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Category: dim sum Page 1 of 2

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

Fortune City Seafood Restaurant

This Chinese New Year day, my family gathered at “Fortune City seafood restaurant” for dim sum. Having CNY day land on a Friday, and it not being a statutory holiday, meant the restaurant wasn’t as crowded, and they were offering their regular weekday dim sum special. Our extended family woke up earlier and and drove down at 10am to take advantage of this promotion. If you place your order and they input it into the computer before 11am, you get 20% off your entire meal. Once again, this special promo only runs from Monday to Friday: their slower dim sum mornings.

The restaurant has your standard Chinese restaurant build, an open space with tightly packed tables that expand and come together as needed. Each clothed in white, seated with chairs covered in brown sleeves that tied at their backs. Crystal chandeliers dripped from the ceiling, catching extra light from the sun’s ray that shone in from the wall of windows. The room faced their feature wall panel of red and black, a stark contrast from the all white walls left void of art or any printed material. This made the perfect back drop for wedding reception dinners, where the married couple would sit before it, flanked by Chinese characters of grandiose wishes.

When it came to ordering, everything was done all at once by checking off boxes from a list of dim sum dishes at a set price per head, and chef’s specials at an extra cost. My family cleverly ordered two of many of the dishes, so that everyone could have some; and so that I could take my time taking photos as they picked off the duplicate dish. But as a result we couldn’t keep up with the number of plates coming. Our table quickly became cluttered and stain ridden as we shuffled saucy dishes around. Although, this is typical of dim sum, I have never had a meal where we left the table relatively clean.

The following dishes are in the order in which we received them.

As always, you order dessert at the same time as the savoury dishes you plan to eat before it, but the dessert is the first to arrive. This makes sense, as most of them are made before hand and kept of chill. My family didn’t like the idea of the “Durian sticky flour balls”, but I ordered them anyways. They thought the king of fruits would be served cooked, where as the flesh was left raw, housed in a ball of glutinous rice along with cream. I found them good for dim sum. Naturally the durian wasn’t fresh, and it wasn’t as potent as it could be. You didn’t get the smell and only minuet amounts of its taste. So you are actually tasting more of the dough ball, making this a good dessert for those who have never tried durian and would like to.

You order the “Deep fried chicken joints with peppery salt” for their texture: if you like the crinkling chew of cartilage. Our family did, so their saltiness and added deep fried batter coating were a hit.

“Rice flour rolls with bbq pork” are a dim sum classic. Their mild flavour and the fact they are steamed and not fried, make them a great palette refresher. I find myself reaching for a square when I need a break from all the greaser dishes that dim sum is typically known for. Not too salty, with a hint of sweetness.

Their “Stuffed eggplant with prawn purée” is fairly popular. This is one of the few dim sum dishes that give you a little veg with your meal. It is best enjoyed with equal parts shrimp to eggplant, the former lends flavour to the more bland latter. The thick starchy sauce that pools around each stuffed slice also helps in this regard.

Chinese style “Deep fried squid with peppery salt” is the reason why I don’t like or order calamari at other non-Chinese restaurants. The thick slices and great tender chew, plus its salty and spicy seasonings make all other renditions of battered and fried squid dull by comparison.

The “Stir fried flat noodle with chives and beef in supreme soy sauce” was under the chef’s special list. This was not the best version that I have ever had, but it was still pretty good. Tender beef paired with slippery noodles in a mild soy sauce. No complaints.

The “Mini sticky rice with shrimp and minced pork wrap” served as a good base for all the meat dishes to come. A rice dish wrapped in leaves that you peel back to expose a tightly packed squares. Cutting into it exposes a good amount of filling compared to others at other dim sum restaurants. I didn’t get any shrimp, but plenty of pork pieces, some diced mushroom, one 1/5 of a salted egg yolk, and one Chinese sausage slice in my bundle.

The other dessert we ordered that came sooner than expected, but was helpful in changing the taste; was the “Multi layers egg custard pastry”. This was served as a solid sponge, then cut down to size with kitchen shears. Its eggy taste was only slightly sweet, like a mild custard cream flavour.

“Steamed superior shrimp dumpling” aka “ha gao” is a dim sum staple. Another fan favourite. The skin is my favourite part, and if I could I would discard the shrimp and just eat it as is.

The “Steamed sparerib with pumpkin” were cooked so tender that you are able to pop the whole piece into your mouth, and easily push meat off bone with your teeth and tongue. Salty meat with soft chunks of sweet pumpkin.

