I’ve been searching for a restaurant in the Vancouver area serving up really good quality Cantonese fare. After doing some research and speaking to a couple of Chowhounds, I decided to check out Good Choice Restaurant on my recent to trip Vancouver at the end of May. I was told Good Choice is famous for their salt baked chicken, which had to be pre-ordered. I convinced my foodie friend, Grayelf and her SO, to join us so we would have more bellies to sample more dishes.
For an appetizer, we ordered the Beef Brisket with Sweet Soy Sauce ($10.80 for the small). Fortunately, a small order of this dish is available and only costs $10.80. The menu with the English translation doesn’t list any options for size and lists this dish at $20.80, which I thought was little expensive for an appetizer, especially if it’s just beef brisket. Apparently, the Chinese only menu for the Signature Dishes lists the size options for this dish and the full order is listed at $20.80, while the half order is $10.80. I thought for the five of us, a small order was more than adequate as an appetizer. I think the large order is meant for tables of eight to ten diners. In terms of taste, this was for sure a winner! This was easily the best tasting braised beef brisket I’ve ever had. Not only was each slice was melt-in-your-mouth tender, but each bite was juicy and flavourful.
We pre-ordered the Traditional Baked Chicken with Salt ($31.80). The whole chicken was presented to us at the table first before they brought it back into the kitchen to chop it up for us. While I’m no salt baked chicken expert, I thought this preparation is one of the best I’ve ever had. The chicken was flavourful, succulent, and moist. Despite what the name of the dish suggests, it was not salty at all (and it’s not supposed to be). The salt has to do with the preparation and cooking technique. For the traditional preparations of this dish, the chicken is encased in salt during the cooking process.
Grayelf had a good eye and caught a glimpse of an interesting tofu dish as it passed by our table. She asked our server about it and it turned out to be Pipa Tofu with Abalone Sauce ($14.80). Because this dish is listed on the Chinese only Signature Dish menu and not on the regular menu with English translations, we would not have known about this dish if it were not for her great sleuthing. These oval-shaped tofu balls are said to resemble the four-stringed Chinese musical instrument, pipa, and hence, the name Pipa Tofu. This dish is usually made with soft tofu mixed with seafood and shaped into oval balls. They are then deep-fried and topped with a savoury sauce. I’m glad that Good Choice serves the sauce on the side so that the tofu balls still remain crispy instead of getting soggy as they drown the sauce. I’ve never had this dish before and I thought it was quite tasty. The tofu balls had a nice a soft texture to them without being mushy.
Originally, for the vegetable dish we wanted to try Pan Fried Spiced Green Beans but they were out of beans so our server suggested we try the seasonal vegetable on choy. We ended up getting Stir-Fried On Choy with Fermented Bean Curd ($16.80). This is a classic preparation for on choy to be stir-fried with fermented bean curd (also known as preserved tofu). The fermented bean curd gives the sauce a distinct creamy flavour and goes really well with the on choy. I liked that they served this dish in a clay pot. This helped to retain the heat. Even after several minutes, the on choy tasted as hot and fresh as when the dish was first brought to the table.
Lastly, we ordered the Steamed Minced Pork with Salted Fish ($14.80). This dish is actually a variation on another dish that’s on the regular menu – Steamed Minced Pork with Salty Egg. Grayelf wanted salted fish instead of the salty egg and they were willing to customize it for us. This dish is actually a home-style Cantonese dish. The minced pork was melt-in-your-mouth tender. I was really surprised as I’ve had this dish before but the minced meat has never been this tender. The pork was flavourful and I could taste the pungent salted fish permeating throughout. I’m glad I got to try this dish or I’d never have known what a well-executed version of this dish tastes like.
For dessert, Grayelf wanted to try the Double Boiled Milk with Ginger ($3.50) as this was also one of the signature items at Good Choice. I had a taste of it and thought that it was silky and smooth as it should be. It was definitely executed well.
Overall, I was really impressed with my dinner at Good Choice. It was definitely one of the best Cantonese meals I’ve had in Vancouver. All the dishes were very well executed. While some of them didn’t necessarily have a wow factor for me, I can appreciate that they were executed perfectly. My favourite dishes were the Beef Brisket with Sweet Soy Sauce and the Traditional Baked Chicken with Salt. Both of these dishes were the most memorable version that I’ve tasted so far. I’d definitely go back to Good Choice again. In fact, on my next visit to Vancouver, in addition to going back for dinner, I’d like to go try the dim sum there as well.
Good Choice Restaurant
6007 Fraser Street