For all the Dim Sum spots in Richmond, there are still a select few I haven't tried. Hence, it has been my recent mission to hit them all (with Garden City Hot Pot and Yue Delicacy the most recent). Interestingly, Kirin, being one of the most obvious has been largely ignored since I've been to the other locations. Yet, as I've said before, not all locations are created equal especially when it comes to Chinese food. Much of the technique involved is by "feel" rather than formula which means it is harder to replicate. Finally, I got to experience the dim sum service at the Richmond Kirin thanks to ChineseBites.
Food came out faster than we could take pictures of it. I tackled the Siu Mai first and they were pretty solid. Consisting of a good mix of shiitake, pork and shrimp, the dumpling exhibited a nice overall rebound texture. The shrimp was buttery and did the snap texture thing. It was well seasoned with a good balance of sweet and savoury. Didn't really matter though as I doused it in XO sauce anyways. That would be the same with the Haw Gow, but I did try it before the dousing. I found the skin to be on the thicker side, but it still had a nice elasticity and chew. Inside, the shrimp filling was modest in portion size, but it was buttery and moist with a meaty snap. I found it trended towards the sweeter side.
One of my favourite items from the Dim Sum service was one of their specialty items which was the Deep Fried Minced Fish and Shiitake Bean Curd Rice Noodle Roll. Beyond the soft, yet elastic rice noodle, the lightly crispy exterior of the bean curd roll was contrasted nicely by the bouncy fish mousse. The sweetness of the fish mousse took nicely to the sweetened soy. As a comparison of sorts, we also got the regular version of Ja Leun (Chinese Donut Rice Noodle Roll with Bread Crumbs). I found the donut to be pretty crunchy while the rice noodle was just like the one in the specialty roll. This was a nice contrast of textures.
Continuing with rice noodle, we were served the Pork Liver Rice Noodle Roll. Since there were more folds, the noodle was thicker, yet ultimately still soft with elasticity. Personally, I love liver and eat it lots by itself. I'm not completely sure it went well with the rice noodle roll though. It may have possibly been due to the doneness of the liver. It was more cooked than I would've liked (but hardly overdone though). I enjoyed the Black Bean Spareribs on Steamed Plain Rice Noodle Roll much more. The noodles were soft, yet not overly soft. They were the beneficiary of the aggressively garlicky sauce as well as the meat juices of the bouncy ribs.
Another one of my favs was the Pan Fried Pork Belly and Preserved Vegetable Bun. Seared on both sides, the bun was aesthetically-pleasing with a rich brown hue. It was only slightly crisp though giving way to an appealingly soft and fluffy bun. Inside, the filling was tender and moist with the full-flavour of pork belly and the salty tang of the preserved veggie. We also had the Steamed Abalone and Chicken Bun which was also soft and fluffy. Inside the filling was buttery and tender with an impactful saltiness and meatiness. Not sure if I got too much brininess, but it was tasty nonetheless.
For our fried items, there was the Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling with Consomme and Deep Fried Tofu with Minced Pork. I liked how the exterior of the deep fried dumpling was thin and crunchy as it held up to the mild-tasting consomme. Inside, the shrimp filling was buttery and had the classic cold-water crunch. I found the tofu to be lighter than it appeared. It was rather airy and completely crispy on the outside. The modest amount of pork filling was nicely seasoned and tender. The accompanying sauce was savoury and aromatic.
I was super happy to see the Assorted Offal Hot Pot as this is a must order when it comes to Dim Sum (at least for me). I found the flavours to be a little light, but it didn't really matter as each piece was subjected to chili oil. It was an interesting mix of honeycomb tripe, spleen, lung and intestine. For me, I'm a big fan of the lesser known offal (as opposed to the more popular offal???) and this hit the spot. Back to a more standard item, we had the Mini-Lo Mei Gai (sticky rice). This was very good with glutinous rice that was neither too wet nor dry. There was plenty of ground pork filling with shiitake and dried scallops which afforded an array of flavours.
The most surprising item was the Xiao Long Bao as most non-Shanghainese versions are as good as an all-season tire in the snow (wouldn't matter in Richmond anyways...). These featured a thin wrapper with a considerable amount of soup inside. With that being said, the soup was mostly sweet, but it was decent nonetheless. I found the meat to be very good as well being moist and not overly loose. The one item that was pretty pedestrian was the Steamed Tofu topped with Minced Fish and Shrimp. There was nothing inherently wrong with the dish as the fish mousse balls had a nice rebound and tasted naturally sweet with hits of brininess from the dried shrimp. To me, they were just good fish balls, nothing else.
We ended off on a sweet note, of course, with the Thousand Layer Cake. No, there weren't really that many layers, but you get the idea. Consisting of alternating layers of bun and sweetened duck egg yolk custard, this was just right texturally. It was sweet, but not incredibly so while the substantial layers of egg yolk. Now as you can probably see, there were many unique dishes mixed in with some standard ones. I found the regular items to be on point while the panfried buns and spareribs on rice noodles the highlights of the specialty dishes. Overall, it was a good Dim Sum service.
*All food and gratuities were complimentary*
- Generally on point
- Comfy dining space
- Validated parking
- Hit and miss with the specialty items