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Category: Chinese Page 1 of 14

Sip Bowl La Mian

It was a cold night, and after a few hours in the light rain we needed some thawing out, so headed indoors for some warming noodles in soup. This one has been on my guest’s list for a while now, since their opening, the first half of the year.

I was immediately impressed walking into this little shop. The decor took you away and spoke to the would-be authenticity of the restaurant. To your left a collection of blue and white plates, faced out for presentation value. To your right, a mural flowed down the length of the restaurant, depicting traditional city life, in China long ago. A scene with villagers gathering water from the river, neighbours visiting homes with bamboo shingles, and people carrying out their day to day lives in traditional garments. It spoke to the heritage of their cuisine.

We were seated on one of the heavy wooden benches branded with the restaurant’s name and logo. For those with bulky bags and coats, wicker baskets were placed at your feet to store such belongings in. We sat breathing in the scent of fragrant and spicy cumin, as we made sense of the menu. You begin by choosing the width, depth, and type of noodle. 7 options with diagrams and descriptions, and 7 ways you can have them in broth.

The thinnest noodle is “hair thin” at 1mm. It is described as having a “super thin texture”. The 2mm noodle is “soft and tasty”. But the most popular choice, and not coincidentally, the one recommend by the staff is the “normal” noodle at 4mm. But we would be extra with our noodle gage.

I ordered their “Sipbowl signature la main”. With my choice of beef shank or brisket, I went brisket and paired it with the thickest noodle that they offer. At 25mm this is essentially just a sheet of dough before you cut it down to strips, to make individual noodles strands. The novelty of them wore thin fast, after the photo. You work so hard to bite it down to manageable chunks that it almost feels like you are getting less noodle in your bowl. Not to mention an uneven noodle to soup ratio, and the sensation of working too hard for dinner. It is like biting off a piece of cooked lasagna noodle, then taking in a scoop of the tomato sauce and beef bite by bite. As for the broth, it was rich yet clear. It had a herbal flavour to it with the 5 spice, helped along with some freshness from the multitude of green onion sprinkled over top. It was still missing something though, so I added some of the garlic and chilli oil from the condiment containers on the table.

Although with barely any of either left, it didn’t look all that appealing. My guess is that this aren’t regularly restocked, or looked at between diners. Be warned, “Sip Bowl” does not make any of their noodles broths spicy, so if you want heat, you can only get it with the chilli oil here.

But at least when you pack it to go, (and you will because the noodles are so doughy and so much, that you will need to take a break from them), they won’t get soggy. In hind sight, I should have read the menu more thoroughly and ordered the triangular shaped noodles that is the hardest to make. Its special shape is said to lock in the soup and its flavour.

My guest had the “Beef and sauerkraut la main” choosing beef shank and the second thickest noodles, the “flat” ones at 15mm. I liked the broth of this one much more. It was well developed, with interest from the tanginess of the sauerkraut, and a deep beefy flavour. Eating either of the two bowls gave you the kind of warmth that makes your nose run. Having tried a couple of their rich clear broths, I think the scallion one would have been ideal; so if/when I return that is the one I will be ordering.

Worth noting is their take away packaging. For anything you can’t finish, you get a special plastic bowl that allows you to separate your noodles from its soup. This ensures that your noodles don’t get too soggy in the mix.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great place for some authentic noodle soup. And with all the variations on their house made noodles, you can mix and match to craft your perfect bowl. Don’t deny your cravings.

SIPBOWL
2255 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6M 4L3
(778) 737-3999
sipbowl.com

Meetrice Noodle, FEAST: Asian Dining Festival

“Feast” is the 2nd annual Asian dining festival that encourages guests to travel around Richmond, trying out a collection of restaurants. From October 18th to November 18th, all those participating have created specialty menus that allow you to try their cuisine at a deal. With over 30 different restaurants to try there is something for everyone including tidbits from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Indian cuisine.

And in order to get me to Richmond and around the island city, I had the use of the 2020 “Subaru Ascent” for the week. And although Richmond is convenient to get to via the Canada skytrain, nothing beats a comfortable ride in a well build vehicle.

Tonight I found myself at “Meetrice”, a restaurant chain originating from China that has made its way to Canada. They specialize in rice noodle soup served with some assembly required. But I will now remember them for their decor. It wasn’t what I expected from this cafe, but more the scene of a bakery or high tea salon. Plenty of pink with pink walls, pink and white paper flowers, and pink panther stuffies straddling clouds.

