Sherman's Food Adventures: Dragon Palace

Dragon Palace

*Restaurant is now closed*

While dining at Ki Sushi a couple of months ago, I noticed that it was affiliated with Dragon Palace next door. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure if that was really a good thing. Thankfully, the meal at Ki Sushi was pretty good and it alleviated my initial fears. However, with a name like Dragon Palace, it conjured up images of the now defunct Dragon Inn. Was this place an actual authentic Chinese restaurant or was this a "Canadian-Chinese" joint??? I mean, was I going to find Sweet & Sour everything on their menu? Was I going to be the only Asian person eating there (like Szechuan Chongqing)? Being the curious person that I am, I was going to take the plunge and find out for myself. What's the harm?

Joining me for Dim Sum at Dragon Palace was Ma (again, not my own mother). I kept repeating to myself, "I'm going for Dim Sum at Dragon Palace in New Westminster". Somehow it didn't sound right. While we were heading there, I actually wanted to change my mind and suggested we go to Richmond instead. Yes, I was so nervous about my choice that I would actually want to go to Richmond rather than New West! However, Ma assured me that it'll be okay and we made our way to 8th Street. Snagging the last parking spot in their extremely small parking lot, I settled myself for Dim Sum in New West (still sounds wrong!). Phew! There were actually other Chinese people eating there when we first entered the restaurant. That made me feel a bit better. Taking quick peeks at the food, it looked decent. Maybe I was worrying for no reason. Furthermore, there were fresh dumplings being made behind a Plexiglas viewing area.

We were presented with an order sheet that had a modest selection of Dim Sum. Prices for most of the regular-sized dishes cost $2.95 and the larger deluxe items were $4.50. We started with the Vegetable Spring Rolls which came with plum sauce. That concerned me a little bit because it really should be served with Worcester sauce. It was quite crispy lacking much filling and the plate was quite greasy. Not really an auspicious start to the meal. One of my favourite Dim Sum items is the Fried Taro Dumplings. The ones here were quite large with plenty of taro and a bit of pork filling. I didn't mind these; but they were very fragile. Barely touching them would result in a total collapse of the entire thing.

Being in New Westminster, I wasn't holding out hope that there would be good Shrimp Dumplings. But I got to tell you this, the ones here were more than acceptable. It's true that the dumpling wrapper was a bit doughy and thick; yet the shrimp filling was quite good. There was plenty of large crunchy shrimp and it was only moderately seasoned. Not bad, since they were large and moderately priced. The BBQ Pork Rice Noodle Roll was quite large. There was ample BBQ pork inside; however, it was a bit over seasoned. The rice noodle itself was decently soft; yet firm enough to withstand handling by chopsticks.

Since they use the same meat for their BBQ Pork Buns, it is predictable that it was a bit too flavourful. A bit too sweet and salty, the filling overwhelmed the delicately steamed bun. At least the bun itself was quite soft and fluffy. I suppose in this case, over seasoning is better than being bland since the bun is practically flavourless. As per usual, whenever I go for Dim Sum, steamed Blackbean Spareribs is a must order. The spareribs here at Dragon Palace were alright. Only moderately salty, the spareribs were quite tender. However, I didn't like the relatively dominant amount of cartilage pieces. You see, these pieces are generally not easy to eat since the meat sticks to the bone. The better pieces are usually attached to actual bone.

Nearing the end of our meal, the Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves arrived. We were getting a bit full at this point and personally, I willed myself to eat it. Again, it wasn't bad; but there were some some dry spots within the rice (where clumps of rice are not soft). On the whole, it had a decent amount of pork filling and that helped keep most of the rice moist. The last dish was not really all that good. The Pan-fried Dumplings were a bit stiff. The dumpling skin was a tad thick and didn't have much in the way of give. Ma didn't even finish her one dumpling and made a beeline to the washroom after one bite. I didn't ask why she did that; but I can only assume. Oh, on the note of washrooms, the ones here at Dragon Palace are a bit scary. They are in dire need of renovations and they really need to remove all
that graffiti.

Honestly, I didn't mind eating at Dragon Palace, after all what do we expect out here in New West? The food was edible and the prices were reasonable. Service was friendly; if not a bit sparse. Now, if one was to compare the food here at Dragon Palace with the rest of the GVRD, it would not even have a chance. Put this restaurant in Richmond and it wouldn't be able to compete. Yet, by virtue of it's location and that there aren't any real competitors within a country mile, it is acceptable.

The Good:
- Reasonably priced
- Friendly service (if not a bit sparse)
- Food is okay for its location

The Bad:
- Terrible washrooms
- Compared to other Chinese restaurants in the GVRD, it lags behind
- Parking lot is quite small

Dragon Palace on Urbanspoon


Stephanie said...

You know, I pride myself on liking a lot of food that I didn't necessarily grow up with. There are very few things that I don't like. Fried taro dumplings are one, though- they truly make me gag.

Sherman said...

Yikes, it must be a textural thing eh? No matter, each to their own.

Geoff said...

You're right this place isn't bad for New West. I also like Lucky King on 12th as well.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you know... Dragon Palace just closed last month. The owner turned it into Ki Sushi, and the original Ki Sushi is bought by the City of New West. I think they're using the land of the old Ki Sushi for something...

Sherman said...

Thanks! I was just by it last night and I see that it is not complete yet; but soon...