A month ago, I was invited to try a wine and dinner pairing at Hakkasan Bistro at Richmond with a bunch of other food bloggers and Instagrammers. Hakkasan Bistro is small Chinese eatery offering quality authentic Cantonese dishes with “Wok Hay” and Hakka-inspired food. Hakka Cuisine originated from the Hakka people in southeastern China in provinces such as Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangxi and Guangxi. The cuisine focuses on the texture of the food with mainly stew, braised, and roasting methods to create their dishes.
Our first visit was to Canada Berries, a local fruit wine vineyard located in Richmond. We got a behind the scenes tour where got to learn about the process of making fruit wines and tasting fruit wines. I’ve never had fruit wines before so my lack of knowledge led me to believe that fruit wines were spiked juices. I was clearly very wrong.
After a tour of the factory, it was time to try some of their wines. We had a long table of snacks and fruit bites to help sooth our palates in between each bottle of fruit wine.
Cranberry Fruit Wine
Cranberries are actually really healthy and good for females. The owner mentioned that you could also get health benefits from their cranberry fruit wine so it’s quite a popular choice for many of their customers.
I’m a wine drinker who enjoys the sweeter wines like Gewurztraminer, ice wine and blends. The cranberry was very feminine and sweet so it topped as my favourite out of the wine tasting.
Blackcurrant Fruit Wine
I was talking to another food blogger after tasting the blackcurrant fruit wine and we both agreed that this was the adult version of Ribena. If you like Ribena and alcohol, this is the perfect fix because it’s so easy and sweet to drink but not too sweet like the cranberry.
Granny Smith Apple Fruit Wine
There were two wines that I wanted to try at the winery that were not available to the bloggers. I waited behind with Nancy of Nomss to try the Granny Smith Apple and Peach Fruit Wine.
The Granny Smith Apple Fruit Wine was nothing close to sweet. Similar to drier white wines, I found this a lot less smooth because it wasn’t as sweet as I would prefer. On the other hand, the apple flavours were incredibly rich and aromatic.
Peach Fruit Wine
On the summery and sweet side, the peach fruit wine was definitely better than the Granny Smith but still not as sweet as the cranberry. However, I could totally imagine myself popping a bottle of peach fruit wine during a picnic in the summer.
After the wine tasting, we set off to Hakkasan Bistro for a big dinner. FYI, both locations require a car to take you there.
Jasmine Tea Smoked Mushroom Beancurd Crepes
I wouldn’t describe these as “beancurd crepes”, but I’ll give it to them for creativity. It’s usually awkward to describe Chinese dishes in English without making it sound odd.
This was a purely cold dish. I loved the fragrant and flavourful smoked mushroom snuggled inside the beancurd crepes. It would go very well with hot sauce too.
Balsamic Cloud Ear Mushroom
Slightly tangy with a chewy and bouncy texture to it, I’ve never eaten cold cloud ear mushroom because my family usually adds it into braised dishes but this was quite refreshing.
Honey Roasted BBQ Pork Cheeks
The pork cheeks are the most tender parts in BBQ Pork. The flavours tasted like cha siu but the texture was a lot more moist and juicier.
Double Boiled Whole Young Coconut Pork Soup
When this was presented in front of us, our table didn’t say a single word when we started to eat. This was amazing in presentation and in all types of flavours. This traditional slow cooking method ensures that there is no loss of moisture in the ingredients while allowing the essence of the coconut to slowly infuse into the soup.
I’m not a fan of coconut but because the soup tasted like home, I ended up eating all of the coconut parts inside. There’s seriously nothing better than this throughout the entire dinner. I would highly recommend this to all Hakkasan diners.
Specialty Odorless Garlic Lobster on Jasmine Rice
This is the chef’s special recipe in making garlic odorless so you won’t be left with a smelly garlic breath afterwards.
The lobster is smothered in a bed of garlic that still has its natural flavours while the after taste is taken away. As someone who has tried this dish, it was delicious and the lobster still had its fresh flavours in the meat. My breath did not smell like garlic afterwards even though I had two bowls of rice with minced garlic in it.
Braised Pork Hock
The Braised Pork Hock is also another one of the chef’s signature dishes that left us feeling all warm and fuzzy in our stomachs.
Braised to perfection and served on a bed of greens, the chef was able to cook the fatty pork hock thoroughly without hardening it, making it smooth without any extra grease. With all of its natural flavours packed inside the meat, this was another amazing dish at Hakkasan Bistro.
Ancient Style Hakka Salt Baked Chicken
Marinated with a blend of ten different Chinese herbs and spices, the free range chicken is then wrapped in parchment paper, placed in a clay pot mounded with piping hot coarse salt and slowly baked to perfection. This traditional and rustic slow-baking technique ensures the chicken maintains its flavours and tenderness while the spices and herbs create an aromatic and salty flavour to it.
The meat was very tender and juicy with a slightly moist and smokyflavour from the skin. I didn’t get to try too many pieces of the chicken because it was devoured pretty quickly.
Hakka Baby Squid, Scallions and Light Soy
I’ve always loved Chinese stir fry with black beans and soy sauce because these two ingredients make stir fry dishes incredibly savoury nd fragrant.
The squid was very soft with a delectable exterior covered in light soy and flavours. I tried to eat as much of this as possible because it was very good with the garlic rice.
Mui Choy Stir Fry Seasonal Chinese Greens
I managed to get a photo of this, but I didn’t get to try any of the vegetables at all. Pity, it looked like it would have been tasty.
Hakka Homestyle Steam Egg, Pork and Duck Yolk
Steamed egg is hard to perfect, so this looked beautiful when it was presented to us.
Silky smooth and steamed to perfection, the rich flavours in the duck yolk were distinct with pork bits on top.
Steamed Mini Flour Balls (Man Tou)
I am usually used to eating man tou with condensed milk but since there wasn’t anything to dip the man tou in, I improvised and ate my man tou with the steamed egg. It was surprisingly good and the man tou was soft like a pillow.
Steamed Milk Custard
No better way to end our dinner with a simple and warm milk custard. I know this is a pretty easy dessert to make but Hakkasan Bistro did a pretty good job in bringing out the milkiness in the custard.