I was further impressed by what waited for each guest at their table. A paper menu to check off, branded napkins paper wrapped spoons and chopsticks, and paper cups with cartoon drawings for water. All these little details elevated the experience.

We were here specifically for the “Feast Asian Dining” menu, but it was no where to be seen. I had to ask for it, and watched our server dig for it behind the counter. I thought this was a miss, given the savings from off of the limited time only menu, and the likelihood of those like myself visiting just for it. The four items on the “Feast” menu is available normally off their regular menu, but until November 18th you save a couple of dollars on their most popular dishes. We enjoyed all four.

To start, we ordered a couple of drinks. My guest had the “white peach milk foam oolong tea”. A chilled beverage that grows on you. Best when you stir in the sweet foam that transforms the drink.

I ordered another peach drink, for its pink bottle with a pink witch on it. I figured it matched our setting. It was a dessert soda best enjoyed as a float, very sweet and almost artificial. It was not complimentary to the meal before, but fun nonetheless.

If you are visiting for the first time the “No.1 selling rice noodle” (it’s actual name) is definitely the one to get. Regularly $11.95, it is now $9.95 and well worth the price. You get enough food for two, and its interactive component adds a little fun to the meal. Everything is served separately. The tomato flavoured broth with thin slices of beef came bubbling in a heated bowl. Be warned it is hot, and without a verbal warning, you will probably get burnt by it; my guest and I both did. The rice noodles came in their own bowl, much like each ingredient in its own separate sauce dish. Altogether the latter was presented in a wooden box, serving as one of the most memorable presentations I have seen. Quail egg, persevere vegetable, spam, and wood ear mushroom amongst others. You can dump everything in all at once and mix it all together, or did what I did and craft your ideal bowl, following the instructions craved on to the wooden box. Clumsy for some, but fun for a foodie like me. It suggests starting with the vegetables and moving your way to the noodles at the end. The order taking consideration the cook times for each item.

I fully enjoyed the delicious tomato broth, well developed with real slices of tomato. I would be happy drinking a bowl of it as is. And just as well because the noodle doesn’t really soak up any of the flavour of the broth. It acted more like a filler, with the topping adding a collection of textures to chew through.

The rest of the items were $1 less during the event. The “Deep fried chicken nuggets” were Taiwanese style popcorn chicken, seasoned in 5 spice and a hint of cinnamon, for a very distinct flavour. It was tasty enough to keep you going back for more, but the chalky texture of the corn starch breading distracted. Our remedy was to dip each nugget into some sauce, to add much needed moisture to it. We found the drippings from the chicken below ideal.

“Mouth-watering chicken” with chilli oil sauce and peanuts was exactly as my guest remembered the dish to be, when he last visited Asia. A chilled chicken, much like Hainanese chicken, but topped with plenty of garlic and chilli. I suggest scraping some of the latter off, before puckering from all that salt in your mouth. I wanted some rice with this, or at least some shredded nappa cabbage on the side to mix in with the overpowering sauce. It wasn’t too spicy, nor did it offer me the sensation of mouth watering.

And the last discounted menu item was the “Beef and chopped chilli on rice”. Comfort food to a tee. Fatty and stringy tender beef, served with firm rice, and plenty of sweet soy sauce and sesame to flavour it all. Simply delicious.

Overall a great restaurant that I would like to come back and try more of. And if it weren’t for The “Feast Asian Dining” festival I would have never known it existed. But be warned, they only accept cash or debit here. For all the other participating restaurants and how you can take advantage of the festival specials, visit the link below.
https://asianfeast.ca/

MEETRICE
1080 – 8580 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 4B3
(604) 370-0981
mengziyuan.com

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@feast_asian, @docksteadersubaru, @subarucanada, @wolfesubaru @wolfesubaruonboundary @richmondsubaru_bc, @jpsubarunorthshore, @jpsubarucoquitlam, @jpsubarusouth

New Town Bakery & Restaurant

“New Town” is a Vancouver staple, a hub for locals and tourists in Chinatown. Better known for their steamed buns and pastries, and now one of the restaurants disguised as another in Ali Wong’s, “Always be my Maybe” Netflix movie. I, myself frequent “New Town” for their steamed buns. If in the area, I go out of my way to grab a couple. Having tried many in and round the city, theirs is the best in my opinion, but more on that below.

