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Category: dim sum Page 1 of 2

Yue Restaurant, dim sum

Today I was invited to dim sum in Richmond. Here, to try the long standing “Yue Restaurant”. They are already well known for delicious, traditional Chinese food since 2017, when they moved into this, their new location. Their cuisine represents the history of Southern China, and they pride themselves on classic cuisine, not focused on presentation and “image”. Instead, they are focused on how they can improve on well regarded recipes. And with all their chefs bordering on over 20 years of experience they are well on their way. All the above, was a little background lesson we learned from Ron, who runs the restaurant with his family. He warned that they are often busy for dim sum, and that 10am is the best time to visit to ensure the best food and the best service, quoting that “the early bird gets the worm”.

Our large group was given access to one of their private rooms. Two full sized tables and two smaller ones covered in white cloths, with a lazy Susan on the former two, for easy self serving. Their menu is easy to navigate with coloured photos of everything. Ideal for those who don’t know all the dishes, or are not very familiar with dim sum. The following is all that we shared as a large group. All the popular dim sum items, the award winners, and a few of their special dishes for dinner.

Their “Steamed Prawn Dumpling” was one such dish that won an award: “social media choice for best shrimp dumplings, 2017”. It was exactly as you’d expected from a winner. A great flavour from the solid prawn loaf and a chewy starchy skin over it.

And what’s ha gao without siu mai? The “Steamed Pork Dumpling with Crab Roe” was large and juicy, with plenty of meat. No complaints from this one either.

Similar to the prawn dumplings in its steamed shrimp-loaf like filling, but dyed green and pinched shut to look like a leaf. The “Steamed Prawn and Spinach dumplings” were more fragrant with an herbaceous-ness from the greens.

At “Yue”, they make their steamed rice rolls a little differently. All the would be fillings and ingredients are mixed in with the rice roll batter. This ensures a more even ratio of dough to filling. Not as photogenic, but familiar to me, as this is how my mother use to make them for us at home, as well.

But here, they offer up three different flavours: “Steamed Rice Rolls with Beef”, “Steamed Rice Rolls with BBQ Pork and Corn”, and “Steamed Rice Rolls with 3 Kinds of Mushroom”. Good, but it tasted mostly like the light and sweet soy sauce that was drizzled over it.

I was a big fan of “Steamed Spare Ribs with Pumpkin”. Both elements were tender and delicious. This was exactly as expected, and as I wanted from one of the dishes I always order during any dim sum service.

The “Deep Fried Shrimp and Cheese Spring Rolls” had a great crispiness to them, with plenty of salty and garlicky flavour. I didn’t really get any cheese though.

The “Pan Fried Turnip Cake” was soft and gooey, with firm bits of turnip and pork. It finished slightly sweet.

This one was so good and it went so fast that I forgot to grab a cross-section photo of it. “Pan Fried Sticky Rice with Dried Seafood”, wrapped in a thin layer of egg omelette. This was a nice way to have sticky rice, easy to serve and easier eat. It had a crumbly texture with a seafood powder that stuck to the roof of your mouth.

The “Baked BBQ Pork Buns” are more like a dessert: Sweet filling and a sugar crumb topping. Meaty, but a great dish to help transition your into dessert territory.

The “Steamed Egg Yolk Bun” oozed yellow with a sweetened, grainy centre. This served as a nice salty way for those who don’t like things too sweet, to end on some sugar.

Their “Baked Durian Tart” was also award winning. It was a nice light rendition, but for someone who likes the actual flavour of durian there wasn’t enough of it, in my opinion. Even with the durian cream centre and the additional spread smeared over top of the flaky tart’s crust. I also don’t like durian warm as it was baked here. Having it chilled would have made this dish fresher, which was missing for me.

I preferred the “Baked Egg Tart with Milk Puff Pastry”. A smooth and creamy egg tart with a nice flaky contrast from that of its shell.

