It goes without saying that we are truly spoiled silly in Vancouver when it comes to Dim Sum. So many choices in so many different price points. Sure, there are the occasional WTF joints in town, but they are a rarity. Therefore, it is pretty easy to find decent Dim Sum in all corners of the Lower Mainland. Due to the lack of clientele, some cities do not enjoy what we have (such as Portland). Furthermore, depending on other factors, some cities (such as New York and San Francisco) feature Dim Sum that may not be as progressive. For the longest time, Seattle was another Portland - a vast wasteland of Dim Sum and Asian food for-all-that-matters. I remember suffering through Dim Sum at Noble Court about 10 years ago in Bellevue. Due to the influx of immigrants and high-tech workers, Bellevue isexperiencing an Asian food boom of sorts.
After positive experiences at Din Tai Fung, Facing East and Square Lotus, it was about time we gave Dim Sum another go. From all reports and according to Goose, Top Gun was our best bet. Not to be confused with Top Gun in Vancouver, the one in Bellevue is hidden and a little tough to find. A quick evaluation of the parking lot made me wonder where people would park their cars when the restaurant is full. Looks like they would have to park far away and walk it. Fortunately for us, we scored one of the precious few parking spots. Furthermore, we got seated right away as well. The is good luck was probably due to our weekday visit. We got right down to eating because they kicked it ol' school with push carts.
Recently, my son has been on this Wu Gok (fried taro dumpling) obsession and there was no choice but to order it. These were pretty tasty with a well-seasoned filling which featured a good amount of pickled vegetable. There was an even mashed taro to filling ratio as well. We also appreciated that they were not greasy either. As if it was fate, on the same cart was another kid favourite being the Pineapple Custard Bun. Normally, this item is butchered by many Dim Sum joints, but not here. The bun was soft and topped with a nicely textured sugar topping. Inside was an abnormal amount of semi-sweet custard. This delighted my son as he ate it in record time. With no pan-fried rice noodle rolls in sight, we opted for the steamed Beef Rice Noodle Roll instead. The rice noodle was soft while being a tad sticky. It was bursting with lots of tender beef which was balanced in terms of flavour and the amount of cilantro.
With the declining popularity of push carts, there are certain items we don't see as much as before. Congee is one of them. Sure, it appears on most menus, but it is normally buried at the back of the order list and is usually overpriced. Now when it comes around in a push cart, it beckons me to order it. Call it the power of suggestion via seeing and smelling it. As such, we got a bowl of the Preserved Duck Egg and Salted Pork Congee. Despite what you see in the picture, there was tonnes of egg and tender pork. However, the pork was not really all that salty. It was more of the marinated type. The congee itself was thick to the last spoonful. Onto some steamed items, we had the Bean Curd Skin Roll. Stuffed to the max with filling, the rolls were a touch dense, yet it wasn't hard to eat because the texture was spot-on. The pieces of pork were tender while still retaining a chew. The texture of the bean curd skin held the balance between being slightly chewy, but still being moist. And unlike many versions of this dish, the whole thing wasn't swimming in sauce.
Despite the smallish portion, the Black Bean Pork Spareribs were not bad. However, there was an inordinate amount of cartilage pieces. It was probably due to our bad luck though as I noticed that the table next to us had meatier ribs. The meat itself had the proper texture of being tender while having a slight bite. Unfortunately, the whole thing was bland. That would be the same for the Stuffed Eggplant as well. Even though there was only a modest amount of black bean sauce, that was not the reason for the lack of flavour. Rather, the sauce itself was weak. As evidenced in the picture, the eggplant was pretty oil-soaked. Regardless, the eggplant was cooked just right (not being mushy) and the shrimp mousse filling exhibited a nice bounce texture. Although the meal was far from perfect (and what is really), the Dim Sum at Top Gun was leaps and bounds above what we had experienced many years ago. Make no mistake, this is legit Dim Sum in Bellevue.
- This is real Dim Sum
- The place is fairly clean
- Parking lot is too small
- Selection of Dim Sum is limited