Alvin Garden (Hunan) - Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine Dinner (Vancouver)
Ben and Suanne of Chowtimes ( http://www.chowtimes.com) proposed unprecedented initiative for Vancouver: A series of dinners that represent all Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine.
I jumped at the chance to volunteer to help research and organize these events. At the first meeting a number of weeks ago, I proposed we start with Hunan at Alvin Garden. I have posted about Alvin Garden here in the past and we have even had one of our early Chowdowns there. It is perhaps my favourite Chinese restaurant in town. They serve uncompromising and authentic Hunan food. The real deal (unlike much of the "Hunan" served in North America). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunan_cuisine
Though this was a collaboration between some of the city's top bloggers and online foodies - Chowtimes provided the primary forum for discussion. The 52 diners who were in attendance were predominantly from the Chowtimes regular audience.
I won't replicate much of the commentary and description of the food and the event as it is already well covered on Chowtimes:
and on Vancouver Slop:
I will however state that the whole evening was fun, the company was great, the food was fantastic and plentiful (16 dishes in total - $20/pp - an astonishing value! You gotta love Chinese food.). The servers, cooks and Ivy - the owner of Alvin Garden pulled out all the stops to make this whole evening work.
My favourite dishes of the evening were:
-Five Spice Pork Heart (which I have raved about numerous times here).
-Hunan Smoked Pork with Garlic Bolts (my personal fave dish there).
-The Hunan Smoked duck (superb and well deserving of the recent Silver it received at the Chinese Restaurant Awards 2010 recently).
Many thanks to Ben and Suanne for setting this up and thanks to the 8GTCC team for showing real passion for this cuisine.
More pictures here:
4850 Imperial St, Burnaby, BC V5J, CA
It was pretty epic. I really enjoyed all the dishes except two: lamb with cumin (I just don't like cumin, what can I say?) and the chicken gizzards or chicken squid as I called them (I've never liked gizzards and the SO was gobbling them, so again a personal preference only).
I'm looking forward to taking my family to AG now that I know more about the dishes and have a few favourites to order, along with trying some new stuff. Thanks to the 8GTCC gang and Chowtimes crew for all the hard work. We're all on tenterhooks to know what the next cuisine and venue will be ;-).
Just want to say thank you (for the thousandth time!) for all the work in organizing the 8GTCC Hunan dinner. I have some incredible feedback of the dinners. Those who attended are asking if they can bring their friends. I think the team got a problem here and the response will surpass the 52 diners for the Hunan dinner. Also, I had two people telling me that there is a buzz in the Chinese restaurant community ... the word is out there. Kudos to the 8GTCC team ... fmed, DylanK, LotusRapper, Joe and Keev. And Grayelf ... am looking forward to have you on the team for future events and so am counting on your input for the next cuisine.