There we were, fresh off our Holland America cruise and arriving in Montreal. What is the first thing we did beside checking into our hotel? Head for the closest Dim Sum joint! Yah, we realized it was pretty pathetic, much like my Dim Sum for dinner in Boston prior to the cruise, but we just needed some comfort food. Hence, our expectations were pretty low (especially since we have been spoiled by Vancouver Dim Sum). With that in mind, we settled on La Maison Kam Fung a few blocks from our hotel.
Since they still employed push carts, we got almost all of our eats all at once. I guess the enthusiastic (maybe a bit pushy?) Dim Sum ladies ensured we would fill our entire table. I decided to try the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) first and I wasn't a huge fan of the thick and dough dumpling skin. Inside, the meaty shrimp were aggressively seasoned while completely overwhelmed by the bamboo shoots. As for the Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumpling), it was pretty stiff and dense. Therefore, the texture was more meaty than the classic tender bounciness. It was mildly seasoned where I could taste the bits of shiitake.
On the same note, the pork filling in the Bean Curd Skin Roll was very similar being dense and somewhat dry. I found that it tasted rather porky with only a tad of seasoning. Since the bean curd skin itself was also dry and mostly chewy, it further exacerbated the textural issues. Compounding it all was the lack of sauce as well. Arriving in a very dark red hue, the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet) were not bad. Although a tad overdone, where the tendons underneath were on the verge of melting, the rest of it was tender, buttery and well-seasoned (being on the sweeter side).
One dish that was mostly a fail was the Steamed Bible Tripe. There was nothing wrong with the seasoning as it was the classic ginger and onion. Furthermore, there was no gaminess since the tripe had been properly rinsed. The real problem was the texture. It had not been properly tenderized and hence, the tripe was chewy and not in an appealing manner. At the request of Costanza's son, we got the Steamed Spareribs on Rice. The ribs were decent being a chewy tender while adequately seasoned especially with garlic. However, the rice was too soft bordering on mushy. Also, it didn't benefit enough from the flavours of the ribs on top.
My son really wanted the Donut Rice Noodle Roll which was also prepared to his preference without any greens nor dried shrimp. Although the donut was a little on the denser side while not being crispy at all, the rice noodle itself was quite good. It was thin and soft while retaining an elasticity. That texture continued with the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll as well, but the addition of green onion and cilantro didn't make much sense as it totally overwhelmed the shrimp. With that being said, the shrimp was the beneficiary of a meaty snap though.
One of the larger dishes was the Deep Fried Smelt where some of them were filled with roe. We were fortunate enough to score some freshly fried ones and they were pretty good. Soft and moist on the inside while crispy on the outside, they were wok-tossed in a good amount of salt, garlic and chili. We were actually finished our meal when the kids noticed we had not ordered any Spring Rolls. Since it was a push-cart operation, we had to wait until they were available. It was worth it as they were hot, crunchy and filled with well-seasoned and tender chicken. Yes, no shrimp here, but good nonetheless. Considering that this was our first Chinese meal since Boston, we thought it was serviceable with all things considered.
- Most items available within the roaming carts
- Okay pricing
- Tight seating arrangements
- Pushy cart ladies