Yay, another Chinese Bites dinner! This would be my third official Chinese Meal with the gang. Having been to Grand Dynasty numerous times, I was excited to try some of their signature dishes this time around. With us today were Rick, Janice, Sherman, newcomers Anne and Dave from MePlusFood and Raymond of Chinese Bites. Interesting decor...lots of empty wine bottles. Not quite sure what they were going for here, but there it was. We each got a Tiger Prawn to start, but there were two variations of the same dish. The first one I tried was the Salty Egg Tiger Prawn, where the coating is made with a salted egg. This is quite strong in flavour and you either love it or you hate it. In my case, I was in love. I could have had even more of this pungent coating, but it's not for everyone. The other variation of the Tiger Prawn was a Spicy Tomato Tiger Prawn. The sauce was not spicy enough, but it seemed to have flavoured the prawn better than the Salted Egg one. This was the winner of the two in my books. The next dish was a Lobster Soup, but unlike any I had before. The body of the lobster is prepared sashimi style, with some beans sprouts on the side. Some of the claw meat seems to have been precooked, but the tail was definitely raw. So after showing us the "before", this is the after. They have a little stove on the side where they heat up some broth and then carefully ladle it over the lobster to slowly cook it. We were then served individual bowls of this tableside. It was impressive to see, that's for sure, but the flavours were rather mild. I do like the headless and tail-lessness of the sprouts though. As someone who has done this at home, it's a painfully slow process. The next dish to arrive was a Braised Chicken in Hot Pot. We were all taking bets as to what was inside the bird, nestled amongst all those veggies. I had thought it was rice, but I was wrong, so very wrong. Who would have guessed that it was Sea Cucumber? But there you have it folks, sea cucumbers. Definitely new to me and actually really good as well. The chicken was deboned for us, and the meat inside was super juicy. The skin was also very flavourful, no doubt due to the slow braising process. Our next dish was another hot pot dish, this was the Ling Cod Hot Pot. There were nuggets of roast pork and whole garlic within the dish. The few bones that were in there was very easy to pick out, but I really like how crunchy the breading stayed while in the pot. Onto a more vegetarian friendly dish, this was a Three Mushrooms with Squash and Winter Melon. This had shitaake, oyster and button mushrooms in a very rich wine sauce. I would have liked some rice to sop up all the juices. The next dish is a variation of Deep Fried Duck with Taro, the version we have here is Deep Fried Chicken with Sticky Rice. So instead of taro layer, we have a layer of crispy rice instead. The chicken is cut up into small pieces and it's a great way to have a carb dish without loading on carbs! The crunch of the rice is really satisfying too. To show you what I mean, here is the dish with a few pieces of chicken removed. Can you see the layer of rice? And yes, the chicken skin is still crispy from the fryer. After the lobster soup from earlier, we were brought back a new pot of Lobster Soup. This was was made with the shells of the lobster and will be served tableside yet again. The soup is piping hot, so we each help ourselves to a bowlful. As pictured above, there is also a bowl of crispy rice presented as part of this dish. The toasted rice is meant as a garnish to the soup. Put the two together, and there is your final dish of the night. The sweetness of the lobster broth is very strong, and the crunch from the rice is a nice textural touch. Ah, Coconut Tarts! To be honest, I didn't have this for dessert because I'm not a huge fan of coconuts, but even I couldn't deny that the scent of the coconut coming from these tarts was amazing. Fresh out of the oven, I bet. The other dessert that I did try was the Jello, the black one are Sesame and the white ones are Coconut. Two guesses as to which one I tried? The sesame jello had a good flavour to it and the firmness of the jello was just about right, jiggly but not watery. It was hard to keep myself from taking more!
Many of the dishes we tried aren't something that we would normally order at a family gathering. However, the standouts would be the Braised Chicken with Sea Cucumbers and the Fried Chicken with Sticky Rice.
**Grand Dynasty hosted Chinese Bites for this tasting but my opinions are my own.**
More reviews available here for Signature Dishes Tour Dinners.