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Grand Neptune Seafood Restaurant, dim sum

Today we were back at Grand Neptune Seafood Restaurant to check out their dim sum menu, and learn about their latest promotions. Both of which are on now until the end of February 2024.

On top of some of the cutest dim sum items I have ever seen, if you follow Grand Neptune on Instagram at @grandneptune.seafood you get a free dessert with your dim sum. Provided that you can show them that you have indeed followed.

And available anytime, if you purchase a $100 giftcard, you get $10 back, both of which you can use immediately. And if you decide to dine in, the price of tea will be waved.

Today, we were all seated around a large lazy Susan table and able to try majority of the dim sum menu, or at least all the most photogenic items. Many of which came in servings of 4 on a plate, which meant we had to cut things down to sharing sizes, which is typical.

First off, I really appreciate how easy it is to order from their photographic menu. A check box by each dish and its image so you can order with your eyes, if your stomach is unsure.

If you can only get one item from their new menu, let it be their deluxe dim sum platter. A collection of savoury and sweet items gathered in visual display. Worth noting is that many of these items are available as a full order all their own. (When applicable I used those full serving photos instead)

One that is not, are the red bean stuffed panda pastries. Cute black and white bears seated upright on slices of water chestnut roll with almond flake. The former were three pieces gathered around a small glass of soy sauce, so I assumed this was a savoury item and to dip bear into sauce. I did this only to discover that behind the thin layers of ashy pastry was a very mild red bean paste. Oddly enough, I did not mind the soy sauce coating.

Also not available on the regular menu is the deep fried mushroom shaped pastry filled with a mung bean paste. A little too dry and ashy for my taste. Made even more dense with the starchy filling. Not my favourite, outside of its outward appearance.

As for the water chestnut roll with almond flake, I enjoyed the gummy texture, but found the sharp shards of nuts a deterrent from it, and the light dessert better without. On top of being used as stools for the pandas, there were an additional four pieces of this on the board.

Also included was one serving of their popular passion fruit mousse. A semi circle made to resemble the tart tropical fruit in shell and seeds. It was wonderfully fragrant with its intended tropical flavour.

I liked the glutinous rice cake with brown sugar filling for texture. A tube of chewy mochi filled with a very mild sugary spread.

Honestly, I enjoyed the savoury items on the platter much more. Like the vegetable dumplings filled with vermicelli noodles and julienne mushroom, carrots, wood ear fungus, and cabbage; all bundled in a gummy green wrapper. The interior and the exterior in contrast.

The scallop dumpling was essentially a shrimp dumpling at its base, crowned with half a coin of scallop and wrapped up with a dyed black glutinous shell. You don’t get much of the scallop flavour in this and it is basically a ha gao.

The steamed rice roll with deep fried shrimp resembled garden rolls. And much like the dumplings above, it had the same consistency and taste of shrimp paste all lumped together like a seafood ball. What set it apart with the rice roll shell, that was honestly hidden behind the denser filling. This was also bland and in need of soy sauce.

And my favourite part of this platter was the deep fried radish cake, cut up into cubes and served in an eye catching, makeshift noodle-nest. The gummy blocks contrasted by crisp red pepper and beansprouts. Incredibly flavourful as is, but it also came with a terrific house made xo sauce with plenty of salty shrimp flavour.

If you are looking to curate your meal a little more, I suggest going a la carte and getting the full order of any of the following.

This includes the deep fried glutinous rice ball stuffed with either salted egg yolk or a coconut cream. This is the above mentioned promotional dish that you get for free, if you follow them on Instagram. This was a treasure trove of textures. Crispy fried hairs coming out of a chewy ball filled with either salty runny yolk or sweet liquid coconut cream. I preferred the salted egg yolk as I am more partial to savoury than sweet.

And speaking of salted egg yolk, I was completely enamoured with the steamed salted egg lava Hello Kitty buns. These were immediately recognizable with its yellow nose and pink bow. We knew to eat this one first, so that the filling would still be warm and runny, squirting when bitten down.

