Sherman's Food Adventures: Golden City Restaurant

Golden City Restaurant

Despite our meal at Wild Mountain, most of our eats in Sooke consisted of burgers, fries, pizza and other fried food.  So prior to our ferry back to Vancouver, we stopped off in Victoria for some Dim Sum.  I do understand that Dim Sum may not be any lighter or healthier than the aforementioned eats, but there is something comforting about it.  That also partially explains why I put up with average-to-substandard Chinese food while on vacation.  This time around, we steered clear of the hit-and-miss Don Mee and went up the street to Golden City on Fisgard.

Walking into the place, it was like a time warp back to the late 70's and early 80's complete with paper lanterns.  However, we did order from a modern checklist much like the ones we find in Vancouver.  To get away from fried food, we started with the Deep Fried Dumplings and Spring Rolls (LOL).  Despite the complete lack of filling in the deep fried dumplings (and when there was any, it was mostly pork fat), the outer shell was on point.  Just thick enough with  glutinous rice flour, it was sticky and soft with a crispy exterior.  It wasn't too greasy either.  Although the spring rolls were advertised as shrimp and chive, the filling was all pork and some veggies.  That didn't mean it wasn't good though as the pork was moist, well-seasoned and bouncy.  The spring roll wrapper was light, crunchy and easy on the grease.

As per usual, we ordered some Rice Noodle Rolls in both Shrimp and Donut.  Just a touch on the thicker side, the rice noodle was marginally doughy, but overall, quite good.  There was a decent amount of elasticity and the noodle was relatively soft.  I enjoyed the large whole shrimp which were meaty with a sweet snap.  As for the salty donut, it was large and extremely crunchy.  Not sure if they refried it or not, but it was on they greasier side.  Whatever the case, it was a whole lot better than being doughy and soft.  Normally, when we order XO Daikon Radish Cake, it arrives in small deep-fried cubes.  Not this one, as they took big irregular pieces and stir-fried them with XO sauce, green onion, sprouts and egg.  I've seen this done before, but with smaller pieces.  Ultimately, this was not bad with soft daikon cake that was mildly spicy and briny from the XO.

Onto some steamed items, we got the classic Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Impressively large, the ha gau were more than acceptable.  The medium thick dumpling skin was on the doughier side, but still had some elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was on the denser side, but still texturally appealing with a moist snap.  In terms of seasoning, it was on the milder side, but the sweetness of the shrimp did come through and we did end up dunking them into hot sauce anyways.  The siu mai were appreciably better than the ones we had at Don Mee (gross...) where the pork filling was in chunks rather than ground up.  It was more meaty than bouncy in texture, but the flavours were all there including the shrimp.

For Costanza, he loves tripe and normally doesn't get to eat any with his family (they don't particularly love it).  So with both options available, we got the Bible Tripe and the Honeycomb Tripe.  Starting with the bible tripe, the pieces were bite-sized with very few smaller bits at the bottom.  They were tender with an appealing chewiness and snap.  The classic ginger and green onion flavour came through without being salty.  As for the honeycomb tripe, they strips were fairly large.  Texturally, it couldn't have been anymore perfect being soft and buttery while retaining the classic bite.  The dish was well-seasoned with hits of garlic, slight spice, sweetness and saltiness.  Both types of tripe were also not gamy which meant they had been cleaned and prepared properly.

Another solid dish was the Bean Curd Skin Roll or phonetically pronounced "Seen Jook Guen".  Although a bit pale, the bean curd skin had been fried enough so there was a chewy texture while being delicate enough.  Inside, the pork and veggie filling was moist and tender.  It was well-seasoned as well with a good balance between sweet and savoury with a mild pork flavour.  Again, that didn't really matter as we dunked it into copious amounts of Worcestershire sauce.  Without trying to make a joke, the Beef Meatballs were very large in size...  However, they were also a bit too dense for our liking.  There needed to be a bit more baking soda and starch to make these fluffier and more airy.  However, it wasn't as if they were bad either.  The meat was still tender and mildly seasoned with just the right amount of green onion.

For some larger dishes, we got the Wok-Fried Flat Rice Noodles with Beef.  Portion size was on the smaller side, but considering this was dim sum service and it was priced at $12.95, we were fine with it.  If we talk about execution, this was pretty legit.  As evidenced in the picture, there was more than enough wok heat (or wok hei) to create caramelization and smokiness.  The dish wasn't overly greasy and the noodles were not clumped together.  The ample amount of sliced beef was also fried up nicely as well as being super tender.  Also priced at $12.95, the Sparerib and Chicken Feet Hot Pot Rice was expensive.  At the very least, it was a big portion where the ribs were tender and well-seasoned.  I didn't particularly like the chicken feet as the cartilage underneath the tender skin was hard.  I found the rice to a bit too wet, but not a bad dish overall. In fact, Golden City wouldn't be out-of-place in the Lower Mainland, let alone Victoria.  Sure, the decor could use a refresh, but it kicks Don Mee's rear end if we had to compare locally.

The Good:
- Legit Dim Sum
- Nice people
- Decent selection

The Bad:
- The 70's called and want their Chinese restaurant decor back
- Some items were pricier than usual

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