The shop and restaurant are easy to spot with a giant plastic bamboo steamer filled with steamed white buns on the awning, and the regular line and gathering of people at the threshold. For those looking to grab and go, you pull a number and wait for your it to be broadcasted above the check-out counter.

Options and prices are listed across three flat screens, but it is much easier to simply point and choose. On top of steamed buns they have plenty of golden brown baked buns, plastic wrapped cakes, and dim sum dessert favourites. The baked buns come in a variety of toppings and sweet and savoury fillings. I also like their honey sweet barbecue pork and chicken buns. But if I had to choose, I will always go for their “Dai Bao”. And I did just that once we were seated in the dining area, towards the back.

Themed in orange, you can tell the restaurant recently had a face lift. Orange backsplashes, orange upholstered seats and booths, and orange branded button up shirts for all the staff. The restaurant’s real age was reveal by a visit to the washroom. The cracked tiles and overall unkept condition of this single stall was off putting. An inevitability given its location and its regular clientele. But I digress, because I still think they are worth visiting.

In the dining area you can order anything from the front of house to enjoy here or take to go. “Dai Bao” is a large white bun filled with a little bit of everything: chicken, bbq pork, ground pork, ham, and a salted egg yolk. I have been enjoying this for so long that I remember it being only $2.50, but now with inflation, it was $3.70 today. And despite the increase, I still think it is worth the price. With all the dough and plenty of filling, it eats like a meal. I want one now just writing about it, and can’t help but compare all other steam buns to this one on its pedestal.

With it I got a bowl of “Hot and sour soup”. Just reading it on the menu I wanted its familiar taste in mouth; one that I like and haven’t had in a while. Unfortunately this wasn’t my favourite rendition of the popular soup. There was too much going on, lots of ingredients to chew through, and not enough syrupy soup base to enjoy it with. Shrimp, wood ear mushroom, tofu, peas, mushroom, carrot, bamboo, beef, and chicken. The peas were a new addition to me, and despite really liking peas, I didn’t here. The soup was thick and hearty and ate more like congee.

My guest had the “fried egg and ham with ramen in soup”, knowing full well that she was essentially ordering instant noodle. Chicken flavour soup broth with a fried egg, thick slice of ham, and plenty of lettuce. It was a nostalgic bowl of noodle soup that she fully enjoyed. But making instant noodle regularly for myself, I cannot justify paying $8.25 for this bowl. Plus I don’t like the flavour of the lettuce rubbing off into the broth.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A historic Vancouver staple, the best steamed buns in the city, and a great go-to for home style Chinese food at a fair price. With 8 full pages of familiar dishes and specials, there is plenty to keep you gong back for more. Don’t deny your cravings.

NEW TOWN
148 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3
(604) 689-7835
newtownbakery.ca

No. 1 Dumpling

Today, a small group of us were looking for something tasty and satisfying in the West Broadway area. We made “No. 1 Dumpling” our destination, given the posturing of its name, and the visual appeal of the photos of dishes offered, posted across the exterior windows.

This was a smaller restaurant with lower ceilings. Inside, a couple more photos decorated the walls, and a mural spelled out the restaurant’s dumpling-rich history in Chinese. We grabbed a booth in the corner, pushing enough tables together to sit us all.

The laminated menu was easy to navigate with plenty of full colour photos to help with the decision making process. The following is what we ordered as a collective, sharing it all family style.

The “Spicy sour potato” ate like a cold papaya salad, similar in texture and tang. It served as a good briny starter to get our appetites going.

The “Cucumber salad” was ordered for some balance. A slightly spicy, and fully refreshing break between all the carbs and meat below.

The “Green onion pancake” was a table favourite. Light and crispy dough fragrant with green onion. Good, but a little greasy on the lips.

The “Beef pancake” utilized the same dough, but filled it with tender bits of beef instead.

The “Xiao long bao” were as expected. Chewy pork meat with soup broth, in a firm but fragile shell. Tasty enough, but I wanted more soup to spill out when I took a bite.

I didn’t like how “green” the steamed pork and Chinese cabbage dumplings were. The flavour of the cabbage was overpowering, in my opinion.

I preferred the pan fried pork and leak dumplings, instead. A nice flavour with this crispy, chewy shell.

