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Richmond/Vancouver: dim sum (long)

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I never reported on our January group trip to Richmond for dim sum feasting, so I'll give a brief report on it before I do our May vacation trip.

We had eleven people this year. We went to Kirin Richmond, Chiu Chow, and Kingford Seafood. Hot & sour soup started us at Kirins (200-7900 Westminister Hwy, Richmond, 604-303-8833), followed with 29 dishes of dim sum. Highlights include scallop & enoki mushroom dumplings, steamed rice roll with aspargus & scallops, stemed bbq pork buns, and sesame rice balls with peanuts. 29 dishes plus soup came to $16.90 CDN/person ($11.25 US)

The next morning we went to Chiu Chow (8511 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, 604-270-8933) so the group could try some different dim sums; some were success, some not! Chiu Chow Style Sesame dumplings were loved by some and not even tried by others; I think the black color turned some off! Taste great! Hits inclued taro spring rolls, salmon & Seaweed roll, and coconut pudding with cubes of various colored jello in it. 29 dishes came to $13.23CDN/person ($8.80 US)

The last morning, we went to Kingford Seafood Restaurant (200-5890 No.3 Rd, Richmond,0604-303-9876). I had not tried it but had received an email from Iron Frank just before I left home that it was a must, so... It was a hit. We ate way too much and most of us had to travel home after that! Top picks included egg tofu with 3 kinds mushrooms, shrimp & taro dumplings, spinach (menu said Spanish!) rice roll with beef, shrimp dumplings, and beef balls. We got a couple of special dishes: Kingford marinated chicken and green beans with minced pork, dried shrimp, and XO sauce. Various desserts ended with egg tarts that we had to wait for: hot, flaky, and oh so good! 38 dishes!!! for $18.80 CDN/person ($12.50 US)

We dicided to take our vacation in Richmond this year so we could have more time to try more places. Friends of ours from the San Francisco area (they were part of the group in Jan) joined us, so we were able to try more!

We got there before noon on Sunday and immediately headed out for dim sum to Richmond Mandarin Restaurant (we had been there last Sept when it was President Seafood)(2200-8181 Cambie, Richmond, 604-270-3003). They still have the Chef's Special Soup, which this time turned out to be Dumpling with Shark's Fin. The dumpling was huge, filling up 1/2 to 2/3 of the little pot and was filled with various sea food and vegs. The broth was rich and complex. It was one of the best dishes we had on the trip. The rest of the dim sums were very good, especially the rice roll in XO sauce, but the soup alone was worth the parking fee! $14 CDN/person ($10.15 US)

Next morning, Granville Chinese Seafood (8298 Granville, Vancouver, 604-261-8389)provided one of our more interesting experiences with dim sum in restaurants that rarely see Caucasians. I carefully marked the order form with what we wanted and then a dish arrived that didn't look like anything we had ordered. The girl who brought it insisted that it was (I'm not sure she understood any English) and when we finally got a waiter to stop, he didn't want to tell us what it was, but did say it wasn't what I had marked. When I asked him if it was tripe, he said yes, but no one ever did anything about getting us what we had ordered. We did try the tripe, first time for most of us. And it was on the bill! Tip was on the low side! Rest of the dim sums were fine but there are too many better places for us to return to this one. $10.50 CDN/person ($7.50 US)

Wednesday morning (caught early ferry to Victoria Tuesday, no dim sum!)we tried Shiang Garden Seafood (4540 NO 3 Rd, Richmond, 604-273-8858). We made reservations for the top floor (much nicer than the street level one). Decor formal Hong Kong style. Top picks include century egg and prawn roll with pickled ginger, egg tofu with shrimp paste, taro & roast pork steamed bun, and crystal prawn (same skin as shrimp dumping but round in shape, a whole shrimp with the tail sticking out the top). We were so impressed with the quality of the dim sum that we made reservations later in the week for dinner. Nothing lived up to our expectations! More later. $13.28 CDN/person ($9.55 US)

Friday (Thursday a day trip up the Fraser River) we tried Kirin's at City Square. Huge bus load of Causcasians going in when we got there! They tried to seat us in front of the opening to the room where they were but I insisted on being moved. Way too noisy. Dim sum was very good, especially the enoki mushroom with bean curd warp, prawn and green chives in bean curd wrap, and a deep fried dumpling with shrimp & taro. But we probably won't go back: Richmond branch is much more elegant, and I think, the dim sums slightly better. $10.50 CDN/person ($7.50 US)

Saturday we returned to Fortune Restaurant (650 West 41st, Vancouver, 604-266-7728), the first dim sum place Bob & I ever went to in Vancouver which started this search for great dim sum up there. Hightlights included octapus, scallop dumplings (similar to shrimp, same skin, different shape, and a large piece of scallop included with the shrimp), stuffed tofu with satay sauce, and peanut sweet dumplings. Their egg custard tarts have a cookie crust; I prefer the flaky crust. Still one of our top choices, but several in Richmond now top it. $12.50 CDN ($9 US)

Monday morning (I had promised Bob that he wouldn't have to eat dim sum every morning!), Bob and I finished our Richmond vacation by having dim sum at Kingford Seafood. Once again, excellant dim sums. Hits were scallop dumplings with Portuguese sauce (taro shell), Japanese style diced shrimp dumplings, and egg custard tarts. A real miss was the siu mai: big chunks, chewy (tough!)pork, off flavor. We did not finish them. Only siu mai all week and they were awful! $13.50 CDN/person ($9.75 US)

My current top picks for dim sum in the Richmond/Vancouver area: Kingford, Shiang Garden, Kirin Richmond, and Fortune Restaurant.

