Monday, December 13, 2010

Lobster Feast at OMEI

Last Tuesday, I went to a lobster tweetup which was organized by Mackenzie (@M3foods). It finally came into fruition as it was originally planned for early November but was pushed back due to scheduling conflict. 

Why a lobster Tweetup you ask? Well simply because I was talking about my experience at The Lobster Trap a month or so ago on Twitter, how great it was and all, and it just so happens that at the same time, Mackenzie also posted up a picture on Twitter of two ginormous lobsters from OMEI Restaurant (totally stealing my lobster thunder by the way). And then from that, Chris (@thechrisim) suggested doing a lobster tweetup, and of course within minutes we all chimed in about how awesome that idea was. So Mac, with his connections, was able to hook us up with a 5-course lobster dinner at OMEI Restaurant, with the criteria that we get enough people for it. Let's just say it wasn't too hard finding 10 people for this lobster feast =)

I haven't been to OMEI for probably more than 10 years. I remember going as a kid with my family when we first immigrated here from Hong Kong.  Since I wasn't a foodie back then I have no recollection if the food there was good or not. But OMEI is considered to be a household name in terms of Cantonese cuisine in Toronto, and I'm sure most Chinese people in the area knows about it; it has a good reputation for its consistency and quality.

Tuesday night at Omeiwe were the only table there at the time (around 7pm). Here we are waiting for the rest of the gang.

Lobsters in the tank.

Notice that these are not your typical size lobsters.

They. Are. Huge.

Huge, yet quite cute haha.

There were some prawns too. Didn't end up eating them though.

So what's in store for us? Well it would be these bad boys: two 8-lb lobsters made five ways.

Before the food came, we cracked open a bottle of white wine. 1.5L bottle for the 10 of us.

1st Course: Steamed lobster claws with green onions, garlic, and vermicelli

It is easiest to tell whether lobsters are fresh by steaming it because that's when the freshness is easily detectable without having other ingredients masking the taste. When lobsters are not fresh, or basically, have been dead for awhile, there would no longer be any lobster taste and the texture of the meat would be soft and mushy, instead of thick and "bouncy". Obviously, the lobsters were fresh since we just saw them from the tank. However, these lobsters were also cooked to perfection; the meat was not tough (not overcooked). This course also gave us a chance to taste the actual flavour of the lobsters because they were just steamed and topped with spring onions and garlic. The vermicelli was divine given that soaked up the lobster juices.

2nd Course: Stir-fried lobster tails in soy sauce. The first half of the lobster tail was coated with corn starch and pan fried giving it a light crisp texture. I like how the parts were placed to resemble a whole lobster once again.

Just giving you an idea of how big the claw is compared to the Blackberry. Technically, that's not even the whole claw, more like 3/4 of a claw.

3rd Course: Deep-fried lobster tail with garlic and chili pepper. The second half of the lobster tail and legs were deep-fried. Loved this because the batter was crisp and light with the meat moist and juicy. Not too much meat here since its basically the legs but it's great to munch on because it is fried. Perfect with beer actually!

4th Course: Steamed egg white with lobster roe. Although this course is good (I love steamed egg dishes), I can't taste the lobster roe much.

5th Course: Fried rice with lobster roe. The rice was done really well since none of it clumped together and you can see each individual grain.

Besides the lobster dishes, we also had other veggie and meat dishes to balance our meal a bit. we had some soup.

Sweet & sour pork.

Veggies in broth.

Stir fried beef tenderloin with peppers and cashews.

We were already stuffed with all the deliciousness when the owner of Omei offered us four different kinds of desserts. FOUR! =D

First up, mango mochi with coconut sprinkles. 

♥ mango!

Red bean soup.

Deep-fried egg puffs with red bean filling - one of my favourite Shanghainese dessert.

I would have liked it if the puff was bigger and, well, puffier =)

Black sesame mochi balls topped with white sesame.

Really couldn't ask for more that night. The lobsters totally exceeded my expectations. Before going I was a bit weary because like a lot of things, bigger is not always better you know? Especially in terms of the quality, tenderness, and the texture of the meat. But my worries were gone right after I tasted the steamed lobsters. I was happy with each of the five ways of cooking the lobster: steamed, stir fried, deep-fried, steamed, and in fried rice; all were wonderfully executed and delicious. I would totally go back to OMEI if I'm ever looking for a Chinese lobster feast again.

Thanks for organizing, Mackenzie =D

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