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Experienced an almost perfect wine pairing for Cantonese Seafood at Maple Yip.

Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 04:14 PM

After taking a couple of out-of-town relatives to try out O Mei's Giant Lobster 4 ways two nights ago. This evening, it was Maple Yip's turn to show off their Steamed whole fish skill and wow my guests!

In addition to ordering their house special " Steamed whole Floridian Strawberry Grouper, Cantonese style" and their " Baked fried rice in lotus leaf wrapper topped with whole Dungeness Crab". We also had a few interesting and tasty dishes including a seldom found " Stirred fry pig's stomach tip with preserved Chinese Mustard Green and Bitter Melon" and "Braised giant goose web/feet with equally giant Chinese Shitaki mushrooms".

As expected, the fish was perfectly cooked to the nano second! The fried rice was one of the best tasting fried rice dish I've eaten in the GTA. Can easily rub shoulder with Hong Kong's Michelin 1* Cantonese specialist, Yung Kee at its prime!. The stirred fry pigs stomach had lots of smokey wok-hay with the various ingredients providing all sort of textural crunchy and chewy sensation as well as a combination of interesting sweet, sour, savory and bitter taste profile. The Goose web was unbelievably off-the-bone tender and saturated with the mushroom/oyster sauce taste and aroma.

However, it was the pairing of the seafood dish with the bottle of "1998 Weinbach Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling - Ste Catherine" that made the whole dining experience unforgettable. Intense and complex, this Alsatian Riesling, with all the nuance of a fine German late harvest Riesling, but less sweet, was a perfect match for the delicate sweet meat of both the fish and crab and their accompanying sweetish premium soya sauce. Guess I'll bring along a bottle of nice Riesling each time I order whole steamed fish!

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    ctl98 RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 04:25 PM

    Ooohh, been looking for a place with steamed grouper! Everywhere else is steamed bass or (gasp!) tilapia. We must try Maple Yip soon :)

    1. grandgourmand RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 04:55 PM

      Hey Charles. Is Maple Yip the best place for steamed whole fish in GTA? What was the price per lb for the grouper?

      I don't know if it makes a huge difference, but the only times I've had steamed whole fish, it's been butterflied, which may help the aromatics flavour the fish more...does that make sense?

      6 Replies
      1. re: grandgourmand
        Charles Yu RE: grandgourmand Oct 23, 2012 05:30 PM

        Maple Yips chef is known as the ' Guru' of steamed fish in the GTA. Immaculate timing irrespective of size of fish! The fish we had was specially ordered for us in advance. About 2.5 pounds. Cost around $50, inclusive of preparation cost.
        If you like steamed whole fish, O Mei also offers ''LIVE French Turbot' at around $24-27 per pound. Again preparation price included.
        Emperor has ' LIVE Black Bass' for around $33 per pound. But the fish can be huge! 4+ pounds. Usually prepared 2-3 ways. Soup, braised belly and stirred fry fillet.

        1. re: Charles Yu
          ctl98 RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 05:34 PM

          So, Charles, if we want a grouper, we need to preorder?

          1. re: ctl98
            Charles Yu RE: ctl98 Oct 23, 2012 07:23 PM

            YES! The place is always packed so reservation is recommended. Might as well make the request whilst booking the table!

            1. re: Charles Yu
              ctl98 RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 07:39 PM

              Thanks for the tip, Charles!

              1. re: ctl98
                Charles Yu RE: ctl98 Oct 23, 2012 08:13 PM

                Another one I had around April this year to wet your appetite!!
                Good Luck!!

                1. re: Charles Yu
                  ctl98 RE: Charles Yu Oct 23, 2012 08:12 PM

                  That looks absolutely perfect!

