Victory Seafood (M’s) Restaurant Richmond and Excelsior

It’s that time of year, the most wonderful time of the year as Wendy calls/sings it: king crab season, and her and I got a chance to indulge, not once, but twice!  We decided to treat her parents one weekend, and they kindly returned the favour the next.  For our treat it was M’s Seafood in Richmond Public Market, a relatively modest Chinese banquet place, which is a sister location to the Victory Seafood in Crystal Mall.  Things can get a tad bit confusing here since the same owner runs a travel agency, which shares the same name as M’s in Chinese, which ALSO has locations in Crystal Mall and Richmond Public Market.  Phew!

We had some bewilderment with regards to reservations as well, since we were directed to the Kingsway location after calling the Chinese Restaurant Hotline.  Then we were given someone’s private line by the Kingsway location, but in the end it turned out we didn’t need reservations anyway since the place was completely empty when we first arrived.

I was pretty astonished at how quiet it was considering every time we’ve been out to eat on a weekend in Richmond everything seems to be jam-packed.  It’s only been open four or five months though so maybe that accounts for the lack of patrons, and things picked up with a fair sized birthday party later on in the evening.  On second thought maybe it’s the terrible reputation their Burnaby location has, but thankfully our visit to this new spot was pretty satisfying overall.  We picked the Alaskan king crab set menu for four ($188), and after a preliminary round of tea the first appetizers arrived.

Victory Seafood (M's) Restaurant Richmond: Battered seafood cakes

This was a pretty impressive looking first dish and set the tone for the evening nicely.  Battered seafood cakes drizzled with a sweet chili sauce alternated with cucumber spears and tiny cubes of marinated beef shank, artfully plated with a serving of sesame jellyfish in the middle.  I personally couldn’t get enough of the seafood cake’s perfect textures and the sauce was used sparingly enough to not overpower them. The beef was sweet and satisfying, and the jellyfish tasted better to me than usual.

Victory Seafood (M's) Restaurant Richmond: Fish maw and crab soup

We all got some fairly generous hunks of crab meat in the fish maw and crab soup course, not too much to say about it other than that it was decent.

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Noryanjin / Noryangjin Fish Market – Noryangjin, Seoul Korea

So…now comes the time of the main attraction…the whole purpose of our trip to South Korea.

Prior to the trip we had researched just where would be a good place to have this sannakji: fresh raw octopus, the tentacles of which are served still squirming on the plate.  It turns out, a lot of restaurants that serve sashimi will serve it also, but you have to ask if they have the fresh kind.

Fresh huh….aside from fishing it out of the sea yourself, the freshest seafood you can get it probably if you can pick it out of a tank, then immediately serve it up…

That’s it.  We’re heading to Noryangjin Fish Market (sometimes called Noryanjin), where you pick your kill, then pick a restaurant to have them killed.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

This massive wet market is all seafood.  It’s 24 hours and is just a 20 minute train ride from Myeongdong.  There were hawkers at each stall yelling at you to buy from them.  I think they know you’re here for live octopus, as that’s what they point you to right from the beginning.

Oh ya: most of them speak Mandarin.

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul, South Korea

There’s just so much to see.  Massive forearm-sized prawns, HUGE scallops on a rope, a mini shark head, pufferfish…  At a few tanks I swear I saw some fish which I’ve only known to be kept as pets in saltwater tanks.  There’s also alien looking worms that I only know to be 沙蟲 in Chinese.  I asked how they are supposed to be served…the answer was as sashimi.  We silently said no to that.

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Korean Cuisine Restaurant DOODAEMON – Insadong, Seoul Korea

This trip to Korea was one fabulous foodie trip as I did not stop eating.  One of our most memorable meals was in Insadong for a taste of Korea’s soy marinated raw blue crab gaejang.  Yes, raw crab.  Please don’t be squeamish.  This was probably the yummiest meal we had.

