I have been seeing these cute dim sum dishes online, so when the craving for dim sum struck, I knew exactly where to go. Long standing tenants of Station Square, Neptune Restaurant has been serving their community since 1997. I have always known them to be located here, then and there. I just didn’t know there was so much cuteness to be had within.
If looking for weekend dim sum, I recommend stopping by before 10am, to ensure everything is at its freshest and tastiest. But be warned, if ordering for cuteness alone, it is hard to discern what is what, without any photos or real descriptions from the checklist menu. Luckily, I follow long time friend and food blogger extraordinaire: Areta of @foodgressing and she uploaded an elaborate post of photos and names so I was able to basically order what she did. And simply add on a couple of my usual dim sum picks. So now I will be doing the same for you (those reading), so you too can order exactly what you want to feed yourself and your camera.
A few of the dishes do look discoloured in my photos, as we were seated right by their giant television screen, whereas the rest of the room read banquet hall sophistication with white table cloths and Crystal chandeliers.
The following dishes are in the order that we received them. Starting with the “Baked bbq pork buns”, shaped like little turtles. These turtles are happily waiting to be eaten with their sweet pineapple bun topping and honey glaze pork filling, to match. This was a clever idea given the cracks of the topping do resemble the pattern of an actual turtle shell.
Deep fried eggplant with shrimp paste in black bean sauce is a usual order for us. Levels of tenderness from shrimp to vegetable, best heavily coated in the thick sauce that pooled around it.
The “Kawaii egg yolk custard buns” were a set of three characters, each with its own face and filling. And despite the dough being dyed, all three buns tasted the same. The chicken was the only one with the actual salted egg yolk filling that the menu mention.
The frog was a black sesame custard and the earless cat was filled with a purple taro paste. I wish they came last, as this dish does read more like dessert. Although, as is the case with all dim sum places, there is no distinction between savoury and sweet and everything comes as soon as it is ready.
The chicken feet in black bean sauce were exactly as expected. Plenty of chewy skin and tiny bones to remove cartilage from.
I liked the uniqueness of the “Steamed purple rice rolls with fish paste and deep fried bean curd”. It was striking in colour, but interesting in taste. The seasoning of the fish cake gave things an herbal tone that I didn’t quite enjoy fully. I didn’t try it, but think I would have preferred the other purple steam rice roll with “mixed sauce” instead.
The Steamed assorted mushroom and truffle dumplings were packed full of shiitake mushrooms. I didn’t get much truffle, but it and the already fragrant mushrooms did become over whelming. The two distinctive flavours almost battled for supremacy of on palettes, it got too much upon the second dumpling. I would have liked to see these as smaller bites, maybe resembling mushrooms to match with their cute dim sum theme?
The Steamed pork Shao Mai with fish roe was pretty standard. It was meaty and large, but bland without a dip into the table side sauces.
The “Steamed tomato, egg, and shrimp” dumplings looked prettier than they tasted. I liked the idea, but somehow didn’t find that the fillings jibed all that well. Maybe it was herbs used, or the extra sogginess that the actual tomato chunks added? But something was just slightly off about this.
The Steamed spicy beef tripe was one of my favourite dishes. The tripe was flavourful and perfectly tender. I enjoyed tasting and eating it, the menu was right to recommend it.
This is where I got tricked. There are two dumpling in soup options. The menu listed “Assorted seafood dumplings in soup” with an “s” so I thought it was the fish shaped dumplings that I previously saw in photos.
Instead, this was one giant dumpling filled with plenty of seafood, that you break and mix into the soup. We made out imitation crab, scallop, and pollack. This was an accidental order but we ended up being happy to have it. The soup had a real warming tone to it, but was better with some of the red vinegar that came with it.
The dish that I actually wanted to order was the “Steamed assorted seafood dumpling in pumpkin soup”. Served as three koi in a gelatinous pool, this dish is one not to miss. I enjoyed the extra chewy dough that made up the fins of the fish. Each stuffed with shrimp, it reminded me of a soggy and muted har gao (shrimp dumpling).
In conclusion, if looking for a fun dim sum, Neptune is a great destination. Just be warned, this much pageantry will cost you. Though you should definitely come once and splurge (like I did), just so you know and can stay that you have.
4405 Central Blvd 2 FL, Burnaby, BC V5H 4M3