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.
110-8351 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 1C3