On Friday, I received a text from a Lion Dancer I kind of keep in contact with from time to time. It was about a Lion Dance performance in C-Fu Gourmet on Sunday, a huge Chinese restaurant that hosts tons of events. This was for the National/Annual Wang Family Association. Apparently, they had the Ong Family Association Annual Celebration on Saturday. Talk about hidden Asian communities!
So I did the performance which was about 10 minutes of work and they told me I could eat there! During the meeting with the Yee Fung Toy Association (there are so many Chinese Family associations in Phoenix, it’s quite strange), they mentioned this banquet which was $30.00 a person. $30.00 a person? And I’m eating for free? I’m in!
A little history: C-Fu Gourmet used to be owned by a big burly ex-football player who owns Angry Crab Shack. The Wang family then bought C-Fu Gourmet which is why they have a banquet there.
We sat on a giant circular table with a rustic lazy susan and waited for about an hour and a half for our food. There were over 50 tables in this hall so it makes sense why it took so long.
Because this was in a banquet environment, the review here is going to be a bit different. Though the food is probably going to taste similar to a non-banquet setting, a lot of other things will be different compared to their day-to-day operations.
We had several dishes throughout the night. With a name like C-Fu, it sounds kind of like Seafood and I gotta say, these guys nail seafood very well. If you were to go here, order the seafood.
Shrimp Fruit Salad – Shrimp halves on top of apple and lychee. The sauce is a mayonnaise and condense milk combination that has the tartness of mayo with the sweetness of condensed milk. Not as bad as it sounds honestly. The flavors go really well.
Shark Fin Soup – Bad Chinese restaurants have their shark fin soup salty and too thick. This one was not the case. The broth was very rich, had the right amount of flavor and most importantly, you can taste the sinewy nature of shredded shark fin.
“Deconstructed Hamburger” Steak – Steak cubes on a bed of grilled onions, lettuce and tomatoes. The beef was very tender and had a brown, black bean-like sauce.
Steamed Chicken – A golden chicken cut up and presented “smiling”. The chicken was very moist and it seems like they pour flavorful hot oil to crisp up the chicken to be a bit yellow. This bird is steamed first. This item goes really well with the ginger garlic paste we were served.
Deep Fried Lobster – The star of the show. Two giant lobsters with signs of a light deep fried crust were presented to us. The giant claws were cut in half and the tail in little clumps. Showing this picture to friends, I want to clarify that the black stuff is indeed the giant claws of the lobster. There is nothing more satisfying that biting in a large chunk of lobster meat.
Tofu and Melon – The worst dish in my opinion. We thought scallops were in this dish but we were saldly disappointed. The outer circle composed of a soft melon or cucumber and in the middle was a cold deep fried tofu bit. The sauce was a brown mushroom like sauce.
Deep Fried Fish– Presented in a strange way, this was fried like chicken and then topped with a lemon sauce. This was a very crispy yet satisfying dish. The inside meat was pure, untouched white flesh but sturdy enough where it felt substantial. I like to think of this as a giant French fry except made of fish.
A dish of mushrooms, roast pork and oysters – Surrounded by wilted lettuce there is a collaboration of mushrooms, roast pork and oysters in the center of this beast. I found the dish average but I have a pet peeve of having sauce ruin the crispy skin of roast pork. The sauce surrounding it tasted like oyster sauce.
Deep Fried Seabass Steaks – Literally giant deep fried steaks of sea bass were presented. The steaks were maybe about one and a half inch thick and had a nice crackling crunch that made a satisfying sound when cut with a fork.
Almond cookies – Puffed almond cookies that tasted a bit stale
Decorated in red silk and older women in chingsam dresses, this place was lit. It even had a disco ball. C-Fu Palace in general is a very nice, red place. Literally the walls are painted red which gives it a totally different vibe from Phoenix Palace or Great Wall.
C-Fu in general reminds me of a kind of older style Chinese restaurant and leans more on the “dirty” style of Chinese restaurant. The algae filled fish tank, giant golden decor and painted koi on the wall gives this place an aged by authentic Chinese restaurant look.
A bit slow but with 50 tables, what do you expect? The Lion Dancers we went with had a good relationship with the staff and owner so we got our food pretty fast before anyone else.
The banquet’s set price was $30.00. Is it worth the decor and the food? I’d say probably. The lobster itself would have cost a lot of money so I’d say it was decently worth the price.
I remember having Dim Sum here and it was super expensive. I might go here again and try their Dim Sum because of the owner swap.
Besides the Chinese piano, the Lion Dance and the military march, this was all done before the food was served,
If you like old Chinese people singing in either their retro-style deep tones or their screechy cat tones, then this is the party for you! At the end of the night, we heard a lot of this,
This was a packed event with plenty of action and the food was quite good.
I am very grateful to have Sifu Pena from the Arizona Lion Dance Association to have fed me that night and I hope to return the effort with some more Lion Dance in the future.