I once loved “Steamed chicken feet” as a child, but as I age the texture becomes less appealing to me. For those who have never tried it, this is a hard one to describe. Basically you are sucking cooked chicken skin off each individual chick claw/toe, and spitting each knuckle bone out. Though the flavour is tasty, and the skin acts like a sponge sopping up the sweeter sauce. I wish I knew what else they cook with it, so I can order it instead, just to get that flavour.

“Steamed prawn purée with fish maws”. “Fish maw” is the swim/gas bladder of a bony fish, it helps to to control their buoyancy. It has a rubbery texture, not unlike jelly fish, except with a wrinkled texture, like how you’d imagine a cooked edible kitchen sponge would feel in your mouth. As for the overall taste, the same prawn style was used here as with the eggplant and the dumpling dishes above, and therefore it had similar flavour.

The “Ginger chicken bun” was disappointing between the grainy and soggy dough, and the minimal filling. The ginger flavour was also overly pronouced, it was an odd pairing with the sweetness of the dough.

The “Steamed short rib in black pepper sauce” was not unlike the sparerib, but just with a lot more pepper flavour. It was also much harder to remove meat from bone without using your hands. I prefer this cut over the barbecue instead.

This was a very standard “Pork dumpling with tobiko (shui ma)”. Meaty with shrimp, another dim sum staple: familar and comforting to all.

 

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.
Another Chinese dim sum restaurant that is neither good or bad. Nothing stands out, but there also isn’t anything about them that would have me shying away. A decent option for a large family meal in the 1st avenue area. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FORTUNE CITY
1st Avenue Marketplace
302-2800 East 1st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V5M 4N9
604-255-0008
Fortune City Seafood Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pink Pearl presents 4 Decades of Dim Sum

Today I was invited to a Chinese Bites event meant to celebrate “Pink Pearl” restaurant’s 5th reopening anniversary. I was one of 50 other food bloggers and social media influencers invited to take a journey through the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s and 2010’s, via dim sum.

As always, when it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

“Pink Pearl” is one of the longest lasting Chinese restaurants in Vancouver, they have proven their staying power over the years by surviving a fire that threatened to shut them down. They are best known as one of the only places in the city that still serves dim sum with traditional push carts. Something that requires plenty of space and planning on their part, as well as more work for little gains. To consider the necessary distance between tables, in order to pivot carts, means less seating is made available, and therefore the decrease of profits. Then there is the need for preparations proper planning to ensure you make enough food and the right kinds of food to be picked up from your cart, while it is still hot.

Before we began there were a few welcoming speeches, including mention of their fundraising initiative. The restaurant is looking to support the food bank by offering a multi course dinner, where the money for the tickets will go to fund the food bank’s need for non perishables. The theme behind this would be “Four decades of Chinese dinners”, at Pink Pearl. Tickets are sold by the table. $568 for a table of 10-12, and the price includes taxes and gratuity. This was a nice touch and something that echoed this morning’s “4 decades of dim sum” event.

All the dishes that would be coming to us today were laid out on an informative card. Although they weren’t in order of the card’s listing, or even by decade. Which I think would have been a nice idea, along with a little speech regarding the history of each dim sum item, to educate us diners. The following is the order in which all the food arrived.

But to watch the evolution of dim sum in order of decades and on video, visit the link below.

 

From the 2000’s we had the ever popular dim sum classic of “steamed shrimp dumplings”. A solid, rounded, chunk of sweet shrimp within a shell of chewy starch.

We then jumped further back in time with the 1990’s “lotus wrapped stuffed sticky rice”. This was a bundle of sticky rice for everyone to share, served and made fragrant in its leafy wrapper. The filling was the most I have had in such a dish. Full pieces of chicken on bone, chunks of Chinese sausage, and a golden yolk.

Taking another decade back, before going forward again we had the “1980’s Duck-web wrap”. This is actually my first time having duck feet, the webbing throws me off visually. But wrapped with toes covered like this made things a lot easier to swallow, figuratively and literally. Each foot is wrapped up in a tofu sheet with taro, ham, and mushroom. It was all flavoured in the same sweet and starchy light gravy. I could have done with out the vegetable and ham, as I ended up unwrapping everything and eating it all piece by piece anyways.

Back in the 2000’s we had their “steamed sticky rice roll”. This one was new to me. They combined two dim sum favourites into one. Chewy sticky rice with bits of Chinese sausage and ground pork, stuffed into soft white buns. It was a blending of two textures I like with its taste coming from the seasoning of the rice. The rice was not un-similar to the one served in the bundles of lotus leaves above.

The “1990’s mini steamed pork bun” was another one I am very familiar with. Sweet honey glazed barbecue pork in a perfectly spongy white bun dough. This had a good ratio of meat to bao.

