Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dad's 71st birthday dinner (China Grand Restaurant)

It's been a very very long time since I last had a Chinese banquet meal. And when I say banquet meal I don't mean the regular $25 per head banquets you can order at the local Chinese restaurant, I'm talking about the proper full banquet like the ones you have at weddings. Most of my asian friends getting married now are having western style weddings (don't get me wrong, I love them too) but I've been longing for a full 8 course+ wedding banquet meal for such a long time. And the perfect opportunity arose when us kids had to organise our dad's 71st birthday celebration. I think dad enjoyed himself : )

1st dish - Suckling Pork with Jellyfish.
This dish is all about the CRUNCH of the pork crackle and it did not disappoint. I was really pleased with it and the jellyfish was nice and springy and crunchie too. Never overpowered the pork which is the way it should be. Plus I liked that it wasn't too vinegary or spicy. Just perfect.

2nd dish - Prawn Balls
I've never had these like this before. I think it's rolled in julienned tofu skin and then deep fried. I prefer the typical deep fried crab claws more, but that's because I'm not a fan of prawn. Everyone else enjoyed them though.

3rd dish - Braised Asparagus with Crabmeat and Eggwhite Sauce
This was a first for me again (not quite the usual Chinese banquet I had first envisaged with these slight alterations). But I do have to say, I really liked this. I don't normally like asparagus but somehow with the sauce it was really very nice. And the crabmeat didn't taste cheap and nasty. I was worried when I first saw the menu because it said crabmeat I thought it might be those disgusting crabsticks, but no, they did indeed use real edible crabmeat (Thank goodness! That would have ruined the whole dinner and any decent respectable Chinese restaurant should never ever serve that pathetic imitation crab - ahhh yes, I kind of have this thing against crabsticks)

4th dish - Shark Fin Soup
I'm in two minds about eating this soup, a bit of an ethical debate on whether I should really eat it or not. It's a lovely soup and every banquet meal has it on the menu and I've grown up eating shark fin and it being the norm, BUT it's shark. Then you could also argue why I eat any meat at all.......
Anyway, I did eat it though.....and it was good too.......

5th dish - Braised Lobster in Garlic and Ginger Sauce
Nice juicy sweet succulent meat. No complaints here!

6th dish - Steamed Rock Cod
Perfectly cooked

7th dish - Abalone, Mushrooms and Snowpeas
I don't like abalone so I wasn't a fan of this dish, but I know it's a delicacy and another must on the menu. The mushrooms and snowpeas were lovely though : )

8th dish - Crispy Skin Chicken
We are full at this stage so it's hard to really appreciate the crispness of the skin and the juiciness of the flesh
And to finish off we had:
Fried Rice (wrapped in lotus leaf)

Stir Fried Egg Noodles (to symbolise longevity)

Seasonal Fruit Platter

Steamed Lotus Buns
These were a major hit. I absolutely adored them!
Papaya and Snow Fungus Sweet Soup
Blech! Sorry I didn't like this. I much prefer the sweet red bean soup but mum said this was more decadent
Gosh, reading back on the post it didn't seem like I enjoyed it all that much, trust me though, I really do love Chinese Wedding Banquets haha! I'm just very particular about which part of it I enjoy.

Happy 71st birthday, Dad! For once we got to spoil you with food rather than the other way around. Hope you had a wonderful night with all your nearest and dearest.


  1. i love a good crispy pork. and the lobster looks excellent. interesting prawn balls. would like to give those a try :-)

  2. those lotus buns look interesting hehehe

  3. Hehe it was a bad idea to read this story on an empty stomach! Everything looks so delicious-and can you believe it that I've never had a Chinese wedding banquet? Everyone now seems to have Western style weddings (myself included).

  4. Hi Simon - Mmmmm crispy pork is the bomb hey ; )

    Hi Elise - My brother told the kids it was a butt and when you pull it apart, inside is the poo......definitely got the kids trying it anyway!

    Hi NQN - You've never had a Chinese wedding banquet??? Now I'm in utter shock. You have got to try one....well when you get a chance. It's not something that can be arrange for a small amout of people out of the blue.