Holy Abalone!

 Boy do I have a treat for you today. Ok, actually it was more of a treat for me, but I’d like to share my experience with you so that if you’re ever in Vancouver and looking for an authentic Chinese restaurant to try, then you no longer need to look any further. If you’ve been reading my last couple of posts, you’ll know that we have some guests visiting from Vietnam, so my parents wanted to take them to Grand Honour Restaurant in Vancouver, BC. The last time we visited, a friend brought us there and we loved it so much we wanted to take our guests. 

Grand Honour Restaurant specializes in shark’s fin, bird’s nest, and abalone, three very popular delicacies in Chinese cuisine. There were ten adults and three children so we ordered the ten people abalone set meal.

Some dried abalone in their display case out in the front entrance.

We started off with this cold platter. On the left rolled up in rose like blossoms we have smoked salmon. In the middle we have jellyfish. On the right we have eel.

On the top and bottom of the platter were these tofu skin enveloped around some chopped up shiitake mushrooms.

Next came the shark’s fin soup. Rather than the usual huge bowl placed in the middle to divide amongst everyone, every person was served their own individual bowl. As you can tell, these bowls were not your normal rice bowl size.

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of shark’s fin as I find it rather bland and overrated.

There were also large chunks of crab meat. Red vinegar is added to the soup to help take away the fish taste.

Next came the star of the meal, the abalone. Once again, everyone had their own individual bowl of abalone.

These suckers were almost the size of my palm 😛

For those who have never eaten abalone, here’s what the inside of one looks like, all meat.

Next came the deep fried pigeons. Yup, I said pigeons. If you like Chinese barbecued duck, you’ll like these. I find them a bit too gamey for my liking…..

….but K seems to disagree.

The next dish was a stir fried enoki and shiitake mushrooms atop snow pea tendrils.

I’m sorry, I don’t know exactly what the ingredients of this next dish were, but I know there were veggies, fish, mushrooms, and ham. What kind of ham, what kind of mushrooms and so forth, I couldn’t tell you 😦 I can tell you it was another delicious dish though.

Next came some rice and seafood pan-fried and then beautifully steamed in this lotus leaf to infuse the flavors from the leaf. Trust me, by the time we got to this dish, everybody was pretty much full.

But there was still one more dish for the meal, a plate of yi mien. This and the rice were practically left untouched, that’s how big the dishes were.

Then finally a taro root, red bean, coconut milk dessert.

Everything from the cold platter to the last spoonful of my dessert was stellar! There wasn’t one thing that I could complain about. The plates were huge, the food was delicious, the service was great, and there was more than enough food for everyone. We even had leftovers. This isn’t a very large restaurant, but with a packed house like this, you’d expect the food to be nothing less than divine. 

Make sure to make a reservation if you decide to give this restaurant a try. Just a little warning though, there is a restaurant called Grand Honour Hot Pot Restaurant that is actually just across the street. So make sure you’re reserving your table at the right restaurant. We almost made the mistake of reserving at the wrong restaurant.

Before I leave, I’d like to ask a favor of you. If you have the time, I’d love it if you could drop by a dear bloggie friend’s blog and put in some supporting words for her. This bloggie friend is Monet from anecdotes and apple cores. Her nephew, baby Ryan fell into the pool just recently and almost drowned. He is now holding onto dear life in the hospital. If you do not have the time to drop by her blog, as I understand we all lead very busy lives, please take a minute or two to say a prayer for Baby Ryan and his family through these difficult times. Thank you in advance.

I leave you with that for this week. Thank you for reading. I hope you all have a great weekend. Until next time, friends and family 😀


33 Responses to “Holy Abalone!”

  1. 1 Monet October 21, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    You have been such a source of encouragement and support. Your kind words have brought tears to my eyes, again and again. Thank you for being here for me…even though we have never “met”. You are such a beautiful person, and I’m so happy that we “found” each other in this crazy blog world. This restaurant sounds amazing…and I’m so glad that you were able to enjoy a meal with family and friends. There is nothing more important than celebrating life with those that you love.

