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Sep 11, 2009 12:07 AM

Rainflower on a Sunny Day: A Dim Sum Chowdown Report (Richmond, BC)

It was a promising start - it was a beautiful, perfect day here today - a real respite from all the cold rain we have been having late this summer. Seven of the regular members of this board all met at Rainflower - a fairly new dim sum palace located in what used to be an XSCargo location. This was the first time here for all of us - a Chowdown first -so none of us really knew what to expect.

This place certainly held a lot of promise - it generated a lot of positive buzz when it first opened last year. It was known for its modern take on dim sum. The space is huge and covered in a thin veneer of faux-opulence. We all had high hopes for the food, but ultimately, we all thought is was merely mediocre at best.

The flavours were muddy, the execution and presentation were sloppy - all the dishes looked a little disheveled as they came to the table. Also, for some twist of luck, we all managed to order a preponderance of steamed items. Fried and baked dim sum were sorely underrepresented. But still - the steamed dishes should have held their own.

I couldn't decide on a "favourite" today as I felt that none of the dishes were worthy of the description. The bellwether for me was the har gow - whose skin was mealy and gave up too easily when bitten. The XLB's were fine - juicy - but I found the broth overly sweet, the meatball spongy, the skin was thick, and overall - it looked deflated. The youtiao in the rice roll stuffed donut was over-fried. The sui mai was a bit of a formless mess....I could go on, but you get the idea.

Compared to our stellar meal at Fisherman's Terrace a number of months back, this Chowdown was a bit of a disappointment in terms of food. That said, we all had a chance to meet bdachow and repartee in person for the very first time and we all had great conversations about food and dim sum. The conversations at these Chowdowns are always the best part of the meal.

On to the next one....(Sea Harbour next week.)


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  1. Location
    3600 No. 3 Rd. Richmond

    1 Reply
    1. re: fmed

      This place has definitely lost the plot based on this experience. If I had to pick a favourite I'd go with the bean curd stuff with shitake, but it really wasn't anything to write home about. The biggest disappointment for me was the Chinese doughnut rice roll which is a bellwether for me. It was stuffed (which could have worked but didn't because there was too much middle) and had a weirdly strong note of celery which overpowered any of the other flavours. One hound actually thought there wasn't any doughnut in it at all! At least it wasn't too expensive -- we all chipped in $15 tax and tip included. Thanks again for the stellar photos and doing the writeup, fmed.

      Looking forward to Sea Harbour next week, and future dimsum mini downs (Jade and Viva City have been nominated...).

    2. I did like the first thing that came out, the deep fried shrimp and garlic roll. Crispy, hot, garlicky

      1 Reply
      1. re: starlady

        Me too, starlady, but then the garlic started to get to me. We all commented on how it was surprisingly strong and I guess that ultimately ruined it for me. I love garlic but this had for me anyway a strange and lingering aftertaste...

      2. Thank you very much for the report - I'll take "Rainflower" off my list of places to try. Can't wait to hear about Sea Harbour next week!

        1. I was really noticing the bad presentation on the meal as well. Everything looked, "sloppy". Easily the worst Chow-down we've had.

          I'm sure we'll have better luck next week at Sea Harbour!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cancuk

            Good point about the plates, cancuk. I don't necessarily expect dimsum to look like haute cuisine but as you can see from fmed's photos, there was no pride on these platters :-). I guess you have to kiss a few culinary frogs when trying to be a good 'Hound...

          2. .............and it was a pleasure to meet everyone too. I can see I'm on to a pretty knowledgeable crowd.

            I look forward o Sea Harbour.