We had pinpointed a restaurant in Insadong to indulge in this delicacy but we didn’t anticipate how much there was to see there and so we lost track of time, and the restaurant we planned on going was close to closing for the afternoon, so we had to make other plans.

Doodaemon in Insadong, Korea

Luckily, we had been exploring a bit earlier in the day and had seen a few other interesting looking restaurants also offering this dish, so we decided to just pick one of them. Another lucky thing was that all the ones we saw were offering it for a bit cheaper too!!  The restaurant we ended up choosing was Doodaemon.

From what we’ve researched, Insadong is more a traditional and cultural city, so a lot of the original buildings and structures were retained. It seems like Doodaemon is one of them. Or else the designer did a very good job of keeping the old world charm alive.

Doodaemon in Insadong, Korea

Doodaemon in Insadong, Korea

It’s very chic-ly decored…pairing both old style wood with large, chandelier embellishments.  A thing we noticed though….it’s March and many, many of the shops and stores still have their Christmas decorations up…even at the Incheon International Airport =/

Doodaemon in Insadong, Korea: gegangjang

A single person serving of gegangjang was only $26, and it includes lots of banchan and a spicy seafood soup and rice. However we were not aware of that so we ended up ordering an extra seafood tofu hotpot… So we ended up with more food than we had wanted to order.

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East Meets West and Gets an Elbow to the Head at Top Cantonese

Not to be outdone by my anniversary surprise, Wendy planned a veritable feast of Chinese delicacies I had been wanting to try for my birthday.  I should insert a disclaimer here that Wendy is originally from Hong Kong while I’m Caucasian.  You’ll see why in a moment…  Acting on a friend’s recommendation we chose Top Cantonese, a banquet-style restaurant on Kingsway.

Top Cantonese

After making the reservation we found out that a Chinese couple we know had celebrated the wife’s birthday there just days before so we took that as a good omen.  Upon arrival we got off to an awkwardly humorous start that was to set the tone for the evening; while standing in the entranceway waiting for the group ahead of us to be seated, I was leaning with my arm outstretched against the wall.  Just as I was lowering my arm a straggler from the group darted underneath and I wacked her full force on the head with my elbow.  My immediate reaction was to apologize profusely and pat her softly on the head where I had hit her, but this seemed to cause even more consternation.  I felt like I had broken some obscure ancient tradition ie “do not touch the head or you will steal the person’s soul”.  Oh well on to the food…

Top Cantonese: Honey badger vs. cobra vs. crab

Honey badger vs. cobra vs. crab

For the main we had picked dungeness crab, so our waiter brought a fair sized live one to the table for our appraisal.  Looked good to me but I had Wendy ask if I could hold it just to be sure 😛 The crab was clamping onto my wrist…for some reason this came as a shock to me but felt kinda cool like the crab was trying to cuddle up or something.

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Falls Buffet @ Snoqualmie Casino

If you like crabs and prime rib, this is the buffet for you folks.  Pretty Sis and I went down for a visit to our lovely aunt and uncle down in the States.  Now when my parents went down a couple times ago aunt and uncle had taken them to the Snoqualmie Casino for their buffet.  And my parents had raved about it since.  Now it was our chance to give it a try.

Let me just show you a few pictures.

Falls Buffet: dungeness crab

Falls Buffet

Falls Buffet: Lobster tail and Prime rib

Really, I think I could just shown you the pictures and be it with this post.  Aren’t they drool-inducing?  An unlimited mountain of dungeness crab and prime rib, plus a lobster tail per person.  All for $28.95USD on Saturday evenings.  Such a deal!

And boy those were big crab legs.  I wish I could’ve stomached more but I was only able to down one whole crab.  I blame the deliciously moist and well-seasoned prime rib for that!  I had two slices (only….=()

As for the lobster tail, it was also prepared very well.  It was a pretty big portion but it was seasoned quite salty, so that was the only down-side to it.  Otherwise it was moist and succulent.

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