  2. 3 Anna Johnston October 21, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Holy Abalone indeed Lequan 🙂 What a feast. I love, love, love Vietnamese food (we’re very multi-cultured here in Australia & with Asia just a hop, step & jump away. In fact, its high on my list to visit Vietnam, lots of friends have had a holiday there & come back raving about it.
    I always read other peoples comments on my fave bloggers pages, & must say how much I liked Monets comment – & I echo her sentiments that ‘we found each other’ in this crazy blog world too.
    Have a great weekend
    Cheers Anna

  3. 4 denise @ quickies on the dinner table October 22, 2010 at 4:10 am

    It’s terrible what happened to Monet’s nephew LeQuan – you’re such a caring person. I hope Ryan continues to improve and will soon be well again. I know I would be devastated if such a thing happened to any of my boys.

    I love a really good Chinese dinner and this one looks divine! My favourites are the last 3 courses – the lotus rice, the noodles and the taro dessert.

    I’ve always thought that sharkfin soup was way over rated too. It doesn’t taste of anything, is really quite fishy, terribly expensive and on top of it all, shark fin is harvested in the cruelest way imaginable! I honestly wonder why it’s in such demand 😛

  4. 6 Stella October 22, 2010 at 6:32 am

    Hey LeQuanis, Grand Honour looks like an awesome place. I haven’t had real Chinese food since I lived in Atlanta. Florida just doesn’t seem to be the place when it comes to international dining. It’s hard to even find authentic Cuban food here anymore-everything is just so commercial these days…
    Plus, it seems like this place would be your dream with those palm sized abalone! Ooh, but sometimes bigger isn’t better. For example, I prefer tiny muscles in white wine sauce to the big ones. I compare the latter to sea flavored bubble gum (smile)!
    Okay, well, I’m going to run over to Monet’s blog. I can’t even imagine what they must be feeling right now…

    • 7 lequan October 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      Thank you for being the kind witch you always are Stella! I knew I could count on you.

      Totally with you about “bigger is not always better”, especially with a lot of seafood.

  5. 8 Light Delight with Tou Tou October 22, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Whoa! that is quite a feast!! I miss so much of the Jelly fish. I remember my Mom prepare them almost every month!!!! It is such a great trip that I saw everyone’s happy face 🙂

    I am so sorry for Monet….it’s hard for the family…

  6. 9 anncoo October 22, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Hi Lequan, I love abalone but this is quite expensive and not easy to cook at home. In Asia this is the most famous restaurant called Ah Yat Restaurant (阿一鲍鱼). I have learnt few dishes from the Chef Ah Yat when he was Singapore showing a cooking demo many years ago but no recipes and I have not cook it for a very long time, hope I can still remember.

    I’m sorry for Monet and I am going over to her blog now.

    • 10 lequan October 22, 2010 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Ann,

      Thank you so much for taking the time to drop by Monet’s blog. We all can use some kind words at one time or another. I really appreciate what you did.

      Lucky lucky you that you got to learn from such a talented chef! But then, I’m lucky that I get to learn from you every week 😀

  7. 11 Ameena October 22, 2010 at 11:09 am

    It is so sweet of you to acknowledge Monet’s situation in your post…she is such a great person and I hope everything works out for the baby ASAP.

    I am always impressed with your adventurous eating! And your kids eat it too – that just amazes me. I actually had no idea that abalone is edible. Simply because I’m ignorant I guess? Glad that you are here to teach me a thing or two about Chinese food and life in general. 🙂

  8. 12 Jessie October 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    IT so sweet of you to encourage people to stop by Monet’s blog, LeQuan – I’ve been thinking about her nephew for days now and hoping that he will be ok.

    I’m glad you were able to get out to another fabulous restaurant 🙂 I hope we’ll get to go out to eat together because then I can order all the crazy dishes and share with you! I’ve only had shark fin once (in China, of course) and I have to agree that it was surprisingly bland! There was no particular texture, and the taste – well, there was no taste! Abalone, on the other hand … yum! I’ve also had that only once, but it was delicious 🙂 Have you ever eaten bird’s nest, Leeqs? I want to try it once, but knowing what it is, I think it may be the one food I forgo!

