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" Live BC Wild Spot Prawns " Chowmeet at the Emperor - A quick review

During the past six months, a couple of thoroughly enjoyable chowmeets, involving pre-arranged off menu items, were held at Maple Yip and O Mei. The latter involving Giant Lobsters prepared 5 ways!

Tonight, braving nasty weather and congested traffic, a group of die-hard foodie chowhounders ( Justxpete, Magic, Embee, Sweetie, Norman Wolfe, Estufarian, Juno, Bytepusher, TorontoJo.......etc ) met up at 'The Emperor ' in Richmond Hill for another chowmeet. This time with Live BC Wild Spot Prawns as the main theme. The result was another successful chowdown gathering with great food complimenting great company!

The menu of the night consisted of the following dishes:

Peking Duck 2 ways ( one of the best rendition in town )
- Chinese Crepe wrapped Crispy Skin & Meat with Hoisin Sauce and Condiments.
- Lettuce Wrap with Sauteed Minced Duck Meat and Crunchy Vegetables.

Wild BC Spot Prawns prepared 2 ways
- Crispy & Aromatic Wok Fried ( a la plancha ) Heads-on Prawns with Garlic Spicy Sea Salt.
- Sauteed Whole Heads-on Prawns with Maggi Sauce a la O'Mei.

Fried BC Jumbo Rock Oysters with Peppered Honey Glaze, sauteed Broccoli

Stirred fry Angus Beef Tenderloin Cubes with Special House sweet Teriyaki Sauce and Crunchy Caramelized Walnuts.

Deep fried Baby Pork Spare-Ribs with Chinese Preserved Olive Tapenade in crispy Rice Vermicelli nest.

Poached Whole Free Range Chicken with Chinese Rose Essence Wine Infused Premium Top Soya Sauce.

Fried Rice with Diced BBQ Pork, Pineapple and Ice-wine Soaked Raisin.

Desserts of Mango Pudding, Sweet Mung Bean Soup and Chinese Cookie

Although the restaurant was packed due to other simultaneously held functions, the true caliber of the kitchen really came out and shine since all the dishes were executed almost flawlessly.

Apart from the lovely contrasting flavored prawns ( one with a salty, the other, a sweetish finish ). The other favorites of the night, from a quick impromptu poll, were undoubtedly the addictive pork spare ribs and the crunchy skin Oysters. Both involving interesting complex flavor and textural play!

All in all, a great evening of fine food and great chowfriends!

Lastly, for a Chinese restaurant, the service, though impeded by language barrier, were extremely attentive and helpful

PS: A 'SECOND SEATING' involving the same menu is planned for Thursday 6th June. For those of you chowhounders who missed out on this meet and would like to participate in this next gathering, PLEASE CONTACT ME at cctyu68@hotmail.com by Sunday, 2nd June, the latest! ( lead time needed for the restaurant to secure the live Prawns for our group ). First come first serve basis still applies!

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  1. I hate to be crass, but how much a head?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

      $50 all inclusive of food, tax and tips.

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Great price for all that good quality food! Don't even need a coupon!

        Was MSG used?

        Why not a fruit based dessert?

        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

          Although no mango was evident, technically mango is a fruit no?
          Besides dessert does not always have to include fruit.

    2. Thanks for organizing Charles! Great chowmeet as usual! My fav is a toss up between the spare ribs and oysters.

      1. The sea salt prawns, oysters and ribs were the standouts. Thanks for organizing another terrific chowmeet, Charles!

        1. Looks like another great meal. Wish I could have gone but probably a good thing I didn't try considering the weather and my commute!

          3 Replies
          1. re: ylsf

            I fully agree! I keep staring at these Chowhound meets and I wish I could go to these but the commute for me is 1+ hours!

            1. re: Nevy

              I drive in from Niagara-on-the-Lake for these. You can do it! :o)

              1. re: TorontoJo

                Yeah, and I drove in late from downtown TO, which initially *said* an hour on the GPS. Luckily I got there in much less time.. the secret is Don Mills North.

          2. Bytepusher was there? Where was he sitting? Would have liked to have met him!

            ps, Magic is waaaaaaaaay nicer in person. :P


            7 Replies
            1. re: justxpete

              I know, where/who was bytepusher?! Would have loved to have meet him/her. Great to meet magic in person. Need to chat more next time!

              1. re: TorontoJo

                I was right behind you, Mrs bytepusher (aka savagehenry) and I were beside Charles and Vincent

                I try to keep a low profile...

