Sherman's Food Adventures: Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine

For some reason or another, I thought I had hit most of the Dim Sum spots in Richmond.  Wrong.  I guess I wasn't paying attention or maybe I was in denial as there are still a few that I need to visit including some newer pricier spots.  But for now, I wanted to go on the cheap since I tend to over-order.  Furthermore, it was only going to be myself and Grace, so we were limited in how much we could eat too (then again, we could've gone to the very expensive Fortune Terrace...).  Well, we ended up at the affordable Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine tucked away in the back in the same complex as New Town and Bob's Subs (photo cred: Emily).

After a short wait, we were seated at a table for 2 which was going to be a gong show since we were going to order in excess of 14 dishes (albeit some doubles for takeout purposes only).  Since many of the items all came at once, we decided to go for the Ha Gau and Siu Mai first.  The ha gau sported chewy skin which was too firm.  The filling was excellent though featuring large whole shrimp that were buttery and bouncy.  They were sweet with a slight sesame oil finish.  As for the siu mai, the chunks of pork were on the chewier side, but still had a rebound.  There was a nice balance between sweet and savoury elements, yet the missing shiitake was noticeable.  I had to pick out a few chunks of fat since they were inedible.

I moved onto the Shrimp Spring Rolls next since it was good to eat them hot.  They were indeed hot and crunchy where the grease was minimal.  We found the filling to be very good, much like the ha gau.  It consisted of whole pieces of shrimp that did the buttery snap thing while being well-seasoned.  Another time-sensitive dish was the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll since it is not as good when eaten cold.  We got to it in time to enjoy the chewy and elastic rice noodle which was on the firmer side, but still soft enough.  Inside, the shrimp continued the theme from the ha gau and spring rolls where it was buttery moist with a sweet snap.

From there, we tried the Beef Meatballs that were a bit darker than usual.  Texturally, I found them a bit more dense that I would've liked, but they were far from being bad.  They were chewy with a firmer rebound.  I liked the amount of diced water chestnuts as it somewhat alleviated the firmness of the process beef.  The meat was also well-seasoned, however, the amount of green onions was excessive.  By now, I was getting full, but I couldn't ignore the Tripe and Tendon.  The texture of the tripe was on point being soft with a chew.  The tendon was just soft enough without being mushy.  There was no gaminess while the seasoning was mostly sweet with some background spice.

Garlicky and well-seasoned, the Steamed Pork Spareribs were topped with diced peppers.  These actually made it into the flavour profile, which was a good thing.  There was plenty of meaty pieces in the mix with only a few with cartilage.  The meat was tender with a nice rebound.  Resting on top of some frozen French fries (would've liked taro here instead), the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet) were equally garlicky and somewhat sweet.  The fried skin exhibited a dark hue which was appealing.  Texturally, it was tender while not melty.  Underneath, the cartilage and tendons were soft without disintegrating.  These were quite plump and well-executed.

I left the Lo Mei Gai to the end since it could stand up to being left alone while not getting too cold.  Once unwrapped, I found the rice to be moist with a pleasant glutinous chewiness.  There was a good ratio of rice to ground pork filling.  The filling was tender and had a good amount of shiitake.  It was well-seasoned without being too salty either. Often, Bean Curd Skin Rolls are swimming in sauce that makes it either too wet or too salty.  This one was right on the mark with minimal sauce while not drying out.  Inside, the meat was tender and mildly-seasoned. The pork was tender while not being too fatty.

Also conservatively sauced, the Stuffed Eggplant with shrimp mousse was not devoid of flavour.  They were fried up just right being tender while retaining a bite.  The mousse was bouncy and sweet.  We ended off with the Egg Tarts that sported a flaky crust.  It was a bit too thick though where it partly intruded on the silky egg filling.  It wasn't too sweet which was just right. Naturally, we ordered too much food as usual, so we had plenty to go.  Even with all the leftovers, the final bill was very reasonable.  Considering the decent food quality and price point, it is no wonder why there are lineups at here.

The Good:
- Decent eats
- Large portions
- Inexpensive

The Bad:
- Very busy (but there is a reason)
- A little hard to flag down a server


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