Western Lake is celebrating their 12th year in Vancouver and their latest win at the 2019 Chinese Restaurant Awards for Critic’s Choice winner of the Roasted Salt Free Range Chicken dish. They have always been highly rated for the dim sum and dinner service. It’s been my family’s go-to restaurant for many years now.
We were invited for their media appreciation dinner and they showcased a plethora of their signature and award-winning dishes.
Chinese Restaurant Awards: Critic’s Choice winner of the Roasted Salt Free Range Chicken
The Roasted Salt Free Range Chicken is very juicy, tender and flavourful. In order to get this consistency, this dish is cooked in a unique way. The chef turns off the heat when the water starts to boil and allow the chicken to get cooked in its entirety in the residual heat. After poaching, he then plunges the chicken into ice water to stop the cooking process.
If you get a chance to try this during dinner, it’s definitely a must-have dish.
The chicken’s skin remains light-coloured, nearly white and the meat is tender and flavourful. It is served in pieces with the skin and bone attached.
This dish is accompanied by a condiment made b finely minced ginger, finely minced garlic and green onion.
King Crab Dinner
King Crab dinner is a luxurious feast and in season in the Spring. This is usually the best time to indulge in this delicacy. King Crab is prized due to its sweetly succulent flavour and the short duration of its season. The rise in popularity can be seen by how much the price has gone up over the years.
My family has been here several times especially when relatives come over from Hong Kong in the Spring. My grandpa always requests fresh King Crab. Luckily, Western Lake has several King Crab set menus.
At Western Lake, they typically showcase the king crab in an elaborate multi-course dinner that uses every part of the crab. The steamed King Crab legs are topped with lots of sweet and nutty garlic. The sauce it sits on is the natural crab juices. It’s so good and I love how the shells are already open, so eating this is so darn easy.
Another staple of the King Crab experience is the lightly battered and fried knuckles topped with rice cakes – King Crab in Superior Soy Sauce Bedded with Rice Cake. This dish is also really good since the sweetness from the crab and the soy sauce aroma just go so well together. The chef cook this dish really well.
Last but not least, leftover sauce from the steamed garlic crab leg course is being used to toss with noodles, chives and bean sprouts. The item pictured below is the noodles tossed in shrimp roe. I love how every part of the King Crab isn’t put to waste. Delicious as well and with the noodles it makes the whole meal more filling.
Chives and Crab Garlic Sauce Fried Rice with Black Truffle Topped with Gold Leaf looks amazing as it is presented in the shell of the King Crab. Nothing goes wasted. You don’t have to be as fancy with the truffles and gold leaf. Their standard fried rice is very good as well.
Peking Duck Dinner
Peking duck, one of the most delicious dishes of Chinese cuisine with a history of more than 400 years. Peking Duck is a meal with royal lineage, as it has been a staple for the elite and ruling class for centuries. A lot of care and preparation goes into these dishes so I can see why it’s a popular item on the menu.
This dish of Peking Duck has a thin, crisp skin with very little meat attached. Traditionally the skin is sliced in front of diners, but they don’t do that at Western Lake as the dining room is pretty busy. Peking duck is usually served in two courses, one with crepes and another with lettuce wrap. The succulent Peking Duck skin is accompanied by hoisin sauce (a sweet bean sauce), scallions cut into brushes, and thin wheat-flour pancakes, all of which are eaten together as a wrap.
Having this dish is such a delight and always fun to eat. Love the interactivity! Add a little bit of everything and eat it up.
The second dish of Peking Duck is made into this dish – Lettuce Wrap with Minced Duck and Assorted Vegetables. The meat of the duck is cut up and served with vegetables as a second course.
I love the crunch of the lettuce and the different textures the of the duck, veggies, and crisp noodles.
Beef Tenderloin with Deep Fried Potato
Another dish is their beef tenderloin with deep-fried potato which is beautifully presented in this deep-fried basket. The beef is tender and so flavourful. Highly recommended if you want something added to your meal that isn’t duck or seafood.
Assorted Seafood with Pumpkin Thick Soup
Western Lake has a variety of soups on the menu and different daily soups as well. A unique dish is their assorted seafood with pumpkin thick soup. Lots of seafood in it like this big scallop.
Egg Tofu Braised with Pea Tips and Enoki Mushroom
To balance out all the meat in a meal, there is always a veggie dish. Pea tips are delicious and when accompanied with mushroom and tofu, it tastes good and hearty. The freshness of the ingredients also shine through.
Don’t forget to end your meal with dessert. Usually when you have dinner here, they have complimentary desserts. You can ask them what they have or pay a little bit extra for something more unique like their baked tapioca pudding.
There is a reason why there are huge line ups during dim sum and full tables during dinner time at Western Lake. The food is solid and reasonably priced for what you get. It’s one of the top Chinese restaurants in Vancouver.
4989 Victoria Dr, Vancouver, BC