      2. Charles Yu RE: Charles Yu Oct 24, 2012 07:13 PM

        The steamed Grouper we had the other night was so memorable, my relatives requested a re-visit tonight.
        Whilst we had the more common varietal " Red Grouper' a day ago, tonight, Chef Ho managed to acquire a much rarer ' Red Hind Grouper' from his supplier for us. 'Wild Line Caught' and only available about 20 per week, this fish tasted spectacular and sooo fresh!!
        For those of you fellow chowhounder who wanted to try, do give owner Maple or Chef Ho at least two or three days advance notice to secure the fish for your party! Worth every cent!

        10 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu
          jl_1978 RE: Charles Yu Oct 24, 2012 08:10 PM

          Looks fantastic! I'm planning to take my family there next weekend. How much did this cost (how many lbs) and was it noticeably better than the Red? Can you give an English pronunciation of what this would be called in Cantonese? You did a great job for the Strawberry Grouper in another thread!

          1. re: jl_1978
            Charles Yu RE: jl_1978 Oct 25, 2012 05:27 PM

            Depend on the 'price of the day'. Usually around $50 for a 2-3 pounder.

          2. re: Charles Yu
            jojobobo RE: Charles Yu Oct 24, 2012 08:56 PM

            Hi Charles, we have tried the strawberry Grouper 3 times after reading from your thread. We have tried the whole fish steamed twice and other time have it 2 ways. I have to agree that the chef is the guru of steamed fish. But I found that the taste of the fish was not that impressed, it lack of that taste of freshness.

            1. re: jojobobo
              Charles Yu RE: jojobobo Oct 25, 2012 03:53 PM

              @ jojobobo: May be you are used to eating steamed 'LIVE'' fish from the Orient?! Even though the fish acquired by Maple Yip was freshly chilled and airfreight from Florida, comparing to 'live' ones, there bound to be a difference in taste. Just as eating sushi in Japan vs elsewhere!

              @ jl_1978. Red Grouper is pronounced ' Hung Barn ' in Cantonese.
              Red Hind Grouper is pronounced ' Dong Sing Barn '.

              1. re: Charles Yu
                jl_1978 RE: Charles Yu Oct 26, 2012 05:33 PM

                Thanks Charles! I went to pre-order the grouper, chicken with glutinous rice, and crab with rice in lotus leaf. They said they won't know which of the red hind or strawberry grouper they'll have until a few days before. I forgot you wrote "Barn", so I said "Bahn" to the woman and she had no clue what I wanted (A "red board"? lol). My Cantonese was good enough to tell her it's a fish though.

                1. re: jl_1978
                  Charles Yu RE: jl_1978 Oct 26, 2012 05:59 PM

                  You are most welcome!! Hope you have a nice dinner! Good Luck!!

                  1. re: Charles Yu
                    jl_1978 RE: Charles Yu Nov 4, 2012 10:27 PM

                    Thanks again for the tips! Had the red hind grouper, crab with rice in lotus leaf, chicken stuffed with glutinous rice, beef tenderloin, seafood bird's nest, and some veggies. Everything was prepared perfectly and the favourite ended up being the chicken! I was surprised when they brought a whole chicken out and ended up cutting it at the table, realizing that it was deboned. Nice crispy skin, moist meat and very tasty rice!
                    The grouper was also really good, but at $57 (I think it was about 2.5lbs), I don't know if I'd get it again over a cheaper variety that I'm sure would be cooked just as perfectly. I'm glad I tried it though.

              2. re: jojobobo
                eco987 RE: jojobobo Oct 25, 2012 10:36 PM

                I was going to make the same comment. I tried their strawberry grouper twice and, though the steaming skills were fine, the fish texture and flavor was off. Just didn't taste fresh as compared to the fish in Hong Kong.

              3. re: Charles Yu
                klyeoh RE: Charles Yu Oct 27, 2012 04:23 AM

                That fish looked obscenely delicious! ;-)

                1. re: klyeoh
                  Charles Yu RE: klyeoh Oct 27, 2012 07:25 AM

                  "OBSCENELY delicious"!! Guess that's why people start using the word ' food porn'!! Ha!!

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