Our 8th Chinese Bites Signature Dishes Tour brings us to East Vancouver to Cindy’s Palace Chinese Seafood Restaurant for some delicious eats. The usual Chinese Bites crew were present including @AlvinKCLee, @K_Wu, @GraceCheung604, @Sherman38, @Food_Queen, @Foodology, @GoodEat, @RickChung and newcomer Queenie Cao. The crowd was great and we all really had a good time especially since it was Diana of Foodology.ca’s birthday!
We started with some Deep Fried Shrimp Cakes 泰式鮮蝦餅 served with a Thai style sauce. The cakes were nice and crisp on the outside without being greasy, inside the shrimp filling was nice and firm with nice pieces of shrimp in the cake. I could have easily eaten the whole plate of these. The sauce was unexpected and really good actually, it’s something that I would eat again with a shrimp or fish cake.
Next up the kitchen brought out some Shrimp Spring Rolls with Wasabi 日式鮮蝦春卷. These were served with a sweet and sour sauce. Again without being overly greasy these were packed full of plump shrimp filling with a bit of wasabi in the wrapper, another winning dish in my eyes.
To break up the shrimp-but not for long we got some Crispy Tofu Stuffed with Vegetables in Thai Sauce 花心酸辣脆豆腐. I’m a fan of fried tofu and this was a good, standard dish. The toppings and sauces were all great but the tofu was on the watery side with a couple of pieces.
Now these have to be some of the biggest Pork Dumplings 飛魚子燒賣皇 that we have ever seen-they were as big as Queenie’s fist! I love dumplings of every sort and I was really impressed with the size of these bad boys. The filling was cooked nicely without being too watery and the seasonings were good. The pork was just on the verge of getting to the too firm stage so I’m glad we got these when he did.
Hot pot time! All of us were exited when this was brought to the table, Lamb & Fish in Hot Pot 魚 + 羊 = 鮮味鍋. With it being a cold, rainy night out some soup was greatly appreciated. The server cut up the fish and dished it up into small bowls. The lamb in the soup really surprised me and it added a great meaty flavor to the broth, the pieces of lamb were alright as well but obviously were over cooked. I’m not sure of what kind of fish it was but it sure had a ton of bones and they weren’t removed from our servings, I’m guessing the bones are eaten but I passed and just sipped the broth.
Something that I have never had before was the Steamed Chicken with Mushrooms on Rice in Lotus Leaf 籠仔金菇蒸走地雞飯. The chicken was nicely shredded and the mushrooms were soft. The rice for me was perfectly cooked and had just the right amount of egg mixed in it.
Another new dish for me was the Steamed Chinese Melon with Vegetables 鴻福玉環上素. I got the pleasure of digging into this first, the melon was really soft and cut with the serving spoon releasing all that savory umami packed sauce on the plate. The mushrooms were very pungent with this dish and the goji berries added a slight sour flavor. I liked this but would lave loved it if it was filled with a meat or seafood.
A special dish that none of us were expecting was the Stir Fried Prawns with Special Tea Leaves 茶香基圍蝦. I think all of us at the table really liked these. You could eat the tea leaves that were crispy from the stir frying and the prawns were still nice and tender with a nice prawn flavor because of the shells being left on.
Next up was Stewed Spareribs in Whole Pumpkin 南瓜排骨盅. I thought this was another soup when this was brought to the table with the lid on but it was filled with spareribs! They had a nice flavor from being steamed in the pumpkin and being bone in the pork flavor was nice and rich.
Back to the seafood, this time with a nice big platter of Deep Fried Squid with Salt & Pepper 椒鹽鮮魷. All I can say about this is that it’s addictive and I couldn’t stop munching on the platter. The batter was not to thick and the squid wasn’t to greasy. The salt and pepper flavor along with the chili was the winner with this though and it’s a must order if you like calamari.
Keeping on the spicy side of the menu Cindy’s served up some Pork Toro with Vegetables 金盞川辣猪脊肉. I was trying to figure out what the heck pork toro was and the best I have been able to learn is it’s the jowl of the pig. The meat wasn’t so tender but tasted alright and the sauce was really good, the serving dish it was presented in was also edible. The rest of the dish was composed of a lot of peppers and chilies which a couple of us got big pieces of.
A dish I missed out on by choice was the Braised Pork Hock with Special Preserved Plum Sauce 九制話梅豬手. I would usually go for this type of item but these pork hocks were mostly gelatinous fat and meat was lacking.
This is a dish I dug right into with eager delight, Pan Fried Vermicelli with Beef in Black Pepper Sauce 含苞欲放牛煎米粉. After seeing a friend Instagram pictures of this but from a different restaurant I was exited when it was brought to the table. The topping was extremely crispy and was pretty much a vermicelli pancake cut into triangles. Filling wise this was also spicy but with black pepper this time, there was a great mix of thinly sliced beef along with vermicelli, peppers and onions along with the black pepper sauce. I’d order this again and recommend it to anyone who likes beef dishes with a kick.
Lastly on the savory end of the menu we finished off with Cindy’s Special Fried Rice 金牌肥媽炒飯. The rice had nice pieces of Chinese sausage, ham, dried scallop, egg and some veggies then stir fried to perfection. I really enjoyed this fried rice and went back for seconds.
For dessert we had some Glutinous Rice Balls with Sesame Paste 麻沙糯米糍. Just like my 1st Chinese Bites dinner flavor wise but a completely different appearance. The sesame balls were a lot firmer this time and I think the coating of black and white sesame seeds added to that, the filling was alright but a bit on the gritty side.
Something special that the kitchen made were Baked Pumpkin Pastries 田園南瓜棵子 that were filled with red bean. Now I know the menu say’s that these were baked but I swear to god they were deep-fried at some point because the outside tasted like a doughnut. The filling inside was sweetened nicely compared to the last red bean dessert I had and I actually enjoyed these quite a bit.
This meal, like my other Chinese Bites dinners was great, the service was amazing and the dishes presented were all delicious. I’d recommend Cindy’s Palace to anyone of my friends looking for some solid Chinese Food in the Hastings Sunrise area.
**Disclosure-as a ChineseBites.com reviewer my meal was comped by Cindy’s Palace but my opinions are completely my own and were not influenced by the restaurant or ChineseBites.com**