With 365 Days of Dining coming to an end, I’ve been busy helping the folks at Tourism Richmond pull together some statistics. Now, I didn’t take stats during university, as it would have brought my GPA down to….well, nothing, but I have been able to come up with a few accurate numbers that are related specifically to the blog.
One that I had fun researching was the ‘number of visitors I dined with from out of town,’ which had me looking at my calendar and tallying up the people who came to visit, or just happened to be passing through and made the time to dine with me. There were 38 people in total! They came from 22 different cities in six countries, from as close as Victoria to as far away as Australia, Italy, and Colombia.
In addition to the out-of-towners, there have been the many meals I’ve enjoyed with local friends, who, unsurprisingly, have always been very willing to dedicate themselves to the cause! Getting to share food with loved ones, catching up with long lost friends, and heck, even throwing karaoke parties have been some of the greatest perks of this job, and ones I’ve tried consciously to appreciate as the year has noodled along.
At Red Star Seafood Restaurant, for example, I finally got to catch up with my friends Stephen and Holly, who live not that far from me and yet I rarely see. Life is busy, you know? We finally managed to find a date that worked for dinner, and first attempted to go to the tiny yet popular Hoi Tong restaurant. The wait time, however, was 1.5 hours, so we headed over to Red Star instead. It’s located in the President’s Plaza, and isn’t obvious at all from the road – you have to know it’s there.
The restaurant is large and popular, with very friendly servers. Since there were just three of us, we ordered just three dishes and rice so as not to have plates of leftovers. Based on our server’s recommendation, we started with the BBQ duck, which felt appropriate considering Stephen’s last name IS Duck. Here you have it – a Duck holding a duck.
This was easily some of the best – if not the best – duck I’ve had in Richmond. It was nearly perfect. The skin was crispy, and the meat was rich, tender, and SO full of flavour I could barely handle it. It was served with a tangy plum sauce, and we easily finished the half bird ($16.98).
Our two mains were, rather accidentally, both very saucy. One was a dish of asparagus with black fungus and bamboo pith ($20.98), and the other was a hot pot with braised black cod with pork and garlic ($22.98).
My favourite of the two was the dish with asparagus, which I can’t get enough of now that it’s in season. It also had several kinds of fungi, and what I believe was strips of fish maw, all of it cooked in a thick, mild broth.
The other dish was more savoury and rich, with a bottom layer of sautéed lettuce, a middle layer of fried slices of black cod, and a topping of fried soft tofu, mushrooms, and fried slices of pork belly. Interestingly, all three of us most enjoyed the sautéed lettuce on the bottom, which was soaked in sauce and yet still crunchy. The fork tender black cod was also really nice, though I found the pork slices to be a bit on the tough side.
While we didn’t spring for the crab, it did look like a popular offering at Red Star, and I’m sure they do it well.
Our complimentary desserts included lovely little mango puddings shaped like fish and served with a side of condensed milk to pour over;
hot and sweet tapioca soup;
and a little plate of crunchy cookies.
A three-course dessert? What a nice way to end a meal.
So, to all my old friends who helped me get this job and have helped me eat my way through it – I thank you, and salute you. And to the new friends I’ve met through this job (another wonderful perk) I am glad to know you!
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available