Sherman's Food Adventures: Dim Sum @ Golden Phoenix

Dim Sum @ Golden Phoenix

*Restaurant is now closed*

The Golden Phoenix - now that's a name from my childhood. When I used to live in the area, we used to go to Golden Phoenix for dinner all the time. It was good, inexpensive and we didn't even have to drive. The original owners sold the restaurant 20+ years ago and reopened as Golden Swan on Victoria. Located between Trocadero and Bon's off Broadway, Golden Phoenix has gone through several name changes and owners (it was East Ocean for awhile). Finally, it's back to the original English name; but it's not the same in Chinese. From the outside, the restaurant looks a bit dumpy, with it's yellow signage and graffiti right on the awning itself. However, the inside has been completely renovated a la Sea Harbour. Yes, it looks very similar to the renovated interior of Sea Harbour Restaurant. In fact, they share the same unappealing exterior; but surprisingly inviting interior.

The whole family made it out for Dim Sum today, so it was a real gong show since I had to take pictures, eat, take notes and deal with the kids all at the same time. Like Windows Vista, I felt like on the verge of crashing or BSODing (blue screen of death). At first, I was told not to take pictures of the food. However, I whipped out my Moo card and everything was under control. Those Moo cards have come in handy since it's a bit difficult to explain what a food blog is in Chinese.

One thing that struck me about the Dim Sum here is it is very large and full of shrimp. We started with the spring rolls and they were stuffed full of large shrimp. They were presented quite impressively similar to Bing Sheng. The Shrimp Dumpling (Haw Gow) were really large and also full of shrimp. They were steamed perfectly and each bite was cold-water crunchy. Guess what? The Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll was full of? Shrimp? NO! Rather, it was full of prawns (or mutant shrimp). It's rare to see rice noodle rolls so full of shrimp or prawns. There was actually more filling than noodle, which by the way, was soft and fluffy.

Continuing on our shrimp adventure, we had the Scallop and Shrimp Dumplings. Yes, again they were full of shrimp with scallop and fish roe on top. Suffice to say, the shrimp again was excellent. Okay, guess what was in the next dish? Yes, it was the Shrimp & Pea Shoot Dumpling with Dried Scallop. At the very least, I think it makes the Dim Sum chef's life easier if s/he is merely reusing the same shrimp mix for everything. Again, the dumpling was good with a good mix of shrimp and pea shoot. The dried scallop gave the entire dumpling a really aromatic flavour. Had enough shrimp yet? I think my friend Donna Chang would've been in the hospital by now because she's allergic to shrimp. The last dish with shrimp in it was the Stuffed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce. These were fried up quite nicely, being tender; yet not falling apart.

One of the more visually appealing dishes we had was the Steamed Rice Flour Balls. These were stuffed with a variety of ingredients such as dried shrimp (I lied about no more shrimp), pickled veggies, green onion, shitake mushrooms and peanuts. These little pockets of goodness were delicately soft and were packed with a diverse amount of flavours (salty and sweet). Other non-shrimp intensive dishes we ordered were the Black Bean Spareribs, Bible Tripe, Beef Rice Noodle Roll, Fried Taro Dumplings, Mexican BBQ Pork Buns, Egg Tarts and Yeung Chow Fried Rice. The spareribs were very meaty and unlike some other places, it was not filled with useless fatty or cartilage pieces. The tripe was alright; but a bit over steamed or overcooked. They were quite soft and devoid of texture. The taro dumplings were awesome, being full of pork filling and fried perfectly. They were not oily and there was a good contrast between the crunchy coating and the soft fluffy taro. The Mexican BBQ pork buns are not really a Spanish dish, despite the name. I'm still not sure where the Mexican part of it comes from; however, it's essentially a baked BBQ pork bun with a crunchy sweet topping (similar to a pineapple bun). This was pretty good for a Dim Sum bun, it was full of BBQ pork and the topping was nice and crispy. Egg tarts tasted as good as they looked. The crust was flaky and the centre was soft, semi-sweet egg goodness.

I left the discussion of the Yeung Chow Fried Rice to the end for a reason. We specifically ordered it without green onions. And it arrived with not only green onions, but plenty of it! The waitress who brought it to our table stammered, "I didn't take the order!" Uh, so what do you want us to do about it? Should we go into the kitchen and tell the chef ourselves? Does it matter that you didn't take our order??? So if I go buy a car and it's defective, should the service guy tell me to take a hike because I didn't buy it from him/her??? It just didn't make sense. Anyways, despite the green onions, the fried rice was excellent. It was full of ingredients (including shrimp) and the rice was perfectly al dente.

Despite the green onion incident and the fact our server was a bit clueless as to what was in her job description, we truly enjoyed the food at Golden Phoenix. It was fresh, great tasting, large, well-priced and served in a nice renovated dining space. Service was acceptable except for the green onion incident. I will give Golden Phoenix a mulligan on that, we'll see the next time if they mess it up again. With all the shrimp we ate today for Dim Sum, they should really rename the place The Golden Shrimp.

The Good:
- Large portions
- Inexpensive
- Quality ingredients

The Bad:
- A bit heavy on the msg/salt, I was quite thirsty afterwords
- Green onion incident with the waitress not wanting to handle it

Business Hours:
9:00am - 10:00pm (Sun - Thu)
9:00am - 1:00am (Fri & Sat)

Golden Phoenix Chinese Seafood on Urbanspoon


KimHo said...

I know this is a question I don't usually ask but... For comparison purposes (with nearby yam cha spots), how much for each dish?

Not the first time I mentioned this, unlikely it will be the last time: Why they do not want you to take pictures? If they are proud of their food, instead, they should be encouraging you to do so! Unless, that is, you are taking pictures of other diners and/or over-using the flash to the point it is starting to bother others.

Oh, about the fried rice, hehehehe, you should know by now that custom order in Chinese restaurants is not a good idea!

Sherman Chan said...

Hi Kim, I believe each regular dish was $2.95 and in fact, the Beef Rice Noodle Roll is on special for $1.95. I believe the food quality and value at Golden Phoenix was probably one of the best I've seen in awhile. However, there was probably too much MSG in the food. Better get a really large refreshment afterwords. Actually I was almost in a corner, not using my flash taking photos. I wasn't really sure why they didn't want me to. Yes, I know, custom orders in a Chinese restaurant is like trying to cross the street in Chinatown - hit and miss. That's why we didn't send it back! ;)

La Petite Vancouver said...

What? how can they not allow u to take pic =_="
Are we allowed to take pic later @ Alvin Garden? lol
Now I wonder how your Moo card looks like prob I should make one too lol

KimHo said...

I don't think taking pictures in Alvin Garden will be a problem, specially considering there will be *at least* 4 dSLR snapping pictures!

You can get the Moo cards for "free" once you register with Foodbuzz.

Stuart Morris said...

FYI, the Golden Phoenix seems to be closed. There are cable locks through the front doors.

Sherman Chan said...

@Stuart Morris Thanks for the update!

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