Hand-made Peony Pastry with Lotus Paste at Szechuan Chongqing
Recently Szechuan Chongqing decided to partner with the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program, with delicious results
Serving Vancouver for over 30 years, Szechuan Chongqing has been a staple for those that love the spicy complexity of traditional Szechuan cuisine.
This Vancouver institution has been owned and operated by the Wong family for three decades, and is now led by brother-and-sister team Robert and Lisa Wong. Chef Robert Wong, a highly trained fourth-generation chef, is the only chef in the world to ever receive a Michelin star for Szechuan cuisine.
And now Szechuan Chongqing is teaming with the Vancouver Aquarium's Ocean Wise program.
For a restaurant that 10 years ago still served shark fin soup, this is a huge departure from its beginnings. Despite increased overhead costs and the possibility of needing to change their menu, Szechuan Chongqing ultimately decided that sustainable seafood was also better seafood, and made the transition.
Szechuan Congqing's Ocean Wise Menu
They have had to make some changes to their menu, removing sole and prawns that were not up to Ocean Wise standards, and adding a delicious sablefish dish with a beautifully crispy skin, and a very fresh fried calamari with green chilis and red chili flakes.
(Left) Chef Wong debones and prepares Ocean Wise sablefish (Right) Spicy prawns with hot chilli lantern peppers (Images: Vancouver Aquarium)
Chef Wong also provided an impressive display of hand-made peony pastries and demonstrated how to run a very sharp blade over the fish skin to shave off the looser scales so that it fries with that delectable skin intact. Mussels served family style and spicy local oyster shots rounded out the tasting.
I was very impressed by the attention to detail in each dish and the oftentimes-remarkable care that went into plating each one. Chef Wong is encouraging other Chinese restaurants to join the Ocean Wise program, in the hopes that it will continue, resulting in more delicious, responsible seafood for us all to enjoy.