I'm sure many of you have heard of "mommy brain". You know, when moms are so busy with everything, their mind has no more room to remember little details? Well, combine that with Daddy brain and the result was a fail of epic proportions. Consider this scenario: Gordo rents some ice time so that we could bring our families for a skate and possibly hockey. So I get the kids suited up and pile them into the car. Head over to Killarney and wait, wrong rink. Rush over to Hillcrest. Still wrong. Go back to Killarney, still nothing. Well, the session was booked for Britannia... We suck. Since we missed the darn thing, there was only one thing to do: eat! Being that we were near Victoria Drive, we headed over to Hei Lum Mun (formerly Li Garden).
We started with an order of Chinese Salty Donut which was really crunchy. It appeared to be refried, but then again, it could've just been fried too much. It was greasy, yet ultimately passable. The kids loved it and well, I wasn't going to question it. On the other hand, the Shrimp Spring Rolls were not greasy at all being crunchy and hot. The shrimp filling was mostly mousse with only a few pieces of actual shrimp. Hence, there was not that much snap. Moreover, we found it to be rather salty. With the deep-fryer working it, we got the Stuffed Eggplant next. This was a good dish. The eggplant was just cooked, so it wasn't mushy nor was it Styrofoam-like (if it weren't cooked). The shrimp mousse filling was bouncy and was well-seasoned. For once, the black bean sauce tasted like black bean. Too many restaurants water this down so it essentially becomes a flavourless brown glaze.
When the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings) hit the table, we were impressed at its size. They were massive and fit snug into the bamboo steamer. Although the dumpling skin was on the thicker side, it wasn't hard to eat. As for the filling, it was a mix of shrimp mousse and whole shrimp. There was a good bounce, yet modest with the snap. The flavours were mild and sweet with not much in the way of sesame oil. Equally large, the Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) were pretty good. The pork had the requisite bounce texture while not being fatty. There was ample amount of snappy shrimp and flavourful shitake mushrooms in the mix as well. The dumpling as a whole was quite juicy and moist, however, we suspected there was a good amount of MSG as the flavour was quite intense.
To balance out the meal, and due to the fact my daughter loves it, we got an order of the Pea Shoots with Bean Curd Skin and Ginko Nuts. This particular version was cooked in a broth, so for those alarmed at the amount of moisture on the wok-like serving plate, it was intentional. Hence, the flavours were very mild with a touch of sweetness. The pea shoots were cooked properly, being soft with a bit of crunch. As evidenced in the picture, the portion was quite large. Going with another kid's favourite, we had the Lo Mei Gai (sticky rice wrapped in lotus leaves). This was a well-prepared dish with moist and slightly chewy sticky rice with plenty of filling. The ground pork was not too fatty and was well-seasoned. The fact that my kids ate it meant it was good (they can be rather picky!). Onto something for me (not the kids, well not yet at least), I got the Curry Tripe & Tendons. A pretty self-explanatory dish consisting of offal, this was also well-executed. There were large pieces of both items which had the right textures. The tripe was tender with a good amount of chew left while the tendon was soft yet maintained its shape and texture. The flavours were balanced between savoury and sweet with garlic and a hint of curry.
Another staple of our Dim Sum adventures is the Steamed Pork Spareribs. I got an order here and it was pretty good. Sure, there were a few cartilage pieces, yet on average, most were meaty. It was chewy in a good kind of way, where it didn't seem too over-
tenderized. Flavours were okay with it being mild with a garlic hit and some spice. Continuing on Dim Sum "must-order" dishes, we had the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll. The noodle itself was rather thick and dense, yet not overly rubbery. It was actually quite soft. As for the shrimp filling, it was sufficient and texturally on point. There was a nice snap with just enough seasoning so it wasn't bland. We finished off with the Steamed Sponge Cake which wasn't very good. It was too dense and far too sweet. Being a bit dry too, it was hard to swallow. I think I was too ambitious when I yelled out, "I can't swallow this!". Um yah... I wouldn't order this again. Yet, if we ignored this item, the food was pretty decent, considering the price points. In addition, the service was above-average for this type of Chinese restaurant. Hei Lum Mun succeeds in being a less-busy option for Dim Sum on Victoria Drive.
- Decent eats
- Decent service
- Some items could use refinement
- Food expedition can be slightly slow