With all the available choices for Dim Sum in the GVRD, most of the best one reside in Richmond. However, driving to Richmond takes a long time and driving in Richmond makes me want to play GTA for real. So on Christmas Eve, we went East into PoCo to re-visit Rainbow Butterfly. Yes, I realize that Dim Sum and the Tri-Cities go together like Christy Clark and honesty, but our last meal there was decent. Besides, we didn't want to fight any crowds in terms of traffic nor lineup.
The meal began with the iconic Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumpling) looking rather opaque. One bite and it was pretty apparent why as the dumpling skin was thick and a touch doughy. Beyond that, the skin was still appealingly chewy whereas the filling was a mix of bits of shrimp and shrimp mousse. Texturally, it was too soft for my liking, but the bits of shrimp were okay. We found the predominant flavour was actually shrimp which may appeal to some, yet may be too "seafoody" for others. The Sui Mai (Shrimp & Pork Dumplings) didn't show up next, but it just seemed like a good place to talk about it. There was actually no shrimp in the dumpling I had, but the texture was decent with chunks of well-seasoned pork and some pork fat that had a rebound texture. I didn't noticed much variety in flavours other than salt and sugar.
For some reason or another, my son was itching to eat the Fried Taro Dumplings despite it never being his absolute favourite item for Dim Sum. Well, I guess he was onto something here as these ones were pretty good. Despite the lack of colour, the exterior was lightly crispy while not greasy (possibly new oil?). Beyond the substantial layer of soft taro, the chunks of pork were rather meaty (and somewhat dry) in texture, but that didn't make or break the dish. It was mildly seasoned where a bit more salt would've brought some flavour to the taro. The Baby Bak Choy with bean curd sheets in broth was pretty mild in its own right, but that was pretty much the point of the dish. Sitting in a watery lightly-seasoned broth, the bak choy were minimally crunchy. We found the bean curd sheets a bit too soft and disheveled-looking.
Initially, I ordered the Jelly Fish with Shredded Chicken since my daughter loves the dish. Well, that was all for naught as she refused to eat it when it arrived. *Sigh* #firstworldproblems We thought it was a pretty substantial portion for $5.95 consisting of appealingly chewy bands of jellyfish and strangely cut strips of not-so-appealing chewy chicken. Although the dish wasn't exactly salty, the wonton crisps underneath soaked up all of the seasoning which in turn made things salty. If they took away the chicken, or actually served hand-shredded chicken instead, this would've been a good dish. Up next was the Salty Donut Rice Noodle Roll. Interestingly plated in a random fashion, it was generally decent despite the somewhat dense donut. We found the rice noodle roll to be just a tad thick, but not overly doughy.
On that note, the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll featured the same thick noodle and since there were a few more folds, it was a bit doughy. Again, it wasn't enough to kill the dish though. Inside, there was a modest amount of shrimp which were neither too soft or overly crunchy either. In the end, the dish needed the sweet soy since the shrimp were mildly seasoned and were not as shrimpy as the ones found in the haw gow. Not normally an item we order during Dim Sum is congee since we never finish it. This time around, we had the Fish Congee and it featured a broth that was closer to home-style where it was lightly seasoned and also lightly thick. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing though. As for the ample slices of fish, they were fairly flaky and moist.
Moving onto 2 more fried items including my son's favourite, we had the Shrimp & Garlic Spring Rolls. I think he ate nearly the whole dish and if it weren't for us denying him the last piece, I wouldn't have even had a chance to try it. When I did, the exterior was crunchy and easy on the oil while the shrimp filling was similar to the one found in the haw gow. This meant there was minimal snap quality while mostly inundated with garlicky shrimp mousse. Next was a dish we rarely see on Dim Sum menus these days (but was popular in the 80's) in the Shrimp Toast. Although not super crunchy, the toast portion was surprisingly not soaked in oil (I guess that goes hand-in-hand). On top, the shrimp mousse was aided by an aggressively layer of sesame seeds which provided a nutty crunch.
Texturally odd, the Bean Curd Skin Rolls were super meaty and dense. In a strange way, it wasn't particularly off-putting, but it was not great either. You see, the pork filling was lacking moisture where it took on a beef-like quality being chewy and almost mealy. Fortunately, the plentiful wood-ear mushrooms helped break up the monotony of the meat. In turn, the roll did taste meaty and really benefited from a dunk into the Worcestershire sauce. Although the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet) didn't look promising, they actually worked out. They appeared to be scrawny and stiff, yet in reality, the skin was plump while the cartilage was soft (but didn't melt away). Despite the lack of sauce on the plate, not only were the chicken feet moist, they were also well-seasoned with a garlicky sweetness.
Another texturally interesting dish was the Beef Meatballs. If one never had this item before, they would be hard-pressed in believing there was any beef used at all. Reason-being was that the beef was aggressively processed where a good amount of starch was added. Hence, it had an almost gooey texture. Yet once again, it didn't really kill the dish because that also meant the meatballs exhibited the classic rebound texture as well. The rebound texture was also prevalent in the Steamed Pork Spareribs, albeit in a totally different manner. Chewy and firmly bouncy, the meat attached to each rib was well-seasoned. Despite this, I could still clearly taste the pork.
Also chewy in a firm rebound manner was the Steamed Beef Tripe. For me, I thought it was appealingly chewy with plenty of moisture and flavour. However, for some others (like my mom), it could've been softer. I didn't think the tripe was overly gamy, hence, the overall flavour profile was rather sweet with some savoury notes. Lastly, we had the Steamed BBQ Pork Buns which featured a soft and fluffy exterior. Inside, the ample lean BBQ pork filling was well-seasoned with a sweet and equally savoury sauce. We didn't end up ordering any dessert since we had too much food left on the table. In the end, this revisit was a mirror image of the first - decent Dim Sum out in the Tri-Cities area.
- Decent for PoCo
- Fairly large selection
- Small restaurant with pre-existing booths, long lineups during peak times
- Not expensive, but not cheap either