Generally, Dim Sum on the Westside of Vancouver can be an expensive proposition (for example, Peninsula in Oakridge). No, you won't find $2.50 dishes nor push carts. Rather, you will usually see prices North of $4.00 per dish minimum and service that can sometimes be downright snooty. So when Tai Tung opened up on Granville Street, I was intrigued if they would stick to their East Van roots or assimilate into being another Westside Dim Sum establishment.
So after paying probably too much money for Fly Over Canada (my son loved it though), we headed over to Tai Tung because this was as close as we'd get to Marpole (really!). We started with the Beef Meatballs which exhibited a significant dried orange peel essence. There was a good mix of greens while the meat had a firm bounce. I'm not sure why they put a bunch of peppers underneath though as the flavour did not go at all. Next, we had the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll filled with smallish shrimp which were only mildly crunchy. When still hot, we found the rice noodle to be thick and sticky, but when it cooled down, it was better.
With a more pronounced snap, the shrimp in the Haw Gow were in large pieces. There was a noticeable sesame oil hit, however, that was about it as the dumpling was pretty bland. Furthermore, the dumpling skin was slightly thick and doughy. Okay, we actually ordered the Xiao Long Bao despite the usual low expectations considering it was Cantonese Dim Sum. To be frank, it was pretty average at best. The skin was doughy while the meat filling was soft and loose. There was some soup to be found, but it resembled and tasted like fat more than anything. Also, we weren't sure why they put green onion in the filling either. Again, I'll forgive them as they are not a Shanghainese joint.
With big pieces of crunchy shrimp (with plenty of flavour), the Sui Mai was on point. The pork was a mix between processed and whole pieces. It was somewhat firm with a bit of bounce. There was definitely more sweetness than savoury and for some odd reason, they used dried orange peel as a seasoning agent as well. At the very least, it wasn't offensive. We found the Bean Curd Skin Roll to be quite good with a nicely fried exterior where it was slightly chewy. The meat filling was a firm with plenty of crunchy shrimp. In terms of flavour, the filling was meaty while the sauce added savouriness and moisture.
For the kiddies, we had to get the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice). When we opened up the lotus leaf, we could see every grain of glutinous rice. That didn't mean it was dry though as it was sticky and moist. For once, we could actually taste the lotus leaf essence penetrating into the rice. The plethora of ingredients ensured there would be another layer of meaty goodness. And of course we had to get the Shrimp Spring Rolls as well since my son would have a fit otherwise. These were crunchy with only a modest amount of shrimp filling which had a nice snap while being well-seasoned. One thing we didn't like was the greasiness of the spring roll as the bottom was soaked.
Onto another kid favourite, we had the BBQ Pork Buns. Despite having a fluffy soft exterior, the pork filling was far too sweet. It was like eating candied pork (wait, that doesn't sound that bad in retrospect...). Although the pork was lean, we didn't like that it was chopped into little bits. On the other hand, the pieces of Pork Spareribs were a good mix of meat and bone portions. There was a meaty chew with some bounce texture where the overwhelming flavour was of pork with not much in the way of garlic nor peppers. Normally, I do not order the Chiu Chow Dumplings, but I wanted to change things up. They were not bad with a chewy dumpling skin that was still moist. The filling was pretty typical with peanuts, dried shrimp, pork, cilantro, pickled radish and water chestnut. We also got some Steamed Spongecake but the kids got to it before I could snap a photo. It was pretty fluffy with a rich brown sugar hit. That was a decent end to an acceptable Dim Sum service. Of course the prices were not exactly cheap as the bill came out to over $70.00 but again, we were on the Westside.
- Fairly okay service
- Nicely appointed dining space
- Does the quality justify the price? You be the judge