Alright, I really wasn't planning on eating Dim Sum today. In fact, I really wasn't in the mood for Chinese food period; however, we were taking my father-in-law out for Father's Day and he's not into other types of cuisine. I considered Dai Tung and Western Lake; but those places are crazy busy and you know how I love lineups. Thus it was between 2 other places on Hastings: Pelican or International. My father-in-law choose Pelican because he knows some of the people who work there. We arrived pretty early at 10:50ish, but the place was already packed including the parking lot. I dropped my father-in-law off so he could get a table. As I was backing up out of the parking lot, people just walked behind me like I wasn't there. I really can't understand these people. If you play chicken with an SUV, who do you think will win? Better yet, I re-entered the parking lot to drop off Viv and this lady beside me was so concerned I was going to take her spot. She was so worried that she almost ended up blocking the person coming out. Relax! It's just a parking space! Incidentally, someone else was leaving and I ended up getting a better spot than her. Karma. As mentioned, there was a lineup at the front door; however since my father-in-law had some friends who worked at Pelican, we got a table right away. Ahhh... such a Chinese-type of maneuver! Normally, I'd be at the other end, cursing at the fact people had skipped the line. Call me a hypocrite.
Just recently, I had read the post by Danny & Jeremy (Five Loaves) on Urbanspoon indicating their disappointment over their meal at Pelican. That got me a little worried because I was going to play hockey after this and the last thing I needed was grease and msg overload. I guess I totally forgot that since we ordered 14 dishes between the 3 adults and 2 children. We started with the Beef Rice Noodle Roll. Nestled in the soft rice noodle was plenty of tender beef and only a smidgen of cilantro. Hmmm... A decent start to the meal. Not sure why we got the Egg Tarts as our second dish (this happens a lot at Chinese restaurants); but they were pretty good. Crust was flaky and filling was soft and light tasting. The next dish, Stir-Fried Green Beans with Conch, was both really good and really bad at the same time. Texture-wise, the green beans were perfectly crunchy; yet cooked (fried) all the way through. However, the sauce was incredibly salty and sweet. I like flavour in my food; but this was too much.
The Steamed Shrimp Dumplings were big and looked pretty good; however, the skin was overcooked and too thick. I got a mouthful of dumpling wrapper before I even got to the shrimp which incidentally was quite salty. I concur with how Danny & Jeremy described the Shrimp Balls with Fish Maw; it was terrible. The fish maw was cooked until it was a melted mess and the shrimp had barely any texture to it. At least this one wasn't too salty. The same could not be said for the Honeycomb Tripe & Tendon. I know there is very little flavour to tripe; but did they really need to put so much salt, msg and sugar into the sauce? Eating it made me want an entire Super Big Gulp to myself. Texture-wise, the tripe was soft; but the tendon was too soft, resulting into an inedible mush. At least the Black Bean Spareribs had texture. The chewy texture was perfect; however, it suffered from over- seasoning once again.
Suffice to say, I could go on a bit further regarding the remaining dishes; but to me, it's
pointless. I'll merely sound like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller repeating "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller"; but in my case it would be "MSG, MSG, MSG". It's really too bad because there were some really decent dishes which were ruined by over-seasoning. What made it worse was that our teapot was never refilled, compounding the problem because we couldn't quench our thirst. I do understand that the Dim Sum at Pelican is reasonably-priced and the portions are good; but if practically everything is super salty, it becomes pretty inedible. I really wanted to like the Dim Sum, partly because my father-in-law knew the people; however I cannot be biased. I guess if they read this post, we'll not be skipping the line anymore...
- Good portions
- Excellent selection
- Too much salt and MSG!
- Slow service
9:30am - 3:00pm, 5:00pm - 2:00am (7 days a week)