Where did I eat?
Chang’an at 1661 Granville Street in Vancouver.
What do they specialize in?
Fine Dining Chinese.
What was the vibe?
Intimate, modern, elegant
What did I order?
Guo Kui Pita
- They serve a house baked pita bread topped with sesame and served with a chili paste dip to every table in the restaurant
- I like the chili dip for the bread, however, I thought it was a bit strange to be eating pita bread at a Chinese restaurant
- Normally when I think of Chinese pastries and baking I imagine light, chewy, or flakey things, but this was pretty dense and a bit too dry for my liking
The Appetizer platter contained:
- Tossed Cilantro, Scallion & Red Peanut Salad
- Marinated Mushroom
- Crispy Beef Tongue
- Honey Grapefruit Spare Ribs
All of the items tasted good, but there was nothing exceptional on the plate
Chang’an Roasted Duck
- The duck is one of their signature dishes that is available by reservation only because they schedule the cooking of the duck to correspond with your dining time in order to maximize the tenderness of the meat and crispiness of the skin
- The first course consists of a plate of the outer layer of crispy duck skin with a side of sugar to dip it in and slices of meat with hand made wraps and hoisin sauce and strawberry sauce
- The duck skin when dipped in the sugar was magical. The sweetness of the brown sugar paired with the rich crispy skin was perfect.
- The duck was definitely the best peking duck I have had to date and was extremely tender and flavourful. The strawberry sauce was a little weird with the duck as it just tasted like jam and I wish it was more tart to balance out the flavours.
Imperial Hot & Sour Soup
- I loved the thick, rich texture of this soup. It didn’t have that corn syrup texture that cheaper hot and sour soups have and was very enjoyable to eat.
- The flavour of the soup was also delicious and it packed some heat. The spicy flavour was the type that slowly builds up and then lingers on your tongue after.
House Special Fried Chili Lobster
- I was really weirded out to see crinkle cut french fries mixed with a lobster dish at a Chinese restaurant. Surprisingly it wasn’t bad, just unexpected for a fine dining restaurant.
- The lobster itself was good and soaked up some of the chili flavour from the sauce
Szechwan Peppercorn Sliced Beef
- The slices of beef were super tender and delicious
- I loved the rich broth that had a strong flavour of peppercorn and jalapeño
- There were also noodles and mushrooms in this dish under all the beef, which made it quite hearty
Qin Style Roast Lamb Leg
- The lamb meat was flavourful and full of aromatic spices, however I wish it had been a bit more tender
- I liked that it came with little sesame covered bread pieces to scoop up the meat
Braised Sea Cucumber – Braised for 48 hours with 20 different herbs and spices
- This was my first time having sea cucumber so I don’t have any other experiences to compare it to. I was slightly hesitant to try it because it looks extremely unappetizing, but it wasn’t as unpleasant and I was expecting.
- The sea cucumber had a jelly like texture that was soft and completely soaked up all the flavours of the rich sauce. It definitely looks weirder than it tastes and the meat itself didn’t really have a flavour on its own
- I was shocked to find out the market price of the sea cucumber was around $50. I get that there is a certain amount of prestige with eating it, but I can’t see myself ever ordering this on my own at a meal where I have to pay.
Braised Whole Chili & Spring Onion Cod
- Besides the duck this dish was my other favourite of the night.
- The cod was super moist and tasted fresh
- The broth was so well balanced and had a lingering spice to it and herby onion flavours
- This is a must order dish here
Sweet & Sour Lychee & Prawns
- I love lychee, it is one of my favourite flavours, so I really enjoyed this dish
- The prawns were cooked perfectly and went really well with the sweet, juicy, lychee flavour
Pork Belly Mini Sliders – Pork is stewed in slow heat in the aged sauce consisting of over 20 spices and ingredients added to it, such as clove, nutmeg, ginger and cooking wine
- By this point in the meal I was extremely full and was sad that I didn’t get to taste these on an emptier stomach
- The pork belly was tender and fatty and the sliders were adorable and fun to eat
Disclosure: I did not pay for my meal.
Chang’an has a beautiful ambiance and many unique upscale menu items that you would never find anywhere else. The food here is pricy and it is the kind of place you would go to for a special occasion.