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Chinese Food

Poco Ocean 海富小館

Poco Ocean 海富小館 in CoquitlamA friend first passed word to me about a humble family run Chinese restaurant near Coquitlam center, and explained that the chef use to be an executive chef at a reputed hotel in Hong Kong. I was intrigued, and with the power of the interconnected foodie universe that is the internet at my fingertips, I decided to dig further. My efforts only managed to confuse the issue though, as this chef’s reputation is a tale that grows taller with each telling. There are existing stories that he was either once a head chef at the Hyatt, a chef at the governor house for two of the Governors of Hong Kong, cooking for the royal Hong Kong police headquarters, or the personal chef to the Governor of Macau. Clearly, I was not going to appreciate what this place can do by just reading about it. ;)

Poco Ocean 海富小館 - MenuEveryone gets a clear view of the Chinese menu on the wall when they step through the door, but English menus are available. The chicken wings is well advertised below the whiteboard menu, which should give enough hint that this isn’t the usual lobster/crab/abalone type of Chinese seafood restaurant. The focus here is on a smaller set of simple recipes with time tested ingredient combinations and preparation methods.
The walls are lined with whimsical caricature drawings, some of them depicting the jolly chef chasing down your distraught dinner with a bottle of sauce in hand. (The Chinese characters are the name of the dishes.)
Poco Ocean 海富小館 - Caricatures of the Chef
This is my third visit, and though having a party of 7 didn’t help us get seated, we did get to sample a good selection of dishes that showcased almost all of their food preparation styles. Every table is greeted with a complementary and appetizing meat and red bean soup after ordering.
First up is the honey garlic chicken wings. Crisp, unbattered battered skin, with juices still in the meat, and flavors marinaded in instead of being doused in sauce.
Poco Ocean 海富小館 - Honey garlic wings
We ordered a few of the hot plates, which all seemed to have a bit of swiss sauce (they actually used to give away a bottle of the marinade with every order). The Japanese style beef was my favorite of the bunch.
Poco Ocean 海富小館 - Japanese style pepper beef hot plate
Another really tasty dish, the beef in tomato sauce. We didn’t have it this time, but their black pepper beef is also well prepared, and the best version I’ve ever had.
Poco Ocean 海富小館 - Beef in Tomato sauce
The pungent smell of shrimp paste may put some people off this tofu and pork neck dish, but like salty fish fried rice, the flavors help round the dish out.
Poco Ocean 海富小館 - Tofu and Pork Neck meat in Shrimp paste
We had 8 dishes in total, and while the bill isn’t light, its the best dinner I’ve had in a while, and that’s the same feeling I get after every visit.

They’re Located one block east of Coquitlam Center. Do making reservations if you plan to drive down for a visit, as there’s always a wait, and cash only.

2755 Lougheed Highway
(604) 464-4325

Poco Ocean Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Golden Oscar Cafe – Pork Chop that deserves an award

Golden Oscar Cafe Before someone busts my chops over what an ugly photo this is of Golden Oscar HK Cafe (map) exterior, I’ll have you know that this is a pretty darn accurate representation. It IS ugly on the outside. Even the glue from their old banner logo wasn’t cleaned off properly, and you can clearly tell the artistic direction they were taking with the sign: Bigger.
The same could be said of their baked pork chop.
It’s absolutely epic. This is the 2001 Space Odyssey of pork chops. Slathered with tomato sauce and melted cheese, two sumo sized slabs of breaded pork chop sits on top of a plate of fried rice. Though tender and full flavored, finishing all of it in one sitting is a challenge.

Golden Oscar Cafe - Epic Baked Pork Chop

The chicken steak is trembling in its uptown square plate:
Golden Oscar Cafe - Chops

The place wouldn’t be called Oscar if it didn’t have some sort of Hollywood theme of course. Well, the walls are lined with classic movie posters and star portraits. Since Braveheart is the newest film I saw on the wall, I don’t think anything’s been updated for over a decade.
Golden Oscar Cafe - Braveheart

I had my first baked PC ever from Oscar Cafe waaay back, and its really set the bar high since. Mel agrees.
melgibson oscar

Golden Oscar Cafe and on Urbanspoon

Ho Yuen Kee – Agreeable Chinese dining

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

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