Hakkasan Bistro Cafe

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#EWRL Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites for a tasting in some of Hakkasan Bistro’s Signature items! Opinions are my own.

Hakkasan Bistro is a family-run restaurant in the outskirts of Richmond, BC. It’s very close to the International Summer Night Market, which is also out of Central Richmond. However, many good restaurants are hidden in the middle of nowhere. Isn’t there a saying, “if it’s good, people will come to you!”? Well, Hakkasan is one of those restaurants. They’re in the middle of an industrial area, I guess that’s a good thing there’s little competition. They have been in the location since 2007. But little did I remembered about the restaurant since they’ve had a makeover in 2013.

Bistro & Café

They are now a Bistro & a Café, offering the “grab & go” concept for those in a hurry for quick lunches or dinner. At the same time, offering their authentic, modern and trendy Chinese cuisine unlike anything in Richmond. Thanks to ChineseBites, a community of us came together and enjoyed a tasty dining experience at Hakkasan!

Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks – $20 (*Signature*)

We did not delay and started with one of Chef’s signature dish, Honey Roasted Pork Cheeks (Jowls). This is one of the best part of the pig, it’s marbled and tender. Marinated with the Chef’s special glaze. It was like Chinese Barbeque pork but every bite of it was juicy and tender. This item must be ordered in advanced.

Whole Coconut Pork & Snow Fungus Soup – $22 (*Signature*)

Think about 20 of these coming out at once! It was quite a scene. This is a must-try! A lightly roasted young coconut filled with tender pieces of pork, snow fungus and broth double boiled for over three hours! The essence of the coconut meat was infused into the soup, the coconut was no longer white inside.

The Coconut meat

The Young Coconut was so tender that I was able to scrape the trimmings right off. It came with a small dish of chilli soy sauce for dipping. Perfect combo! A great way to start the meal. However, we all thought this would make a great soup on a cooler day. (It was 30 degrees out!) This must be ordered a day in advanced as well.

Steamed Specialty Garlic Lobster w/ Jasmine Rice – $22/serving (*Signature*)

Drool! It’s not the lobster that is to be raved about but how they made it. The secret is in their odourless garlic. That’s right! It tasted like garlic but without the garlicky breath afterwards. How they did it? We don’t know and it was a secret indeed. Everyone had half a lobster and underneath it was a bed of jasmine rice which soaked in all the wonderful flavours of the lobster. It was A-MAZING! Really loved the rice, for someone that doesn’t eat rice too often I had to have an extra bowl just because of it.

Anicent Style Hakka Salt Baked Chicken – $55 (*Signature*)

Guess what this is?! Well, I guess I’ve already given it away. But just looking at the dish unwrapped was exciting. The chicken is marinated with a blend of ten different flavourful Chinese herbs and spices. Then, it gets wrapped in parchment paper, placed in a clay pot with piping hot coarse salt and then baked to perfection! Sounds easy, right? Of course it does, this ancient and rustic slow-baking technique ensures the chicken is moist and enhances the flavours of the chicken.

Ancient Style Salt Baked Chicken

Props to @Foodology for allowing me to get this great shot by stopping the excessive light coming in.

Ancient Style Hakka Baked Chicken

Thoughts? The breast just didn’t have as enough taste as the outer parts of the chicken. I had a wing and it was flavourful! So depending on which part you get, this dish didn’t jump out to me other than the presentation. Must be ordered a day in advanced.

Braised Pork Hock – $40 (*Signature*)

The braised pork hock was another highlight of the night. It was tender and full of flavours. It is glazed in Chef’s signature sweet braise sauce and served with a bed of greens. Must be ordered a day in advanced.

Steamed Mini Flour Rolls

I’m not sure if it was made to compliment but having the mini flour rolls with the pork hock was excellent! I found the pork hock flavours to be too strong by itself and hence, the flour rolls were just great with it! The best part of the dish is that it did not feel greasy (fatty) at all.

Mui Choy Stir fry Seasonal Greens

By now, I was pretty full. But must finish! The mui choy is a delicacy for Hakka people I suppose. It’s basically a preserved vegetable that is on the sweet side. Never thought about this combo before, but it actually tasted good.

Hakka Homestyle Steamed Egg, Pork with Duck Yolk – $18

I could’ve had just this and a bowl of rice and I’d be satisfied. Steamed egg is a very homestyle dish. The steamed egg was silky and smooth. Treasured underneath is bite-sizes of minced pork and topped with crumbled duck yolk.

Stir fry Fish with Pickled Cabbage – $19

I’m not a huge fan of pickled vegetables. But this was refreshing under the heat, though we were luckily air-conditioned. The fish wasn’t fishy and the pickled vegetables wasn’t overpowering.

Steamed Milk Egg White Custard

To end it off, we had a steamed milk egg white custard. A light way to end dinner. Perfection! There we go, all 10 courses!

Complimentary Red/White

Almost forgot! We each had a glass of red or white wine. Looking at the menu, I chose white over red. And was glad I did. One of the sweeter whites I’ve had, and one of their favourites at Hakkasan.

This restaurant has changed a lot since my last visit (a long, long time ag0). It was a smaller restaurant back then and with only set menus. But now, it’s grown bigger with more offerings but no sacrifice in the quality they serve. I’d totally recommend checking out Hakkasan’s signature dishes if you can fork out a little extra for quality & specialty. (UPDATE: For those who don’t want to break the bank, they also offer custom tasting menu to your budget and preference.) Service was top-notch. We were well taken care of all evening (aka my glass was never empty). Everyone spoke very good English, so no worries if you don’t know Chinese. Atmosphere was well like a cafe, you would not even feel you were inside a Chinese restaurant. After all, they did say they were contemporary Chinese.

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