We also got into some meatier dishes, more suited to a sit down dinner. Like the “Pan Fried Vermicelli with Beef and Bitter Melon, in a Black Bean Sauce”. This was such an interesting presentation, a full meal set like a pie. You get a mix of crispy and regular noodles to enjoy with the tender beef and the slices of melon true to name. An interesting dish, but the bitter melon didn’t have me convinced.

I much more prefer the “Pork Hock with Maggi Sauce”. It reminded me of dry ribs at a bar, but a whole lot tastier and a lot more meat to pull off bone.

The “Singing Beef Brisket and Rice Rolls in Pot” also won an award in its category, at the Chinese awards. It was nice stew, plenty of chunks coasted in their deep and meaty gravy. I just wanted a starch to eat with it.

Everyone’s eyes grew large seeing the “Fried Squabs” hit the table. Served in a tray that mimicked a bird cage, and was revealed as such. You don’t get too much meat from this, it is more for the delicacy. A small fowl with an extra crispy skin, they had me thinking of bbq duck.

The cold appetizer tray” included spicy jelly fish, marinaded baby octopus, surf clams, smoked salmon, and braised beef shank. A classic dish done with flourishes that included a dragon fruit and cucumber trim and cucumber flowers with Marciano cherry centres. A great dish to wet the appetizer with, easy to pick and nibble, on with a great collection of textures to chew through.

The “Pork Rib in Special Spicy Sauce” was another stunner. Several large ribs connected and presented as an arch on the plate. Heavily crusted and sitting atop of a pool of neon red chilli oil. Though when it came to the flavour it was too salty to enjoy as is, and definitely needed some plain white rice to deflate most of the seasoning. However, aside from the crumbly crust, the meat didn’t have much flavour. It also wasn’t very spicy despite the colour.

Another familiar, family share-style dish was the fried oyster and pork with greens and mushroom. This served as a mild dish, and a nice way to sneak in some vegetables. The syrupy gel that coated it all gave things a nice gummy texture.

We then did some a la carte ordering, the table picking out some items they have had in the past and had enjoyed. I wasn’t quick on the ball, so didn’t capture the following as a full order in my photos.

This is what was left of the “Steamed arrow root dumplings”. It was cilantro heavy with a crisp-ness from the chopped up chestnuts; a nice contrast to its chewy shell.

The “Deep fried bean curd sheets with prawn and chives” were like a spring roll, except with a different wrapper. The bean curd wrap added sweetness and a layered flavour, more than just prawn loaf. It would have been better with a sweet and spicy chilli sauce on the side.

For some traditional Chinese desserts we had the “Tao Jiao”, peach resin cake. It is also referred to as the “Poor man’s bird nest”. The cake had a floral and coconut essence, with the white fungus embedded throughout for texture.

The “lychee and sweet olive jello” was the perfect cold and refreshing dessert to end our heavy and sumptuous meal on. An effective palette cleanser, accented with some osmanthus.

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 stand up place for some authentic dim sum and/or dinner. Plenty of dishes to please and the general consensus is that it was all delicious. A safe bet for your next, need to impress meal. Don’t deny your cravings.

YUE RESTAURANT
110-8351 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 1C3
(604) 233-1219

Little Bird, dim sum + craft beer

When you are craving dim sum in the lower mainland, like most: you probably contemplate whether the drive to Richmond is worth it, if there is anything good in East Van or maybe along Victoria Drive? But now you might have to consider Kitsilano, where “Little Bird” is serving up all day dim sum and craft beer. But not just your cut and paste pastries and dumplings. Here, they are taking traditional dim sum and making it vegan and gluten-free.

The restaurant space has had its fair share of make overs from “Living Bistro”, to “Yak and Yeti”, then “Trying Tiger”. So this isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant footprint. With a minimalistic approach and plenty of lights, the space felt more suited to brunch at a coffee shop. Simple and sterile with the white bulbs; it sort of felt like day within, instead of the early evening that it was. But I am not complaining, even though they did take away from a more romantic or laid back ambiance; these were great conditions for taking the following photos.

