ChineseBites is a site dedicated to listing Metro Vancouver Chinese restaurants and their menus, signature dishes, news, and more. I was invited to join the Signature Dishes Tour where periodically, we would get to try out each restaurants famous dishes in an attempt to prove that Vancouver has the best Chinese food outside of Asia. In my opinion, we already do, but it doesn’t hurt to eat more, and it also serves as a guide for better knowledge and to learn the differences between all the various cuisines that Chinese food has to offer.
Starting off with the Golden Swan Appetizer Platter 五福拼盤, it was a simplified version of the cold platter usually seen at Chinese wedding banquets.
The 2nd dish, Soft Tofu in Japanese Style 千頁滑豆腐, is something I’ve never seen before.
The presentation of this really surprised me, and I greatly appreciated the time and effort put into slicing and arranging the tofu ring.
3rd dish: Sauteed Geoduck and Scallops with Sweat Peas 帶子象拔蚌炒蜜磄. Filled to the brim with seafood, great presentation.
4th dish: Sauteed Beef Tenderloin with Chayote in Black Pepper Sauce 黑椒合掌瓜炒牛柳粒.
It was a bit weird to see the use of strawberries AND chayote in this dish. Strawberries because it’s a fruit and almost never ever seen in use for a savoury dish, especially for Chinese cuisine, and chayote because I personally have only tasted it due to my mom’s cooking, influenced by the time she spent living in Costa Rica. True enough, it is native to Mexico and also grows in Costa Rica.
5th dish: House Special Salty Chicken 秘製鹽焗雞. A classic Chinese dish where a chicken is wrapped and then buried in coarse salt and baked, which results in tender juicy meat.
6th dish: Egg white custard with Almond milk 天鵝杏汁炒奶. Honestly, the strangest dish tonight and the most unimpressive. It tasted like nothing, aside from the tiny cubes of Asian Pear throughout the mixture.
7th dish: Angel Hair with Tiger Prawn 天使干燒大売蝦 . I had an actual “WTFLOL” moment when the manager was talking to Sherman and said “gwai lo mein” (white people noodle) in Cantonese cause I know it’s actually “yi ta li mien” (Italian noodle). This was definitely a fancier Western influenced dish, and the prawn was massive!
8th dish: Lobster, Scallops, Shrimp with Rice on Lotus Leaf 荷香珍珠海龍皇
1 (massive) scallop and prawn (again) per person along with 1 lobster, steamed over sticky rice. As it was the last dish of the night, it was considered filler, but when do you ever get such a nice ending to a meal?
With the dinner out of the way, it was now time for dessert. I was hoping for anything other than Red Bean Soup!
Dessert #1: Baked Tapioca Pudding 西米焗布甸
The crust on this was very similar to almond cookies, a satisfying crunchy texture to it, combined with the tapioca and the lotus paste. A must try Chinese dessert if you’ve never had the pleasure.
Dessert #2: Deep Fried Durian Rolls 飄香榴連酥
Personally, I hate durian, especially in its raw form, but baked into a pastry shaped like a cocoon, it’s surprisingly digestible and tolerable.
In total, we photographed and ate through 10 dishes, and in the end I came out feeling extremely full, and happy to have gleaned a bit more knowledge from the collective conversations, and especially from Sherman’s own dining experiences.
From past visits to Golden Swan, I feel that their true strength is in their dim sum, which you can see pictures of in my Flickr set.