Sherman's Food Adventures: Sun Sui Wah (Richmond)

Sun Sui Wah (Richmond)

Temporarily distracted from my quest to finish off places I've not visited for Dim Sum in Richmond, it took an invite from ChineseBites to finally do a post on Sun Sui Wah.  Yes, I've done the Vancouver location a few times, but never Richmond.  It's not like I haven't dined at that location, I just never got around to blogging about it.  Since we had a pretty large budget to play with, we ended up with 35 (!) dishes (a few multiples though).  With an experienced eating crew, we almost finished it all too!

Onto the novel posing as a blog post, we began with the Baked BBQ Pork Pastry.  As evidenced in the picture, the pastry was flaky, yet a bit dense and doughy on the inside.  Inside, there was a decent amount of lean BBQ pork that was saucy and sweet.  The whole thing was rather buttery (or was it lard?).  Plated in a deep dish was the Deep Fried Squid served with some sweet and sour sauce.  The coating was crispy while the squid itself was a chewy tender.  The wok-toss of chili and salt ensured that there was enough seasoning, but there was a background flavour of possibly old oil.

As expected, we got our dessert course at the start of our Dim Sum meal.  Whatever, we were hungry and since we were the last seating for the day, we couldn't wait until later to order them.  I tried the Egg Tarts and they were flaky and buttery.  I would've liked to see a bit more colour, but it was not underbaked either.  In the centre, the egg custard was a firm silky where it wasn't too sweet.  Along with the tarts, there was the Creamy Egg Yolk Buns oozing with a sweet liquid filling.  This was rich and definitely not good for the waistline, but yummy nonetheless.  The bun itself was soft and fluffy.

Back to the savoury items, we got all of our Rice Noodle Rolls at once.  These included Shrimp, Beef, Deep Fried Bean Curd Skin Roll with Fish Paste and Donut.  Consistently across the board, the rice noodle was relatively thin and soft with some elasticity.  There was definitely enough moisture to keep it from getting chewy or too hard.  In terms of filling, the shrimp was good with a meaty snap while the beef was nicely tenderized and processed.  I found the donut to be on the crunchier side, but at least it didn't soften.  The most interesting of the bunch was the fish paste.  It was buttery with a rebound enveloped by a crispy bean curd skin shell.  Nice contrast in textures.

From steamed, we went with some more deep fried goodness in the Shrimp Spring Rolls and Deep Fried Glutinous Dumpling.  Piping hot with a firm crunch, the spring rolls were good texturally.  I liked how the grease was drained properly.  Inside, the shrimp filling was well-seasoned and did its snap texture thing.  However, there was very little of it.  As for the deep fried dumpling, the exterior was crispy and of course greasy as usual (the glutinous rice flour absorbs a lot of the oil).  That particular layer was a bit thick though.  Filling was a nice mix of ground pork, pickled veg and dried shrimp (although a bit fatty).

Since we were on the fried food theme, we continued on with the Deep Fried Taro Dumpling.  As much as this dumpling arguably absorbs even more oil than the aforementioned one, this wasn't overly greasy.  Exterior was crispy while the mashed taro was soft, well-seasoned and aromatic.  The filling was a bit sparse though.  The XO Daikon Pudding Cake was also fried and wok-tossed.  Hence, the dish was mildly spicy with a salty brininess from the dried shrimp.  Texturally, the cake was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside albeit rather oily.

Although we already had daikon pudding cake, we decided to also get the Pan Fried Taro Pudding Cake.  Well, this was not a good decision as the cake was super dense and hard.  It did taste okay with enough seasoning and dried shrimp as well as a nice crispy sear on both sides.  Also fried, the Shrimp Mousse Stuffed Eggplant, Tofu and Pepper was a difficult dish to share with 10 people.  Hence, I only tried the eggplant and it was fairly soft, but okay.  The mousse was bouncy and sweet although a bit overprocessed.  I found the black bean sauce to be salty enough.