                1. re: bytepusher

                  Oh, doh! You did a good job with the low profile. :o)

                  Nice to meet you, though. Thanks for holding the door!

                2. re: TorontoJo

                  Lovely to meet you too! Definitely chat more next time :)

                  I had lots of fun with a wonderful couple with some great US recs, Estufarian and juno. Note: juno is such a joy.

                  More TorontoJo chatting next time!

                  1. re: magic

                    Love juno and estufarian. juno was my neighbour for many years. He needs to post more -- great writer. :)

                    See you next time!

                3. re: justxpete

                  So are you, dude! justxpete rules!

                  Honestly, that was a fantastic meal!

                  More comments from me later most likely....

                4. Just to add a comment about the textures which were superb in almost all dishes - certainly in all the highlights mentioned already.
                  Texture is one of my top criteria in evaluating places (and sadly is not always considered when constructing a dish), but Emporer clearly focusses on that aspect.
                  Oh, and the tastes were pretty good too! As was the wine (!)

                  13 Replies
                  1. re: estufarian

                    In regards to texture, despite the other opinions, I didn't enjoy my Oyster. Perhaps mine in particular was a bit off.

                    I loved everything else, however, perhaps with exception of the rice. Somewhat anti-climactic, as our table's rice was fairly bland - although the pork in it was excellent. Standouts for me were the ribs and the peking duck.

                    1. re: estufarian

                      I am curious to hear how the wine situation worked with so many people....

                      I really need to pull the trigger and join in one of these dinners, sadly my wife is allergic to most things seafood, so most likely she will remain home and take care of the little bugger....

                      1. re: Sadistick

                        Charles kindly arranged for a $5 corkage for this particular dinner. So several us brought our own bottles of wine and the restaurant provided glasses. A bit of sharing happened, of course. :)

                        1. re: Sadistick

                          Well! Sadistick, a 2nd seating is planned for those chowhounders who missed out on yesterday's meet due to schedule conflict!
                          Date is: Thursday, 6th June. Same time, same place, same menu and same cost.
                          May be we'll 'C.Yu' there?!

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            I have clients in town that I will be taking for dinner, Charles - perhaps the next event.

                            Curious to hear more as to what wines were enjoyed - the food looks great, but food is only half of the puzzle.

                            Does everyone just open their own and random pours/shares ensue? Or is some form of order agreed upon?

                            1. re: Sadistick

                              Participants who brought along their own wine were for the consumption by their own party. Some did generously offer a glass or two for their immediate neighbors.

                              If my memory serves me right, the wine part were:

                              One party brought along a bottle of Burgundy.

                              TorontoJo a bottle of Alsatian Sparkling wine, I think?!

                              Two parties off dry Gewurtztraminers

                              Estufarian a late harvest German Riesling.

                              IMHO, since most of the dishes involved a component of sweetness both Riesling and/or Gewurtz made ideal pairing!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Interesting. Perhaps when I am able to make it, we can ponder some wine plans as well....wouldn't want 4 bottles of Riesling without a Pinot to be seen! ;)

                                  1. re: Sadistick

                                    For multi-course Chinese food dinner. Based on my experience, almost all dishes have some sort of a sweet component to the overall taste profile. So in my book, an ALL RIESLING pairing sans Pinot, Chardonnay or other grape varietals is more than acceptable for me. In fact, IMHO Riesling is so 'versatile' it can go with almost any type of food!!

                                    FYI, here's the 'All Riesling' Food and Wine pairing dinner I had at Splendido a while back with fellow hound Estufarian et al!

                                    1. re: Charles Yu

                                      I enjoy a good Rieslings, but to have an all Riesling dinner would be overload.

                                      Some Pinots do quite well with Asian cuisine, especially those with a lot of forward fruit.

                                    2. re: Sadistick

                                      There was a pinot (from Domaine Parent)!
                                      Also mine was a Kabinett Riesling, not a Late Harvest.

                                      1. re: estufarian

                                        Thanks for the correction! Getting old!! Memory not as good! Ha!!

                            2. re: estufarian

                              Thanks for the Reisling my friend :) Your generosity was very much appreciated by our table.

                              Outstanding vino (by my admittedly novice take).

                            3. Thanks again, Charles, for organizing another fab chowmeet. Great fun, great food, great value!

                              Loved my first spot prawn experience (preferred the salt prep). Ribs were my fave of the night. But the peking duck was really excellent, too!

