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Hakkasan – Chinese Food

October 11, 2010

Nestled in the industrial area of Richmond is family owned, Hakkasan Restaurant.  You’d never guess there is a restaurant in this area and a nice one at that.  A typical industrial restaurant would be a café or fast food restaurant.  Hakkasan is far from that.  Funny enough, it is a modern looking restaurant with a Japanese sounding name.  But don’t let the name fool you, as Hakkasan  actually serves Hakka style Chinese food. 

Truth is, I don’t know a lot about the Hakka culture.  I’m not even sure there is a province in China named Hakka.  But apparently, the Hakka people did originate from Northern China during the Han Dynasty age.  “Hakka” literally means “guest family” in Chinese.  Essentially (as per my mom), they were more or less nomadic people who primarily lived in boats on the water.  They travelled far to inhabit many places which is why there are so many Hakka people living  in so many parts of China.  Maybe it was because they were from the Dynasty ages, their language is more or less considered a royalty language.  Atleast that’s what some Hakka people have explained to me.

Salt and vinegar are popular ingredients in Hakka cuisine like the Salted Baked Chicken as you will see in the picture.  Interestingly enough, they historically didn’t eat alot of seafood – atleast not what I was able to research.  I would think that there would be, since they were primarily on the water and many of them were fishermen.  Nonetheless, Hakkasan did have a wide range of seafood dishes.

We decided to order their lobster dinner which had a half lobster, appetizer samplers, a choice of a side entrée  and dessert all for a reasonable price of $29.88.  We also added a fois gras to our meal.

All in all, the food that we ordered was above average.  It wasn’t mouth-dropping, maybe because we didn’t order their more expensive dishes.  The dishes can range from slightly higher prices to extremely high prices depending on what you get.  And they do have some delicacy dishes.  The food that we ordered tasted good but it wasn’t spectacular.  For me, I sat down expecting to have really spectacular chinese food that was creative and well presented, probably because the nice ambience called for it.  But we didn’t get what we expected.  Also, with prices that were on the menu, one should expect nothing less than spectacular food.

I believe the intention to serve exquisite food was there. I also believe they intended to make Hakkasan a high-end contemporary Chinese restaurant that served traditional Chinese food (with a twist?).  Unfortunately, they just couldn’t meet their goals.  The food was not exquisite and the presentation was nothing creative.  Their more pricey dishes may taste a lot better but the food we had was very average.  I can’t say I am willing to try their expensive dishes since their reasonably priced dishes were just ok. 

Great ambience, great service.  But small bar and average (or just above average) food.  And again, the tastes don’t really reflect the prices.  I think it’s so difficult to try to have a modern style Chinese restaurant and have typical or traditional Chinese food in the Vancouver area because it’s too hard to compete with the really good and reasonably priced Chinese places.  And there are hundreds of them out here.  And although this restaurant is supposed to serve Chinese food with a “twist”, it seems a bit contradictory because all the food they have is traditional.  Maybe if the food had a bit more fusion or the presentation was even more modern?  If you want to try this restaurant out, I would suggest starting with lunch first as they have reasonable prices for set lunches.  Good Luck and please let me know what you think if you go!

Visit their website or:

110 – 2188 No.5 Road, Richmond BC

Reservations:   (604) 273-9191

info@hakkasan.ca

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