Deer Garden Restaurant 鹿園茶餐廳, Port Coquitlam

Deer Garden in Coquitlam has been opened many, many years… I basically grew up with this restaurant and never really thought that I’d be blogging about it. But why hide a gem when I never grow tired of it. Sure it has its flaws, but what Chinese restaurant doesn’t? Especially when there is more demand than supply – too many hungry customers and not a lot of staff… Fortunately for them there are not a lot of quality Chinese restos in Coquitlam – out of the handful that’s decent, I can only think of maybe 3 we would frequent in the Tri-Cities.

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This resto is full of Chinese comfort food and specialty items – congee and noodles for the day; mini rice sets, french toast and milk tea for afternoon tea; and dinner combo sets that includes house soup (typically pork-bone broth with lotus roots or pumpkin squash and chicken feet), rice, and dessert soup (red bean soup or coconut sago)… Lunch sets under $10 served with hot / cold drinks; Dinner combo meals available for 2, 3, 4, 6… prices are reasonable and the portions are hefty. Dinner combo for 4 will feed 5 hungry mouths for $60 including tips!

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Cuisine: Chinese, Noodles, Hong Kong Cafe, Comfort Food
Price/Entrée: $10-20
Out of 5… (1: Don’t bother —> 5: Excellent)
Food: 4
Service: 2.0
Ambiance: 3.0
Overall: 3.5

Deer Garden Restaurant 鹿園茶餐廳 on Urbanspoon

Infamous delicacies of Deer Garden includes their Seafood, Hainanese Free Range Chicken 海南雞飯 (HFRC), Salt Baked Chicken, and Malaysian Style Curry.

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The HFRC is juicy, tender, and flavourful… Traditional Hainanese prefers the use of plumper birds to maximize the amount of oil extracted – the entire chicken is boiled in chicken and pork bone stock then dipped in ice after cooking to produce gelatine like gloss finish. Served with dipping sauces of chilli and minced ginger and oil. TIP: order extra minced ginger and oil sauce to mix with rice… delish!

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Originally Mui Garden was known for their curries – I seriously beg to differ. Last time I was there, the curry was watery and cold. Let’s not get into details here. The curry at Deer Garden is a velvety concoction of coconut milk and yellow curry meddled with onions, potatoes, and green/red peppers. The meat is nicely robed and abundant. Chose from Beef, Beef Briskets, Chicken, Fish, or Pork Culets…

Other notable dishes;

Jelly Fish

Not always available and sometimes seasonal. Their jelly fishes are plump and juicy. The chili sesame oil sauce compliments this dish so well.

Salt and Pepper Fish Filets
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One of the best S&P preparations in town! Loads of garlic chips, jalapenos, peppers, and green onions. Be sure to try this on crab as well.

“Paper Wrap” Sirloin Strips immersed with Hua Diao Jiu Wine 紙包花刁牛柳
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Tin foil wrapped sirloin beef seals in moisture to make this cow tender and succulently robed with Hua Diao Wine sauce. Enoki mushrooms and onions brings out the flavonoids. The tin foil wrapping maybe a bit of a gimmick for presentation, but its delish!

Black Bean Sauce Steamed Fish on Tofu
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Black Bean medley with soy makes this rather simple dish stand out.

Tong Choi
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Malaysian Style stir fried with chilli and garlic sauce. Other favourite preparations include stir fried with fermented tofu / chilli or shrimp paste.

Lastly, if you come for service, please don’t have high expectations. This place is packed at all times. The staff are overworked and sometimes as a regular you are forced to serve yourself. Nonetheless, if you are willing to wait, it will come eventually. Otherwise, another great option is to order take out!

And remember, if the parking lot is full… try parking across the street where Safeway is. So far, no one has been towed yet.

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