That’s exactly what Sherman, Kim, Jenny (My Secret Eden), Ricky and I did on a chilly autumn evening. I’ve never heard of this place before but from what I heard, it serves pretty good Chinese food on the other side of town. So…is it as good as the Chinese food I eat at home?
Normally when I choose a cuisine, Chinese would be at the bottom of my list. Why is that, you might ask? The reason is that I grew up on really good Chinese food cooked at home by my mom. The only time anyone would find me at a Chinese restaurant would either be because (1) I’m having dim sum (2) it’s a high end Chinese restaurant, (3) formal engagements, or (4) it has a type of specialty dish that I am very interested in trying.
Poco Ocean is a family run Chinese restaurant located near Coquitlam Centre. I have heard that the chef was a chef at the governor house for two of the Governors of Hong Kong or was the personal chef to the Governor of Macau. I’m not really sure if any of the rumors are true but the chef was sure a humble person and did come out to take some pictures.
Once you step into the restaurant, you get a clear view of the Chinese menu on the wall, however, English menus are available. Below said signage is an advertisement for chicken wings (more on that later). The walls of the restaurant are hung with caricature drawings of the chef and his signature dishes.
So now… on to the food!!! Since the majority of us can’t read the Chinese characters, Jenny was given the responsibility to order the dishes for us.
We were first served the complimentary pork bone soup with soybean. The soup was good as the umami-ness (or sweetness) was present. To get that kind of “sweetness”, the pork bone soup has to be simmered in low heat.
The first dish that came out was the honey garlic chicken wings. These wings were juicy and the unbattered skin was crispy. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness with hints of garlic.
The second dish is braised pork hock with siu choy and shitake mushrooms. The braised pork hock was very good. The pork was fall-off-the-bone delicious and the sauce had a slight hint of sweetness to it. You know what the best part is? The skin! Everyone at the table agreed and took a portion each.
This dish was everyone’s favorite of the evening, 3 cup chicken. This dish was sweet, salty and fragrant from the sesame oil and Thai Basil. The chicken was juicy and cooked to perfection.
The next dish that arrived was fried tofu with scallop, which arrived on a hot plate. (Whoo~ Look at the steam!) This dish was really good but the major disappointment was the scallops. As I picked up a scallop with my chopsticks, Sherman, exclaimed that the scallops were “Seng! (in Cantonese, it means not so fresh seafood or fishy smell). When he said it, I dropped the scallop onto myself and didn’t bother to eat it. HAHA thanks dude! :p Anyway, the tofu was delicious. The tofu maintained slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Even though this was a dish with sauce, the tofu didn’t end up being soggy.
Since we ordered so much protein, it was time for us to have some veggies. We decided to get long green beans with mushroom. The green beans were tasty but it wasn’t anything special. The beans were oil blanched and cooked to the point that it starting blistering. The beans weren’t mushy and still retained a bit of texture to it.
The last dish we ordered was fish with tofu hot pot. I can’t recall kind of fish it is, but it had an interesting texture. In the sauce, it had cilantro and dried orange peel. It was an odd combination. As for the fish, the first thing that came to mind was jiggly-wiggly. If you were to pick up the fish with the chopstick it wiggle it around, the fish retained it’s shape. The fish was soft and meaty and had an adequate amount of batter surrounding it. The taste of this dish was ok, as it was nothing special and a bit weird since most of us occasionally taste the dried orange peel taste, which isn’t quite an appealing taste.
Overall, the food at Poco Ocean is quite good. I would say the food are almost on par with what my mom makes at home but WAY less oily. The food blogger dinner was a success and I certainly enjoyed the dinner with the other food bloggers.
*Photo credit to Kim Ho from imonlyhereforthefood.com!
2755 Lougheed Hwy
Port Coquitlam, BC
Value: Expensive Chinese food considering it’s not all seafood. But it’s still good.
Ambience: Family style Chinese restaurant with tables placed close that you might need to squeeze your butt through.