Its hard to be neutral when talking about Chinese restaurants. They easily put off Vancouverite diners that are used to service with a smile, spotless cutlery, bathrooms that aren’t makeshift storage spaces, understandable menu descriptions, and spoken english.Take for example the obligatory teapot with a chipped spout with a makeshift plastic sleeve cover. Obviously the owner is a practicalist, and sees that a pot that still serves its liquid holding purpose is a pot worth keeping in service. While he most likely wont do it in his own home, he finds it adequate when used to serve hundreds of paying customers.

Ho Yuen Kee - Obligatory chipped spout

But then we have come to expect that. So lets focus on the food. Ho Yuen Kee is a canton style chinese restaurant on Fraser near West 45th. This is probably my first time dining anywhere on this street altogether, and I was surprised by the constant lineups by the door, as it is quite inconspicuous looking from the outside.I’ve had a craving for Peking duck for about….oh 2 years. This place serves a popular variation of Peking duck, a dish served since the Yuan Dynasty (1300’s), shown here presented on top of shrimp chips, green onions, and hoisin sauce.

Ho Yuen Kee - Peking duck

The pieces of crispy duck skin are rolled inside of thin pancakes, and the rest of the duck meat is diced and prepared in a stir fry with bamboo shoots to be served in a lettuce wrap.

Ho Yuen Kee - Crisp duck skin Ho Yuen Kee - Lettuce rolls

Salty fish chicken fried rice. A extremely pungent dish that’s not unlike good cheese. The tiny salted fish bits are what gives this dish its ‘fragrance’, and finding them in your mouth will give off a pop rocks type of sodium explosion.

Ho Yuen Kee - Salty fish and chicken rice

Seafood hot pot. It could’ve been tofu for all we knew. I couldn’t taste anything else after the salted fish explosions.

Ho Yuen Kee - Seafood Hot Pot

Honey garlic fried spareribs. Heavy on the fat, and generous with the flavor.

Ho Yuen Kee - Honey Garlic ribs

The red bean soup signaled the end of the feast.

Ho Yuen Kee - Red Bean Dessert

Ho Yuen Kee - A reasonable billWith the $30 duck becoming 2 dishes, we would’ve been good with just two other menu items. A more reasonable order would likely come to $15 per person for a table of 4.

Food: 8/10
Value: 9/10 (the hallmark of great Chinese restaurant food)

Ho Yuen Kee on Urbanspoon