The textured wooden table we were seated at matched the wood counter tops, and decorative wood elements that lined the bar. The restaurant name found its way on to the latter, as well as painted on to a wall that directed you to either of their single stall washrooms. Other than that, only a few framed black and white stencil art offered up visual interest in terms of decor. A graffiti-like style with either bird or dumpling references added to it, after the fact. It spoke to the modern interpretation of the food and the restaurant.

We were seated with our table lining the wall. Here, each place is set with chopsticks and a laminated single sheet menu. The owner came around to highlight best sellers and pride points, making suggestions on what to order and what was worth trying. @goodlifevan, who assembled us all here to day suggested that the restaurant use a check off sheet to order, thus making the process easier. But our host declined the suggestion. One of his goals is to focus on service and the communication you don’t get at other traditional Chinese restaurants. With them it is how fast and efficient you can do something, even if it is at the cost of the client. Here, he wants his staff to connect. His team is multicultural and able to hold a conversation, that includes eye contact. And each server is well trained on the menu and how it tastes, to be able to suggest and curate a perfect meal for their table.

The restaurant owner comes from a long line of Chefs and restauranteurs, working in the business for over 40 years combined. His father owned and operate the two long standing “Flamingo Chinese Restaurant” since 1974. So you can say dim sum runs in his family. And today, I was excited to have dim sum for dinner here, along side three other notable food fans. This is our meal, as these are our notes.

I wanted a drink to start, I liked the idea of pairing dim sum with an alcoholic beverage. Typically I have dim sum in the morning for breakfast or brunch, so a glass of wine or a pint of beer is frown upon at 11am. But at “Little Bird” it is encouraged. Their drink options are limited 4 types of wine or 4 types of beer, both from four different labels; with no mention of cocktails. I went with the “Four Winds saison”, since “craft beer” came after “dim sum” on the menu, as their title. I found that the saison’s easy drinking nature paired well with the richer small bites. Much like how greasy and salty bar foods do.

For something less alcoholic and more caffeinated, you can also order one of their loose leaf teas, served in a miniature tea pot for one. You don’t get a lot of tea, but water refills are welcomed.

The menu is user friendly. Written completely in English with descriptions and a legend. Menu items with a heart symbol, means they have been highlighted as a must try. But be warned, you can and should have the kitchen add on an additional pieces for anything coming you way, so that everyone gets one in full. For example most of the items below come with 2-3 pieces per servings, so with four diners we had an additional dumpling added on here and there, so that everyone could have one. Something I wish our server could have suggested as an easy add-on.

As I mentioned earlier, for those who like dim sum, but cannot have it because they are vegan and the kitchen cannot ensure a meat-free preparation, here is your solution. “Little Bird” works hard to ensure that equipment and utensils are are sanitized and there is not cross contamination. As none of my dinner mates where vegetarian or vegan we didn’t try the full extent of their 7 “garden” dishes. But I did make a note that they weren’t just tofu or mushroom everything. And if you were to order all 7, you would get a variety of tastes and flavours to pick through. This variety included the likes of different mushrooms types, water chestnuts, bamboo, and the new trendy beyond meat alternative.

The “Baked bbq tofu bun” had me going, I can’t believe it’s not pork! Pressed tofu in their sweet and salty bbq sauce, stuffed into a soft dough bun; then topped with a vegan butter and sugar mix, for a little crunch and a lot of sweetness. I liked the taster, but don’t know if I could commit to one whole, regular-sized bun myself. Best cut in half and shared, or bundled into smaller sized bites.

And what is dim sum with out “siu mai”? But there is no pork or shrimp in these meaty looking dumplings. Beyond meat, water chestnut, shiitake mushroom, and black truffle. A rendition made in honour of the owner’s sister-in-law, and her search for delicious meat alternatives. From this, you got the flavour of truffle from the mash of purée that topped it. The “beyond meat” gives you the texture of meat, but it was a little over salted. And I found myself reaching for more flavour from within one of our dishes of side sauces. Chilli oil, chilli sauce, soy sauce, and mustard. This is a great solution for those who lead a vegan lifestyle, but I much prefer the regular version below at $3 less, for a dish of 3.

