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Jul 15, 2011 04:39 PM

The search for acceptable Dim Sum continues! - This time, 'Sam Woo Seafood Restaurant'.

Continuing our quest to identify ' foodie acceptable' dim sum venues to add to our current anemic list of choices, fellow chowhounder skylineR33 and myself tried out the rarely mentioned old stalwart ' Sam Woo Seafood ' at Warden and Steeles.

For our mini dim sum luncheon-meet, we ordered the following:

- Special 'abalone and seafood' dumpling in premium broth aka 'Gwoon Tong Gow'.

- Har Gow shrimp dumpling

- Herbed and spiced soya marinated beef shanks and tendons.

- B-B-Q pork rice roll aka Cheung Fun

- Fried taro croquettes

- Prawns spring roll

- Double boiled milk and egg custard with ginger juice infusion.

The highlight of the meal definitely went to the 'surprisingly good' Gwoon Tong Gow dumpling! The deep coloured broth, by 'Toronto standard' was rich, flavourful and dense. Filling of the dumpling included rarely seen 'fresh' crabmeat ( not imitation ones ), real strands of sharksfin, prawns, chinese mushrooms and a whole ' miniature ' dried abalone! In our opinion, we rated this one of the best within the GTA. Unfortunately, apart from the beef shanks and tendons, the rest of the dishes fared only so-so!

First, the Har Gow. Our dim sum measuring yard stick. The skin wrapper lacked the chewy ductility and was too thick for our liking. Prawn filling was also void of diced bambooshoot. Taste and crunchiness of the prawns was inferior to the Empire Court version we had last week.

Similar complain can apply to the Cheung Fun wrapping. Simply too thick and mushy texture for our liking. At least the B-B-Q pork tasted fresh and delicious. Size of the taro croquette was quite big. Texture was fairly light and creamy. Unfortunately, the taro shell and the filling lacked character and tasted bland.

The beef shank and tendons combo was a 'pseudo' success. Tastewise, they were nicely seasoned and delicious. However, I felt that an additional half an hour in the cook-pot might be needed to render them more tender and texturally appealing.

Rest of the dishes were passable

Overall, I beleive our one visit is necessarily insufficient to tell us all we want to know about this place. Consequently, a follow-up meal IMO is definitely needed. Compare to its peers, I would say it's postion is in the middle of the pack. Not alike our Toronto Blue Jays in the American league!

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  1. Hi Charles,

    Appreciate this type of threads you started. Hope you also provide the pricing at each Dim Sum restaurant as well. (e.g., price for Small, Medium, Large, and special price hours, etc.)

    Have you come across any restaurant charging lower than $1.50 a dish?

    Please welcome anyone else to contribute.



    3 Replies
    1. re: ericdunn

      We actually did not check the price!
      Total bill came to about $50 tax included. However, this was 'skewed ' by us ordering the expensive XXL Special dumpling. I did recall seeing a poster at the door about s,m,l all at $2.30 ( could be before a certain time? )

      1. re: ericdunn

        i have seen any charging $1.50. the cheapest i have seen is $2 for SML at Full House (sister restaurant of Casa Imperial) on Midland and Finch. Emperor, Crown Prince and Paradise i think has early bird of $2.80. We usually stick to Paradise and Emperor.
        Was told Crown Princess stopped their early bird discount.

        Casa Imperial
        4125 Steeles Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1W 3T4, CA

        Crown Princess
        1033 Bay Street, Toronto, ON M5S 3A5, CA

        1. re: caitlink

          Chili Secrets on Leslie north of Hwy #7 is pretty cheap too with no time restrictions. However, I'm always skeptical about the ingredients used by restaurants that offer food at such cut-throat pricing!.

          Chili Secret
          9021 Leslie, Thornhill, ON L3T7N5, CA

      2. The taro croquette is a bit tasteless that I only finish half of it, it is huge though. I like your comment on the Gwoon Tong Gow, "The deep coloured broth, by Toronto standard' was rich, flavourful and dense", the soupbase is a bit one dimensional which lacks the rich yet clear taste of a good premium soupbase ?!

        The beef shank and tendons combo was a 'pseudo' success comment is also spot on, the dish to me is like an incomplete dish, it lacks that satisfactory feeling ... a dish taking a bit of short cut ?!

        1. DH likes their barbecued chicken wings.

          1. Sam Woo Seafood is currently my default place for dim sum when not in the mood to explore newer places. Agree with the middle-of-the-road descriptor of the dim sum, but it's more than good enough imo. It's pretty consistent and the service is really good and friendly. I am always disappointed though that they do not carry tripe which is almost a staple everywhere else. Their spicy wonton dish is a that sauce which I use for dipping other items. When meeting friends going for the first time, its good to remind that there are two "Sam Woo's" in that mall on Bamburgh Circle. The other one is "Sam Woo BBQ", also good for dinner, congee, wonton noodles, etc.....but NO dim sum. The last time I went, the early bird special was $2.30 for S/M/L if ordering before 11:30 M-F; and 11:00 weekends.

            Sam Woo Seafood
            325 Bamburgh Cir, Scarborough, ON M1W 3Y1, CA

            3 Replies
            1. re: T Long

              Another old stalwart which I haven't been for a a loooong time is 'Dragon Dynasty' on Brimley. We used to go there a lot for their amazingly great roasted whole suckling piglet. After hearing their chef joined Yang's or Emperor (?). We stopped going.
              How are their dim sums these days? Any good still?

              1. re: Charles Yu

                By coincidence, I was mentioning earlier on another thread that I thought Casa Imperial and DD were by reputation probably the best 2 dim sum places in Scarborough but that I had not been recently to DD to do my own verification. Next on your "quest"? I had heard that a chef left DD to join Royal Teahouse in Markham...a couple of years ago.

                Casa Imperial
                4125 Steeles Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1W 3T4, CA

                Royal Teahouse
                10 Apple Creek Blvd, Markham, ON L3R 5Z1, CA

                1. re: T Long

                  Will be very busy the next couple of months. After September, may be?!