The 1980’s had “shrimp toast”, as another dim sum classic that I have never had. It was a whole shrimp embedded into a triangle of toast. Interesting in presentation and delicious in theory, however I found it far too oily to consume more than a bite of. There was too much butter and oil, causing everything else to be lost and drowning in it.

2010’s had “hand-made steamed shrimp rice rolls”. They were served undressed, but the dish of soy it came with was a necessity for flavour and kick. The rolls tasted absolutely fresh and the table at the plates clean.

So far everyone was thrown off by all the dishes from the 1980’s, and the feeling was furthered by this interpretation of the popular pork dumpling: siu mai; named “liver and pork dumplings”. It wasn’t the most visually attractive, sitting in a pool of glistening grease, and without the yellow wonton wrapper that many use as a visual cue for the traditional dish. And then there was the cut of liver that topped it, not many folks like the iron-y taste and sandy texture of liver. But for me and a handful of others, it represents childhood and being forced to eat such organ meats by your parents, who insisted that it is good for you. Having been socialized to it, I actually like liver prepared liked this and found it delicious. Cooked tender and not so overpowering in taste as to hide the flavour of the pork ball it balanced on.

But the next 1980’s dish I wasn’t as such a fan of. This was yet another dim sum item that was new to me. We each received a “pan fried half moon dumpling” served with a scoop of soup. The former is a two bite, fried pastry with a chalky shell. You can’t make out, let alone taste the specks of filling within it. Overall it was fairly dry and didn’t have much taste as is, so we figured it was meant to be dipped. The tangy light broth helped to balance out its oily texture. And it gave the dumpling a herbal yet citrusy flavour, not that it necessary matched one to the other.

We then jump back up two decades with the 2010’s “wok fried lotus root and fresh mushrooms”. This dish was served family style with celery, carrot, black fungus, and goji berries (which I will talk more about down below). The lotus root was served frimer than what I am use two, it had a starchy finish to it and required some back of teeth chewing to gnaw through. It matched well with the other crisp vegetables in this sticky, mild gravy. A good side, but felt incomplete as is.

 

The 2010’s “hand-made steamed beef rice rolls” were not unlike the shrimp ones we had earlier. Except here the filling was ground up beef seasoned herbaceously with ginger, spring onion, and I believe cilantro. This too required the sweet light soy sauce to make it pop.

We then transition to dessert for our last two dishes, although it is common to get the dim sum sweet served before or along side the dim sum savoury. This is because desserts are often prepared ahead of time, and are typically ready for serving before any other dishes are wok fried or steamed to order.

The 1990’s had this “black and white sweet sesame roll”. Diana from Foodology described its look best by calling them “film canisters”. A layer of black and white glutinous rice flour fused together and rolled up. The flavour of the sesame in the dessert was mild. The seeds sprinkled above it offered more of sesame essence, although I would have preferred them toasted for a nice smokey flavour.

And lastly we finished at our current decade with this 2010’s “gojoy gojiberries gelle”. It was a nice, light berry finish made with the goji berries in mind. The berries added a nice textural chew and gave pops of juice to the otherwise dry jello.

Today’s event was also sponsored by two local goji berry farmers from “Gojoy”. “Gojoy” is one of the first to farm goji berries here in Canada. Starting every June to the end of summer, on their acreage, you have the ability to visit them for “you pick”. This is where you get to pick your own fruit from their actual orchid and get charged for how much you pick. They attended this event today to showcase their goji berry smoothie mix before the event, along with bags of frozen berries you can take home and thaw out to use as needed. They also spoke to the application of goji berries in cooking as seen in the savoury lotus dish above and now this jello-like dessert. The berries are easy to tie in to Chinese cuisine, as it is already noted in Chinese culture for its medicinal properties. They are now scientifically proven to be beneficial for the eyes, liver, and kidney.

 

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.
I haven’t been back to “Pink Pearl” in years, until today. This was one of my parent’s favourite places for Chinese seafood dinners and dim sum, growing up. But I think we actually stopped coming in, after they burnt down and took half a year to rebuild. So to see them get back on their feet and continue to try and do new things, to bring in a larger, more diverse crowd is inspiring. This was a great event, offering a very unique way to showcase the familiarity of dim sum. Hopefully they do this and more of it, more often; offering a variation of today’s event to the paying public. It will not only bring in fans of Chinese cuisine, but even those unfamiliar and willing to learn through ingesting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PINK PEARL
1132 East Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 1S2
604-253-4316
pinkpearlrestaurant.ca
Pink Pearl Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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