Review: Van Cheong Tea Palace

by gigi on November 7, 2007

Van Cheong Tea House is located at Aberdeen Centre in Richmond. It is one of several outlets throughout the Lower Mainland but to my knowledge, this is the only one that has a restaurant component to the store. All the other Van Cheongs are retail stores only and sell a great selection of Chinese teas. This was my first time at the restaurant but I was assured by my parents that it was a great place to try.

van cheong tea house

The servers here were very friendly and when we mentioned that we weren’t sure what to order, they offered to select a bunch of dishes for us to try out. There were five of us there that day and we all agreed that would be an excellent idea. :)

Seeing that this was a tea place, first and foremost, we were served some tea. :) It came in a traditional clay pot and our server showed us how to prepare it the “proper” way. It was interesting to watch the way she would rinse or cleanse the cups and the tea before pouring it through a strainer and finally into our cups. They also give you a choice of teas that you can choose to accompany your meal.

van cheong tea house

While we were waiting for our food, we were also given a small dish of pumpkin seeds to munch on.

van cheong tea house

Since our server selected all the dishes for us, I’m not sure what anything was called but I will try to describe it in enough detail for you to order it if you decide to try it out yourself. :) First was a cold dish of chicken. The chicken was very juicy and delicious. I sometimes find that this dish is too salty, but this was perfectly cooked and seasoned.

van cheong tea palace

Next came a dish of “ong choy” and beef in satay sauce. I’m not really sure what “ong choy” is in English but try to say it in your best Cantonese voice. :) The vegetables were crunchy but kind of tasted like spinach. The satay sauce really blended the beef and vegetables together and I really liked the way this dish was prepared. My only complaint was that it was a bit on the oily side. It was also slightly spicy.

van cheong tea palace

Next came a dish of fresh bamboo shoots stir-fried with green onions and chilli peppers. Because all the seeds were left in the chillis, this dish was quite spicy. I’ve never had fresh bamboo shoots before (they are usually canned) and I could really taste the difference. The shoots were tender and tasty…you could really tell they were fresh! This was one of my favourite dishes of the day.
van cheong tea palace

We also had fresh clams in a light soy-based sauce. We were told that this was one of their more popular dishes and was one of the first dishes to clear at our table. :)

van cheong tea palace

Next came the soup, which was made with fresh lily buds, spring onions, and chicken. This was probably the dish I enjoyed the most. Again, like the bamboo shoots, I have never had fresh lily buds and it was very crunchy and light. Overall, the taste of the soup was very light and fresh. There was some sand at the bottom of the soup bowl though…although my dad noted that it was probably hard to clean the lily buds too thoroughly due to its delicate nature.

van cheong tea palace

Our last dish was an oyster omelet. Also in this omelet was assorted vegetables and it was also accompanied by a slightly sweet sauce. This dish was also very good. I love omelets and Japanese okonomiyaki and to me, this Chinese version was also quite tasty. :)

van cheong tea palace

Overall, I enjoyed lunch here very much. I don’t remember how much it cost, but remember it being quite reasonable for the five of us and we all left with full stomachs. The restaurant is also not very busy so it is quite easy to find a table even if you arrive at peak lunch hour. My recommendation to you is to ask the server to choose a selection of dishes for you if you are feeling adventurous…this certainly worked out very well for us! You can also tell them what you do not like and they will select the dishes accordingly. The service was also great and our server was especially interested in the pictures I was taking throughout the meal. :)

As a side note, their teas here are also very good and the clerks behind the counter are very knowledgeable and very willing to offer suggestions for possible gifts and presents.

Details:
2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond
Tel: 604-295-8260

Summary:
Food: [rating:4]
Service: [rating:3.5]
Price: $$

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