Skip to main content

Jade Seafood Restaurant in Richmond, B.C.

Jackie Dives

Name: Jade Seafood Restaurant

Location: 280-2811 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, B.C.

Phone: 604-249-0082

Story continues below advertisement

Website: jadeseafood.ca

Cuisine: Cantonese

Prices: Appetizers, $9.99 to $27.99; rice and noodles, $9.99 to $22.99; main plates, $19.99 to $88.99 (all for sharing).

Additional Info: Open daily, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.; reservations recommended.

Rating System: Casual Dining

rating

Fleshy prawns and cubed squash are battered in a salted egg yolk crust as plush as buttered velvet. A vermicelli stir fry is tossed with fragile clusters of sweet egg floss that taste like shredded tamago. Succulent tea-smoked chicken is wrapped in dimpled skin that holds a chill yet melts in the mouth.

Oh, Jade Seafood Restaurant, you never disappoint.

Story continues below advertisement

Squid paste-stuffed Chinese doughnut with mountain yam in golden sauce.

Handout

Metro Vancouver is spoiled for choice when it comes to Chinese dining. There are great soup dumplings, superlative barbecue meats, ethereal dim sum delicacies, spicy Sichuan in every neighbourhood, value-priced food courts galore and an endless stream of new hot-pot joints.

But when people talk about Vancouver (more accurately, Richmond) having the best Chinese food in North America, they are usually referring to a handful of traditional Cantonese banquet-style restaurants. Some of the big names no longer deserve the accolades on which they’ve been coasting. Jade Seafood Restaurant, however, remains among the top standard bearers – for dinner – even though the head chef has changed and it recently moved to a smaller venue.

The dining room at Jade Seafood Restaurant in Richmond, B.C.

Jackie Dives

You can’t really judge Jade by the same standards applied to Western restaurants. The new location on No. 3 Road (on the second floor of a building owned by restaurant proprietor and real estate developer David Chung) has zero curb appeal. The entrance is an unassuming side door off a dark parking lot covered by a concrete overpass.

The dining room, lit blazingly bright, is appointed with smoked-glass chandeliers that are slightly more modern than the teardrop-crystal relics in the old location, but the polyester tablecloths are still frayed and shabby.

And yet the cooking coming out of this kitchen is of the highest standards, as it has been for years – even after the former award-winning head chef, Tony Luk, retired (many wouldn’t even notice, perhaps because the website is outdated). And even on the nights that the new head, Chi Ling Tam, (who was second-in-command under Mr. Luk) is off.

Jade’s signature dishes have won so many Chinese Restaurant Awards, it’s hard to know where to begin or which to suggest. If you’re in the mood to splurge, you can’t go wrong with fresh Dungeness crab stir-fried with mixed mushrooms, green onions and ginger crisped to a jerky-like chew. Amazingly, under all that rich umami earthiness, the sweet brininess of the tender crab flesh still shines through.

Story continues below advertisement

Pumpkin and shrimp in salted egg yolk.

Jackie Dives

It’s an expensive dish, with the current market prices hovering around $30 a pound and a decent-sized crab with good meat-to-shell weighing about 2½ pounds. But it makes a fine centrepiece to a meal and a fun show as you watch the server scoop a crab out of the tank, trundle it over to the table in a bucket for inspection, then return when cooked with cap and legs carefully arranged to mimic the live article.

For a less pricey crab option, Jade also does a fine job of baking the shelled meat in a quivering egg-white custard and sautéing it with wild rice and dried scallops.

Grandpa’s chicken is another must-try, although the dish must be reserved in advance as the chicken is precooked, chilled, then smoked to order in a wok set over smoky tea leaves, sugar and toasted rice. The latter imparts a subtle campfire aroma that wisps through the cool meat and cuts through a light, winey sauce. “This would be such a great picnic dish on a hot summer day,” one of my friends, a first-time Jade customer, enthused.

Grandpa's smoked chicken has to be reserved in advance as the chicken is precooked.

Jackie Dives/The Globe and Mail

My favourite dish at Jade is anything that comes coated in salted duck yolk sauce. I’m not sure what they do with the cured yolks, which are usually quite grainy, but here are lush and creamy. It’s most likely mixed with a ton of butter, although one friend suggested butternut squash. Or perhaps they just take the time to cook it out low and slow. Whatever they do, I could devour this sauce until my arteries choke.

For all its consistency, the Jade kitchen is constantly innovating. Among the fresh crop of featured dishes, I really enjoyed the slow-cooked short rib blanketed in honey and black-pepper sauce. The meat is sliced thin and tender; the sauce thick and gloopy, but not overly starchy. Try it with a ring of white onion, which has been lightly blanched. It balances the honey and brightens the pepper.

Slow-cooked short beef rib cooked in honey and black pepper sauce.

Jackie Dives

What I don’t recommend is the dim sum. Jade used to be one of the best, before the dim sum chef left for Mott 32. Now the daytime dumplings are just okay. The award-winning mushroom dumpling still has clean flavour and a meaty chew. And they do a great rice roll wrapped around a thin Chinese doughnut stuffed with fluffy, mousse-like fish paste. But the filling in the shrimp har gow (a benchmark for dim sum) is a bit too loose, the wrapper a bit thick.

Story continues below advertisement

For dinner, however, Jade is still one of the best.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies