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forestview chinese restaurant - new dim sum find

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needed a fix of dim sum this morning and ended up climbing some stairs on the north side of dundas in chinatown up to the forestview chinese restaurant. noises of clanking dishes and rolling carts greeted us with lots of old smiling faces.

we sat down and picked off about 8 items from the incredibly nice and helpful cart pushers plus another 4 from a cook table in the back. they spoke an amazing amount of english for chinatown and didn't hestitate to try to explain or show you what they had. the food was never constantly pushed around on carts until they ran out but switched it up with new items every couple of turns. we got:

haw gow - HUGE, two mouthfuls per piece easily and with 4 pieces in each steamer basket this was great. the skin was a little thick but properly cooked through and decently translucent. the filling was pretty good but still not top notch. good amount of shrimp

fried taro pork football things - greasier than normal with ok filling, a little fatty in texture and flavour ok.

chicken feet - not your noxious looking red dyed skin but a good auburn with nice spice kick and a few black beans on top. not too fatty but enough tendon and skin to go around. each foot was cut up into pieces, much easier to eat.

pan fried wonton skin shrimp and garlic chive from cook table - really really really goooooooood. great amount of flavour and balance of veggie plus meaty shrimp.

steamed bean curd skin pork rolls - fantastic. fresh salty flavours with light sauce. the filling was a good even mixture of pork, bamboo and ear/oyster mushrooms.

dau fu fa - possibly the best sweet tofu dessert i've had in a long time. nice silken pieces of tofu with more than enough sweet slightly gingery syrup for flavour.

turnip cake - lightly fried on the outside there was a low amount of shrimp and onions but nice big chunks of turnip. good smooth texture.

pancreas, pig stomach and turnip stew - good meld of flavours and textures as per usual, nothing exceptional but not bad either.

curried baby octopus - a bit crunchy and ok soft texture with mild spice. not bad but not the best.

steamed shrimp chestnut and coriander, red pork with egg, and rice gluten football shaped pork filled thing.... all items were noticeably less sweeter than most other places for dimsum. very good in general with a great bustling atmosphere.

for happy hour all dishes are $2, don't know what regular pricing is like. personally... i think it's the best option out of all the other dim sum places in the spadina chinatown zone ie. rol san, yiu wah, sky dragon and bright pearl. happy eats.

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  1. I love this place! First time I went there was for a lunch with my (then) co-workers, back in the mid-90's. Nice to hear that their dim sum is still good. This is where I had my first taste of shrimp cheung fan, which I promptly fell in love with! :-)

    And my family just adores the "rice gluten football shaped pork filled thing"! A server at another dim sum location (Grand's on Gerrard) told us that it's called "ham su gok". Don't think that's the right spelling as I just did it phonetically, but it did make our lives easier when ordering since the servers have no idea what I'm talking about when I ask for "fried football's", LOL!

    4 Replies
    1. re: sierramum

      My friend calls them the "super stickies" (although technically the good ones aren't supposed to be sticky though he likes them that way :) ). And yeah, they're "ham sui gok". Btw, where on Dundas is it?

      1. re: Blueicus

        i really should know the names of these things, but i've definitely got the basics down pat!

        it's at 466 dundas st west, just west of huron.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Here's the map location:

          http://foodpages.ca/51808?showmap=1&a...

          1. re: GeoNit

            Good to see that you're back, GeoNit. Seems like I hadn't seen you posting in a very long time!

    2. Thanks for the tip, pinstripeprincess! It sounds great.I'll be sure to try it out next time I'm in the neighbourhood.

      1. Thanks for the review, can't wait to try it.

        What times/days does the happy hour run?

        2 Replies
        1. re: xtal

          sorry it seems that i'm really bad with these details and didn't ask while i was there. but we went on a tuesday at about 10am or so and there was no sign of happy hour ending when we left probably an hour or more later. the next time i'm there i'll be sure to ask and post again. i'm going to assume their happy hour is similar timing than the rest of chinatown and say that being there before 11am should find you in good stead.

          1. re: pinstripeprincess

            just went for dimsum this sunday morning and wanted to update you on pricing/happy hour. apparently they only do happy hour during the week and on the weekends you should expect small $2, medium $3 and large is $3.50... a bit expensive but i still enjoy it more than the usuals.

            the siu mai were excellent btw.

        2. Mmm, sounds good. Thanks for the post - as the temperature starts to dip, I look forward to heart-warming, stomach-filling dim sum lunches.

