Cantonese Cuisine Chowmeet at Maple Yip - Great food and Great Company!!
- Charles Yu Nov 22, 2012 08:38 PM
Tonight, a group of 20+ die-hard foodies descended on Maple Yip for a long overdue chowmeet. The meal was per-arranged and contained many 'off menu' and labor intensive dishes. Overall, food was delicious with a few stand outs like the pork belly, soft shell crab, Chinese ' Huevos Fritos' and Crispy skin de-boned chicken...etc. Only misstep was the lobster, which was a bit dry.
Full menu are as follows:
- Fried Soft Shell Crab tossed with garlic chili peppered salt.
- Chinese 'Huevos Fritos' ( egg tortilla ) with Silver Ray Fish and diced Chinese preserved Radishes.
- Slow cooked Pork Belly with Chinese preserved Mustard Greens. ( Mui Choi Kau Yuk )
- Double boiled whole Winter Melon Seafood 'Pot-au-Feu'.
- Whole de-boned Crispy Skin Chicken stuffed with flavored Glutinous Rice and Chinese wind-dried
- Stirred fry filet of Floridian Yellow Fin Grouper with Yellowing Chives.
- Stirred fried Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Cashew Nuts in a Taro Bird's Nest.
- Sauteed Duo Lobsters with Maggi Sauce.
- Dungeness Crab fried Rice wrapped in whole Lotus Leaf baked in Bamboo Steamer
- Five grain Barley Congee with Sesame stuffed Mochis
Great value for $50 per person inclusive of tax and gratuities!
However, as mentioned in my title, in addition to the good food, the COMPANY was even better!!!
What a lovely way to spend an evening!!!!
Thanks again for organizing this, Charles. Dinner was great and as you said, a great value. My favourite dishes were definitely the pork belly and that crazy stuffed chicken. I could eat a LOT of both of those. A LOT. The black sesame paste filled mochi balls in the dessert soup were kinda awesome, too and were a really nice way to end the dinner.
Nice to put faces to some familiar chowhound names and to meet some new people, too!
Great pics, looks absolutely mouth watering. Is there any chance of posting a pic of the name of each dish in Chinese. (with the goal of presenting a print-out of the 'Charles Yu' menu to Maple Yip in future reservations)
Thank you Charles for organizing this dinner. It was a memorable experience. Speaking of memories, my favourite entree was the stuffed chicken. Wonderful flavour, and wow, how did they get the skin so crispy?!? Each appetizer was unique and delicious and I enjoyed your explanations immensely. Looved the black sesame mochi balls too! I will be craving those. Honourable mention goes to the Florida Grouper with Yellowing Chives. Loved the subtle sweetness.
It was my first 'chowmeet' and I admit I was a tad nervous, but everyone was friendly and made me feel welcome.
First, my thanks to Charles – and great seeing all of you too.
But, of course, we must follow the rule of discussing the Chow, not the Hound. Otherwise we risk this thread being deleted.
And I’m pleased to report that this place (Maple Yip) is well worth a visit – as long as you can speak the local language. Not an English (or French) sign in the place (didn’t see a menu as Charles had pre-ordered). Which means this feast is not available to many of us – not that there would be any room as the place was packed. So that was the most frustrating part for me – in essence not sure I could ever return for a comparable meal – although certainly worth checking out to see what the regular menu is like.
Certainly talent in the kitchen – I was particularly impressed with the textures in almost every dish – crunchy, chewy, crispy, where appropriate – although the aromatics were more subtle. The grouper dish however WAS superb aromatically – and the winter melon broth similarly appealed. Textures were outstanding in the Beef tenderloin dish and ALL the appetizers. I was particularly impressed with the egg tortilla - don’t ever recall being struck by the texture of egg dishes in general (OK I except Spain – and this dish reminded me of Spain) – only criticism was the temperature was a bit cool – but they divided it for us, which took some time. The chicken was spectacular in presentation, but ‘glutinous’ isn’t my favourite texture, although the lardons of meat were superb.
Charles also thought the lobster was ‘dry’ – the most disappointing course, for me – but easily overcome by the other amazing dishes. The crab ‘slightly disappointed’ – certainly aromatically – I expected more, given the lotus leaf preparation – but I still finished my entire portion (of everything actually, except a little of the glutinous rice).
