It’s Alaskan king crab season! One of the best places to feast on this delicacy is at Empire Chinese Cuisine on Alexandra Road in Richmond. (It’s other location, Empire Seafood Restaurant is also in Richmond, on Westminster Highway).
We chose an approximately 9-pound Alaskan king crab, cooked two ways, along with some other dishes. We opted to order dishes separately, in lieu of the standard Alaskan King Crab Dinner set menu. I often find that set menus aren’t worth ordering, since restaurants seem to include ‘filler’ dishes. I feel this way towards set menus at Western establishments as well. I’ve worked in ‘the industry’, I know restaurants make the most money from set dinners. Anyway, I digress…
Steamed Alaskan King Crab Legs topped with boatloads of minced garlic. The crab meat was exceptionally tender, flaky and had a subtle sweetness. The crab’s natural juices were extracted during the steaming process, and became its own sauce when combined with the heaps of garlic. Because the garlic was fully cooked, its pungency was significantly diminished. This made for a delicious accompaniment to the perfectly cooked crab meat. Caution: you will have terrible garlic breath 😉
Lightly battered Deep Fried Crab Knuckles, with peppery salty flavouring (MSG no doubt since it tasted ‘crackalicious’), fried garlic chips, green onions, and spicy jalapeños. The restaurant (and others) charge approximately $10 extra to prepare this dish. One could argue this is strange, since we’ve already paid for the crab.
Yin-Yang Fried Rice with one side tomato sauce, and the other side cream sauce with prawns. It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but the prawns were massive and superbly cooked – so crunchy and fresh. We also ordered a sauteed Pea Shoots with garlic dish, but sorry we forgot to snap a photo. The dish had a slight sweetness that meshed perfectly with the aromatic garlic.
What’s a Cantonese feast without red bean dessert soup? This one was excellent. I enjoyed how the soup was prominently infused with orange rinds, giving it a bright, citrusy flavour. Does this soup combat yeet-hay?!
Overall, the food was excellent, and although our dishes were slow to come out of the kitchen (the restaurant was filled to capacity that evening) the service was very attentive. Empire Chinese Cuisine restaurant is a must during Alaskan king crab season!