The regular “Siu mai” had pork, shrimp, shiitake mushroom, and goji berries. It was more tender and juicy than its vegetable counter part. And the wrapper gave you a great chew. A wonderful staple that spoke to the quality of the ingredients used and the skill of the kitchen.

The “Spring roll” was filled full of pork, shiitake and black mushrooms, dried shrimp, and bamboo. Crispy skin, chewy julienne vegetables, and a complexity of flavours with an earthiness from the mushroom and bamboo. I didn’t taste any pork and could have easily done without it. The only thing I wanted was a nice sweet and sour sauce for dipping, something to help brighten this up.

The “Stuffed eggplant” was a softened slice of eggplant topped with a shrimp pate. The latter tasted like the filling of a “ha gao” in both taste and lumpy texture. The sweet and spicy sauce that paired with it would have also went well with our spring rolls above.

I didn’t recognize the “Sweet rice puff” from name alone. A deep fried egg shaped dumpling filled with pork, shiitake mushroom, and dried shrimp. This had a crispy coating with thick gummy walls that stuck to your teeth. Its sweetness paired well with the nice meaty taste and it’s ground texture.

The “Chive and shrimp dumpling” delivered with a similar shrimp filling than the eggplant dish above, and elevated with plenty of fresh and fragrant chives. This too offered a great chew with its wrapper.

The “Scallop taro puff” looked like a cupcake topped with half of a scallop round. Inside, it is hiding a core of shiitake mushroom and minced pork filling, coated in a sweet and mild curry sauce. This rendition offered crispiness from the fry, a nice smooth taro paste in contrast, and a surprise of curry to give it depth. I typically stray away from this one on any dim sum menu, but would be drawn to this version again.

But my favourite of all the dishes we had, had to be the “Curry squid”. Perfectly tender chunks of squid that was enjoyable to gnaw through. The curry was similar to the one use above, mild and sweet, with a slow burn. It did not over power the flavour of the squid.

And unlike other seafood dim sum restaurants, you can order the sweeter plates and have them come towards the end of your meal, as dessert. We finished off with their deep fried “Green tea sesame balls”. An order of two made green with matcha and flavoured with double black sesame. Black sesame seeds speckled the exterior and a pool of melted soup sat at its centre. Be warned, it is messy, and the filling is hot, flowing out like a lava cake. But delicious to end on if you allow them too cool down first, and have the server cut each ball in half.

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.
An approachable dim sum and restaurant created for all, and not just Chinese speakers. But unless you are a vegan, you wouldn’t think to drive all the way down to Kits for dim sum. Though in terms of the neighbourhood, they serve it well as the only option of its kind. A great choice for a fancier night out; made unique with the option for beer and wine. Deliciously done, classic dim sum dressed up and refined. Don’t deny your cravings.

LITTLE BIRD
#dimsumallday
2958 W 4th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K 1R4
(604) 325-8132
littlebirddimsum.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

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/

Dim Sum at Kirin New Westminster

We had relatives in town and my family took them out for dim sum at “Kirin”. My dad is a fan of “Kirin”, but not the Cambie location due to several brushes with bad service, so a drive out to New Westminster was required today. He liked the finer dining restaurant for its finer details. The thought put into their food presentation, the more attentive service, the overall cleanliness of the space, the free parking on premises; and how the food wasn’t too salty or sweet, but seemed to cater to everyone’s taste. And our meal even ended with a luke warm cloth for wiping up after. I am sure it was meant to be hot given the metal container they were rolled up and stacked in, and the matching tongs that were used to deliver them into out out reached hands.

Our sever was also friendly, not common at most Chinese restaurants. He bantered in Cantonese and wore a smile on this face. Although this might be a different experience on a busier day. Today this was an easy drive on a Tuesday, with less traffic on the road and in the restaurant.

