On this long weekend we had a craving for dim sum. Me, returning to the city from a week in the Kootenays, and only having Asian fusion there, had me in search of something a lot more authentic. And for authentic Chinese cuisine we bee-lined it to Richmond. I chose Jade Seafood Restaurant as our destination, having in the past hosted other food writers there, as a representative for Tourism Richmond, once a upon a time. I haven’t been back since pre-covid and thought to go now, to see if it was as I remembered.
The restaurant is two stories tall with plenty of parking at the side. Busy, but we were seated right away with a check box paper menu and golf pencil to self-fill out our order.
The restaurant is dressed typical of such Chinese seafood restaurants: golden crystal chandeliers, dark carpet, lighter coloured tablecloths, and a live seafood tank at the back with snow crabs, lobsters, and geoduck available today. The spacious dining area includes large windows to let in plenty of light, although there is nothing to see out of them, with there only being industrial buildings to surround us.
Without photos and with their non-descriptive menu, we guessed at our dim sum favourites and stuck to ordering what we thought we knew. While being disappointed that there wasn’t a stuffed eggplant or tendon option.
The food came out slower than at other Chinese dim sum restaurants. Starting with the classic Steamed shrimp dumping that needed a dunk in the side of chilli sauce and mustard that we asked for.
Similarly, the Steamed Sakura pork dumpling was a bland and poor take on the classic. The texture was right, but the taste wrong, more chilli and mustard was used here to mask.
The Steamed boneless Sakura pork side ribs with black bean sauce were very moist, you could feel the chew of the tendon or fat, but the meat eats very lean.
We were right in guessing that the Steamed phoenix claw was an order of chicken feet, it was definitely a more appealing title. With this, I would have liked the skin to be more tender, so that it melts and the gravy thicker and stickier so that it adheres to each rubbery bit you are sucking from off of bone. At least the flavour was nice and the peanuts at the bottom of the dish helpful in soaking up any additional oils.
This Pickled ginger with century egg and prawn roll was a unique one, I have never had dim sum like this before. It was an interesting contrast of the pungent fermented egg yolk battling it out with the overwhelming and distinct tang of the pickled ginger, all wrapped and fried in a spring roll sheet, alongside shrimp loaf, similar to what was molded into the ha gao above. We could not figure out where they got the idea of ginger from and why? There was no hiding all the flavours against the neutral steamed shrimp that acted more like a base. Not something I would want to order again.
The Pan-fried pumpkin and taro rice cake was not what I thought it was. This was chopped up taro pieces pressed together to sandwich a layer of pumpkin, and was easily broken apart. All together it had an ashy texture from the taro and was starch on starch with the chalky pumpkin. It got better tasting the more I picked at it, and nicest at its crispy edges. Although, once again, nothing that bears repeating.
In conclusion, Jade Seafood was not as I remembered it to be, and this most recent mediocre visit will not have me returning anytime soon. I could discern the quality in the ingredients, but none of it landed. It even had me apologizing to my guest for suggesting it. Although our two random and accidental dish orders had us deciding that going forward for future dim sum adventures, we will continue to order two dishes we normally wouldn’t have or, wouldn’t have thought to try.
The Jade Seafood Restaurant
2811 No. 3 Rd #280, Richmond, BC V6X 2B2, Canada