Ho Yuen Kee is a casual restaurant offering quality Chinese dishes including dungeness crab, steamed whole fish, peking duck as well as wonton, congee and soup noodle entrees.
I come here once in a full moon even though it's on a street where I frequent. It's been here a while and looks to do well from the streetside.
Their congee is 'ol reliable and made well. The wontons are generous with shrimp and plump while the Yang Chow (green onion and bbq pork) Fried Rice is a commonly ordered favourite. The menu is typical of this genre and you should find some tasty choices.
Service is borderline terrible to decent. Tableside, servers take an inordinate amount of time to come over to your table when you try to call them over. They don't offer much in the way of etiquette either. Several ocassions our servers cleared a path between 2 people at our table to bring or clear dishes without excusing themselves first. If you're in the unfortunate circumstance of waiting at the lobby for a table, be prepared to wait when it's busy. The wait is fine but the door person has no education on time management, since when I'm told the wait is 30 minutes, I expect to wait roughly 30 minutes to be seated, not 70. I've had this happen several times and the last time my friends and I just stormed out after waiting an hour. I've made reservations here before for family and the wait times are marginally better.
Decor is fairly clean and easy on the eyes.
Good food, but best eaten as takeout.
It looks like a pretty average "greasy spoon" Chinese, HK-style restaurant. By Vancouver standards, sorry, not outstanding, so it qualifies as "Decent"
The decor, interior is as expected (which is slightly beatup, if you look carefully, and as for cleanliness, don't look too closely ;-), but seriously, it's okay).
There is some pretty decent dishes here, like the crab or lobster steamed with the rice. I've heard these guys are "famous" for their tofu pudding. I remember it being pretty darn excellent last time, but this time it was merely good.
Service was passable, but not great. I'll let it slide considering the place was absolutely PACKED on a Wed. night.
I wouldn't be doing any celebrations here unless you've a hankering for some "key" dishes (you'll have to experiment to find the ones you like). But if you're in the area and need a good dinner, this wouldn't be a bad choice. I guess it is good bang for the buck here. It's like a neighbourhood dinner place?
Now that it's less oily than it used to be, their signature steamed Pearl Lobster with rice in a bamboo steam basket is as tasty as my first impression of it. Though it still doesn't compare to the mouthwatering, always satisfying, "Singapore Style Lobster Rice" that's available a couple of blocks away at "Angel Cafe and Bakery" (on 43rd and Fraser). Ho Yuen Ke is almost always packed full. So be sure to make reservations much in advance! A day in advance minimum is best. Otherwise, call during the day. Sometimes seating seems cramped especially when they try to fit mor to a table. Service is better than it used to be. During the earlier years they were opened, they had an indifferent staff at the best of times, and outright snooty ones at other times. "If you didn't make a reservation, there's no room for you." With a "go away" look on their faces. It seems to have changed since then, and they're more friendly and welcoming now, though still not entirely so.
Service was okay as our party of 12 had reservations at 5:30 to beat the crowds.and a good thing we did. A total of 10 dishes including an order ahead duck and sticky rice dish $39.00. The duck was the only dish I enjoyed. The other dishes lacked any pizzazz and were noticably smaller in size. Overall this meal was a failure at $270.00 all in. Most of the tables were of the round banquet style suggesting they cater to larger dinner parties. There were some smaller tables but not very many. Seating was very cramped. When we left the place was almost full and the noise was escalating as in most Chinese restaurants. I came, I saw, I won't be back.
Being a good fellow, I obeyed the summons to the family dinner. If it was up to me I would have chosen a better place, but I wasn’t buying. This joint is fairly typical of HK family restaurants: They serve all the usual dishes; the ambience is run down and a little dingy; the noise is deafening. Okay, so they have nice tablecloths.
The service was good. The big problem was that none of the dishes were worth the trip. I will say the soya duck and the sweet tofu dessert were tasty enough, but the other dishes, like pan fried black cod, oyster with onion ginger, Peking pork chop, etc., were just okay. And for the love of god, please don’t offer ‘complimentary’ red bean soup to me. It was more of an insult.
If the ancestors hadn’t picked this place I never would have gone there.
never been here for dinner yet but lunch has always been consistent.
Food: usually have some sort of congee or noodle. my fav is chicken w/ mushroom congee. i like how the tea here kinda taste like lychee or something. no complaints about the food so far fr all the diff't occasions i've been here.
Service: the have a lot of regulars so know a lot of ppl by name. food has always come out at a reasonable time. take out is fairly quick too. try to make reservations around lunch or dinner time b/c they do get quite busy.
Ambiance: its a family oriented restaurant so it's always quite lively. they made some improvements on the interior so its fairly nice for a chinese restaurant.
Overall: i havent been disappointed yet for lunch so this is always a place i'd be willing to go to for lunch. after reading some of the other reviews i think i'll have to come by to try dinner some time too!
I have been to this place several times, and it has always been the service that keeps me away.
For a chinese place, this place is pretty clean. Not outstanding, just a regular noodle place, but poor service. Everytime I am in there, I feel that I am being rushed out of there. I understand that they have people waiting, but it feels that they start taking my dishes away, when the last bite goes into my mouth. Like they are sitting there wating me.
Nothing more to expect other than food, because you won't get anything else.
Been here several times for dinner, and there s no consistency. Sometimes it's great. Sometimes below average. Since then I have only dropped by for lunches where you can get a hot meal cheap.
I order the wonton noodles or congee. But mainly a noodle type dish. It is decent and for the price of about $5 in this type of restaurant and I am more than satisfied.
I've always had good to great food here but it amazes me how this restaurant is busy all of the time: dinner, lunch and even week evenings. The food is consistently well made especially their congee. Flavour is usually on the stronger side so its not for the lightweights. For a medium sized restaurant, I find the service acceptable. Quick to seat you and food is served as quickly as you hear the "ding". Their lychee flavoured tea is great for something that you don't have to pay for. The value is good, depending on what you order. Their casual menu (noodles.congee, rice dishes) are very reasonable. However, their pricing for the dinner menu items can be on the pricier side, probably $1-3 more per dish than their competitor's. I've yet to try their signature steamed lobster dish - have to plan ahead to get a group dinner for that. Ambiance is fine although the noise level can really pick up during dinner service. Seating is comfortable and the decor is simple (peachy coloured with 80s style wall sconces). Banquettes along the side can be a tight squeeze for a family of four. Bathrooms are...er, well, just wait until you get home unless you don't mind perpetually wet tiled floor.
Make reservations to avoid the aggravation of waiting indefinitely. Recommended.
The steamed fresh crabs over sticky rice is to die for. It took a while to get use to them bringing the live crabs out to show us but once cooked, they sure lived their full purposes. Their baked tapioca dessert which you need to order one day ahead of time is really good. However, service seemed rushed all the time but judging by the line outside the door I could see why.
Went there for the second or third time. Went with Fiancee and his parents and relatives last Saturday evening.
The place is nothing spectacular as far as ambiance. Plain and simple looking. Tables are a bit closer together than I would like. Noisy and loud in there.
But well worth it for the food. One of the best buddha's feasts I have ever had. It has just the right ingredients and portions. We also had the crispy skin chicken, steamed black cod, fried squid, some vege dishes and amazing eggplant. One of the tastiest eggplants in a long time. Chicken chow mein, fish maw soup (have had better but not bad). Green beans, spiced just right.
Anyways you get the picture. Good chinese food. No MSG, by request. Everyone was really full and had a good time.
This is your typical HK family restaurant but the food is quite good. comparable to those of Sun sui wah and Kirin. If you are here, definitely try the cold chicken/jellyfish appetizer salad and the crab/lobster on sticky rice. The other dishes are average. I have never tried the tofu dessert but will definitely give that a shot since it was mentioned a few times here. Expect typical service and ambiance of a HK restaurant. RESERVATION is a MUST.
Went here for dinner this Sat evening with bro and parents. Had a wonderful dinner which included frsh ginger & garlic Lobster dish on noodles It was superb and fresh. I have no idea why CSBow would complain and might want to taste again about this place. Had a few other dishes such as Kau yook, Buddahs feast , and Fish Maw/crab meat soup starter.the standard Crispy fried chicken . Everything was superb, hot and delicious. No complaints here. Definitely a return spot. A solid 4.5 restaurant and Management works hard at making it a complete evening for you.
3 of us came on a Thursday night with reservation at 6:45PM. Place was relatively quiet & we could wherever we wanted. We ordered the signature Steamed Lobsters on Sticky Rice, Snow Pea Tips in plain soup, Oysters Hot Pot & 3 bowls of steamed rice. We couldn't understand how a small lobster would be 2.25 lbs & one dish cost more than 80$ alone! The green was over blenched & leaves all looked yellowish instead due to overcooked. The oysters were tasty and hot (and it should be anyway) but overall the dinner was extremely unrealistically over-pricey. Service was acceptable because it was NOT busy & many empty tables. Suggest you ask for the price of the lobster per pound in advance otherwise this is one main dish that they really make the most profit! They got two Awards hence they now don't seem to care about the cleanliness of the interior. Old newspapers/magazines pile up at one corner and they management doesn't seem to care. 2 stars out of 5 and in all honesty won't be back because it is just not worth the money!
After reading about all these raving reviews on Ho Yuen Kee, my boyfriend and I decided to go there for dinner. As suggested by one of the reviews I had called ahead to make reservations; good tip by the way. When we arrived for our 7pm booking, the restaurant was packed!
I'm not sure if it was normal, but the restaurant that day felt like a sauna! There was no air conditioning and pretty much everyone in the restaurant was fanning themselves with napkins.
We ordered the steamed crab with sticky rice, half an order of the crystal 'something' chicken and 1 lb of fresh water prawns boiled which was accompanied with dipping sauce.
Everything was fantastic. The crab was hot and fresh, the rice was very flavorful, the prawns were succlent and sweet and our chicken dish was nicely seasoned and tender. After we were finished our waiter handed us red/green bean dessert which was yummy!! Service was mediocre...nothing really outstanding or bad. They brought us things when we asked, they changed plates for us. But these things are general.
One thing I do have to comment on though is that when I asked about ordering a Jellyfish appetizer, the waitress tried to rip me off by telling me I had to order another appetizer to go with it. Sort of like a combination. And that it didn't come by itself. Well if the Jellyfish platter didn't come by itself then why is on your menu as an individual dish? You have the option to combine two appetizers on the menu but does not say you are obligated to.
Anyways, over all it was a good experience. I'm not sure if I would go back again though. It's one of those one time trials for me. I think it's a little too extreme for me, after awhile the novelty just kinda dies down.
One of their tall male waiters was very unfriendly-no smile, no eye contact, and does not wait until we finish ordering and walks off; we had to call him back to make sure he got our order right. Unexpectedly, the food that arrived wasn't what we ordered! We had to send it back and as a result had to wait for a very long time for our food to come.
On another occasion, our noodle dish came lukewarm. We had to send it back to be microwaved. The waitress took it and brought it into the kitchen. We waited for about 15 minutes and eventually found out she had forgotten about it. Lukewarm noodle dishes and sent back food happened a few occasions.
Were it not for my grandmother who tolerated the unfriendly and impatient service but still found the food okay, I would never go back.
I would NOT recommend this restaurant based on the poor service.
I've been there a couple of times for the past few years. Before the owner died, the food and service there was pretty good. Until the owner died and his sons/daughters took over that the service became super bad. When I went there, they didn't seated us. When they gave us the menus, it was more like throwing it onto the table. After we got the food, it is all msgs!! I guess they are trying to regain some customers because of the bad service? The waitresses there spends most of the time gossiping. We waved like 3-4 times before they came and served us. I am DEFINITELY not going there AGAIN.
The food was ok but the service was terrible. We were wondering why our foods is taking so long and we got a lecture from one of the waiters. He said this is not a dimsum place, everything is not pre-cook and ready. We weren't expected to hear something like that from a waiter. He made us look bad because other tables were looking at us and thought that we are the bad guys. I WILL NOT go back to this place again.
I'm chinese and eat at a lot of noodle and congee places both for dinner and lunch. This is one of the best in the lower mainland.
Very very good tasting food at good prices.
It looks like every other hole in the wall chinese place in vancouver so you don't expect much from the service, though it's definitely better than most - they actually have more than 3 waitresses in the place compared to other restaurants trying to keep the cost low or something and running with like 1 or 2 people.
It's past 11pm, and the dining area is almost filled with people. This is Ho Yuen Kee, an authentic Chinese / Hong Kong style establishment.
On my travel from Baltimore, my head swam, unable to decide just which place I would try first. First visit: Friday, 7:30pm. Asian people kept entering the place. A great sign.
After a short wait, I sat next to the pick-up counter, watching one of the kitchen staff work hard among billowing steam, cooking. I ordered lobster cooked with garlic over sticky rice, cold jellyfish, and Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce. The tea tasted better than many Chinese restaurants that I've dined.
The jellyfish seemed typical; the vegetables, perfect - hot and crisp - and the lobster succulent-sweet. After the meal, I had red bean dessert, a very tasty and flavorful hot "porridge," sweet, but just so.
2nd time: Sunday, 10pm. At this time, the food tends to be not freshly-made in many places. I ordered fresh prawns, cooked in a spicy garlic mixture. She brought out a pound of 9 live shrimp in a plastic bin. I also ordered mustard greens in garlic sauce and dried oyster, preserved egg and pork congee.
The food was even better. The shrimp was so good, I ate both head and tail; the vegetables, perfect; and the congee was the best I ever had. The ginger in braised milk? OMG, excellent (takes 15 minutes to cook, but worth the wait).
Order some authentic dishes. Bring others and dine "family style" (food is shared with all seated). The prices are fine, the staff pleasant to help, and you feel like you've visited a true Hong Kong eatery.
I've eaten at different restaurants in the Chinatowns of Washington DC, Seattle, San Fran, Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. Kee is the best Asian restaurant I have ever dined. While waiting for your food, look around. People bring children, spouses, parents, and grandparents, sharing great times and food. Vancouver, Ho Yuen Kee is a gem.