I will post later about our other meals.

Iona

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  1. Iona, as a member of the SF chowhound dim sum tasting team, I salute your dedication and diligence!

    8 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      w
      Willi Rossli

      How could you guys miss Sun Sui Wah? Oh well, next trip, eh?

      1. re: Willi Rossli

        I've been enjoying an exchange of Dim Sum info with Iona for a couple years now. Trust me she's been almost everywhere in Vancouver/Richmond including Sun Sui Wah. There's new places opening in the area all the time it's impossible to get to them all and I'm always frustrated that I missed so much whenever I have to leave.

        Nice job on this amazing roundup Iona! I'm so glad you got my email and enjoyed Kingford! I can't wait to go back(only a month to wait!)

        thanks,
        Frank

        1. re: Iron Frank

          Thanks, Frank.

          I have been to a lot of dim sum places in Vancouver/Richmond area in the last 5 years. My list has 19 different ones, including 3 which no longer are there. The first place I took a group to was to Sun Sui Wah in Richmond in Jan 00 and they have been following me ever since! There is never enough time and my husband insists that we can only eat dim sum once a day! We recently talked to a Chinese waitress we know, and she said she had dim sum 5 times in 3 days in Vancouver! I'm willing to admit that I tend to go to those with menus, not carts, because I like the freshness of the dim sums and my location in the room (closeness to the kitchen!) is not a factor in what I can get. Since I travel 5-6 hours each way (drive from Portland, OR) and am staying a hotel, I'm looking for the best I can find. Also I look for those restaurants which don't seem to be trying to get tourist, but the local Chinese. I am finding some of the new places in Chinese language visitor guides (I can't read them, but the.er names, especially web addresses, will usually be in English) which another Chinese waitress has brougt back for me. I'd really like to know what the top picks are in the surveys by the Chinese language newspapers, but haven't found a source yet!

          By the way, I am will to share my long list of dim sum places in Vancouver/Richmond with anyone if they want to email me. I update whenever I get new information.

          Iona

          1. re: Iona

            Hi Iona!

            I'm a Portlander too! And I'm planning a trip to Vancouver and would like to know which dim sum restaurant you consider is the best in Vancouver. Thank you!

            Andrea

            1. re: andngu

              Andrea,
              Just a heads up ... you might not get a response from Iona as this thread is 5 years old. (Just didn't want you to feel slighted)

              1. re: andngu

                The top recs are Sea Harbour, Kirin, Sun Sui Wah, Gingeri, Shiang Garden. There are a number more that are very good - too many to list.

                1. re: andngu

                  Andrea-

                  I just got back last week from our most recent trip to Richmond/Vancouver for dim sum (and other food!). Here is my list of a few of my favorites:

                  J & C Restaurant, 8766 McKim Way (#2020 Excel Centre), Richmond, 604-231-8006 - opens at 9A with 30% discount until 11A -baked BBQ pork buns, shrimp paste in bean curd wrapo, shrimp rice noodle roll

                  Shiang Garden, 4540 NO 3 Rd (Unit 2200 Empire Centre) Richmond, 604-273-8858 - shrimp dumplings, siu mai, chicken buns, deep fried seafood salad rolls, ans a new one: BBQ pork in pastry with nuts

                  Red Star, 8298 Granville, Vancouver (just over the bridge from Richmond) - deep fried prawn balls, shrimp dumplings, scallop dumpling, deep fried meat dumplings (skin same as sesame balls), shrimp rolls - this was the first time we've tried this place and were very pleased with it

                  The ones listed above are Hong Kong style, ordering from a menu. Here is the two Shanghai ones we went to this time.

                  Shanghai River, 7831 Westminister Hwy, Richmond, 604-233-8885 - XLB (soup dumplings, pork dumplings, come 8 to an order), scallion pancakes, Shanghai pork wontons, shrimp dumplings (deep fried, wonton skin) - this is a real favorite ours - I always end with baked sugar cakes!

                  Top Shanghai, 8100 Ackroyd Rd, Richmond - XLB, potstickers, onion pancakes, wonton in soup - this was our first time at this place. Harder to order; most of these items were listed in the menu under "noodles" and menu is big. Flavors are fantastic, my husband liked them better than Shanghai River's and the skins are thicker, more rustic.

                  Others I recommend are Jade & Empire which are both on Alexandra-, Fortune Restaurant on 42st and Cambie in Vancouver, Gingeri in Lansdown Centre, Richmond.. In Aberdeen Centre there is Fisherman's Terrace (Hong Kong Style) and Northern Delicacy (Shanghai)..

                  Hope this helps.

                  Iona

          2. re: Ruth Lafler

            I am another member of the SF Chowhound tasting team and I am in the process of eating my way thur Vancouver and Victoria areas with Chinese food. I have been to one of same places as Iona and will do at least one more. I am keeping a dairy and will post on our return.

          3. Fortune House at Metrotown is really good. Are there better places out there?