Saturday, 23 August 2008

Boss Restaurant at Metrotown

AP and I made a trip out to Burnaby, one of the suburbs, last week. We went to Metrotown, reputedly the largest shopping complex in British Columbia, and boy did we believe that claim. The place is humongous and after walking around for hours (mainly in department stores likes Zellers, Sears and Winners for homeware), we still have not covered half the place. Flagging with sore feet and an empty stomach, we decided to give up and get some dinner and went into a Hong Kong eatery named Boss Restaurant (大班).

The food was classic Hong Kong Cantonese style, and the style of the restuarant is more along the lines of a well-dressed tea-restaurant or cafe-restaurant (茶餐厅) that one finds all over Hong Kong (and increasingly in themed restaurants around Southeast and East Asia). The food comes quickly, diners eat quickly, the bill is paid and one is out - rather like a fast-food sort of place. This makes 茶餐厅 great places for a quick lunch, afternoon snack or a a satisfying dinner, without the kind of prices associated with many restaurants.

AP and I ordered very simple but classic cantonese dishes. I had a seafood congee (海鲜粥) that came with a generous serving of prawns, fish slices and even a couple of scallops. Congee is a kind of rice porridge, in which rice is cooked in broth (usually chicken, sometimes with added dried scallops for sweetness) over low heat until all grains have disintegrated and the porridge becomes thick and creamy. I much perfer Hong Kong style congee to Teochew style porridge which is essentially soft-cooked rice in rice water. The seafood congee was topped with julienned ginger, chopped spring onions and a drizzle of sesame oil, which was very traditional.

Seafood congee

AP had salted fish and chicken fried rice (咸鱼鸡粒炒饭), another classic Hong Kong dish. Each grain of rice was well separated and the aroma of the chicken, eggs, and crispy fried salted fish may be overpowering to some but really hit the spot for us. Salted fish is essentially dried and salted fish that is a bit of an acquired taste to those who have not grown up with it. It is often fried until crispy, broken up into small pieces (a little bit goes a looooong way) and used as a topping or ingredient in cooking. The plate of fried rice was huge! It could have easily fed two, if not three with a side dish.

Salted fish and chicken fried rice

Fluffy egg fried rice, tender chicken and crispy salted fish.

Salted fish and chicken fried rice 2

The next time you are in a Chinese restaurant and you spot this dish on the menu, do give it a go rather than automatically ordering the normal chicken/beef/prawn fried rice or yang chow fried rice. The salted fish might take some getting used to, but it is not dissimilar to anchovies which are also dried fish often preserved with salt/brine.

Our bill, with tea, tax and tip, came up to $20, which is pretty good in my books. The restaurant had been newly renovated and the place was bright and clean. The service was brisk, as in common in cafe-restaurants (and well, in many Asian restaurants actually). Although the wait staff were never rude, some people might feel that the lack of attention equals poor service. I personally am quite happy to be left alone to enjoy my food rather than constantly being asked how my food was and if there was anything else I need. We went on a weekday evening and it was surprisingly quiet. Some reviews that I've read seem to indicate that it gets insanely busy on weekends and one usually has to take a number and wait.

The restaurant also serves traditional Hong Kong style breakfast and other snacks and dishes. Given how well they have executed the classic dishes that we ordered, I would like to go back and try their stir fried noodles and wonton noodles.

Boss Restaurant (Metrotown)
Unit 238, 4800 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
V5H 4J2
Tel: 604-438-2677

Boss Restaurant & Bakery (Chinatown)
532 Main Street
Vancouver, BC
V6A 2T9
Tel: (604) 683-3860


VeggieGirl said...

Sounds like a great restaurant!

Mrs Ergül said...

I totally love eating in HK! I don't get sick of the dim sum even after eating it for 7 days straight! Yum!

Elaine said...

For some reason, I very much disliked salted fish growing up (we had whole ones that my mom liked to eat with her rice and the rest of the dishes) but I LOVE it in fried rice! You're right though, it really is an acquired taste as the smell is quite strong.

[eatingclub] vancouver || js said...

I've just realized that I haven't had salted fish fried rice in such a long time. It is one of my favourite fried rice. I haven't eaten in a Cantonese-style noodle joint in a long time as well: it's time to remedy this!

Elsye said...

ooww, I really loved salted fish fried rice, in my home country it's called nasi goreng with ikan asin...look delish Nilamdra :D

Nilmandra said...

Veggiegirl: Definitely one to return to :)

Mrs Ergul: LOL, I adore dim sum as well and I don't think I'll be sick of it either!

Elaine: It does have a very distinctive taste, and smell! I was really surprised that the husband liked it.

Eatingclub Vancouver: Cantonese style joints are a staple for me, although I think sushi bars might take over here in Vancouver!

Elsye: I didn't know salted fish is called ikan asin, thanks! My husbands loves traditional nasi goreng. He's had it in Singapore and Indonesia and we found a really good one here just this weekend at a Singaporean restaurant. Happy days :)

noobcook said...

Looking at these gorgeous spread has made me crave to go HK ... hee... The food looks really good in Vancouver! ;)

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