The “tofu with green onion” is exactly as you’d expect. The tofu was soft, flavoured in a sweeter soy sauce.

The “Spicy noodles” delivered with lip tingling heat from chilli oil, fully coating the eggy noodles. The shreds of cucumber and the whole sunny side up egg offered balance and freshness in an otherwise one-tone bowl.

As for the service, the lone employee was an older gentleman. He was attentive, checking in after and asking if liked what we had. He made us feel welcome. Which was helpful, considering the restaurant was fairly empty when we arrived and there was no music playing in the background to set the mood.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A cost effective and standup destination for dumplings and simple Chinese plates. Don’t deny your cravings.

NO. 1 DUMPLING
1888 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V6J 1Y9
(604) 731-5577
no1dumpling.com

Jade Seafood Restaurant

Today I was touring around a couple of travelers from the UK, and we decided to start our day off with some dim sum in Richmond.

“Jade Seafood” is a fairly new restaurant with a modern, non-descript exterior. Inside, after a second floor walk up, there was enough glitz and glamour to confuse it with a high tea salon. Marble walls, ruched curtains, crystal chandeliers, and a light feature crafted using golden ribbon. This was an open room that easily converts, and sits everyone at a wedding reception. A live seafood tank and a fully stocked wine bar sits at one end of the restaurant. We sat at the other, by the large glass windows. On the vaulted ceilings above us hung adorned chandeliers that served as a juxtaposition, from the casual nature of share plates for breakfast.

My guests weren’t too familiar with Chinese cuisine, so I took the helm and ordered for us all. I haven’t been to this restaurant prior, so ordered based off of my previous dim sum experiences.

The restaurant offers both a fully Chinese and/or a fully English dim sum menu. But regardless, if you know what you want, majority of the staff are able to communicate and interpret in conversational English. The following is what we shared between 3.

The “Whole abalone and seafood dumpling in soup” wasn’t what I expected. This was a small bowl for one, with a chewy whole abalone and two wontons bobbing about. It tasted no different than wonton soup, with a clean and clear chicken-based broth.

As a great way to try a few different dumplings, the “Assorted three kinds of dumplings” is the way to go. “Steamed mushroom dumplings”, “Steamed crab meat dumplings”, and “Steamed shrimp dumplings”. They all tasted as expected, the same chewy wrapper stuffed full with its namesake filling.

As a fan of durian and gummy textures, the “Durian glutinous rice dumpling” was a delight. Sweet fibrous fruit, in a chewy sticky mochi-like shell.

The “Steamed Sakura pork dumplings” was just like regular pork dumplings. I got exactly what I expected from this classic dim sum staple.

The “Chinese donut rice roll” was crispy on the inside and chewy on the outside, a texture that is great with a double dip of the sweet peanut butter into tangy oyster sauce.

I really enjoyed the “Egg tofu and enoki mushrooms with vegetables” dish for both the taste and texture. The egg tofu was soft like pudding, it and the shredded vegetables were coated in a thick gel-like sauce for easy slurping.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
A great spot for dim sum in Richmond. There are many others to consider, but this one is recommend by Tourism Richmond for their made to order dumplings. Don’t deny your cravings.

JADE SEAFOOD
280 – 2811 No 3 Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 2B2
(604) 249-0082
jaderestaurant.ca

Chef Tony dim sum

Everyone is always surprised to learn that I have never tried “Chef Tony’s” before, so what better chance than today. I was meeting up with two writers from out of the country. For one it was her first time in BC, for the other she is a frequent traveller from Seattle to Vancouver; and whenever she is in town and looking for dim sum, her go-to is “Chef Tony’s”.

Located in a plaza, the restaurant is easy to spot from the road, with plenty of free parking available by adjacent businesses. The exterior is pretty non-descript. But once inside, the bombardment of accoutrements has your head on a swivel.

By the door is a waiting area, made cramped by honey comb shelves showcasing plum wines and ceramic figurines. Wooden furnishings un-sat and a collection of celebratory photos of Chef Tony and his many famous clients.

In the dining area, glittering crystal adorned chandeliers hang above tables. Their rainbow shimmer reflects off the lacquered panels covering the walls and wrapping around the bar. Out of place were the segment of red that were peppered across; and the lone pillar that glowed blue with silver cross striping surrounding it. It all had the hallmarks of a night club or lounge, but for dressed up dim sum and small plates. Although the familiar patterned carpet and white cloth tables at majority of other Chinese restaurants, were also present. Made a little dressier with chopstick holders and spill proof spouts on their tea pots.