The pan seared fish paste pancake was a fulsome order. It was aggressively herbaceous with the dace. Although, somewhat tempered by the classic pairing of a sweet chilli sauce dip, for fried foods.

My eyes lit up with the sight of these baked crispy bbq pork pastry made to look like cartoon squid. These ate more like dessert, filled with sweet bbq pork chunks caramelized with a hint of honey. Only the top half is filled. Whereas the detachable bottom tentacle portion was a solid pastry, and more for show.

On a different, but similar spin, we also had the baked bbq pork bun bears. A similar concept, but a baked soft bun coated in a honey glaze, and stuffed with both glazed sweet pork and pineapple sections. The fruit was a new take and made this even more so a dessert option, over a savoury one. I just wished there was more filling given the thickness of the bun and that the bear’s ears were hollow.

The panfried Shanghainese pork bun came with a “skirt”, a thin and crispy tuile-like layer that’s attached to the bun when cooked. More for display as it is created from a batter of water, flour, and salt. This added a layer of pageantry to the dish and a contrasting crispy texture. Inside, was an herbaceous chicken filling, heavy on the onion and ginger.

Another unique dim sum dish are their steamed vegetable buns with mushroom, moulded to look like an actual mushroom: cap and stem. This was filled with the familiar filling of vermicelli and julienne vegetable, black fungus, and mushroom. A little bland, but for novelty alone I would order it again.

Similar, was the steamed tomato, egg, and shrimp dumpling. Very cute with its orangey-red translucent shell and a bright green stem. However, outside of its appearance you don’t get much tomato from this. I couldn’t taste it in the dumpling, and it was more like a shrimp ha gao.

Speaking of, we also had shrimp ha gao dumplings, and comparatively I prefer the original than all the ones with a similar dense shrimp-lump filling.

And what is ha gao without steamed pork shao mai, elevated with fish roe. Fatty, meaty pork prepared for easy eating and simply delicious.

Another dim sum dish I am very familiar with is the deep fried eggplant with shrimp paste in black bean sauce. Once again the same lumpy shrimp filling, but done a bit more creative with the gummy and melty eggplant base and a flavourful thick syrupy sauce to flavour.

The stir fried house special crispy noodles are a solid choice. Exactly as expected: crunchy strands contrasted by saucy crisp vegetables and chewy chunks of chicken, fish, and squid.

One of my favourite dishes today was the lobster congee. So good that I wish I was able to have it all to myself. This is probably my new favourite congee dish. A whole lobster adding its sweetness into the rice porridge, further fragranced by ginger and spring onion.

I missed trying the egg tart with its flakey shell dyed black, but was told it was delicious. The colour didn’t add anything to the taste, but was certainly attention calling.

The custard layer cake didn’t meet my expectations. An eggy sponge with barely noticeable layers of what I think is quince, but it is not something you can easily discern. Pretty plain, and not all that memorable outside of the bunny sear.

In a similar fashion, the red date jelly was light and lovely with barely any flavour. Layers that look like you can peel them apart, but are solid and more jello-like.

Echoing this clean end to dim sum sentiment are the lychee mango rabbits. Clear jiggly agar gelatin shaped rabbits. You see the splash of orange that would be mango, but don’t get any of its flavour or essence. If you try hard you can almost make out the lychee.

And not on the regular menu, but a secret option, available to those who know to ask, are these giant pudding rabbits in coconut and strawberry. Similar to the above, but only one to a plate with a more creamy mousse-like finish that you can slurp. The strawberry is more soft and almost disintegrates under pressure, or in our case over-jiggling for videos.

In conclusion, there are so many tasty options to choose from when planning on having dim sum at Grand Neptune Seafood. And is challenging to narrow down when they are all so photogenic. So I would advise visiting with a larger group to be able to have it all. And be sure to take advantage of their gift card and Instagram promotion, plus call ahead to reserve a table and ask for the secret menu pudding rabbits. You won’t regret it.

Grand Neptune Seafood Restaurant
4331 Dominion St, Burnaby, BC V5G 1C7

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