pork hit the spot. This is what I was craving for from my last Chinese dinner, and I finally got it at New Mandarin. Each piece was fatty and warm. The gristle was balanced by the fresh fruit and lightly sautéed fresh veggies. And the cantaloupe was a fun new twist.

We did not notify the kitchen ahead of time so missed out on their giant Baked tapioca pudding in regular and durian flavours. But apparently this is the one to get. Instead, we ordered every other dessert.

The Ginger mousse cake is extremely ginger-forward, making it not for everyone but a great digestive.

The almond cookies are a familiar sight. Crunchy and crumbly with an air of almond extract.

The pink sleeping bear was a cross between a mousse and a jello. It looked cute, but I was not a fan of its artificial strawberry taste and foamy texture.

The chocolate mousse puppy was a nicer dessert, it was smooth cream in a mild cocoa flavour.

The sweet corn pudding only looked like corn, but was actually in the flavour of a mild mango. I wanted more fruit from this and some condense milk to add depth.

And the sweet dessert piggies jiggled with a wiggle of the plate. The had a very faint milky taste to them, a barely there sweet cream. All designed for those who do not like their desserts sugary, and rather end on a neutral palate.

In conclusion the food is solid, some dishes were better than others, but you were never left feeling like you weren’t getting your monies worth. A great option for a family feast. We liked everything so much that we are already planning on returning for their dim sum.

New Mandarin Seafood Restaurant
4650 Gladstone St, Vancouver, BC V5N 2T6
(604) 336-9388

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