Mid day on a Tuesday it was packed, so our reservations came in handy. And these were reservations that actually held the table and allowed to be seated at the time requested. Not just your name on a list, and when you arrive you are the next in queue.

Each seated table is given a menu. A list with colourful photos with descriptions in both Chinese and English. Using it as a guide, you tick off what you want to order from the check box sheet. This latter is Chinese only, but with a bit of detective work, using the item’s numbers as reference, you can navigate the check boxes fine enough. The items we ordered were recommendations by Tourism Richmond, and what my guests found appealing based on experience and visuals. Tried and true staples, and fan favourites when dining with Chef Tony. The restaurant prides themselves on using high-quality ingredients for their dim sum items, with a focus on quality over quantity/size.

The “Black truffle pork and shrimp dumplings” is one of their hallmarks. They are smaller in size compared to most interpretations, but you also 5 instead of the typical 4. Their size is so that you can easily pop one into your mouth, whole. “Chef Tony” is one of the first Cantonese restaurants to use truffle in their siu mai. There was no missing the distinct truffle flavour in this little bundle. A fresh and delicious meaty bite with the smokiness of truffle to put a new twist on this staple.

Similarly, their har gao takes a tangent from all the others. “Shrimp matsutake dumplings”. They are the the only dim sum restaurants to use matsutake mushrooms in their har gow. The rich earthiness of the mushrooms changes the flavour with subtleties.

Not your typical dim sum fare, but an interesting dish just the same is the half order of “Marinated chicken trimmed with black truffle flakes”. A familiar taste in the cold, yellow chicken; but given a twist with the black truffle. A unique flavour that I found myself wanting to repeat, as you almost forget what it is like and need to remind yourself with another piece. I am not a fan of the greens, but was able to pick past them and enjoy the oily, cold, and tangy chicken. A unique sensation on its own, now elevated with the almost briney truffle flavour.

I enjoyed the classic “Baked BBQ pork buns”. Perfectly rounded dough baked to perfection and glazed with honey for an extra touch of sweetness. With it and the sweet bbq pork filling this ate more like a dessert. I could have used more filling and larger chunks of meats.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the “Steamed egg sponge cake”, this one came highly recommend and I can see why. Best served warm and fresh, an eggy and delicious sponge that is fun on the tongue. A neutral cake that kept you going back for chunk after chunk. I could eat a full serving by myself.

The “Coconut jelly dessert” is definitely one you order for novelty. They are so cute shaped like rabbits, but I wish the serving was a given a little more finesse in its presentation. As for flavour it tasted more like tangy yogurt than coconut fruit. I didn’t like it on its own and wanted some condensed milk drizzle or simple syrup to sweeten up the serving.

“Pan fried taro and preserved pork cake” I liked the flavour, but not the texture from the large chunks of taro. Not my favourite rendition.

The “Diced pork, chive and Chinese donut rice noodles” was a good one. I was surprised and delighted by the nice crispy texture of the fried Chinese doughnut. But wanted more depth from the dipping sauce. Either some sweetness from pork floss or the typical peanut butter, for a good mix of salty and sweet.

The “pan-fried diced pork pandan bun in casserole” came to the table smelling amazing; with sizzling onion against a hot cast iron dish, caramelizing. They looked good but lacked flavour. I didn’t get any pandan from the green bun, and wanted more filling to enjoy with it. If you like pandan, you will be disappointed with this one.

My guests fully enjoyed the “Baked durian paste pastry”. They liked the flaky pastry that crumbled under their bite. I found it chalky and the durian in it too fibrous. I also didn’t get the durian flavour I wanted from this, it was cooked, whereas I wanted fresh melt in your mouth durian. If you like durian, you may be disappointed by this one too.

The “Black squid ink salted egg yolk buns” is an item worth waiting for; and we did wait for it, literally. They forgot our original order and when we inquired about it, they forgot to look into that. Though we did eventually did get our buns steamed to order. The colour is striking, a deep black with a splash of gold. Inside a liquid filling that pools in the bun like water does in a cup. Be warned it is hot and we did burn our tongues with its custard core.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I can see all the hype. They offered creative updates to your dim sum favourites, and utilized elevated ingredients to dress up your meal. Definitely worth checking out and one worth visiting for those who love a dressier dim sum and truffle. Lots of truffle items available. Don’t deny your cravings.

