Four of us went dim sum taste testing in Richmond Labor Day weekend. We tried 3 places we hadn't been to before and then my husband and I went back to Fook Yuen on the extra morning we were up there.
President Chinese Seafood @ the Radisson: we each had the Seafood & Dumpling in Soup which was excellant. The broth was very flavorful, the dumpling huge and tasy, and the seafood consisted of one large scallop, a large shrimp, and a piece of imitation crab. Also half of a very large "dried" mushroom. And we were just starting! We also had har gow, steamed rice roll with shrimp, steamed cha siu bao, ham sui gok (best I've ever had - flavored lightly with five-spice!), cha siu so (BBQ pork puffs), sesame balls with lotus filling, coconut pudding, and steamed sponge cake. It was the first time we have tried the steamed cake but it won't be the last. Cost $63.29 Cdn, $41.17 US including tip.
That night we ate dinner at The Hart House in Burnaby. I had French onion soup with a local cheddar cheese, seared scallops, and burnt lemon tart. I loved the mild broth of the soup and the cheese was excellant. The scallops (eight of them!) were seared on both sides but barely done. Best I've had in ages. The lemon tart had a "burnt" sugar topping and was luscious. Others had oysters, salad with hazelnuts & blue cheese, sable fish, steak with gargenzola cheese (sp?), duck, and a chocolate dessert. Food was well prepared, service was exceptional, setting beautiful overlooking a lake, and the total for the four of us was $206.07 Cdn ($134.04 US) including tip.
Sea Harbour: probably the biggest disappointment. The four of us only had 8 plates of dim sum! We tried them because we are looking for something to match the Hong Kong style dim sum that we've already found in Richmond. The menu is very different but we were not turned on by the items we got. We ordered har gow, sticky rice in lotus leaf, pork dumpling with red bean curd, pan fried taro cakes, special white radish pastry, baked cha siu bao, yam pastry, and mango pudding. The one highlight was the cha siu bao - they were very small with a very thin layer of bread and a very tasty filling. We all agreed that they were the best we've ever had. To bad the rest didn't match.
That evening we had dinner at Fook Yuen. Peter Chan, the manager, helped us order. We had cha siu, duck, and sea cucumber for starters. A very different hot & sour seafood soup that was very flavorful and full of stuff. Main dishes: scallops with Chinese vegs (very light sauce but the flavor of the scallops and vegetables didn't need more flavor), steak with mushrooms, and Crispy Fried Chicken. We found out when we were leaving that this is one of their specialties. The use free range chickens, which certainly explains a lot of the flavor. The whole chicken was split down and back, flatten, and deep fried. Then they cut it up and kept the shape when they arranged it on the platter. (Now I think, because we are Caucasions, they took the head off! I'm not sure about this, but...). The meat was very moist, the skin extremely crispy, and we ate too much of it! Then Peter treated us to mango pudding, which was fine until we realized he was giving us each one! But we finished them! Their mango pudding is the best!!! Our cost: $100.25 Cdn ($65.38 US). And we had to leave a few bites!
The next morning before our friends left we went for another dim sum feast. Because of rush hour traffic, we changed our minds about where we were going and went to Chiu Chow Garden. They've taken over the building that Carianna use to have. End up being a great choice for non-Hong Kong dim sum. In fact, we will be taking our large group there in January so they can have something different. Quality is not as good as Fook's, Fortune Restaurant, or Kirin's, but the opportunity to try some different dim sums is worth it. Sesame Dumplings Chiu Chow Style (black, jellied, filling, very tasty), Stick Rice Roll Chiu Chow Style (thin layer of bread wrapped around a square roll of sticky rice with lots ot things in it, steamed), Pan Fried Coconut Flavor Cake, Deep Fried Prawn & Fruit Pastries (fresh fruit cubed and mixed with mayonaise which really went very well with the crispy fried shrimp dumpling), Sweeten Bunny Shaped Pastries (the one we had to try! Turns out it is fresh mashmallow shaped like little rabbits coated with coconut, food coloring nose and eyes, cute as could be and also delightful to eat), and Deep Fried Taro & Prawn Pastries(whole shrimp with the tail sticking out and the usual taro dough and filling) were a few we tried. We also had several of the usual dim sums. Total 13 plates for $51.50 ($33.99 US).
The next morning my husband and I went to Fook's for dim sum; we were tired to testing. Still the best! As soon as the steamed rice roll with shrimp came, we knew we had saved the best for last. Their stuff is so fresh! Something new: wontons in chilli sauce. I took one bite and knew I had made a mistake! Bob loved them but did say that they were the hottest Chinese food he had ever eaten. Staff was impressed that he could eat them! I loved the flavor before the heat hit, but that didn't take very long.
I have more information on dim sum in Richmond and Vancouver, but this is way too long. If interested, email me.
Sorry I'm so long winded, but as you can see, I love going to BC to eat, especially dim sum.