                              1. Looked absolutely fabulous, Charles!

                                1. Thank you Charles for all of your work putting these together, another fantastic meal, hard to pick a favourite it was all so good...

                                  1. I had my wedding banquet at Emperor and the food was pretty damn tasty. Service was very good as well. Their duck and oysters were fantastic during my other dinner visits. Oysters were addictive and well cooked with great crunch and juiciness.

                                    Pics look tasty!

                                    1. Thanks Charles for organizing yet another incredible meal! For me, favorites were the sea salt prawns, the oysters, the beef and the chicken. The oysters in particular were spectacular. I would not have known about this place but for Charles' praise of it, and certainly couldn't have arranged this kind of meal, so thanks again, Charles!

                                      1. Greetings to all my fellow chow-friends who attended the above chowmeet!
                                        It was my pleasure to share a such a fine dining event with great companies like you folks!
                                        Sometimes, I found the jokes and eating adventure/experiences we shared even more enjoyable than the delectable foods!
                                        Till next time, Happy Chowing!!
                                        C.Yu will see you all!!

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                          Thanks Charles! Keep up the good work!

                                        2. The mango pudding looks amazing!! I wish I were in your neck of the woods so I could attend the next event... :( I'm getting ready to do a blog post on mango & sticky rice; will let you know how it goes!

                                          1. Fried Rice with "... Ice-wine Soaked Raisin"??
                                            I have never seen this before. Is this common?

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: happycamper

                                              No! Its definitely not common amongst the Chinese circle! Just that the chef is a wine enthusiast and we happen to be in Ontario!! A bit of fusion play here!!

                                              Who knows? Alinea or Noma might steal this recipe after someone in their kitchen team read this?! Ha!!

                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                In Thailand, a very popular staple in family-style cafes would be the "American Fried Rice". I'd not found this dish anywhere outside Thailand - it consists of fried rice with raisins and tomato ketchup, topped with a fried egg sunny-side-up, fried chicken and small cocktail sausages. It's an invention from the Vietnam War era when American soldiers stayed in Bangkok for R&R. Thai cooks tried to imagine what Americans would like to eat and came up with this concoction!

                                                But the raisins wouldn't have been soaked in any alcohol/spirit, let alone ice wine! :-D

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  I loved the fried rice. Light and sweet and fresh and fragrant. I can see why some might find it plain, but I had 3 bowls.

                                                  My highlights: ribs, Peking duck (both ways sublime), and chicken.

                                                  With major snaps going to those delicious spot prawns and those coconut treats for dessert. Mmm!

                                                  Charles puts so much work into these dinners and is a superbly gracious host. He goes above and beyond to make sure we leave happy. He ran around the room looking for leftover coconut treats and a container for me to take them home in cuz he knew I liked them. You can't teach that. That comes from within.

                                                  1. re: magic

                                                    Thank you for all your KIND words, Magic!!
                                                    I'll make sure to offer you a few glasses of Riesling next time!! Ha!!

                                              2. Also, agreed. Wonderful service!

                                                1. Tonight saw the successful completion of the '2nd Seating' of this 'BC Spot Prawns theme' chowmeet. Once again, a bunch of die-hard foodies braved the rainy weather and lousy traffic to join in the 'gastronomic-fun'.
                                                  Overall, food was still great but service was a bit lacking since the restaurant was surprisingly packed!! ( A great sign that the food is good! ). As for the company?! Great as usual, with lots of interesting exchanges on food experiences and adventures!
                                                  With this, we bid farewell to this year's Spot Prawns season.
                                                  Till next year!!

                                                  BTW, for our next chowmeet, I'm thinking about an ' Alaskan King Crab 3 ways + BC Dungeness Crab in Rum Cream Sauce ' combo?! Interested?
                                                  Please stay tune!!

                                                  6 Replies
                                                    1. re: magic

                                                      No! Probably in a new and different restaurant.

                                                    2. re: Charles Yu

                                                      Hi Charles ... you can probably count me in for two, it's getting to be a habit I cannot seem to break.

                                                      1. re: Lefty

                                                        Hello Lefty!....I recall I only ensure great food and dining experience during the chowmeets. Did not remember I started the meals off with 'hashish' as amuse bouche??!! Ha!!!

                                                      2. re: Charles Yu

                                                        Many thanks Charles, it was a great meal with fantastic company.