CHEF TONY
101 – 4600 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC
(604) 279-0083
cheftonycanada.com

Kirin Banquet

We were gathered at “Kirin” in New Westminster for a more intimate look at the popular fine dining Chinese restaurant; as well as the whole Starlight Casino property it is a part of. (For the full review of that, visit the link below.)

Our evening began in one of Kirin’s private rooms, towards in the back. Vaulted ceilings with large lanterns, that bathed the room in a glow. The light cast, matched the orange of the walls and the hue of the carpet underfoot.

We all took a seat at individual tables, with tea and orange juice for each. Then one by one our banquet feast came. With each share-style platter: we took photos, it was divided, portions were served, and we ate to try, (knowing there would be a second meal to follow).

The first course began with “Roasted whole suckling pig”. A whole baby pig filleted, with crackling skin. It was a show stopper with its blinking LED eyes. Here, we would not get any of the pork, but did enjoy the skin as the centre to a white bun canapé with cucumber, green onion, and a salty and sweet brown sauce. It was a delicious starter, but I couldn’t help but ache for some of the actual pork meat to go with it.

Next was another impressive looking platter. “Live lobster in puréed squash soup served with spinach noodle”. Two whole lobsters with plenty of meat. The crustaceans were naturally sweet, so you mostly tasted them, and none of the additional flavours from the squash. It could use some more seasoning, or at least at little more salt. Similarly, the spinach noodle that was underneath the lobster needed more flavour. It had a wonderful hue and a great texture with the squash paste coating it, it just wasn’t tasty enough for my preference.

Next, was one of their new dishes. “Prawn and pork wrapped in flat rice noodle topped with puréed truffle”. It was an interesting interpretation. It reminded me of dim sum with the pork and prawn bundled together. And also like fish maw soup with the texture of the gummy rice noodle wrap that surrounded both. The side of crisp broccoli florets offered a nice crunch. So all I was missing was the truffle. Because if the menu goes out of its way to mentioned truffle, you are looking for truffle.

Next was “sautéed beef tenderloin cube with black pepper and basil”. Yet another stunning presentation. Meaty chunks of beef and onion with cabbage at the centre of a fruit and vegetable heart. Thin slices of cucumber, tomato, and oranges arranged around the savoury like a heart. Tasty enough, but it would be nice to have the latter tie into the beef and onion more.

For dessert it was a collection of “Chef’s special dim sum dessert”. The room enjoyed the “Glazed deep fried dough delight with walnut and duck egg yolk”. Majority of the guests liked the fact that it melted in your mouth. I didn’t like the chalky finish and how powdery it was. It would have also been nice to have more nuts like the walnut to chew through and a lot more of the egg yolk flavour to savour.

The deep fried sesame seed ball had a lovely crispy and chewy shell. Served fresh, it had a steaming, thick glob of sweetened mung bean paste at its core.

My favourite of the desserts was the “Fruit mochi”. Chunks of cantaloupe and honey dew in coconut cream, surrounded by a wonderfully gummy shell.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Best enjoyed with a large group, not necessarily somewhere I would come for quick and easy Chinese food. This was definitely a feast and for an occasion. Don’t deny your cravings.

KIRIN
Starlight Casino, 350 Gifford Street, New Westminster BC, V3M 7A3
604-528-8833
kirinrestaurants.com

Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine

My guest has been wanting to take me here for a while now. This is her favourite Chinese restaurant in the city. Delicious and authentic Shanghai cuisine at a fair price. Although she warned me that the service wouldn’t be great and that one regular server in particular comes across as rude (I identified her immediately). And I can tell you right off the bat, if the service doesn’t match the caliber of the food, it takes away from the taste of it.

Located in the “London Drugs” plaza on Kingsway, parking is easy to find, but hard to get into with tight stalls, narrow lanes, and inexperienced drivers. The restaurant is to the left of “London Drugs”, if you are facing it.

We came just in time to grab the last empty table, although the wait is short for the next one to free up. The food comes out quick and this isn’t the most enjoyable setting to linger in, so turn around is consistent. Closely placed tables so your meal doesn’t feel private, staff that stare you down as you eat, and the overall abrupt and rushed energy you feel from the staff as they hustle and bustle around you, with no time for pleasantries.

