Dim sum is the Asian version of brunch, but available every day of the week. It brings in morning business to Chinese restaurants that specialize in dinners. “Dim Sum” literally means “small plates” and that is exactly what you get from this experience. You choose from a list of options or pull plates off carts when they are pushed by. Today at “Golden Lake Seafood” we were enjoying the former. The great feature here is that their menu options are listed in English and Chinese with accompanying pictures. This allows for ease of ordering for those not familiar with Chinese, and lures others to order more based on how delicious they look in their picture. We made sure to come in before 11am to take advantage of their Dim Sum special. Monday to Friday, 20% off all food between 9am, when they open, until 11am when they start serving lunch.

Judging “Golden Lake” based on its exterior, I walked in expecting an old run down and cliche Chinese restuarnt. I got the cliche part correct, but was hit with opulence instead of degradation. All the Asian symbols for luck and wealth were accounted for. They were done in the most grandiose of ways, at least that I have ever seen present at a restaurant. Right in the doorway, your path is blocked by a large, free standing fish tank. It was as tall as myself and housed large gold fish splotched with varriations of white, orange and black. Past it was their bar, the usual suspects were congregated here: a large bottle of XO cognac, a planter of tied and trimmed luckly bamboo, a table top waterfall display, a lucky cat statue; and a golden buddha lounguing on his side, smiling from ear to ear. In the dining area a wall mirror creates the feeling of a larger space; and your typical gold and red murals add colour to otherwise plain tables and settings. One has a Phoenix sharing space with a Chinese dragon. (Chinese dragons do not have wings, and are more like snakes, with mulitple sets of feet.) And the other, blooming blossoms along side ancient Chinese pictographs and script. I do not know what they mean, but I can be sure, like everything else, it is meant to bring in luck and by consequce prosperity and fortune to this resturant and all those who dine here.

If you have been to any Asian restaurants you can see how all this is both impressive and cliche at the same time.

I will not be going into detail over all the small plates my guest and I ordered. They are the ones we usually get and they all tasted as we expected. Chinese recipes are pretty standard from place to place. We got enough food to stuff two grown women, and enough leftovers to serve 4 people an adequate dinner. In order of their appearance on to our table.

Stir fried radish cake with spicy XO sauce.

Minced braised pork with string beans.

Coconut milk and scented osmanthus.

Prawn dumplings.

Chicken feet in the chef’s special sauce.

Deep fried squid with chili pepper and salt.

Mini octopus in curry sauce.

Pork spare ribs.

Sticky rice wraps with meat and dried scallops.

Steak spare ribs in garlic sauce.

I do not usually do blog reviews on Chinese restaurants; they are a dime a dozen, and nothing about any of them really stands out. They all have simillar ideas on what is considered good decor. And you can only go into so much detail when describing one “lucky” figure to the next. The same goes for the food served and the service delivering it. All the classic Chinese dishes done the way that everyone likes and remembers from Asia, presented to you in record breaking speed without a smile. I made an exception with “Gold Lake” because it is a Chinese restaurant I would actually insist on going before and instead of others. It is clean, their knick knacks look prettier; and they have parking stalls that are spacious and easier to get into, to avoid bad drivers. (insert joke on sterotypes here.) For those reasons I would come back.
Would I recommend it? – No. Not many gatherings with friends are done in Chinese restaurants, in fact I only step into one with family. They are always loud with talking and the clattering of dishware. And dinners at traditional Chinese restuarnat are in portions meant for parties of 10 or more.

3555 East Hastings St, Vancouver BC, V5K 2A8
Tel: 604-298-2468

Golden Lake Seafood Restaurant 湖濱海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon Instagram