Sherman's Food Adventures: Dim Sum @ Red Star

Dim Sum @ Red Star

We're very lucky to live in Vancouver. There are a lot of really good places to go for Dim Sum in the GVRD. Some of them include: Kirin, Victoria, Spicy Court, Fisherman's Terrace, Fortune House, Sea Harbour, Imperial, Sun Sui Wah and Red Star. I believe all of them are pretty good, you really can't go wrong with any of them. Although I have been to dinner at Red Star, I haven't had a chance to go for dim sum.

Goose wanted to meet up with my family (including kids and grandparents) for Dim Sum and I took the opportunity to suggest Red Star. We decided to make an early reservation (11am) because I've heard that it gets quite busy at around noon. Also, much like Fortune House, a reservation only puts you in a queue for a table with other people who made a reservation. The early reservation worked like a charm, we got a table immediately. However, the tables are crammed together and there is very little room to get by. We decided to order a few dishes first, then put in a second order later.

The first order consisted of: Haw Cheun Fun (Shrimp Rice Roll), Char Sui Bao (BBQ Pork Buns), Ngow Yiuk (Beef Meatballs), Fong Jow (Chicken Feet), Pai Gwut (Black Bean Spareribs) and of course Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings). The shrimp rice roll was probably one of the best I've had, it was soft and packed with a lot of big, crunchy shrimp. The sweet soy sauce was served hot on the side which helped maintain the temperature of the warm rice roll. The pork bun was soft and full of sweet BBQ pork. The beef meatballs weren't over saturated with baking soda and had the right amount of green onion, so that it didn't overwhelm the beef flavour.

The chicken feet were some of the best I've had. You're probably wondering: a) Why are you eating chicken feet, don't chickens run in their own poop? b) What's the difference between "good" chicken feet and "bad" chicken feet? Well, for question A, luckily, the first layer of skin has been removed, it's all clean! For B, bad chicken feet are over steamed to the point where the skin is broken. Moreover, bad chicken feet is over fried, where the tendons underneath the skin are melted away. Lastly, bad chicken feet are merely salty, with no distinguishing taste. I'm happy to report that the chicken feet at Red Star are none of those, it was both fluffy and flavourful in a sweet, salty and garlicky way. I bet for some of you, that was too much analysis of chicken feet!

The spareribs were... as you guessed it, good! They were very meaty, flavourful and had limited amount of fat. Most of the pieces were attached to a rib bone; thus, being very tender. Too many places put in crap pieces that are all fat or cartilage. Dim Sum wouldn't be Dim Sum without Haw Gow, so we ordered 2 steamers. Okay, I might sound like a broken record, but these are the best shrimp dumplings I've had in a while. First, the skin on them were super thin, to the point it was translucent. Second, the filling was completely filled with lots of whole, crunchy, cold-water shrimp.

Okay, after that, we were ready for more food! This is where it gets interesting. We asked the manager for another order sheet; but he tells us to use the old one and just circle what we want. Fine, we did that and handed it over to the server and we wait. We wait some more, and finally after 30 minutes, we figure out that he didn't put in our order! I guess we should have paid more attention since we didn't get a receipt that the order was put through; but they really should have better communication among staff. How can one person tell us one thing and the other not know we had filled in the order sheet? Anyways, to their credit, they put a rush on our order and it came out pretty fast.

So, for the second round, we had: Ja Leun (Rice Roll w/ Fried Donut), Haw Chuen Guen (Shrimp Spring Roll), Ngow Yiuk Cheun Fun (Beef Rice Roll), Hai Yiuk Choy Mui Gow (Crab, Shrimp and Vegetable Dumpling), Fish Maw with Shrimp Puree (the Chinese description did not translate well to English...) and Daan Tat (Egg Tart). Curiously, the fried donut in the Ja Leun was quite soft and dense; yet, it was still very pleasant to eat. The spring roll was crunchy and not oily on the outside; but was a bit greasy on the inside. The beef rice roll was excellent, packed with lots of beef. The crab topped shrimp dumpling was good; but wasn't all that memorable. The fish maw (fried fish air sac) was a bit over steamed and it became mostly melted mush. However, the shrimp puree on top was both plentiful and sweet tasting. Lastly, the egg tart wasn't very good, the tart shell was soggy.

Service at Red Star is quite attentive and efficient; yet, it's impersonal and robotic. Much like what I said at Spicy Court, you can replace all the staff with cyborgs and no one would notice the difference. In general, I think the Dim Sum at Red Star is very good. There are much more highlights than low lights. Moreover, dinner is pretty good too. For the time being, I would say it's one of the best in town (if money was no object). However, I need to revisit Imperial, Sea Harbour and Fisherman's Terrace to compare.

The Good:
- Excellent Dim Sum
- Good portions
- It wasn't too salty

The Bad:
- Expressionless staff
- A bit pricey
- Cramped seating arrangements

Red Star
8298 Granville Street
Vancouver, B.C.

Business Hours:
10:30am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 10:00pm (Mon - Fri)
10:00am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 10:00pm (Sat & Sun)

Red Star Seafood on Urbanspoon



KimHo said...

Re: chicken feet, I think it is one of the most mis-understood dishes in the dim sum arsenal. Aside from what you mentioned, one of the biggest "complains" about eating it is that there is no meat. However, those who make complains like this is missing the whole point: It is not the "meat", it is the collagen below the skin, along with the sauce that makes this dish unique. Alas, not even calling it "Phoenix talons" helps in its marketing!

Wendy said...

Hey I was just here on Monday! I quite enjoyed it.

Sherman said...

Hi Kim,

Yes, the chicken feet are all about what's underneath the skin. Also, it makes me cringe how some people eat it too. They leave so much of the good stuff on the bones. They don't eat it section by section, rather, they just leave the foot intact and try to suck the skin/tendons/collagen off...

Sherman said...

Hi Wendy!

Thanks for visiting! How was your visit to Red Star?