          PS - I think the "fried taro pork football things", assuming they look kind of "hairy" on the outside, are called "wuu gok". I love those!

          2 Replies
          1. re: peppermint pate

            Yep, the hairy taro footballs are wu kwok. The sticky rice flour wrapper footballs with minced filling are ham sui kwok.

            1. re: peppermint pate

              Funny, I thought my girlfriend and I were the only ones to call them "furry balls with taro and pork."

            2. Thanks for the links Derek! They're so helpful. Maybe I'll be able to order dimsum with more confidence once I brush up on the various names. (I feel silly sometimes when I have to stand up and open the various steamers to see what's inside.)

              1. You can get photo guides (brochures of the various dim sum) at Bright Pearl. This is a full colour brochure with the pictures and names of the items.

                This is probably a better way than opening up all the steamers which borders on a no no if there were a Chinese EMily Post.

                Happy noshing.

                1. FYI: Dim sum is served from 11am to 4pm weekdays at Forestview.

                  1. Does anyone know how crowded Forestview is on Saturday and Sunday mornings? Should I be prepared for a line-up?

                    Also, does anyone know if it opens earlier than 11 on the weekend?

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: spaetzle

                      i've only really been there at 11 or so and it's a packed house when i get their with a relatively short line up. an hour or so later it definitely dies down and tables sit empty. i can't say what time exactly they open up, i would call them about this, but i'm pretty sure they begin at about 9am like most other dimsum places.

                      my initial post was misleading, so you know the happy hour only applies to weekdays and so you'll be paying from $2-4 for a dish afterwards for usual things and alternate prices for specials.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        Ok, thanks for letting me know, pinstripe princess. I'll give them a call.

                        Spaetzle

                      2. re: spaetzle

                        We were there this morning (Sunday) around 10, and it was about 1/3 full. I think we were the first white people to arrive, though. By the time we left, just before 11, it was filling up, but still nowhere near full.

                        The food was terrific, by the way, and one of the cart ladies was so sweet, we wanted to take her home with us.

                        1. re: estragon

                          Oh great- I'm glad to hear that it opens by 10, and wasn't lined up at 11. Thanks for letting me know. I appreciate it.

                          Happy to hear the food was terrific- looking forward to trying it out.

                      3. Truly one of the worst experiences of my life. Terrible food, horrible service, pandemonium atmosphere. Haggard cart-ladies forcing greasy, starchy crap on unsuspecting patrons. We walked out of that hell after five minutes wondering how the heck anyone could eat this kind of crap. The worst.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: hiawatha

                          I like your honesty Hiawatha! LOL.

                          1. re: hiawatha

                            Hate this place! Fantastic atmosphere in my opinion - love the carts and the bit o' chaos but I agree 100% that the food is just awful! Greasy, mushy crap and it isn't even as fresh as dim sum should be on a busy day! Gross!

                            1. re: deelicious

                              they're not producing as high quality stuff anymore and it's a shame... but i certainly haven't had it that bad. i've been to many other highly suggested places (rol san) and received greasy old food. my issue with forestview these days seems to be heat! they don't send it out hot enough and let it get cold too quick.

                              1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                I too have been to quite a few dim sum places. Rol San was AMAZING, for about a year or so, then it became inconsistent when i did go. I have been going back to Forestview for about 2 years now. Its not great but better than most, and it reminds me what dim sum is supposed to be. A gathering place to enjoy food and ppl watching. When I get older, then I will be reading the paper like ppl do at dim sum places, lol.

                                They recently had a dimpling, pork, shrimp, and some green veg wrapped in a clear dough, that I liked very much.

                                Did have a bad experience once, when the "churn fun" served had very thin or watery mixed bough, and was sticky and broke for everyone that tried to pick up any of it.

                                But that was it in many years.

                          2. We went to Forestview for a quick dim sum brunch this morning around 10AM. The place was only half full and we saw many carts circulating. However, we were stuck in the back corner for two people. For 15 minutes, we sat as the carts made no attempt to swing by our table and multiple waiters walked swiftly by our table, resolutely avoiding eye contact (else they would have seen the annoyed looks on our faces). Finally, we gave up and left without eating a single morsel. So no comment on the quality of food; didn't even see it close enough to guess.

                            We ended up at Rol San. In and out in less than 1/2 hour for a satisfying if not extraordinary meal.