The menu is pretty straightforward for those familiar with the cuisine, but vague for any one visiting them for the first time. “Tofu puff with vermicelli soup” doesn’t tell me much about the flavour of the broth I am committing to a bowl of. Similarly, either does “Fried bean paste noodles” and “meat stew noodles in soup”. Lucky for us, my guest was well versed in their menu and ordered a few of her favourite go to’s. It was all heavy in carbs, and therefore all delicious.

Ironically we didn’t order any of their popular soup dumplings, especially considering there was a chef making them to order in a plexiglass box. A giant bowl of ground pork, lumps of dough, rolled out and stuff with machine-like precision.

“Wonton noodle soup” is not on the menu, but they make it for her each time by adding their boiled wontons to soup, then adding in noodles. Although when the dish came to our table, it was missing the noodles. And after a debate with the server, who blamed us for the miss in our order, we got a whole new bowl of broth with noodles. More noodles than we would have gotten otherwise. This was a delicious neutral clear broth, deep with flavour, but a little oily. I would be happy just drinking it, the noodles only added starch, and I wasn’t a fan of all the wilted greens in the dumplings.

I much more preferred the thicker, chewier texture of the “Shanghai style pan fried thick noodles”. I just wished there was more to the dish beside crunchy cabbage and shrivelled up pieces of pork. More depth, a greater feeling of eating a full dish and not just soy sauce noodles. But flavour wise, it was not overwhelming, and if I set myself to it, I would be able to finish it all in one sitting.

Next we had even more carbs in the “Pan fried pork bun”. I bit down, not realizing it was a soup filled bun. The juices squirted out, and I found myself slurping them up hastily. They made the centre of the bun soft and moist, a nice contrast to the crispy exterior. And the meaty centre acted as a sponge that soaked up all the flavour.

The “Beef roll” is worth repeating. This version used a lighter dough to wrap beef, cucumber, and plenty of sauce. Too much salty brown sauce for my tastes, lit bled out of either side and made the dough soggy. But the flavour was good and you can get past the above. .

To circle back to what I mentioned earlier, the service portion was lacking. Our server took our order without uttering a single word, and then reached around to grab the menu from us with no regard of personal space. Then we had to argue for the noodles with no apology, but instead, the accusation of us saying the wrong thing. This was followed by not being able to get the attention of someone for the bill. And having to go to the counter to pay; and given containers there, so that we could pack our own leftovers. We expected to have to pack up what we didn’t finish, ourselves. But it would have been nice for them to bring the styrofoam boxes and plastic bags to the table, instead of simply handing it to my paying guest, just cause she was up there.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Tasty food, I would go back to satisfy a craving, but I wouldn’t make them a destination. I also wouldn’t want to recommend them, less someone also gets bad service. Good Shanghai for me, and still the “Best Shanghai” in the city for my guest. Don’t deny your cravings.

WANG’S SHANGHAI CUISINE
110-3328 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC V5R 5L1
(604) 428-6818

Parklane Chinese Restaurant

With so many possible dim sum locales in Richmond, it is hard to sort through them all and pick any given one. Especially if your best options are within walking distance of one another. Today I was here at “Parklane” thanks to Richmond’s dumpling trail. If not for the brochure and guide, I would not know that this place existed. Especially considering it is within spitting distance of “Empire seafood restaurant”, which also serves dim sum and is more well known with triple the square feet. But reality is “Parklane” is just as good, if not better. This is due to the smaller dining crowd they have to tend to, and the staff’s ability to see to them all. We even had the managers checking in on us and asking how everything was. A rarity, in my experience.

Their is nothing really standout about the restaurant decor wise. The typical patterned carpet under foot, a series of round tables draped with white cloths, and light fixtures bedazzled with sparkling crystals.

The menu is easily a novel at 117 options. You read and check off what you want with the sheet and pencil provided to you, when you sit. My guess wasn’t all that familiar with dim sum, so I kept our orders relates to the “Dumpling Trail”. She was able to reference the brochure for what she liked visually, with a description to boot.

I ordered the classic “har gaw” and “sui mai” combo. Dim sum for beginners and guaranteed to please with its comforting flavours. The “Steamed shrimp dumplings” were packed with prawn loaf, chewy chunks under a starchy shell. No complaints.