And the desert congee was a total surprise (pleasant). I’m not a congee fan at the best of times (too many meals of porridge as a child), so I approached this with trepidation. But possibly the best dish, texturally, of all. The different grains were exactly that – different. The overall texture was certainly well suited to support these textures – not sure I can find a polite word for ‘gluey’ but I’ll just say ‘it worked for me’. And I’ve never been a great fan of mochi (or sesame balls) in the past – but these were the best I’ve had – although the slight sweetness seemed a bit jarring to my western-trained palate – I’m more accustomed to all-out sweetness or fruitiness with dessert – this sensation was more of a rosewater – not sure if I liked it (in particular) but I certainly enjoyed the dish overall.
Maybe there is something to this Cantonese cuisine after all!
Pictures look great and sounds like a good time was had by you all! The $50 per person all in is amazing and only supports my theory that $ for $ Cantonese food is hard to beat. The Winter Melon soup might be the city's best, however I feel that a Maple Yip dinner is somehow incomplete without one of their specialty steamed fish dishes.
re: T Long
I agree with you 100%. T Long. However, it would be tough for 12 chowhounders, some of whom, not too comfortable with using chopsticks to share the whole steamed fish. Besides, the fish has 'bones' and skill is needed to navigate thru that!!! Could be tough for some of our fellow western chowfriends!!
re: T Long
Not to sound un-grateful, but if I was being honest, I actually found the Winter Melon soup to be rather bland and under-seasoned - and the melon did little to enhance the flavour (the flesh didn't have much flavour either). It's possible that each table had different experiences, however, so I'm not certain what to think. I did love the pork belly, chicken, and "sesame balls", though!
If this particular Winter Melon soup was not as good as others you have had, then fair enough. If it is your first experience, then this might be a matter of acquired taste. Basically I find Winter Melon to have a subtle taste (bland is a fair description), so it might not be everyone's cup of tea so to speak. For me, it has a "cooling" effect on my palate and a good/great Winter Melon soup is a joy. To use another example of acquired taste, there is a common melon/vegetable used in Cantonese dishes called a "bitter melon". This green vegetable has a bitter taste and I use to dislike it with a passion...couldn't imagine how people could eat it. However, over time I've gradually warmed to it to the point now where it is one of my favorite dishes (bitter melon stirred fried with beef), and can pick up the nuances of when it is well or not well prepared (or more succinctly, the way I like it). However, I'm glad you did enjoy many of the other dishes at Maple Yip.
re: Charles Yu
Yes! That's what we like to do at home with winter melon soup, seeing that good quality Chinese ham is hard to find over here. I like to take some jamon (any kind, really) and shred it to add to the soup, to ensure there is some of that yummy goodness in every spoonful.
Wish I could be here at those dinners but I could not attend. However I will sure be one of the many to show up at Maple Yip sometime soon, with your list of dishes in mind!
Cantonese cooking tends to use light, delicate sauces and subtle spicing to allow the natural flavors to shine through (unlike for example, the rich and spicy flavors of Szechuan cooking). Growing up consuming brothy soups with almost every meal, these soups tend to have few ingredients that are slowly simmered for several hours. These soups are minimally salted so as not to overwhelm the delicate combination of flavours. If you are not used to this, then I can see how you may have found the soup to be bland. I thought the soup was well done for a restaurant version.
To all the 'fraternity siblings' who attended the event. Thanks again for attending and THANK YOU for all your kind words!! It was my pleasure to organize such a FUN event for you all. Great food, Great company, lively conversation and still decent weather to drive home on....... What more can we ask for??!!
What an experience!!! Each dish was a new experience for my DH and I.
The standout for both of us was the pork belly and next the soft shell crab. I would definitely try every dish again and hope to find a place closer to home to be able to.
The company made the night even more exciting. We learned a lot about food, that's for sure.
Thank you all very much and thanks to Charles for this culinary experience.
With Charles' blessing, here are the Chinese names (I'm more handy in typing up Chinese)
soft shell crab - 椒鹽軟殼蟹
egg - 白飯魚菜甫煎蛋
pork - 梅菜扣肉
melon soup - 冬瓜盅
stuffed chicken - 糥米釀鷄
grouper - 韭黃班塊
beef - 雀巢腰果牛柳丁
lobster - 美極雙龍蝦
crab - 荷香溫哥華蟹焗飯
dessert - 芝麻湯丸五米露
Most of these can be found in other restaurants except for the melon soup and stuffed chicken, which if available would probably need to be ordered in advance. Good luck!
Splendid meal at Maple Yip. Everyone enjoyed Charles' picks immensely. Special favourites were the fish and stuffed chicken. I especially enjoyed the pork - it was juicy, tender with a richness of flavours and textures. Thank you all for the pics and spelling, making the pre-ordering possible and worry free!