Mom had a hankering for seafood. We were in the Richmond Hill and Markham area all weekend so there were lots of options. She flip flopped between a Chinese buffet to a Chinese restaurant. I was pushing for something a bit more special, so once she settled on the latter, I did a few searches and found a candidate. We couldn't get a reservation for a decent time, so we went for the second option instead.
There were a few restaurants that served lobsters a few different ways. The place we chose, O Mei, just happened to be very close to where we were staying. O Mei's specialty breaking down a giant lobster of your choosing and cooking them into four different ways: steamed, stir-fried, deep-fried, and added into fried rice -- all with one lobster. Fancy, eh? Our family is used to the ginger and onion sauce. We actually make it at home. This was taking it to the next level. It was just what I was looking for.
We arrived a bit early for our reservation and were seated promptly to the rear corner of the store. The menus were all in Chinese. Luckily two people knew how to read it. Our server arrived and began talking really quickly in Cantonese. When we responded in Mandarin, he quickly stopped and immediately rambled on in Mandarin. When we asked questions, he replied so quickly, I started to think he was being timed. Jimmy ordered and the waiter disappeared with the menus but returned shortly after with a huge lobster.
"This is 8 and a quarter pounds", he said showing the live lobster. Upon first glance, the huge lobster looked closer to 10lbs. Mom thought it was too big as well, so we asked for a smaller one. The other lobster arrived. It looked much closer to 8lb but it was apparently 7.5lb. "We'll take it." We thought we were ready for what was to come. We didn't know exactly what or how many dishes we ordered. In hindsight, I'm not sure why we didn't just ask one of the waiters to be sure. With this uncertainty in mind, we sat in our chairs and O Mei began the ride.
A lazy susan-sized plate of steamed lobster claws with garlic and bean thread noodles arrived. It was lightly seasoned and tame compared to how we normally prepare lobster. The noodles were great with the lobster.
Next up, stir-fried lobster with Maggi. This was new to all of us and was a favourite. It was more on the sweeter side, which was a pleasant surprise. We were all so impressed with this rendition, we wished there was double the amount on the plate. Andrew took the head and picked it clean after failed attempts by Dad, Jimmy, and myself. There wasn't any of the guts aka tomalley (had to google that) though. The kitchen saved that for the last lobster dish.
The waiter came to change our plates, which were already filled with empty lobster shells before the third dish arrived. The lobster was deep-fried and topped with chopped bits chilli, onions, noodle bits and lots of fried garlic. This was reminiscent of the salt and pepper pork chops at the New Hong Shing. Mom couldn't believe they used so much garlic in this.
And the finale: Chinese fried rice with the tomalley. Why not? At this point, we all began to slow down a bit. Andrew was hilariously just getting started. While everyone else kept trying the dishes as they arrived, he kept his own steady pace. That was the end of our 7.5lb lobster. To sum it up, the fried rice and steamed dish were alright. It was all about that Maggi seasoned lobster.
I began to sip some more tea in anticipation for the desserts. We all were.
But then this happened..
GG. Well played O Mei.