We finally made it to the steamed items (they took longer to cook) with the Bean Curd Skin Roll and Lo Mei Gai (sticky rice steamed in banana leaves).  The bean curd skin roll featured an appealingly chewy and uniform exterior.  Inside, it was mostly shrimp and bamboo shoots.  The shrimp was cooked just enough so it was still buttery and bouncy.  We made the fatal mistake of ordering too many carbs, including 2 orders of the lo mei gai (despite warnings from Diana).  But seeing how I had to try everything, I ate one anyways.  The rest weren't missing much as it was dry and chewy.  On the other hand, the saucy filling with shrimp and pork helped alleviate that somewhat.

My favourite part of Dim Sum has to be the offal and we got a couple of them.  Starting with the Bible Tripe, it was prepared the classic way with ginger, green onion and in this case carrots.  This was pretty standard, yet good at the same time.  The tripe was soft while retaining a chew and the seasoning was on point.  Not completely described properly, at least in English, the Beef Tendon with BBQ sauce was not actually coated with Bull's Eye.  Rather, in Chinese it referred to the sauce used for BBQ pork.  Thus, the flavour profile was pretty sweet with a touch of star anise.  Texturally, the tendon was on point being soft while retaining a bite.

Almost 3/4 of the way through, we finally got the ying and yang of Dim Sum in the Haw Gow and Siu Mai (shrimp dumpling and pork & shrimp dumpling respectively).  Large in size and sporting a semi-thick and appealingly chewy skin, the shrimp dumplings were pretty good.  The filling featured whole shrimp pieces that exhibited a sweet snap with a noticeable sesame oil hit.  As for the other dumpling, it was good in its own right.  Consisting of bouncy pork chunks and equally bouncy shrimp, the textures were on point.  I thought the seasoning was on the aggressive side, but it didn't matter as I dunked it into hot sauce anyways.

One of the more surprising things we had was the Xiao Long Bao.  Much like the last time at Kirin, it seems like Cantonese Dim Sum spots are beginning to step it up with this Shanghainese dish.  I found the dumpling skin to be pretty thin and slightly chewy.  Inside, the pork filling was rather gritty and natural pork tasting with a good amount of gingery soup.  Exhibiting similar qualities to the beef filling in the rice noodle roll, the Beef Meatballs were buttery and tender (yes, with a bounce texture).  It was mildly seasoned with just the right amount of green onion for flavour without being overwhelming.

When we were ordering, we were deciding between the Phoenix Talons (chicken feet) and the Duck Webs (duck feet), when it occurred to us that we could get both!  Just by appearance alone, I was already concerned with the chicken feet as the skin looked too tight.  It was as suspected where the skin was firm and the cartilage underneath was crunchy.  This definitely needed to be cooked more.  On the other hand, the duck webs were just right.  The skin was buttery soft, yet retaining a bit of chewiness.  Underneath, the fat and cartilage were soft and tender.  I enjoyed the garlickiness of the sauce too.

Nearing the end, we had another Dim Sum classic in the Steamed Black Bean Spareribs.  This was a pretty packed dish with very porky-tasting meat (despite the ample amount of garlic).  In terms of texture, these were just right with a tender chewiness (and yes bounce).  The pieces were mostly rib and very little in the way of cartilage.  From classic to something different, we had the Steamed Halibut Collar.  We found the dish to be somewhat fishy, but the ample seasoning and spiciness helped masked it somewhat.  They timed the steaming perfectly as the fish was tender and buttery (although the collar is usually fattier anyways).

We really didn't have the BBQ Pork Buns last, but since we had dessert as an appetizer, these were the closest to something sweet.  I found the bun to be firmer and sweet on its own.  The filling was balanced between sweet and savoury where the meat was on the fattier side. So there you have it, our 35-dish Dim Sum meal for 10 people.  Overall, it was actually pretty consistent and good.  Pricing was decent too, but the service was fairly sparse.

The Good:
- Overall well-prepared Dim Sum
- Reasonable-pricing as the final bill wasn't that scary
- Fairly comfortable dining space

The Bad:
- Service was okay, but we couldn't flag down anyone for simple requests