My very first official dinner with Chinese Bites! Sure, I attended the KiBo event with some of the regulars a few weeks ago, but it wasn't Chinese food. So here we are at Ken's Kitchen to try some of their Award Winning Signature Dishes. The menu has a huge variety of dishes, ranging from Combination Dinners for a table of 10, or just a simple bowl of Wonton Noodle Soup. The menu also has some snacks to try like Deep Fried Tofu and Chicken Wings. It's great if you are with a group of friends, like we were, so we got to try a bit, actually, a LOT, of everything. Joining me today were Kevin, Rick, Romina, Alvin, Sherman, Janice and Raymond of Chinese Bites. As pictured above, the Chinese Restaurant Award winners were both seafood dishes, one was the Lobster with Konnyaku in Hot Pot, and the other is the Golden Dungeness Crab.The Lobster and Konnayku was good - lots of meat on the lobster and they did a good job of breaking it down for us. I love the freshness of just ginger and green onions on seafood. It really helps to bring out the sweetness of the seafood. The konnyaku is an interesting addition, one of the good things about these noodles is that it is virtually impossible to overcook them, so they will never get mushy on you. But the nature of the noodles itself is quick "water-repellant", so the opportunity for the noodles to soak up the lobster "juice" was missed. The best Lobster over Carb dish I've ever had was at Ho Yuen Kee. That was a really great meal and I really need to nudge my parents to revisit!
The next dish to arrive was the Crab, and in case you're not aware, the "golden" in the Golden Crab is due to the use of Chinese Salted Egg as part of the coating. I like salted egg, so this dish was a win for me. However, if you're not accustomed to the pungency of this item, it might overwhelm you. The way it's used as a coating here was good, because once you got past the saltiness of the coating, you are rewarded with the sweetness of the crab.The rest of the dishes were ones we got to choose, and each of us ordered something. I can't remember exactly who ordered what, but our next dish was the Grilled Lamb Chops. With a black pepper sauce, the meat was very tender, with a slight cumin or curry flavour. And believe it or not, we actually ate some of the salad too. For my choice, I chose their Specialty Chicken. I love the ginger and green onion sauce that accompanied it. I could easily devour this whole plate with a small bowl of white rice. The chicken has a great sheen with a lovely yellow tinge in the skin. The meat itself was moist and not overly fatty. The thin layer that was there was pretty easy to remove. I preferred the dark meat with the bony parts and there was plenty of those pieces.We also tried the Braised Oxtail with Daikon and other vegetables. The chunky veggies complemented the meatiness of the ox tail. I would have preferred that the meat be cut into smaller pieces, but the flavour was definitely there. If you don't mind using your hands, then this is a good dish to roll up your sleeves for. Following the Braised Oxtail, we moved onto the Braised Pork Hock. This was a bit salty for my liking but the meat was really juicy. The beans and peanuts were a pleasant and unexpected touch. Pork hock is pretty fatty, especially the skin, so if you're skittish about fat, then I'd suggest avoiding this dish.Another super fatty dish is the Stewed Pork Belly. The pork is cooked with the skin on, and it serves to keep the meat moist. It's about 50/50 fat to meat ratio. The good thing is that the fat can be removed from the meat quite easily, so you can decide just how much fat you want to eat. And I have to say, the broccoli was very fresh and cooked to a nice crispiness.This dish almost looks like Pork Cutlets but it's actually Ox Tongue. We went from tail, to hock and to belly, so tongue seemed a natural progression. I guess we were working our way up. I found the sauce a little too thick for this rather delicate cut of meat. If it's done correctly, this should be very tender, but this one could have used a few more hours of braising. Or else, they could have sliced the tongue thinner, so that the cooking time would have been enough.This, other than the salad with the Lamb and the broccoli with the Pork Belly, is the only vegetable dish we ordered, the Spicy Green Beans. The beans themselves were fine and there was a good amount of ground pork in the stir-fry, but the dish was lacking a bit of the heat that we were all anticipating. But to be honest, it's nothing a side of hot sauce probably couldn't have solved.The dinner ended with a Fried Rice that the chef picked for us, with Gai Lan, Conpoy and lots of Tobiko. I love restaurants that don't cheap out and use frozen peas in their fried rices. The conpoy was plentiful and gave the rice a nice chewiness. The egg and tobiko (also egg!) rounded out the dish and gave us a very satisfying end to the lovely meal. Our chef posed for us at the end of our meal, and it's so nice to see someone beam with pride after serving us such a wonderful meal.
**Ken's Chinese Restaurant hosted Chinese Bites for this tasting but my opinions are my own.**
More reviews available here for Signature Dishes Tour Dinners.