The “Steamed pork dumplings” had the same shrimp, but to it more pork. The pork meat reminded me of the kind you l get in a serving of steamed short ribs. Tasty and tender, with bits of fat interlaced.

The “Deep fried taro root dumpling” is either something you hate or love. A very unique dish that gives you crispy battered shell, chalky mashed taro, and gummy minced pork at the core. I liked the taste okay, but the mix of textures aren’t my favourite.

I much more preferred the “Deep fried green tea balls”. The menu didn’t list it, so I was surprised to discover a core of liquid salted egg yolk cream, hiding under the layer of chewy green tea paste, and crispy fried dough my shell. Best fresh, and soggy with oil if you try to reheat.

In short the “Dumpling Trail” does not disappoint. Another great restaurant vetted by Tourism Richmond, and one worth checking out for tasty dim sun and delicious dumplings.

PARKLANE
7997 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6X 1A4
(604) 273-0888

Richmond’s Dumpling Trail, vegetarian edition.

In my spare time I host tours. Tours where I bring other bloggers and writers around Richmond, to discover the history and diversity within. Typically it centres around the “Dumpling Trail” and its handy brochure. Both are helpful tools in exploring the island city, through its food. There are many types of dumplings across all cultures, 13 specific to Asian cuisine are highlighted on the tour, across 20 different restaurants.

Each stop is vetted by the Tourism Richmond team for its cleanliness, ability to speak English with an English menu, and their dumplings that are scratch made and never frozen. The result, over 20 delicious ways to enjoy dumplings. And to show how accommodating the tour is, I had the pleasure of hosting a vegetarian blogger and her vegetarian family. The following is what we had. A dumping at each stop, and a couple of dishes to round it out. After all, dumplings are just the introduction, the restaurant itself is worth checking out, along with some of its other dishes.

First stop was “Empire restaurant” for dim sum. Here, we started with their vegetable dumpling filled with green onion and mushrooms. I like mushrooms so found this a nice rendition.

I was eager to show my guests the “Steamed egg yolk buns”, only to learn that my they weren’t a fan of egg yolk.

And here I was unintentionally giving them another serving of it as custard in the “Deep fried creamy egg custard glutinous balls”. I assumed these would be filled with red bean, as is the case for majority of the dim sum destinations. I, on the other hand was happy, and enjoyed this version more. I am a fan of the egg yolk filling from above, but next time will definitely order it like this. Doing so to get the runny yolk within this delightfully crispy fried, chewy shell.

The “Steamed rice rolls with sesame and hoisin sauce” was a favourite, delicious with the salty and sweet peanut butter combination.

The “Smoke bean curd wrap” was filled with diced mushrooms. It had a wonderful smokey flavour to play off the earthiness of the mushrooms. I especially liked the texture of the wrap.

Our second and third destination were chosen for its proximity, and the ability to walk to it easily with a toddler in tow. At “Dinesty” we had their “Steamed green vegetable and egg dumplings”. Chewy dough, pinched closed and shaped like a leaf. The egg gives it some substance and the vinegar dipping sauce amplifies its flavour.

My guests were a fan of the “Pan fried Chinese green onion pancake”, this was also the only item our toddler would eat. He liked it so much that we got another crispy pancake fragranced with green onion, to go.

And for dessert we had “Steamed sesame paste buns”. They were mild in flavour and stuffed full of gritty oozy charcoal coloured pasta.

Our last stop was another 5 minute walk: “Su Hang”. In hindsight we should have started the tour here, given their extensive vegetarian offerings. An entire menu dedicated to meat free options, for easy reading and easy ordering.

Here we tried their “Vegetarian steamed dumplings”, which was similarly filled with green onions and egg, but here the dough was dyed and speckled green like its vegetables within. Comparing the two, I preferred the chewiness of the dough above, but the flavour of the filling here.

Next we had the “Three vegetable spring roll”, your classic julienne vegetables fried within a crunchy wrapper.

And my guests were stoked to find “Vegetarian dan dan noodles” on the menu, so although they were already incredibly full, we had to make room to try it. It was wonderfully chewy noodles flavoured with peanut butter, and topped with soy protein to simulate ground beef. A wonderful rendition that didn’t have me missing meat.

In short, the dumpling trail is for everyone and there are plenty out there for those with specific dietary restrictions. For more information on the trail and how you can carve out your own tour, visit the link below.

https://www.visitrichmondbc.com/food-and-drink/dumpling-trail/

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