I'm not sure where this all started; but it always seems like Chinese families go for Dim Sum on statutory holidays. When I was younger, I could remember the mass chaos trying to get a table at the limited selection of restaurants. Hey, back then you only could choose from a few. I really hated waiting for a table. If family time was meant to be in a lineup, we really should have just gone down to Bellingham for some Royal Fork buffet. Uh... For those of you that are a bit young, there were some dedicated foodies who traveled south of the border for a buffet. Go figure. Anyways, I guess we're carrying on the tradition by taking my kids out for Dim Sum on Victoria Day. The restaurant of choice was Shiang Garden chosen by Vandelay. For the second straight Dim Sum, Whipping Girl joins us as well.
Normally, most restaurants in Vancouver fill up quick for Dim Sum. If you don't arrive before 11:30am (some places even earlier), you'll probably be subjected to a lineup. However, as Whipping Girl suggested, the Richmond restaurants do not really fill up until noon. We arrived at Shiang Garden at 10:30am and it was pretty quiet. It wasn't until we left that there was small lineup begin to build.
We were given a checklist to pick our Dim Sum items; however, it was completely in Chinese. Even though there was an English version, we were too proud to ask for one. Rather, we leaned on Viv (who can read Chinese) to fill out the checklist. We ordered quite a few items: Shrimp Dumplings, Sui Mai, Pan-fried Buns, Pan-fried Soy Rice Rolls, Mushroom Rice Roll, Beef Rice Roll, Bean Curd Roll, Beef Meatballs, Black Bean Spareribs, Green Onion Pancake & Beef Roll, Chicken & Taro Spring Rolls, Chicken Feet in Abalone Sauce, Fried Bitter Melon Glutinous Balls with Black Sesame and Egg Tarts. Is it just me or did we order a lot of rolls?
The food came fast and furious, I was having a hard time keeping up with the pictures! The shrimp dumplings were pretty good. There were whole shrimp packed in a thin; yet a bit chewy wrapper. The flavour was light and thankfully no bamboo shoots (see Imperial). The sui mai (pork, shrimp & mushroom dumpling) was excellent. There was a good mix of all 3 ingredients and none of which were overcooked. The dumpling was "seong", which means there was enough chewiness so that the dumpling wasn't mushy. Flavours were good and not over seasoned.
The pan-fried buns were interesting because they were literally buns. Unlike Victoria Restaurant, where their pan-fried buns are more like pan-fried Xiao Long Baos, the ones at Shiang Garden resemble a mini-chicken bun. With that being said, it was still pleasant to eat, it was just different. We ended up ordering 3 types of rice noodle rolls and they all were pretty good. The rice noodle was soft; yet still had a bit of chewiness to it. Fillings were plentiful and delicately flavoured.
One dish we should have not ordered was the beef roll with onion pancake. Although the beef was soft and there was an adequate amount of hosin sauce, the onion pancake itself was terrible. First, there wasn't enough onions in it (I can't believe I'm saying that). For people who know me, I'm not particularly fond of green onions. I will eat them, but not a lot of them. Second, the dough was very thick and gummy. It was like chewing on undercooked pizza dough. Adding insult to injury, the rolls appeared to be cut with kindergarten scissors because they were still all stuck to each other. Fortunately, the spring rolls were cut all the way through and it revealed that rather than using shrimp or pork, it was a combination of chicken and taro. This was an interesting choice of filling; but I really liked it. The taro was a good texture contrast to the crispy outer wrapper. I thought it tasted best without dipping it into Worcester sacue.
I'm not going to go into detail with the spareribs, bean curd rolls and beef meatballs because they were pretty standard. However, I will talk about the chicken feet. It was not like the regular chicken feet in garlic oyster sauce. Instead, they came in a medium hot pot filled with abalone sauce. They were not fried; rather, they had been stewed in the sauce. This creates a much more gelatinous product. I personally liked this dish, the abalone flavour fully penetrated the chicken skin. Hmm... I really seem to have a chicken feet fetish eh?
For dessert, we ordered the egg tarts and the fried bitter melon glutinous balls. The egg tarts were good, with a flaky shell and a light tasting egg custard centre. However, they could've cut back on the amount of pastry. The glutinous balls were an interesting dish. The fried glutinous balls are made with rice flour flavoured and coloured with bitter melon. Inside the balls resided black sesame paste. This dessert was quite sweet, and we really didn't taste any bitter melon. It was a bit different indeed; but no one really seemed to love the dish.
This is the first time I've ever had Dim Sum at Shiang Garden and it was pretty good. The total bill came to the same amount I paid at Imperial; but we had 3 more adults! With that being said, Shiang Garden is a bit more pricey than some of other restaurants nearby. With Dim Sum finished, we survived another family meal where we are more busy attending to the kids then eating. Not to mention the picture-taking in-between!
- Spacious, high ceiling dining room
- Good dim sum
- Some unique dishes
- A bit pricier than their immediate competition
- No real front entrance
4540 No. 3 Road