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Quick Kirin dim sum review - Vancouver

"K, I guess I'm a fan now...I was really sad about my Rich Ocean (fave dim sum) restaurant turning to a Beijing restaurant with no dim sum! The only place now in the area for us is Kirin!

The first visit after Rich Ocean closed left me totally unimpressed! It was also $5 more for each of us to dine here. 3 of us go for dim sum lunch once or twice a month. Rich Ocean used to be about $8 each including tip, now it's $12 - $14 each including tip. I have been here for special occasion dim sums so many times, but I have never been "WOWED"!

Yesterday though was mind blowing to me! We always let our resident Hong Kong guy do the ordering for us and he knows what we all like...so...was I that hungry or missing dim sum so much that I had one of the best dim sums of my life???

Damn, it was goooooood!!! I don't like sui mai, and even it was delicious to me! As I never even looked at the menu we just ate what our expert ordered! Big fat noodles with sesame paste & hoisin...a bunch of shrimp dishes, and what surprised me most is that the sticky rice was - for once (at Kirin) - scrumptious to me!

I hope I feel this way next visit! I'm looking forward to next visit! I'll make sure I go when I'm starving just to make sure..."

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    1. re: fmed

      lol! I promise, next time!!! I'm going to put my camera in my purse!!!

    2. Kirin is a family favourite (and a favourite of my own too). I only had a chance to try Rich Ocean once but I was pretty underwhelmed. I really like that Kirin offers dishes that are a bit unique alongside the more traditional fare, and that they change up some menu items every once in a while (I believe monthly).

      1. How does it compare to Fisherman's Terrace? - I read a review of a chowdown there and was wondering which to try first.

        10 Replies
        1. re: felix the hound

          They are in the same league in terms of service and food. At this level, the differences can be attributed to "off days" (ie consistency), specialties and preferences. The top dim sum places all offer the "classics" plus a few specialty items that set them apart. There are three Kirins - and each of them have different specialties too (especially the dinner menus). I've had some great meals at Kirin.

          My personal favorite high-end dim sum here is probably Shanghai River in Richmond...not because they are "best", but they serve dishes that I like at the service level and quality that I find exemplary. (I could say similar things about maybe six or so other places).

          1. re: fmed

            My apology to ck1234 for going off thread, but I must ask fmed some questions.
            I have not tried Shanghai River, but have heard good things about their XLB's. Since Dim Sum is a Cantonese/Hong Kong thing, does SR do it differently or add some Shanghai dishes? Does anyone do a decent Silver Needle Noodle for Dim Sum?

            1. re: kirkj

              I believe SR is an HK operation that has Shanghai cooks, etc. They have Shanghai dishes...many of them have a Cantonese/HK tinge so I would not call SR "authentic." (The smaller restuarants like Chen's are the places to go for authentic Shanghainese.)

              Silver Needle Noodle isn't something I usually order - I'll have a look out for you and report back. I have seen it on the menus here and there.

              Edit: I have to correct myself...there are now FIVE Kirins (I forgot about their recent expansions into Coquitlam and New Westminster. I have heard that the chain has suffered in service and quality in the last little while. My last visit to the Richmond branch late last summer was great, however.

            2. re: fmed

              Thanks fmed. I am interested to hear about your other six.... and can you please tell me if one of them has an upstairs pink room that is more expensive than the main floor.

              1. re: felix the hound

                Do you mean Shiang Garden? (I haven't had to pay the tab there yet.)

                The other six are Red Star, Jade, Gingeri, Northern Delicacy, Sea Harbour, Viva City, and (the aforementioned) Shiang Garden. Others will have their own favorites....I would like to try Luxe out in Langley which has been getting raves.

                1. re: fmed

                  It must be Shiang Garden , it's been a while , but I remember it having a fairly fancy looking menu with some unusual dishes, good linen and decor. I think it was my choice over the Sea Harbour at the time. The last few times we were in Richmond we went to San Sui Wah because we had teenagers in our party and wanted a more informal place. We were dissappointed with the quality as we expected better.

                  1. re: felix the hound

                    >>It must be Shiang Garden , it's been a while , but I remember it having a fairly fancy looking menu with some unusual dishes, good linen and decor.

                    Shiang Garden has tall ceilings and massive chandeliers with upper level and stairs to the left. Very fancy looking. They are actually part of a chain based out of Taiwan IIRC. The service and food is very good...though like most Chinese places...they don't do everything well...their XLB isn't even in the running, for example.

                    >>The last few times we were in Richmond we went to San Sui Wah because we had teenagers in our party and wanted a more informal place. We were dissappointed with the quality as we expected better.

                    SSW is the place to go during King Crab season, however. The Richmond SSW is better than the Main St outpost. I have heard of inconsistency from various people. I haven't had a bad experience there yet...usually it is more like "this is only good...instead of very good" sort of thing.

                    1. re: fmed

                      We were back in Vancouver around Canada day and ended updownstairs at Shiang Garden after we could not get a table at Gingeri. It was not as good as I remember it ( distance makes the heart grow fonder) and in particular the XLB's having had my first ones ever at the Aberdeen Mall food fair ( we also enjoyed their tofu and carrot dumplings) . The Shiang Garden version does not hold a candle to them.

                  2. re: fmed

                    Dont hurry to Lux. It's OK but certainly not close to being excellent. We have been a few times when we crave dim sum and its too far to go into town . We'll try Empire Garden in Walnut Grove next time.

              2. re: felix the hound

                I think Fisherman's Terrace has gone down in service and quality of food. I find it a bit too greasy compared to Kirin.

              3. Which Kirin did you go to? I have only tried the Richmond and the Downtown locations. The downtown has always been impressive and flawless for us.

                1. Apparently the Golden Great Wall (Broadway and Heather) has just started offering dim sum. Haven't checked it out yet but will hopefully make it there soon.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: islandgirl

                    Thanks islandgirl, I'll tell the boys! We'll check it out soon...

                  2. ive only been to the kirin on cambie and didnt have dim sum but was impressed with the food, i noticed the dim sum is somewhat different than typical? or am i wrong. favorites for me would be sun sui wah, imperial seafood, and (shanghai)? the one upstairs on alberni by kobe.......??

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: busterbrown

                      Shanghai Chinese Bistro. (There's a Kirin on Alberni too).

                      Kirin serves the classics plus some seasonal and modern dim sum.

                      1. re: fmed

                        don't forget the new kirin in the starlight casino.

                        kirin is one of the things i miss most about living in vancouver.....

                        1. re: pants

                          There are five now!...Richmond, Cambie (Van), Alberni (Van), Starlight (New West), Henderson Pl (Coq).