Prior to this ChineseBites signature dishes dinner at Fraser Court, I had actually visited the place not too long ago. In fact, I had a post sitting in the queue waiting to be written. Alas, due to laziness and/or being busy, I didn't get to it. So I guess it was convenient that I would return again with the ChineseBites crew (including Sean, Grace, Rick, Diana, Joyce, Amy, Sophia and Nancy) to sample some of the very best and unique dishes that Fraser Court has to offer.
The gluttony began fast and furious with the Deluxe Appetizer Platter which included marinated jellyfish, gelatinized pork hock, beef shank and pork spareribs. The best item on the plate was the beef shank as it was soft while still meaty. It was nicely sauced where it kept things moist and flavourful with a salty sweetness. Properly gelatinized and sliced a tad thick, the pork hock could've used some vinegar on the side. I wasn't a huge fan of the jellyfish as it was in little bits and underseasoned. Interestingly, the crispy pork spareribs were dressed in sweet Thai chili which meant things were pretty sweet. Next up was the Whole Winter Melon with Seafood that contained everything but the kitchen sink. It included bamboo fungus, crab, duck, dried scallop, ham, shrimp, scallops, lotus seeds, wintermelon, gai lan stalks and pork. Despite the amount of flavourful ingredients, the broth itself was light, sweet and aromatic rather than salty.
Onto the Sauteed Three Kinds of Seafoods with Black Fungus & Greens, it consisted of big scallops, shrimp and squid along with snow peas, wood ear mushrooms and golden squash. The dish was seasoned with a hybrid black bean sauce that was tempered with an equal amount of sweetness (from added seasoning and the ingredients). I found the seafood to be properly prepared while the dish was subject to high wok heat. Hence, there was no residual moisture on the plate and caramelization came into effect. Continuing with seafood (this would be the theme), we had the Lobster in Supreme Soy Sauce. Fried just enough, the lobster meat maintained a buttery succulence with a classic rebound texture. I liked how the dish was dry as the flavours were intensified and there was no goopy sauce. It appeared that they used a combination of Maggi, garlic, ginger soy, sugar and possibly some XO.
Similarly seasoned, the Chef's Secret Recipe Jumbo Crab benefited from the addition of green onion and Chinese dry sausage. Hence, there was another layer of aromatics and the fatty saltiness of the sausage. Being another dry preparation, the flavours were intensified, yet at the same time, did not overwhelm the fluffy crab. Much like the lobster, the crab was fried masterfully and did not cross the threshold of being overcooked. Moving away from seafood for a brief moment, we had the Roasted House Specialty Chicken. This was essentially a whole crispy fried chicken sitting atop a light wine sauce. The chicken itself was moist and a touch salty in spots. Crispy, well-rendered and light, the chicken skin retained its crunch despite the moisture.
Back to the seafood, we had an interesting preparation of Clams & Whole Tilapia Fish Chiu Chow Style. It was fried first and then placed in hot pot with clam broth. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of tilapia due to its overly soft texture. This dish didn't convince me otherwise as the already cooked fish was further moistened by the broth. Hence, the meat was mushy. On the other hand, I liked the delicate, sweet and briny flavours of the broth as well as the clams themselves. Presented in another hot pot, we had the Scallops & Egg Tofu with Eggplants in Spicy Garlic Hot Pot. This was dressed in plenty of sweet Thai Chili which ensured the entire thing was pretty sweet and sticky. There was some spice to balance it off somewhat, but the dish ate pretty sugary. As for the scallops, they were large and on point with an appealingly chewy butteriness. The silky tofu was soft while maintaining its shape as well as the eggplant.
Presented on a large platter, the Sliced Tender Beef with Mushrooms was probably the weakest item we had. The medium-sized chunks of beef were chewy and hard since they were not marinated and tenderized properly. Naturally, the beef was probably an inferior cut, so tenderization is the key to this dish. It was nicely wok-fried though where there was no excess moisture and the black pepper was quite evident but not overwhelming. We ended off with the Halibut Belly with Shallots & Green Onions. Halibut has the tendency to overcooked easily, so timing is everything. In this case, it was perfect where the meat was moist and flaky while completely cooked through. The dish was seasoned with a salt and white pepper as well as the aforementioned ingredients.
For dessert, we had the Baked Tapioca Pudding with sugary butter crumb topping. Despite its pale appearance, the topping was crispy and cooked through. As for the pudding itself, it was light and creamy-custardy while not overly sweet. We would've preferred to see a lotus paste filling, but the dessert was fine nonetheless. In the end, the food was pretty decent despite a few average dishes. Although the flavours were pretty impactful, the use of sweet chili sauce could've been more minimal.
*All food, beverages and gratuities were complimentary*
- Properly cooked proteins
- Ample portion size
- Loads of flavour
- A touch greasy
- Loads of flavour, but not necessarily balanced
- Karaoke can be both entertaining and annoying