All Hail the King (Crab)!

First off, let me apologize for the cell phone photos… they really don’t do justice to the food.

Now I know that we live in Vancouver and you can get King Crab at most good seafood restaurants any time of the year… but there’s just something different about eating it during King Crab season.  Every year, we look forward to March and enjoying these tasty crustaceans.  I’ve only seen Deadliest Catch once – never really got interested in how these mighty beasts get caught, just happy to eat them!

For those of you that have only had King Crab at an English restaurant or at a buffet, I feel sorry for you.  I too, used to think that the only way to eat King Crab was simply steamed, chilled on ice.  I always used to wonder why people would get excited over it because, frankly, I was never impressed….

And then, last year, I was introduced to King Crab cooked at a Chinese restaurant.  I’m not sure why we never thought of this before.  Both lobster and regular crab always tastes better when cooked the Asian way.  I mean, really…. any time you go to an English restaurant that serves lobster or crab, it’s almost always plain with drawn butter… no creativity at all!

Anyhoo, back to our feast… Things didn’t start off good.  We always seem to have trouble with reservations.  This time was no different.  Fortunately, we showed up early and they still had a table available for us.  I blame the ditzy young hostess who took our reservation (didn’t seem to have it all there)  – piece of advice, if you need to make reservations at Sun Sui Wah, see the older female hostess.

After much debate, we finally decided on what to order for our decadent feast.  I think the waiters are always surprised by how much we order.  Guess they figure that we don’t look like we can eat much.  When they brought the King Crab and lobster for us to see, it seemed smaller than last year (think the crab was only about 6 pounds) – guess we could have asked for a larger one.  I think they were running out of King Crab because every table had one and by the end of the night, I could only see 3 left in the tanks.

I’m not sure if it was because it was so busy or because the cooks in the kitchen were different, but the food wasn’t as good as it was last year.  That’s not to say it was bad, it just wasn’t as awesome as the previous year.  I think the next time we go, we’ll go on a weekday when it’s less busy.

First up was the Peking Duck.


Call me old fashion, but I miss having the coloured (pink, green, yellow, blue, etc…) shrimp chips.  It seems most places now only serve it with plain white shrimp chips.  In either case, the chips were nice and crisp… nothing worse than having chips that are soggy from sitting in oil too long.  The duck itself was a little on the fatty side but still pretty good (I think the best we’ve had was at Fortune House).

We ordered the two course Peking Duck which includes the lettuce wrap but for some reason, it took a while for that to come.  The next dish that came up was the plate of Jelly Fish.

Usually, it’s served in a large cold plate dish accompanied by other appetizers but given the amount of food we were ordering, we decided that we really only needed the small plate of Jelly Fish.  Not much to say other than it was good.

The last time we were here, the food came fast and furiously… one dish quickly after another (it was lucky we had a large table).  This time, we had a big wait after the Jelly Fish. I think it was just too busy for them (maybe they had staffing shortages in the kitchen?).  After what seemed an eternity (okay, maybe it wasn’t that long but seeing everyone else eat crab made me hungry), the King Crab finally came…


This was the first course of King Crab.  We had it steamed with garlic.  Note to all those English restaurants:  would it kill you to try serving King Crab like this?  One of the problems with English-style King Crab is that it’s always a pain to get to the meat.  Here, they slice open the crab for us and it’s much easier to get to the good stuff.  Again, I think that they were rushed in the kitchen because some of the pieces looked like they weren’t fully spliced open and were a little harder to get to the meat (oh, the horrors!).  But all kidding aside, the crab legs were good…

But what we were really waiting for was the second course of King Crab.  They took the “knuckle” parts of the legs and deep fried them in a spicy salt (like jiu yim).


So yummy, especially with the jalepeno peppers!

Next up was the lobster in cream sauce served on a bed of egg noodles.  There is just something really satisfying about the creamy noodles.

The second course of Peking Duck – Lettuce Wrap – finally arrived:


The good was that there was plenty of duck in the lettuce wrap.  But I would have preferred if they had a little more of the filler stuff to give it more texture/flavour (like more mushrooms and water chestnuts).  Probably just a personal preference.

Now for some veggies (had to have something relatively healthy), a basic plate of stir-fried snow pea tips with garlic:

By this time, our table was starting to get pretty full… and so were we 🙂

But we did have one dish left:

This was supposed to be our second vegetable dish… scallops and squid stir-fried with veggies.  As you can see, probably more seafood than veggies, but I’m not complaining.

We tried to order the baked tapioca for dessert but apparently they were out.  The waiter said that it’s better to order it when you make your reservation (not that this would have helped us since they lost our reservation to begin with, lol).  Instead, they brought us the regular red bean soup.

All in all, we’ve had better here in the past but I think this was just an off night.  Already have plans to go back again on a weekday.

Food: 4 / 5
Service: 3 / 5 (would have been higher if they didn’t lose our reservation)

3888 Main Street,
Vancouver, BC

*Update: see King Crab 2.0

Sun Sui Wah on Urbanspoon

Posted on March 13, 2011, in Chinese, Restaurant Review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

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