Sherman's Food Adventures: Happy Valley

Happy Valley

Restaurants changing ownership is nothing new.  It happens all the time and sometimes quite often at certain locations.  However, when it comes to Asian restaurants, it gets slightly complicated.  Sometimes, the establishment gets a Chinese name change while the English name remains the same.  This way, it is cost-efficient way to changeover without needing to register a brand new name.  Happy Valley out on Broadway in Vancouver changed over a couple of years ago and it was about time we checked out their Dim Sum service.

Big D was a little late in arriving, so Betaboy and I took charge of doing the ordering (good thing too, since Big D usually orders far too much).  We started with the Sui Mai which were very large and looked appealing with a dollop of tobiko on top.  However, the chunks of pork were chewy with lots of gristle.  On the other hand, the shrimp had a nice snap.  Flavourwise, the dumpling was peppery and sweet with a good amount of porkiness.  The large Haw Gow were surprisingly bland.  I guess they didn't season the cold-water shrimp much.  By virtue of being rinsed properly, the shrimp had a buttery snap while the dumpling skin was a touch thick.

Next up, we had a couple of rice noodle rolls starting with the Salty Donut Rice Noodle Roll.  The donut itself was crispy even with all the moisture from the rice noodle and sweet soy sauce, yet it was dense in the middle.  Soft with still a bit of elasticity, the rice noodle was thin and well-made.  As much as there should be some green onion and dried shrimp mixed in with the noodle, we found there was too much of it.  We also had the BBQ Pork Rice Noodle Roll that shared the same good characteristics of the other roll.  Interestingly, along with the fairly lean BBQ pork, there was a good amount of pea leaves.  I personally didn't mind it, but it was not really a combination that made sense.

Onto the next dish, we had the XO Fried Daikon Cake.  The cubes of daikon pudding were fried up golden brown and lightly crispy.  As much as they whole dish was fried then wok-tossed (in more oil), it wasn't incredibly greasy.  In terms of flavour, it was aromatic and only slightly spicy.  Speaking of spicy, the Curry Cuttlefish had a mild kick while exhibiting plenty of sweetness from the seasonings and the plethora of slivered onions. Overall, there was good flavour including a significant curry hit.  The cuttlefish itself was chewy with a buttery snap.

We shared some balls next, namely the Beef Meatballs.  Although there was some bounce to the processed meat, the general texture was a bit on the softer side.  Furthermore, there was a general lack of seasoning as the meat was quite bland.  We needed a good amount of Worcestershire to help the cause.  On the other hand, the Bean Curd Skin Rolls were pretty good.  The bean curd skin exhibited a good fried chewy texture while still being moist.  The ground pork mixture benefited from the ample amount of crunchy wood ear mushrooms, yet the meat itself could've had more texture.

With only 3 people, I was not sure why we ordered the Sparerib Rice Hot Pot (oh wait, Big D was there...  forgot).  As shown in the picture, it was hard to see the rice since there was a good portion of bouncy spareribs, phoenix talon and gai lan.  The rice itself was a bit wet though.  Since one chicken foot is hard to share, we ordered the Phoenix Talons as well.  These were pretty good as the skin was fried nicely while the cartilage underneath was soft. Flavours were balanced with a bit of garlic.  Overall, we thought the Dim Sum was pretty decent.  Service was prompt as well.

The Good:
- Prompt service
- Decent eats

The Bad:
- Parking lot is a bit of a disaster
- Shape of restaurant doesn't lend itself to spaciousness

Happy Valley Seafood Restaurant 名閣海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon