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"New" Places for Dim Sum

I am stuck in a dim sum rut and none of the recent discussions of dim sum on this board seem to help. Over the last couple of years, my favorite places for dim sum closed (Fortune and Spicy Court), leaving me with the standard choices like Sun Sui Wah, Kirin and Jade. Each can be good, but each also has its issues. For example, Sun Sui Wah can be inconsistent, Jade's choices are limited, etc. I have tried some of the suggestions here (for example, Dynesty on Broadway and Red Star in Richmond) and found them wanting. So the question is, what am I missing. Surely, those of you who are regulars and connected to the ever growing Chinese community in Vancouver Metro and Richmond must have some new ideas -- even if the places have been around for a while.

And P.S. Has anyone tried the dim sum at the Pink Pearl lately. I went there once right after the place re-opened (supposedly under the management of the folks who used to run Fortune) and was not happy. But the place always appears to be busy at lunch, so perhaps they have shaken off their initial problems.

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  1. It's funny, every place I've gone to for dim sum over the last number of years has had its drawbacks eg. they do deepfried well but the steamed items are lacking (or vice versa). I don't know of a place that does it all really well. The closest I've come is Golden Ocean in Kerrisdale for all round decent but reasonable. Kirin is my standby for better quality. Both require reservations on weekends. Neither is perfect, alas. I hope you get some other responses as I am curious too.

    1. I don't DS often, and when I do it's a treat and I'm just happy to be there (OMG did I just set myself up for a stupid internet meme ??).

      I'm a traditional DS fan and don't care for all the new-fangled dishes the restos come up with to out-do the others.

      PHR - you said those places left you wanting. I'm interested in hearing what aspects let you down, and if you could have improved them, what would they be ?

      1 Reply
      1. re: LotusRapper

        I judge dim sum by how the restaurant does the classic stuff like har gow, pan fried pork dumplings, etc. At the Red Star, the steamed dim sum were clumsy, heavy and tasteless. At Dynesty, which admittedly I tried only once, choices like the sticky rice in lotus leaf lacked any flavor and there was almost no meat and the steamed port buns were stale and the filling lacked porkiness and sweetness. So, I have tended to fall back on Kirin and Sun Sui Wah, but it does get boring.

        1. re: JMiky

          Anything about them that stands out ?

          1. re: LotusRapper

            think they are one of the fews in vancouver that still serving dimsum by pushing carts around

            1. re: JMiky

              Yup, and Golden Ocean too. Maybe the golden title has something to do with carts :-)

              1. re: grayelf

                Well, my go-to of late has been the Golden Harvest on Main. Yummy dim sum and good service (we've given up on SSW after too many visits with meh food and so-so service) but despite the 'Golden'in the name, no carts but they do have a pretty varied menu of both dim sum and entree dishes avail at dim sum. Busy - even with reservations, a wait is likely.

                1. re: kinnickinnik

                  Yeah Golden Harvest looks busy on weekends everytime I pass by. If they have a large entryway and waiting area I can tolerate it, but if I have to stand outside in the parking lot, fuggedaboutit !

                  I had DS back in January at Jade Dynasty on Pender (opposite New Town Bakery). Pleasantly surprised, they did the classic dishes pretty well. No carts, but service was fast, the room was way nicer than I expected, and prices were prolly average or even less than average across town. I'd definitely go back if I'm in the area:

                  http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180900...

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    We had nice dim sum once at Golden Harvest, and then went back and it was kind of the opposite.

                    Took some friends to Jade Dynasty last summer and found the same -- not thrilling but surprisingly solid and very reasonable. Bit of a service issue though.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      The day we went (my parents & I) it was midweek, and was prolly a slow day anyway. It was no more than 2/3 full. Waitresses were pretty attentive and friendly. But I imagine a busy hectic day might be different.

              2. re: JMiky

                You're kidding right?
                Never had Dim Sum in any Vancouver area restaurant. Had it in dozens of places across Canada and never was it not served on carts.
                So how do they serve it if not from carts?

          2. PHR-- since you seem well versed in dim sum, where would you recommend for dim sum standards? My "test" item is har gow-- seems to me if they can get the har gow wrapper thin and translucent and the filling right, the rest of the standard steamer items seem to be pretty good. Haven't been searching for dim sum in Vancouver since we can get pretty good dim sum in NorCal but if you know of a great place for standard and not fancy dim sum, I'd like to know about it. Thanks.

            1. My mama is allergic to crab, shrimp and salmon. It's a real challenge for us to find DS places who don't hid shrimp/dried shrimp in every sort of dumpling.
              Niece is vegetarian (i.e., no oyster sauce!) She will attend family lunches, just about anywhere, but I'd like to find somewhere that she can get something to eat.

              5 Replies
              1. re: KarenDW

                That's like saying members of my family can't eat anything spicy but wanting take them to an East Indian restaurant. I don't get it.
                Take them to a White Spot.

                1. re: Puffin3

                  My family is ethnically Cantonese. There is no crime in wanting food which is culturally appropriate.
                  The challenge is in finding out whether or not a specific menu item might contain shrimp (the most common culprit) or oyster sauce. Often the servers don't understand why we want to know, and then don't bother to ask the kitchen.

                  1. re: KarenDW

                    Yes service in Chinese restaurants-be they Cantonese, Mandarin, Szechaun, Shanghainese or Swatow or even HK café is often beyond bad that's why I largely avoid those places.

                    Wanting seafood but not meat makes no sense to the servers and they don't want to hear about it nor does what passes for management.

                    1. re: Sam Salmon

                      Aren't there a lot of Chinese vegetarian restaurants around? I know of two already i the downtown Vancouver area. Surely there are more in the neighbouring area. Chinese vegetarian cuisine is not an unknown thing, it's just a niche market.

                      1. re: Blueicus

                        If it's just a couple of us, we go to a veggie-friendly place. (i.e., Four Stones in Richmond, or the place on Main Street). But when it's the whole family, there are 17 meat eaters and one vegetarian :)

              2. Have you been to Parklane in. Richmond yet? We went today and were pleased with the food and service. They specialize in Chui Chow cuisine and had many items not found on your standard Cantonese menu. (Fish noodles, steamed marinated eggs and tofu) The service was actually very friendly and they actually smiled which is an anomaly for most Chinese places.

                3 Replies
                1. re: oiboy

                  They always smile at me when I'm paying ...... ;-)

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    Yeah.... They don't seem to thrilled when I don't pay. Wonder what would happen if you don't realize a place is cash only.....

                    1. re: oiboy

                      I always assume a Chinese resto is cash-only, except the bigger ones of course.

                2. Just back from dim sum at Dynasty Seafood (777 West Broadway) and thought I'd post. I've been coming to this location since it's previous incarnation as Rich Ocean Garden. The food quality has improved and the prices have increased as well but it's still one of my favourites.

                  Most of the dim sum items are in the $4.50-$6 range, so pricier than most but the quality is excellent and they have some unusual and nicely flavoured options.

                  Today we ordered: steamed crab & pork dumpings (these had lots of cilantro which I love), 2 orders of har gow (filling was a bit dense but tasty), sticky rice in lotus leaf (lots of filling (minced pork, chinese sausage, preserved egg, etc) and very flavourful, deepfried squid tentacles, pork pot stickers, steamed eggplant with fish paste and black bean sauce and we also ordered the Buddah's Feast ($7.99 and not a dim sum item) for some veg.

                  Total bill (inc. $3.75 charge for tea which seems chintzy since we just had their basic brew) was $51 for 3 adults + 1 toddler.

                  Service was excellent and mostly friendly and the place was packed so a reservation is strongly recommended. They also take credit cards which is nice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: islandgirl

                    Thanks for the recent report on Dynasty. My favourite item there is their version of flaky pastry with bbq pork, and their mini-baked tapioca dessert but the quality is indeed high and much better than Rich Ocean, at least at the end of RO's tenure. We always reserve as it does get crazy busy, and always bring a sweater as their HVAC is kind of odd, resulting in cold pockets. They provide free parking but the parkade spaces are hellishly narrow, so be sure to go down a few floors to get to the better ones.

                    Like Kirin, I find that if you don't order off the regular menu, you can keep your individual bill around $15.

                  2. Sounds like this new place (Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant) in the former King Buffet, and further back the old HON's space, will be the talk of town for awhile:

                    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180487...

                    Menu does look pricey.

                    1. Is there any love for Fisherman's Terrace? I'm planning a Van trip and quality dim sum is very high on my list of must-haves.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: DagnyTaggart

                        Stats seem to be in their favor, but I usually read all the blog write-ups to get a better insight:

                        http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180629...

                        1. re: DagnyTaggart

                          I like some of the dim sum at FT -- they're a dab hand with deep fried things. What I don't like is the space, long skinny and tall, super loud, and I also don't like that you wait forever even with a reservation (don't bother at all without one).

                          1. re: DagnyTaggart

                            I went with my mother sometime last year. Most of the items were merely okay either in terms of execution or flavour. I feel there are better places in town. Also bad bathrooms, looks like one you'd find in a dingy Chinatown restaurant