    Oh, also, I adore that picture of L and Gary grinning above the abalone 😉 And can K be any more adorable? She’ll be a lovely young lady, I can tell already 😀

    Have a beautiful weekend, LeeQs! xoxoxoxoxo!

    • 13 lequan October 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm

      I have eaten bird’s nest, but again, OVERRATED. At least that’s what I think. Probably didn’t help that I kept thinking of where it came from the whole time I was eating it haha. Given bird’s nest or shark’s fin though, it’s hands down shark’s fin for me. I’m not too happy that the whole shark is wasted just to get the shark fin though.

  9. 14 Magic of Spice October 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

    That is an amazing amount of food…I have never understood the appeal of sharkfin soup either.
    It is just heartbreaking about baby Ryan, I can’t even imagine having to got through that.
    You are so wonderful and supportive 🙂

  10. 15 tigerfish October 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    Since it is crowded with locals, I supposed it is good. The Chinese name of the restaurant seems to be a famous abalone restaurant chain in Asia – Ah Yat Abalone but the English name is not. Hmmm…..

  11. 16 A Canadian Foodie October 24, 2010 at 8:38 am

    WHat a spread! So, it was the abalone meal with only one abalone dish? Was that originally a dried abalone and reconstituted? WHy not more abalone dishes in an abalone meal? Sounds odd, to me. Was the pigeon as tough as Chinese Duck is? I love the flavour of the duck, but the toughness is not easy for me, anymore. In any case, I am in awe, but I would NEVER go without YOU! Or, without someone who could walk me through what I was eating. However it would probably all be delicious. YOu didn’t mention the cost. I understand abalone is incredibly expensive, so imagine the meal was very pricey. Am I right?
    Also, I am in awe, LeQuan, that you were able to travel with a crowd that big! What fun!
    And I will stop by your friend’s site. Tragic. Definitely in need of prayer and support. XOXO

    • 17 lequan October 24, 2010 at 2:13 pm

      Hi Valerie,

      Haha, I’d love to have more abalone in that one meal too, but abalone can get quite expensive. I think the meal comes with the abalone dish and the shark’s fin soup and all the other dishes are different depending on the size of your party. I think they have 4, 6, and 10 people set meals. Maybe even a 2 person set meal too. And yes, they did use the dried abalones. I’m not sure how much a dried one that size would cost, but I’ve gotten canned ones that size for about $80 a can (usually one or 2 abalones per can).

      Yes, I do find pigeon meat as tough as duck meat, maybe even a tiny bit more tough. If you don’t like duck, you probably won’t like pigeon.

      I didn’t want to mention the price cause I didn’t want to sound “braggy”, but since you asked, it was about $800 for the meal. A pretty decent 10 people meal (without abalone) usually costs about $300 something to $400 something. So this meal is considered on the higher end of Chinese cuisine. Definitely worth a try for the experience, but not an every weekend kind of meal ;-). Hope I answered all your questions.

      Thank you for taking the time to drop by Monet’s blog. I really appreciate it, and I know she will too. You’re always so sweet, Valerie! I love seeing people reaching out to help others the way you always do! 😀 HUGS!

  12. 18 Chef Dennis October 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    HI LeQuan
    it looks like you enjoyed a feast!! There is nothing better thatn being able to have a taste of home…..foods you grew up with, knew and loved are always a special treat when you get to enjoy them once again. I miss good Tex-Mex food so bad…sigh

    You are such a wonderful friend, always supportive to all of us, Monet is an exceptional young woman, thanks for being there for her and reminding everyone to stop by and give her their love.


  13. 19 Lazaro October 25, 2010 at 10:24 am

    What an awesome spread. From the shark fin soup, to the abalone, and the yi mien.

    Wood pigeons are some of the tastiest birds around. They are organic and free-range. I am a big fan of the wood pigeon.

    LeQuan, you truly are a sweet person. I know I have said it many time but it bears repeating.


  14. 20 Pachecopatty October 25, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Wow LeQuan, such an amazing authentic Chinese dinner, it’s been awhile since I’ve enjoyed something like this with friends or family, love to have all the extra dishes that you get when dining with a large group. I have never tried the shark fin soup, I guess that I won’t rush right out to order a bowl, lol! I also love abalone but don’t really find it anymore, unless you have a friend that dives for the fresh abalone which is one of my favorites.

