Feast of Fortune fundraises for St. Paul’s Hospital

Source: vancouversun.com

The annual Feast of Fortune fundraiser by the Chinese Restaurant Awards takes a different form this year.

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Heritage Asian Eatery

382 West Broadway


Fortune Terrace Chinese Cuisine

6200 River Rd., Richmond


When a menu says ‘feast’ at a Chinese restaurant, you had better train for it — jog, shed a few pounds, practise the art of restraint. Otherwise, your weight will match the Year of the Ox.

Normally, the annual Feast of Fortune — a collaboration between the Chinese Restaurants Awards and the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation held around the Chinese New Year — is a glitzy affair with award-winning chefs cooking, entertainers entertaining and generous, open wallets emptying. This year, for obvious reasons, that wasn’t going to happen.

But the feast lives! Rather than a gala event, eight Chinese restaurants — six award-winners and two up-and-comers — will donate $25 from each Feast of Fortune dinner sold (usually for four people) or $25 from each $100 Feast of Fortune gift certificate.The event runs Feb. 8-26, menu prices range from $38 to $100 per person,and the money raised will go to the Jim Pattison Medical Centre.


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The restaurants taking part are Fortune Terrace, Bamboo Grove, Hotpot Palace and The Fish Man in Richmond, and Torafuku, Joy Cafe and Po Kong Vegetarian in Vancouver.

I indulged in two feasts, one at the modern Heritage Asian Eatery on West Broadway, and the other at the more traditional Fortune Terrace across from the Olympic Oval in Richmond. At both, I was hit by a culinary avalanche with nine- and eight-course menus, respectively. Past Course 3, you’re crossing over into gluttony given the sizable portions.

But! Our MO was to ask for takeout containers early in the game. Once the excess is packed up, so is the temptation.

Feast of Fortune dinner at Heritage Asian Eatery. Photo by William Lum/Handout (single use)
Feast of Fortune dinner at Heritage Asian Eatery. William Lum

Traditionally, Chinese New Year dishes carry symbols of good fortune — health, happiness, family and wealth are homonyms for those things. You’ll find some in the Heritage Asian Eatery feast but that’s not the focus.

“We just want to do a menu that represents us, so it’s very focused on the barbecue aspect and various dumplings,” says co-owner Paul Zhang. “Every Chinese New Year, dumplings were a highlight in our family. We’d get together and make dumplings from scratch. It’s always going to be about family, enjoying each other, and welcoming a new year and celebrating the Chinese culture.”

His talented chefs offer an absolutely delicious feast that costs $238 for four. It starts with hefty abalone siu mai and Dungeness crab, and chive prawn dim-sum dumplings. Tweaking tradition, they offer two large, steamed, fresh Fanny Bay oysters, one with garlic sauce, another with black bean; traditionally, it would be dried oysters.


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And barbecued wild boar! Oh man, heavenly with fat and lean shoulder cuts and a belly cut. I quickly packed up half the plate as we have five more courses to go. Next, a two-course Peking duck. One, cuts of the roast with super-crispy skin and meat to enfold in steamed pancakes with black bean sauce and scallions and, second, a new idea — pulled duck meat tucked bao style into steam buns.

Course 4: A heaping plate of juicy, plump heritage chicken with bronzed and crispy skin hits the table with some shrimp crackers and a couple of sauces along with a neatly stacked dish of gai lan with a house soy dressing and garlic chips. Another dish holds what looks like florets from a whole cauliflower, battered and deepfried.

Those who’ve taken the gluttony path might take the symbolism of the penultimate noodle course to heart — noodles, the longer the better, are for longevity. It’s served in a soup with shiitake and winter chanterelles.

Dessert is a clear ginger broth tang yuan (sweet rice balls), a homonym for family togetherness; my stomach welcomes the soothing, brightening broth.

At Fortune Terrace Cantonese restaurant the following week, the menu dove deeper into Chinese cuisine.

My first impression was of the precision work on a ‘roasted pork deluxe platter’ with barbecued pork, grilled eel and marinated strips of jellyfish. I loved the delicately crisp skin on the pork, kind of like the texture of potato chips.

I had every drop of a generous serving of braised seafood bird’s nest soup because it’s a luxury and it was good. The broth contains the saliva nests of swiflets, which produce an enormous amount of it. It tasted delicate and mostly of prawns and scallops.


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The third dish, abalone and shiitake over pea tips, featured abalone cooked with a gentle touch. Then, moist and flavourful roast, free-range chicken, deepfried whole but not at all oily. Again, I loved the beautifully crispy skin.

New year’s oysters were done the traditional way with rehydrated dried oysters. These were large, plump and dense, and served with black moss or fat choy, a Chinese word for prosperity although kids are more likely to call it hair vegetable because that’s what it looks like. Underneath, there was some lettuce, which in Chinese, sounds like “to grow wealth.” I found the oysters too intense but the black moss was interesting in texture and flavour.

Ah, we’re moving toward the finish line when rice appears — this was a delicious, light, fluffed fried rice with seafood, moulded into a heart shape as Valentine’s nears. And dessert, too, was light — a square of mango sago pudding topped with sweetened pomelo strips and gold leaf as well as a platter of watermelon and cantaloupe.

This Feast of Fortune menu is $388 for four.






The return of an Edgemont favourite.

The Cafe Norte Mexican restaurant in North Vancouver’s Edgemont Village was a big deal from 1987 to 1998 and customers loved owners Philip and Linda Mitchell and family. So much that when they faced closure in 1998, the village raised over $250,000 as ‘prepayment’ for food to keep them going. Despite the support, they had to shutter.


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Now, two of their children, Jeremy and Katie, are bringing back a “contemporary version” of the original. It’s opening soon as Cantina Norte, about 100 metres from the original location at the new Connaught development.

Until opening, they’re doing a $70 dine-out-dinner-for-two for pickup from their commissary kitchen in North Van, and they’re donating $5 from each package to San Miguel de Allende’s Feed the Hungry where they’ve adopted a school lunch program for the students who attend. The dinner includes fresh-made taco chips, a trio of salsas, one small plate, one main dish, two sides and a flan dessert.

If you want to trip down memory lane, cantinanorte.com has a lot of photos from their origin years.


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