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Surprising find - Cheap but more than decent Dim Sum snacks at a Chinese Supermarket!

Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 01:38 PM

The trend followed by almost all newly opened Chinese Supermarket nowadays, is the inclusion of a vast area inside the premise, devoted specially to cooked prepared foods, Dim Sums, Cantonese BBQ meats and sushis...etc. Quality, in general, is below par and not worth our foodie palette's consideration!

Today, for some of my weekly Chinese grocery shopping, I decided to visit ' Bestco Fresh Foodmart', a relatively new and huge Chinese Supermarket inside Scarborough's Chartwell Plaza.on Brimley..

Walking past their Dim Sum department, I noticed some very decent looking Dim Sum on view and all at $1.99 each. Out of sheer curiosity and feeling a bit hungry, I decided to try out a few! ( Hack! If by chance, all three of my order are un-palatable, I'm only looking at losing a small amount of money, not even enough for a Big Mac Combo! )

I tried out their Har Gow Shrimp dumplings, Fried Taro Croquettes and Steamed Prawns with Choi Sum rice-roll ( aka Cheung Fun ). The verdict! For that money! Pretty dawn good!!!

First off the Har Gow. As expected, the skin wrapper was pretty thick. But this is Toronto and NOT Hong Kong!! Even high end Chinese restaurants can sometimes fail miserably in this area! However, to my surprise, the wrapper did not break when picked up and the texture was pleasantly chewy. It encased all the juices of the interior prawn filling!. This latter component was a winner! Nicely seasoned, the prawns were juicy, sweet and crunchy! Am I eating Dragon Dynasty product, from across the car park, at half the price??!! $1.99 for 4 morsels! I'm not complaining!!

The 3 fried Taro Croquettes were greaseless. Crunchy shell encasing a mashed taro inner shell which on top houses a delicious but very stingy chive and minced meat filling. Tasty and nice textural interplay. Again, for only $1.99, I can over look the quantity of the filling!!

Lastly, the Steamed rice roll was another revelation. The rice skin wrapper was much thinner than expected. Prawns used in the filling were again pretty fresh and crunchy. This product can easily rub shoulder with some restaurants' offering! Again, at a bargain price of $1,99, its a steal!

Well, having tried some really nasty dim sum products from the likes of Foodie Mart and T&T in the past. Bestco's product was indeed a huge pleasant surprise!!

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  1. Teep RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 01:43 PM

    Thanks Charles, but not sure from your post if these are hot off the steam table?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Teep
      Charles Yu RE: Teep Jul 23, 2013 01:44 PM

      Yes! Piping hot! Nice and fresh!!

    2. icey RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 02:12 PM

      Hi Charles,
      Have you tried Nations yet at Hwy 7 and Weston in Woodbridge? I'm curious to hear what you think because it has become a staple for our office lunches (also because there are not a ton of good options for a quick, cheap, and delicious lunch in the area). The sushi is better than any other supermarket in the area (and better than many restaurants in the are), but stick with "Salmon town, some of the nigiri as the rolls with the fried shrimp inside are soggy. The BBQ duck and crispy BBQ pork with rice is really good and we have tried a variety of dim sum options which were pretty good, all things considered. I don't often eat off the hot table as a lot of the options are fried, Chinese-Canadian offerings, but the flat rice noodle with beef is decent.
      I also noticed that the food in general is not as good (or fresh) around the dinner time as it is at lunch when you see trays and trays coming out of the kitchen.

      1 Reply
      1. re: icey
        Charles Yu RE: icey Jul 23, 2013 02:46 PM

        No, I haven't!
        If I have time, I'll go have a look and report back.

      2. PoppiYYZ RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 04:38 PM

        Dear Charles,

        I don't know what impresses me more about you.

        1. Your knowledge of food.
        2. Your generosity sharing your discoveries.
        3. Your amazing eating prowess.
        or 4. Your bravery and intestinal fortitude to try eating packaged, supermarket, and food court food after visiting so many restaurants !

        What ever it is, please keep it up !

        5 Replies
        1. re: PoppiYYZ
          Charles Yu RE: PoppiYYZ Jul 23, 2013 04:51 PM

          Thank you so much for your compliments! Just doing my part!
          Ref:4 If one doesn't buck up and try, one will never find out what undiscovered goodies are lurking around?!

          1. re: Charles Yu
            PoppiYYZ RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 04:56 PM

            How very true, but I find it hard to fit my food "Must To Do" list into my available meals ! Thanks again.

            1. re: Charles Yu
              Apple RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 05:53 PM

              I agree with PoppiYYZ, Charles... I want to know how many meals you eat a day and how you have the time to do it all?

              You are a Toronto board treasure! Thank you for your contributions!

              1. re: Apple
                Charles Yu RE: Apple Jul 23, 2013 10:10 PM

                Hay Guys and Gals! Your compliments are making me 'blush'!!

                As for number of meals I eat per day?!! The 'healthy approach' apparently is to eat many meals/snacks of small quantity through out the day, rather than the usual fixed number of 'heavy and full' meals!
                I'm following the 'small meals approach' to try to 'live long and prosper'! So, quite a few!!! Hee!! :)

            2. re: PoppiYYZ
              Kagemusha RE: PoppiYYZ Jul 24, 2013 11:40 AM

              I'm guessing there are really 5-6 of him. That or he's got a set of interchangeable stomachs.

            3. f
              flonie RE: Charles Yu Jul 23, 2013 04:44 PM

              Where is the supermarket? Did it just replace the old supermarket there? If it is, wasn't there a BBQ takeout from the restaurant there? That supermarket wasn't very big if I remember and if they have fresh dim sum I don't see how they have space for it.

              I feel sorry for that mall, kind of lacking. The bakery is the only happening thing htere.

              6 Replies
              1. re: flonie
                Charles Yu RE: flonie Jul 23, 2013 04:47 PM

                Its in a brand new building facing Chartwell's entrance.

                1. re: flonie
                  szw RE: flonie Jul 23, 2013 07:34 PM

                  Not much there except food, as it should be! Excellent Bun Bo Hue can be had in the food court, and of course Dragon Dynasty is one of my favourites in GTA for dim sum.

                  The grocery store is separate from the mall...and probably bigger than the mall itself!

                  1. re: szw
                    flonie RE: szw Jul 23, 2013 08:22 PM

                    So is the supermarket in the mall still there? Did they build a separate building for the supermarket? I'm trying to figure it out in my memory to see where it is. Is there a dollarama, tim hortons there?

                    1. re: flonie
                      Charles Yu RE: flonie Jul 23, 2013 10:02 PM

                      Super Market right next to the Dollarama!

                      1. re: flonie
                        LUV_TO_EAT RE: flonie Jul 24, 2013 05:54 PM

                        The supermarket inside the mall is still there...probably not for much longer IMO with this giant new store outside.

                        1. re: LUV_TO_EAT
                          blui RE: LUV_TO_EAT Jul 24, 2013 06:31 PM

                          The supermarket inside the mall is well known for their good quality fresh fruits and vegetables. Lots of loyal customers go there just to buy that. They recently renewed their lease for another five years.

                  2. Kagemusha RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2013 11:42 AM

                    Thanks again, Charles. I'm really getting tired of the rubbery har gow and siu mai churned out by the Mississauga T&T.

                    1. wench31 RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2013 11:50 AM

                      We actually went to a T & T market in Markham on the morning we were leaving. This was actually our second choice because we were thinking of dim summing at First Markham Place but it was too early and no one was open. The market is a nice surprise! Wish we had this back in NJ! So nice and clean and everything looked fresh. We were glad that it was too early for dim sum, so that we had a chance to come back here for it. I took a picture of their dim sum stand.

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: wench31
                        Charles Yu RE: wench31 Jul 24, 2013 02:55 PM

                        How did you find the quality? In terms of format and selection, any thing like that in New Jersey nowadays?
                        I would give T&T a 5/10 in value and taste and a 8/10 for Bestco.

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          wench31 RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2013 03:49 PM

                          We found everything to be fresh and clean in this market. Our Chinese markets are dirty and buggy. So, when we saw this place, we thought we died and went to heaven! My daughter hates going to Chinese markets back in NJ. She was so psyched about visiting T&T a second time. :). Selection is great. We even did some shopping before leaving for the border. T&T is a 9/10!

                          1. re: wench31
                            Charles Yu RE: wench31 Jul 24, 2013 04:13 PM

                            Are you giving 9/10 to the store as a whole or to their prepared food and Dim Sum selection?!. If former, I agree! bright, clean, fresh and nice selection of products. Price tends to be a bit inflated though! However, a definite eye-opener for first time visitors!

                            1. re: Charles Yu
                              wench31 RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2013 05:44 PM

                              T&T is expensive? It's cheap! Dim sum in NJ range from $2.50-$4. That day, we bought dumpling with peanuts, sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaf and a mini rice dish plus HK styled iced milk tea and a sweet lemon tea for $13. That is a bargain. In the US, it would be close to $20. For food, we would give it 7/10. Hope T&T expands into NJ!

                          2. re: Charles Yu
                            flonie RE: Charles Yu Jul 24, 2013 10:05 PM

                            I agree with you for T&T 5/10, maybe 3/10 if you are desperate.

                            When they first opened, we were suckers and went and bought alot of the prepared foods, especially when they were on sale. Looks are decieving because it didn't taste that great.

                            Maybe it's because T&T caters to taiwanese/mandarin ppl it's too spicy and salty.

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