We were seated at one of their many round tables with a glass lazy Susan at its centre. An ideal set up for the easy sharing of small plates, amongst our party of 6. White table cloth over a peach, cloth napkins folded into a peaked cone. And there we sat in light conversation, as the meal began with no one wanting to order. No one wanted to come across as being too forward, or to have the responsibility of ordering for everyone else. There was the passing around of the menu, and the reassurance that no one cared what they would be eating. All until my dad took charge, ordering dim sum staples like “ha gao” and “sui mai”. I tried ordering a few items based on photos posted online, however it wasn’t available at this location and neither were items in the photos pictured on their in house menu. No explanation was given for the false advertising in the latter. None-the-less the following is what we were able to order, in the order of which it came. And everything took longer to come, as it is made fresh to order.

“Steamed shrimp dumplings”. Chunked prawn within a starchy coating, tasty like it always is.

“Beef tendon braised in spicy sauce”. You eat this for its firm gelatine-like texture. Fully coated with a thick syrup-like glaze, seasoned with a slow to creep heat that flavours the dish fully.

Similar in texture was the “Steam chicken feet and gluten in black bean sauce.” But both had more of a soften, rubbery texture with the scrunched up skin on the chicken feet and the folded sheets of the gluten.

The “Sticky rice with pork and shredded scallop, wrapped in lotus leaf” had more filling that most sticky rice bundles I have opened up.

The “Deep fried eggplant stuffed with minced prawn in black bean sauce” was the table’s favourite, as it was the first dish to be cleared. This was cut in halves at the table, for easy sharing. Minced prawn meat formed like a ball and steamed like meatloaf with a similar foamy texture.

The “Spareribs steamed with chopped garlic” were easy to pop into your mouth and have your tongue and teeth do all the work, tearing the typically soft meat and cartilage from bone.

“Steamed prawn and Sakura farm premium pork dumpling topped with flying fish roe”. You could absolutely taste the quality of the meat used in this fulsome dumpling. Definitely one of the better renditions I have had.

“Pork neck bone, peanut and fried fish congee”. This was a nice warming way to end our meal. Lightly flavoured by pork and topped with shredded iceburg lettuce and peanuts for crunch; although there are already plenty of cooked peanuts within this, but those were quick to crumble under the pressure of your tongue. I also got a few of the bones that I ate clean, the meat had no seasoning; but was still the most flavourful element in the bowl. Plus it offered some texture to chew through.

Worth noting, the higher price point comes with additional service. I had my plate switched out twice during our 1 hour meal, and my bowl once. Although each time it was done abruptly by one of managers in a suit.

 

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.
Everything was tasty, but I have had other dim sums just as good, for less. I wouldn’t necessary make the commute just for dim sum. However if my family is inviting and paying, you can definitely expect to see me here again. Although my dad was very please by how reasonable the cost of the total was today. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

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

Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant

We were in search of dim sum, and “Golden Ocean” was chosen for its accessibility. Truth be told, I don’t often choose my Chinese restaurants, nor do I order myself. Typically, both of those matters I leave to my family, as I don’t normally visit Chinese restaurants outside of family gatherings. So it was nice to dine with friends and see what they and their families order and love.

The restaurant was on the second floor, hard to spot if you don’t know what you are looking for. Inside it is huge standard Chinese restaurant. Round tables topped with white cloth and lazy Susans. A bar with a lucky golden cat straddling it, a featured Chinese tapestry, and a live seafood tank. All the hallmarks of a good Chinese seafood restaurant.

The dishes were a group effort in ordering, and are described in the order of which they arrived. “Breaded shrimp with deep fried eggplant”. Firm shrimp-loaf stuffed in to melty squishy eggplant body suit.

I love Chinese style deep fried squid for its chewy texture, exemplified by its cakey flour battering. No dipping sauce needed, these are plenty tasty with its coating of salt and chillies.

