It was time again for another blogger’s dinner! During the Long Table Series dinner, we were “playing” again with the idea of setting up another food bloggers dinner. After having those thoughts bounce back and forth, we finally passed the baton to Jenny (My Secret Eden). Of course, having such responsibilities can sometimes be… Challenging. However, this instance, that task seemed pretty straight forward. In a way, since Jenny was quite enthusiastic about Poco Ocean, “we” thought we should be going there! It as then a matter on deciding when. In the end, it was decided it will be November 27th… Just after US Thanksgiving. Since we knew some would be going to the US, plus the fact Poco Ocean is in Port Coquitlam, we had a hunch this would be a small gathering – in the end it was Jenny and Ricky, Sherman, Anita and myself. But, hey, when the food is good and the company is good! So, here it goes, our visit to Poco Ocean.
While you have read references of Anita in previous posts, I would like to do a special welcome, as she has officially started food blogging. You can find her post of Poco Ocean here!
On that note, Sherman’s post is here and Jenny’s is here.
Wait, what is with the picture above? Don’t I usually take a picture of the restaurant front? Well, usually is the keyword here. What happens is that I was rushing to get there as we were already late – “we” as in Sherman, Anita and myself, as we were carpooling. Instead of patiently snapping some pictures of the outside, we just walked in. On our way out? We forgot to take the picture! Epic fail? But, back to the picture above. To the right, is one of the drawings you will find inside the restaurant. After our meal, we were wondering how “well” will the picture resemble him (as the chef). So… What are your thoughts? (There were others and I am sure Anita will post the pictures)
Since Jenny had been there previously and she can read Chinese, we basically left the ordering to her. Of course, there will be some arguments back and forth. In the end, after the order was made, we received this big bowl of soup, shown above with some beans and bones used to prepare it. I know of at least one person who will be off by the bones but, let’s be real people – that is what makes the soup great! The broth had a subtle taste and it was a usual Chinese way to start a meal.
Our first dish: chicken wings, in this case, with a honey garlic sauce. This was enjoyed by everybody. Fried hot, still juicy and each bite had that garlic taste on it. The best wings in the world? Not necessarily but a good way to start the meal.
If memory serves me right, this is a dish that we jumped into it as soon as it was mentioned. Behold, a pork hock! Chinese style braised, the meat was extremely tender and full of pork taste, which was nicely complimented by the savoury, partially sweet sauce – which also went well with the side rice. After being braised, the pork skin was almost falling apart and some of us *cough*me*cough* was eating it was if there was no tomorrow.
Three cup chicken. A dish called this way due to the combination of ingredients, i.e., a cup of soy sauce, a cup of Chinese rice wine (or similar cooking liquor) and a cup of sesame oil. In addition to that some related ingredients can be added in the form of sugar, ginger and, in our case, basil. I really enjoyed this dish as it had that combination of flavours of oily (OK, not a flavour but you know what I mean), sweet, savoury and even herb-y, if you happened to “bite” into a piece of the basil.
Tofu with scallops (?). If there was a dish that failed/disappointed that night it would be this dish. The tofu was soft tofu that has soaked some of the sauce it was cooked with and, as a result, provided great flavour. That was telling us this dish would be great. However, the failure was the scallops. As far as we could verify, they weren’t seared and had some odd taste to it. If it was a tofu only dish, it would have been great.
We had to have a vegetable-only dish and this was it. Green beans. For a while, we were trying to guess, in addition to the mushroom and the beans what else was in the dish. There was a small debate but I was just eating the food, hehehehe. While good, it had an “issue” of its own. Because this is such a small restaurant, some shortcuts had to be used while preparing this dish. In this case, it wasn’t blanched in water; instead, it was “oil blanched”. If you pass that small detail, it was a good rounded dish.
Our last dish: Fish with tofu. I don’t recall the exact fish type used in this dish and, once again, there was a small debate over it. I thought the fish had an interesting “bounce” to it. While cooked, it did not easily breakdown and when I took a piece with the chopstick and wiggle it a little bit, it would wiggle as well rather than flake itself down. It did not have much flavour though, as most of it was, again, soaked by the tofu. Still, this is a dish I would eat no problem, as I like this style of cooking fish.
After our meal, we spent some time chatting and, rather than kick us out (they had closed already), they let us stay. However, we thought we were pushing it already and, as a final request, we asked to check with the chef and had a conversation with him about the food and how he got those drawings. Of course, given the hospitality, we told him our “hobby”. Interestingly, we found out he has been in Port Coquitlam for over 15 years (opened in 1991) and he truely believes that recipes are meant to be shared. To show us that fact, he pointed out some Chinese magazines (oddly, not from Vancouver, but from Seattle!) with his recipes.
I will have to say I enjoyed this outing since, as usual, company was great. As for the food, there were some hiccups but, otherwise, the dishes produced were similar to those that my mom used to make so I will be biased on this. I would certainly like to come back but there is a major hurdle: while technically there is an English menu, we were focused on the Chinese menu. Whether it is actually reflected, I can’t say. But, to be safe, I would need somebody who speaks Mandarin (though it seems they speak Cantonese as well)!