    It was very touching and sweet of you to mention Monet’s nephew Ryan in your post, of course I will go over and pay her a visit, I am a bit behind in my comments due to traveling but now it’s good to be home and get back to my routine:)

  15. 21 Leah @ Why Deprive? October 25, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    There are some great places around here for just about any type of ethnic food you could ever want.

    Obviously when I say “around here” I mean Vancouver – I like to pretend thats where I live.

  16. 22 Devaki @ weavethousandflavors October 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Dear Le Quan – If I could I’d get on a plane to Vancouver today! What a feast and with all my fave foods – the shark fin soup and abalone and noodles are my favorites.

    I love your ‘take us to dinner with you’ post 🙂

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  17. 23 Stella October 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Hey LeQuanis, you are too sweet. I’m writing in reference to your comment on my blog by the way…
    You know, when I cheat, I eat seafood. You know that better than anyone, since I’m always asking you how you make yours. Yeah, it’s sad but when that craving comes on, I’m at Whole Foods buying a pound or two of shrimp. I don’t feel as bad about eating them, since they don’t have much brains (smile)! I don’t know if I’m write about that though…
    Oh, and did you know I thought you were a pescatarian till I saw you ate some beef one day? I suppose all the seafood and veggies made me think that. I have a bad habit of assuming things;)
    Okay, well, I hope you have a relaxing night, LeQuan.
    XO, Stella

  18. 24 Britatny October 26, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    ……..SO that is the MOST intresting FOOD’s I had ever seen…(okay i rarley go out lol!) WOW what a great varity!!!! I am not sure if i am not sure for shark fin soup….but I always am willing to try everything once…i think.

    YOUR Little ONE so CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  19. 25 Juliana October 26, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Lequan, what a beautiful dinner…if only I could have a spoonful of each dish…they all look delicious…and the abalone sure are big.

  20. 26 5 Star Foodie October 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Some fun specialties here! Would love to have those abalones! I have tried a pigeon before and like you not a huge fan 🙂

  21. 27 Stella October 26, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Hey LeQuanis, I’m back too. I actually have time to be on the computer today.
    I just wanted to say ‘don’t give up anything unless it’s what you really want, Mamita’. It can be hard, you know?! Plus, you’ll always be a pescatarian to me *wink*!

  22. 28 kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com October 27, 2010 at 12:29 pm

    the lotus leaf with pan-fried rice and shrimp looked SO BEAUTIFUL! amazing how the form stayed and the insides didnt explode it! i can see why everyone was pretty much full after having it!

    thats too bad that u didnt have a second stomach for that yi mein which looked SO YUMMY! did u get to take the rest home for leftovers? next day-cold chinese is sooo good 😀

    btw, thank you for directing people to Monet’s blog. its so terrible what is going on in her life, and for that poor little boy. it was a freak accident that no one could have expected, and its heart-breaking to say the least.


  23. 30 Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron October 28, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I’m back LeQuan!
    That’s so sweet of you. I saw she posted about the incident on FB too and i prayed for baby Ryan..

    I will have to take note on this as I’d love to re-visit Vancity again. Last time we went to Shenghai rive and Karin (?)

  24. 31 Lawyer Loves Lunch October 28, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    What a feast! I’m with Ameena- I’ve never had a lot of the things on this tasting menu but I did have shark soup at a Chinese wedding once. It was intriguing 🙂 I’m so glad you were able to share such a grand meal with your family.

  25. 32 Biren @ Roti n Rice October 31, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    What a fantastic meal! Great line up of Chinese delicacies I have not had in a while.

    Will visit Monet’s blog soon.

  26. 33 Blackswan November 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Lequan, this post has certainly attracted my attention. I’m a huge fan of abalone, shark’s fin & bird’s nest! U can read all about them in my epicurean adventures.

    Coincidentally, I’ve just written a post on Shark’s Fin too. U should chk this place out the next time u’re in S’pore.

    I’ve subscribed to your blog now & hope u’ll do the same. Looking fwd to more sharing, not just on my cooking & see u more often @ Luxury Indulgence!

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