Ten. Count 'em ten different dishes for dinner. Variety is the spice of life and this is something you show up hungry for. Each dish in a Chinese ten-course dinner is small and a tasting of everything from vegetables, pork, chicken, fish, shrimp, beef and seafood. It's a leisurely meal that takes close to three hours to be savoured and enjoyed over several pots of tea. Here are our snaps:
The deluxe platter of BBQ pork, sesame oil marinated jellyfish, roasted duck, soya sauce marinated beef shank and pork hock (above). The BBQ pork had a sweet taste on the outside which contrasted the yummy salty pork. Ohhhh it was so good. Probably some of the best BBQ pork I have ever had. Not the dried out kind that 'hangs' around for too long. I love the crunch of the jellyfish. Sort of a weird think to eat if you think about it. So just go for it. The duck was very fatty and perfectly cooked. I was feeling less adventurous on the beef shank and pork hock.
The shark fin soup with chicken and cured ham was slippery and silky smooth. Sprinkle a litte red vinegar on top and it's heavenly. It's a special occassion treat and not something you get to eat all the time.
Wok-fried jumbo prawns & shrimp mousse balls with broccoli. The shrimp were giant with little specks of garlic sprinkled on top. I love the crab claw version of the fried seafood ball. The shrimp mousse ones weren't bad, but I do love the original.
Braised sliced abalone and sea cucumber on a bed of vegetable sprouts. By this time the oil from the deep fried shrimp balls were hitting my stomach. The dark greens were a nice palette cleanser and soaked in a yummy sauce. I don't think I'm a sea cucumber person. It reminds me of an eel and the texture is a bit squirmy. The abalone however was delicious and not too chewy.
Deep-fried chicken flavoured with miso sauce. Crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside. Chinese fried-chicken is a must-try if you've never had it before!
Fresh daily catch poached in supreme broth. Very simple, but flavourful. Slivers of green onions add a little punch with crunchy baby bok choy.
Fried sticky rice with cured meat and baby shrimp. I think this is some of the best fried rice I have ever had. Sticky rice fries up a little crispy and the Chinese sausage pieces, green onion created a very happy combination.
Yang Chung noodles with shredded duck and pickled vegetable. This was very different, a savoury noodle with pork in broth. I'm used to a fried noodle, so this was a nice change and something new to try.
Chinese desserts tend to be not too sweet, but flavourful. The coconut roll (above) contains bean paste on the inside, chewy and smooth. Gelatin squares (below). I couldn't decipher the exact flavour, but they were a bit plain.
Sweetened bean soup provided a nice warm finish to a special meal with our family. Hip + urban husband and I just sold our three-bedroom house in Toronto. The grand dinner was a thank you gift to our parents, grandma cousin and uncle who helped us prep and clean our house for sale. Which was a huge task that would have taken us weeks on our own.
The Lai Wah Heen Classic Deluxe Menu is $688 for a table of ten plus 15% gratuity. It's a great excuse for a fancy Chinese dinner with friends and family. Meaning, no plastic tablecloths here! We think it's one of the best in the city and the dim sum is fantastic too.
Lai Wah Heen, Toronto - Inside The Metropolitan Hotel
108 Chestnut Street (416) 977-9899