I don’t go to Richmond Hill very often (as you can see from my map) but what brought me to Emperor Fine Chinese Cuisine one evening was their amazing half-price Peking Duck offered every Monday. For only $20, it’s quite a steal!
The restaurant is located on Bayview, between Highway 7 and 16th in a small plaza. The interior is quite fancy looking with chair covers and all that jazz. With a raised stage along one wall of the restaurant, it seems like it’d be a popular spot for wedding receptions.
The first dish that arrived was what we came here for, the Peking Duck ($39.88 regularly). If you’re here for the Monday half-price special and would like the second diced duck meat course with lettuce wraps, it’ll cost you an extra $5 – still a really great deal! Make sure you bring cash though, they’ll only accept cash if you order one of their specials.
These ducks were flying out of the kitchen…everyone was here for the same thing! Our server showed us our bird and subsequently began carving it in front of us.
The first course consists of paper-thin slices of duck skin and slices of duck wrapped in a thin Chinese pancake.
The duck skin was perfectly crisp and the meat, which had a nice fat-to-meat ratio, was juicy and tender. Drop in some sweet hoisin sauce, slices of green onion and cucumber (to balance out the richness of the duck) and you’ve got yourself a delicious wrap. My only complaint was that the pancakes had a tendency to stick together which created holes in them…so be gentle!
The second course consisted of diced duck meat (stir-fried with diced veggies) which is eaten with a lettuce wrap.
Similar to the pancake, you typically eat the lettuce wrap with a dollop of hoisin sauce. While I found the stir-fry a touch oily, it was still pretty solid.
For a little bit more meat, we ordered the Stir Fried Pork Neck – with mushrooms and XO sauce ($18.88). Pork neck is one of my favourite cuts of pork and I feel like its pretty underrated. While not as fatty as the belly, it’s still got a nice fattiness and a bite to it without being chewy.
If you’ve never heard of XO sauce, it’s made of dried scallop, shrimp, chili and oil. It packs a lot of flavour into a plain dish and works wonderfully when stir-fried with anything. We all loved the stir fried pork neck. I recommend ordering a bowl of Steamed Rice ($2/bowl) to go with it, as we did. And be warned – it’s a pretty oily dish (from the XO and fattiness of the pork neck) so steer away if this turns you off.
For some greens, we ordered the Stir Fried Snow Pea Leaves ($16.88). It comes at a pretty steep price tag but then again it’s in line with most of the other dishes at this pricey restaurant. The snow pea leaves were well cooked as they still retained their crunch. I was pleased that the dish wasn’t too oily as many restaurants tend to use too much oil when stir frying veggies. I didn’t realize that the dish didn’t automatically come with garlic. I’d ask for this next time.
We also ordered some Shrimp Wontons in Soup ($16) which strangely came last. Individual orders of the soup costs $5.50 (with 2 wontons) while the regular portion we ordered comes with 8 wontons. The soup nor the wontons were anything to write home about in my opinion. You could definitely get better for a fraction of the cost.
After our meal, we were each served some complimentary dessert. The Chinese dessert soup (aka “tong sui”) consisted of water chestnuts and egg drop. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of dessert soups in general so I might be a little biased but I found the consistency of it to be a little too thick for my liking. Luckily, it came with a small piece of mango pudding and a little pastry which satisfied my sweet tooth.
Overall, we had a solid meal at Emperor Fine Chinese Cuisine. The prices are on the high side, so make sure you drop by on a Monday to take advantage of their half-price Peking duck special!
At a glance:
• Half-price Peking duck special every Monday ($20)
• Prices are on the high side but the food is pretty solid
• Located on Bayview between Highway 7 and Major Mackenzie (Richmond Hill)
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars