Beijing Mansion Hosts Chinese Restaurant Awards New Wave 2023 Dinner

The event showcased talented young Chinese chefs who are applying modern French techniques to classic Chinese dishes.

Richmond’s Number Five Road, with its eclectic mix of dazzling temples and churches along with the huge palatial private homes, can feel like a surreal mix of Highway To Heaven meets the Real Housewives of Richmond. So, it’s easy to miss one of the most interesting additions to the neighborhood–Beijing Mansion.

Outside Beijing Mansion. Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards.

Hidden behind the restrained walls and elegant sloping roof is a stunning modern interpretation of a classic Beijing hutong manor (or siheyuan), and home to the new private venue space Beijing Mansion.  With its classically proportioned central open courtyard garden flanked by living quarters, dining rooms, and entertaining halls, the immersive space transports you back to a time when these manors were the private realms of Chinese noble families.

Grilled quail, foie gras and claypot rice. Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards.

In November, the Chinese Restaurant Awards hosted the New Wave 2023 dining event at Beijing Mansion to showcase talented young Chinese chefs who are applying modern French techniques to classic Chinese dishes. Though Vancouver has a huge pool of experienced older Chinese chefs, the gap in kitchen talent will be significant as they age and retire.  Even cities like Hong Kong struggle with this dilemma.

Chef Toby Chen (part of the team at Missing Chopsticks) and chef William Li (Chef de Cuisine at L’Abbotoir). Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards

Chef William Li (chef de cuisine at L’Abbotoir) and chef Toby Chen (part of the team at Missing Chopsticks) produced a stunner of a meal, showing how great cuisines continue to evolve without losing a sense of itself. Standouts included a chilled torchon of skin on poached loon kong chicken (a locally raised Asian chicken breed) served with a scallion oil chimichurri, a sophisticated play on the soft, luscious texture and clean savoriness of classic Cantonese white poached and Hainan chicken.  Dungeness carb roe crepe ravioli served on a quivering crab stock custard was a spot on briny ode to the Shanghainese passion for West Lake hairy crab. With champagnes and sparkling wines curated by the legendary Van Doren Chan, it was a superb experience.

Photo: Chinese Restaurant Awards.

The Chinese Restaurant Awards hopes to use Beijing Mansion for ongoing dinners and workshops to foster the development of a new generation of Chinese chefs. Within a venue that deeply respects the past, but looks confidently into the future, these events may be a way forward.  Not only preserving the recipes, but the vitality of Chinese cooking in Vancouver.