Sherman's Food Adventures: Joyful Seafood Restaurant

Joyful Seafood Restaurant

So here we go again playing musical chairs with Chinese restaurants at 5665 Kingsway in Burnaby.  It was famous for the dragon lady owner when it was known as Po King where customers and staff alike were at her mercy.  It closed and became New Starlet, which was a decent spot, but pricing was a little too high for its location.  That lasted for many years until recently.  Now, in its latest iteration, we find Joyful Seafood Restaurant.  Not much was done with the interior decor and really, the only change I noticed was the new purple signage on the outside.

For some odd reason, we ordered 2 Rice Noodle Rolls which were somewhat similar in the Donut Rice Noodle Roll and the Crispy Fish Mousse Rice Noodle Roll.  Beyond the medium-thick noodle, the donut was a bit dense and not really all that crispy.  On the other hand, it wasn't bad and not overly greasy.  As for the fish mousse, I thought that it was fluffy enough that there was a light bounce texture while the exterior was a bit crisp.  I wasn't so sure why there was so much green onion in the rice noodle while there was plenty in the fish mousse already.  We really enjoyed the Stir-Fried XO Daikon Pudding Cake as the cubes were fried up crispy with very little oiliness.  Texturally, they were soft and almost airy with tender slivers of daikon and cured sausage.  I would've liked to see more brininess and spice from the XO sauce, but it was still evident.

As if there wasn't enough rice noodle rolls already, we also ordered the Brisket & Tendon Rice Noodle Roll Hot Pot.  This was a fairly large portion of rolled noodles underneath stewed brisket and tendon.  I thought the sauce was a tad goopy due to the addition of starch, but at the same time, I guess it would be better than watery.  The medium-sized chunks of brisket were tender with only a bit of fat.  I found the tendon pieces were rather small and melted though.  Staying on the same theme, we ordered the Sparerib and Chicken Feet Hot Pot Rice as well.  I thought this was pretty expensive considering the portion size ($13.95).  The spareribs were good though being mainly meaty pieces which were tender with a bit of chew remaining.  They were well-seasoned with plenty of garlickiness.  Chicken feet were solid too with tender deep fried skin with soft cartilage and fat underneath.  Only issue was the rice as it was a bit too wet.

Onto the staples of Dim Sum, the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) were both well-executed.  I found the wrapper on the ha gau to be medium thick while not being too doughy.  It had a nice elasticity which in turn lead to a good mouth feel.  Inside, the shrimp filling was on point with big pieces of whole shrimp that were moist with a meaty snap.  They could've eased up on the seasoning though.  The siu mai were equally good except for the many large chunks of pork fat.  I know that is one of the keys to keep the meat moist and bouncy, but it could've been in smaller pieces so that it would not be as apparent (like in the ha gau).  Despite this, the overall texture of the pork and shrimp had a good rebound and the seasoning was nicely balanced.

From steamed, we moved over to fried in the form of Shrimp Spring Rolls and Deep Fried Taro Dumplings.  Strangely, the whole shrimp filling (that was in the ha gau) didn't work as well in the spring roll.  Due to the lack of shrimp mousse as a binding agent (and for moisture), the filling was loose and trending towards dry.  Besides that, the spring roll was crunchy and mild on the grease.  As for the taro dumplings, they were really good.  The medium-thick layer of mashed taro was super airy and light.  Unlike many other versions, these were properly drained and the even the bottoms were not overly oily.  The ground pork filling was mixed with a Portuguese sauce that was aromatic and lightly seasoned.  I would've liked to see less fatty bits though.

Back to the steamed, we had my favourite dish (in general, not specifically this one) in the Honeycomb Beef Tripe.  This was on point with large pieces of tender beef tripe.  It was soft enough that chewing was the easy part while not completely melted either.  I found the sauce to be pretty potent bordering on salty, but not.  There was some spice and sweetness to round the flavours out.  With very little gaminess, the tripe was obviously cleaned properly.  Large and overflowing off the plate, the Beef Meatballs were textbook.  Texturally, they were meaty and firm enough that there was some robustness.  At the same time, the meat was processed enough to be tender and light.  They were very easy on the seasoning where we could taste the green onion and cilantro.  This definitely needed the Worcestershire sauce on the side.

Normally, it isn't advised to order Xiao Long Bao in a Cantonese restaurant, but we did it for the kiddies.  Surprisingly, these were actually quite good featuring thin tender dumpling skin (lacking elasticity though) and a decent amount of sweet soup inside.  It was really too bad they were squished together since they essentially burst open when we picked them up.  Even the meat was tender and nicely textured.  They just need to use a bigger steamer.  We got the requisite BBQ Pork Buns for my son and they were good as well.  Featuring a fluffy and airy steamed bun, these ate well without any dense gumminess.  Inside, the lean pork filling was sauced with a sweet glaze.  A textbook version of this dish.

We ended off with the Baked Egg Tarts which were pretty decent too.  The tart puff pastry tart shell was flaky and buttery (more like lard, but yum!) while the filling was silky albeit on the firmer side.  It was just sweet enough.  Other than a few issues here and there, the Dim Sum service at Joyful was generally good.  Compared to my recent visit to another new spot (New Mandarin), I would say Joyful was more consistent across the board for a little less money.  Definitely worth a try if you are in Burnaby Metrotown area.

The Good:
- Solid Dim Sum
- Decent service
- Lots of parking

The Bad:
- XLBs were stuck together
- Not sure why the hot pot rice was so expensive


Karl Mywinepal said...

I will go there and try the dim sum in 5he next 2 weeks.

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