I’ve learned from hard experience never to engage in a political conversation with my parents, not unless I’m trying to induce a stroke. Don’t get me wrong; I love my parents, but they are terrible people in my opinion. Until I win the lottery or the Vancouver housing market finally collapses I’m just going to have to put up with their constant barrage of ignorant bigotry.
I did not complain when they decided to invite some family friends over to Western Lake Chinese Seafood, a restaurant that I’ve personally sworn off of because they serve shark fin on their menu. I do try to be more open when it comes to food. While I personally think that sharkfinning is a deplorable practice, I do acknowledge that a lot of vegetarians and vegans probably find my love for eating meat to be disgusting as well. So while I’d never support a restaurant that serves shark fin, I’m not going give people s*** if they do either (I’m only going to be silently judging you). Fortunately, my parents at least did not order the shark fin soup from the menu. Instead, we got Beijing Duck (2 courses), Diced Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom on Sizzling Plate, Western Lake Specialty Garlic Ribs, Prawns with Honey Glazed Walnuts & Dressing, Egg Tofu with Dried Scallops & Enoki Mushroom, and Seafood and Golden Corn Fried Rice.
Beijing Duck ($53.80):
This consisted of two courses, with the first consisting of the skin and crepe wraps, and the second of meat and lettuce wraps. I, of course, enjoyed crepe wraps much more than the lettuce. I found their duck skin to be not as crispy as I would have liked, and also a bit bland. I actually found myself enjoying the crepes and hoisin sauce more than the meat itself.
Diced Beef Tenderloin with Mushroom on Sizzling Plate ($22.80):
This contained three types of mushrooms: button, shiitake, and enoki. The beef itself was reasonably tender and had a nice, flavourful sauce that was quite peppery. I was not as a big a fan of the button mushrooms however, which were served whole and were a bit bland.
Western Lake Specialty Garlic Ribs ($18.80):
The ribs were very meaty, with little bone, and had a nice crispy texture without being overly breaded. The sauce was thick and coated the ribs nicely, and was not overly sweet, although I did find it to be a bit bland.
Prawns with Honey Glazed Walnuts & Dressing ($23.80):
The prawns had a nice, bouncy texture and a mildly sweet as well as savoury flavour. My favourite part of the dish however has to be the walnuts, which were crispy and sweet, with a wonderful fragrance. I could have just eaten a plate of those: they were seriously quite addictive.
Egg Tofu with Dried Scallops & Enoki Mushroom ($18.80):
I’m normally not a big fan of tofu, but I did quite enjoy this dish. The tofu had a great texture, being a bit crispy on the outside while soft and creamy on the inside. The scallops and mushrooms provided a great savoury flavour.
Seafood and Golden Corn Fried Rice ($20.80):
The rice was quite well cooked and had a bouncy, slightly chewy texture to them. It was mildly savoury and had a small amount of shrimp, eggs, and vegetables.
Complimentary Red Bean Soup:
Personal views aside, Western Lake Chinese Seafood is decent, though not particularly remarkable. The restaurant is a bit more high end, so the prices are a little higher. All in all, while I certainly don’t plan on returning again, this is a pretty decent place for some Cantonese cuisine.