Fortune Garden Restaurant
Fortune Garden Restaurant
1475 West Broadway
Ph: (604) 736-6868
The essence of enjoying a banquet of Chinese food is sharing it with family or friends. A group of us headed to Fortune Garden Restaurant for a banquet which started off with two dishes of Alaskan King Crab - a delightful beginning to our meal. After showing us the uncooked crab pictured above, they whisked it away to pepare the dishes.
In the meantime we settled in to drinking tea, white wine (Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay) or red wine (2008 Mouton Cadet from Bordeaux ) or beer.
I learned from our host that the traditional banquet starts with an appetizer plate - a sort of Chinese antipasto - but tonight they were going to serve the King Crab as the first course.
I also learned that it is usual that the servers select one part of the table where the dishes are first set down, and so each dish starts off at the same place. Before each course it is traditional to toast - our group enthusiastically participated in this with wine glasses clinking away with abandon, particularly as the evening went on.
This was more of a family feast than a formal banquet but the King Crab and Peking duck elevated it from a simple family dinner. The first course of King Crab legs steamed with lots of garlic was absolutely delicious. There were actually minutes of silence round the table as people focused on hooking out bits of crab from the shell. The second part was equally good-chunks of crab deep-fried.
Next came the appetizer plate- Sezchuan antipasto. The centre was a mass of crunch jellyfish tossed with sesame oil - an apparent favorite of most around the table. The squares were pork in aspic.
As well there was smoked fish spiced with vinegar and sweet soy sauce -very tasty; marinated shitaki mushroom in a wrap - not my favorite; and thin sliced beef shank.
Next we had hot and sour soup - just right for my taste- not too spicy hot. This was followed by chicken thighs in soy sauce.
The next course that followed was the Peking duck. There are several ways that this is served - as two or three courses. The first is the duck skin, the second the duck meat and the third may be a broth from the leftover meat and bones.
Here the crispy duck skin was served witha pancake wrapper, with scallion or green onion and hoisin sauce added by the guest.
This is my favorite part of Peking duck.
The second course consists of the duck meat chopped into small cubes, cooked with vegtables and served with lettuce wraps.
By this time we were all feeling very mellow especially due tothe frequent toasts but there were more courses to come
Prawns and scallops were served with Gai Lan greens which I have seen described variously as Chinese broccoli or Chinese kale.
By the tiime the dish got round to where I was sitting there were no prawns left but the scallops and greens were very tasty.
The next dish that appeared looked to me like a mass of noodles but turned out to be Enoki mushrooms with another Chinese green which looked like the green stem pak choy.
Enoki mushrooms are the ones with a cluster of stems and tiny caps.
I enjoyed the crispness and the taste of the sweet and sour fish fillets that was the last savoury dish for this meal.
The last platter on the table was the dessert plate - Northen style pancake with red bean filliing.
Then out came the Fortune cookies- read out with great hilarity. Very aptly -considering the many friends who helped me during my episode of back pain and subsequent surgery - mine referred to help and helping others.
We all had a great evening thanks to our gracious hostess and some decided to take advantage of the mild evening to work off the calories by walking home.