Dim Sum and New Westminster - it doesn't really roll off the tongue with ease does it? It's like trying to scream out "well-parked vehicles and Richmond" (did you check out that new Facebook site???). Most people know that we need to head to the aforementioned Richmond for the very best selection of Dim Sum (both Cantonese and Shanghainese), but in a pinch, there is one place that does the job. That place is Spring Garden on 12th. I had a decent experience the first time around, but Slick (who lives nearby) and Big D really wanted to check it out. So revisit it was!
Since Big D usually orders enough food to feed a small country, we snatched the checklist away from him. We started with the standards being the Haw Gow (shrimp dumplings) and Sui Mai (pork & shrimp dumplings). We found the haw gow skin to be thin while not soft nor dry. The filling had a good snap where it was moist and sweet. With a slightly loose filling, the sui mai were pretty large and nicely accented by the big dollop of tobiko on top. It was well-seasoned and had just enough fat for flavour and texture. The pork itself was bouncy with some chew.
Next up, the Beef Tendon was a bit pale in colour. There was an overabundance of curry flavour where it completely overwhelmed everything else. The dish desperately needed some sweetness and more garlic for balance. The tendon itself was soft enough, yet the dish felt dry in need for more sauce. Beautifully browned on the bottom, the Potstickers featured a fairly thick skin. Not much of a problem since it was nicely crisped up. Furthermore, it was was a pleasant chewy, if that makes any sense. As for the filling, it was moist and tender, but a bit heavy on the veg.
Moving along, we had the Steamed Black Bean Spareribs. Again, the portion size was fairly generous as the meat was spilling off of the plate. As evidenced in the picture, the rib pieces were meaty and lacking cartilage. There was a decent amount of chew to go with the rebound texture of the meat. The dish was mildly seasoned where it could've benefited from more black bean and garlic. We weren't sure what to make of the Beef Meatballs because they seemed to be too dark in colour (possibly too much dark soy?). Moreover, the meat was fairly chewy and in need of some green onions and/or cilantro. Due to the overuse of baking soda, there was a weird aftertaste as well.
We ended up with 3 orders of the rice noodle rolls partly due to Big D ripping the order sheet from Slick's grasp. Of the 3, the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll was the most successful. Featuring a fairly thin and pillowy soft noodle exterior and snappy shrimp filling, this could compete with the big boys. However, the bbq pork version was a total bust as the meat was dry and for some inexplicable reason, it was mixed with an obscene amount of green onion. A little on the wet side, the Lo Mei Gai (sticky rice) was full of flavour. This was thanks to the ample amount of wet sauce & ground pork (which also made the rice a touch soggy). Not a huge deal as we preferred this over dry sticky rice.
Onto the XO Daikon Pudding Cake, we found it was a bit oil-logged while not-all-that-crispy. Maybe the oil wasn't hot enough? Despite this, it wasn't all bad since the cake was sufficiently soft while being tossed in spicy XO sauce. Big D was so eager to eat the Shrimp Spring Rolls, he devoured one before I could even snap a photo. As a result, the picture only represents a partial order. I could see why he dug right in because they were good. Hot and crunchy on the outside and equally scorching hot on the inside, the shrimp filling had a nice snap which was well-seasoned and garlicky.
Lastly, we tried the Fried Milk which was a bit too greasy for my liking. Furthermore, the batter was a bit too thick. Despite this, it was still crunchy on the outside. The milk filling was sweet with hints of coconut. Okay, but I've had better. That pretty much sums up Dim Sum at Spring Garden though. It is not particularly impressive compared to the big boys, but for New West, it is more than respectable at a reasonable price.
- Decent for New West (and GVRD in general)
- Friendly people
- Small and cramped
- Limited selection