They were much like the “Baby cuttlefish in curry sauce”. I too enjoy this for its multiple chews required per small bulb.

“Pan fried radish cake with xo sauce” is yet another dim sum dish that I enjoy for its texture. The firm squares almost melt in your mouth. And I like it’s fishy flavour from the use of dried shrimp within the brick.

“Steamed Pork dumplings” are a classic with it juicy centre.

And “Steamed Shrimp dumplings” go hand in hand with the pork above. I love the starchy shell coating each nugget of shrimp the best, preferring to eat each element separately.

This version of “Steamed BBQ pork bun” was not as expected, it was more sweet than meaty and salty. Even more so with the sugary coarse coating that covered the bun and the honey that coated the meat within it. Our group wasn’t a fan of this rendition.

Our second attempt at ordering “Steamed pork buns proved more successful”. These were the ones we were looking for. Savoury meat in a neutral doughy shell.

The “Shrimp with egg tofu” was a nice one. The same steamed shrimp you get in the dumplings, but nestled atop of a creamy tofu pillow. The latter of the two being my favourite.

Chinese donut wrapped with rice rolls. Chewy, smooth, salty, and sweet; this had everything going on in one mouthful.

 

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.
I didn’t see anything that really sets them apart from all the other Chinese seafood restaurants, just another option to enjoy dim sum in Kerrisdale. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GOLDEN OCEAN
2046 W 41st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6M 1Y7
604-263-8886
Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Su Huang Restaurant

One of the stops on Tourism of Richmond’s #DumplingTrail is “Su Huang”. The dumpling trail is a list of 9 different types of dumplings and the 20 best places to get them, as recommend by Tourism of Richmond

“Su Huang” is a smaller Chinese restaurant located in a plaza, on a side street off No.3 Road. They made it on to this coveted listing for their “Xiao long baos” alone. These steamed soup dumplings are one of the trendiest dumplings, regularly making appearances on instagram feeds. And here at “Su Huang”, they are made to order, all before your very eyes.

The restaurant forks at the entrance, a cluster of tables clothed in white and surrounded by chocolate brown upholstered seats on either ends. Both arrangements are seated under a beautiful framed tapestry of moss green and white blossoms.

And the centre of the space is the restaurant’s bar and dumpling making room. The room is a box of a space outfitted with plexiglass. Here an employee stands rolling out balls of dough, and stuffing them with scoops of raw pork and/or a combination of meats and seafoods. From the other side you stare in and admire just how fresh your meal to come is.

There are many ways to eat these little gems. And each way involves gingerly lifting the dumpling by its knot, as to not puncture the thin skin and have all that hot soup drip out. From here you can either pinch a little hole into the dough with your teeth and suck out the soup, or simply just pop the whole thing in your mouth. But be warned they are served hot and for the sake of the soup, it is best enjoyed as such.

The steamed soup dumplings filled with pork are the classic rendition and the ones I prefer.

Steamed soup dumplings with pork and crab. The addition of the stringy seafood changes the taste and texture of these dumplings.

Sadly there isn’t a vegetarian version of these soup dumplings, as the broth is from bone. But they do also have vegetable dumplings for any vegetarians in your group. Greens on the inside and green on the out. The chopped vegetables in this chewy wrapper were tasty, and fragrant with spring onion.

For dessert we had some “Sugar cakes”. This was a new one for me. A light and airy round, hollow in the centre and coated in coarse sugar for some crunch. A delicious snack and something worth revisiting.

 

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.
This is definitely a stop on the #DumplingTrail worth visiting, for anyone who loves a good soup dumplings. Let’s just say there is a good reason why Tourism or Richmond added them to this list, and these dumplings are it. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SU HUANG
100-8291 Ackroyd Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3J9
604-278-7787
suhang.ca
Suhang Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Empire Seafood Restaurant, dim sum

Today I was having dim sum with Tourism Richmond. They were introducing their “dumpling trail” to a handful of writers covering Vancouver (Richmond) as a travel destination. Coverage and that includes its food, specifically the Chinese cuisine prepared therein. The quality of the cuisine and the freshness of the ingredients that has been gathering so much acclaim as of late.

Seeing as there are so many restaurants to consider, Tourism of Richmond has worked to narrow down your options when dining in their city. With their handy pamphlet they have listed 9 different types of dumplings and 20 of the different restaurants they recommend getting them at. All of which were tasted and tried by the Tourism of Richmond team, all of which hand made dumplings, prepared in house. Not frozen, always fresh dough covering succulent rounds of meat and seafood.

Our first stop was “Empire”. I have only visited the seafood restaurant once before. Then it was for a wedding reception, so I didn’t get an accurate look at what it’s like to dine here. So now was doubly excited to get that, and to try some of their renowned, quality dumplings that is recommended on this tour. On top of that we also got some popular dim sum plates to share.

This Wednesday morning I was surprised to see how busy the restaurant was and how fully sat the dining area could be, even the private rooms were being used to host dim sum diners. We were seated in the main dining area. The opened widows and the white marble walls reflecting light from them, helped to brighten up the room and give sparkle to the many crystal complied chandeliers.

Our meal began with “Wu gok”. Taro dumplings with steamed and mashed taro mixed with mushroom, shrimp, pork, and scallions; then stuffed into a a crispy shredded crust. I am not a big fan of the grainy filling of this dumpling, especially how it stood out in comparison to the extra crispy coating surrounding it. But regardless of preference, I could definitely taste the quality of this dumpling.

“Ham Siu Gok”, Cantonese egg shaped pork croquettes with a minced pork core and a chewy and crispy crust. This was a favourite amongst our table. Deliciously seasoned meat hiding within this starchy shell.

“Har Gow” is a classic at any dim sum table. A shrimp filled tapioca starch pastry that many enjoy.

“Siu Mai” goes hand in hand with “Har Gow” when I order my dim sum. And this was one of the best versions I have ever had. The meat was so juicy and so fresh. This may have ruined all other pork and shrimp dumplings wrapped in yellow and topped with fish roe, for me .

Steamed wild mushroom dumplings with black truffle. I liked the combined textures of the chewy mushroom, made doubly chewy within the crystallize wrapper of tapioca starch.

The “Scallop and shrimp dumpling” was just stunning, wrapped in the bold orange, pumpkin paste wrapper, it was as eye catching as it was delicious. It didn’t taste like pumpkin but I didn’t miss it given the flavour from the scallops and shrimp combined.

The shrimp topped deep fried egg tofu had the same shrimp ball that we had been enjoying above, but this time pairing it with a sweet base. The tofu was creamy, and slightly dessert-like, almost like a custard.

“Steamed rice rolls with sesame and hoisin sauce”. For those at the table unfamiliar with this one, they tasted and simply stayed away. I, on the other had went back for more. Another great dish I enjoy for its texture. Sheets of dough you slurp up, flavoured in a sweet and salty sauce.

The mushrooms in bean curd were chewy, sweet chopped up mushroom pieces kept together in a bundle by a textured sheet of bean curd.

I stayed away from the plate of pea tips with ginger and garlic. I am sure it was tasty with the whole cloves of garlic, but I am just not a fan of soggy and wilted greens.

And my favourite dish of the afternoon was the salted egg yolk bun. The bright yellow hue of the “lava” filling oozes out when you bite in. But be careful as it is extremely hot, thought worth it as they are best when the filling is still oozing. I would go back just for these buns.

 

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.
Sadly “Empire” is a far drive for me. I wish there was a location closer to my home, as you would see me there more often. Dining in and more so taking out, just for those buns alone. This could possibly be my new favourite dim sum restaurants to recommend. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

EMPIRE
EMPIRE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
Unit 200, 5951 No.3 Road, Richmond BC, V6X2E3
604-249-0080
empirerestaurant.ca
Empire Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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