Sherman's Food Adventures: Lee Garden (Surrey)

Lee Garden (Surrey)

At one point in time, over 5 years ago, the Dim Sum scene along Scott Road was pretty sad.  Other than Lotus and defunct Yummy Wonton House, there was much more in the way of chain restaurants and Indian food.  However, with the addition of Chongqing and Happiness, we found legit Cantonese Dim Sum (yes, I know Chongqing is Szechuan, but they serve Cantonese Dim Sum) in the ol' wasteland between Surrey and North Delta.  I actually thought Happiness could give Richmond restaurants a run for their money.  Well, they have been swallowed up by Lee Garden (the original location is in Burnaby).  I've visited after the name change and honestly, nothing seems to have changed.  Finally, I got around to writing a post about the place.

For the as long as I can remember, I wasn't super fond of the pan fried version of the daikon cake.  Not that it couldn't be delicious, in fact, when done right it goes really well with some hot sauce.  However, the more modern version being the Stir-Fried Daikon Cake with XO Sauce is more appealing to me.  This one here was nearly perfect where each cube was crispy and easy on the grease.  Also, the texture was soft, but still had some firmness.  There was a nice background spice and brininess from the XO sauce.  I felt it could've used a touch more though.  One dish that was a little lacking was the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice) as the rice was a bit on the drier side.  It wasn't due to the lack of pork filling though as it was nearly 50/50 with the rice.  Hence, the flavour profile was that of natural tasting pork.

Onto the staples of Dim Sum, we had the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Large in size, the ha gau were pretty good despite being stuck together (forgivable since they were too big to keep apart).  I found the dumpling skin to be medium thick with an appealing elasticity.  Some parts were a bit wet, but with a few minutes of sitting out, it tightened up.  Inside, the shrimp filling was on point with large chunks mixed with some mousse.  There was a moist snap to go with the seasoning where the sesame oil and natural shrimp flavour coming through.  They actually forgot about the tobiko on top of the siu mai, but that didn't matter.  They were good as well being of a good size.  The pork was fairly processed and hence had a light bouncy texture.  There was enough shrimp and shiitake to add both flavour and texture.

Onto the offal part of the meal, we had the Steamed Beef Tendon & Tripe in Chu Hou Sauce.  Again, this was a generous portion of large chunks of tendon and tripe.  Texturally, I thought the tripe was on point with a soft chewiness.  As for the tendon, it was on the firmer side, but still soft.  However, the tripe was far too gamy and could've used more rinsing.  The gaminess was so strong, it affected the tendon as well.  Too bad really as the seasoning was impactful with a sweet and savouy garlickiness.  It was debated whether we would order the Phoenix Talons (Steamed Chicken Feet) because it wasn't a "preferred" item.  Heck, I got it anyways!  Well, it was pretty good with medium-sized feet that featured soft fried skin.  Underneath, the fat and cartilage was cooked through being soft and appealing.  I thought the flavours were very similar to the tripe except without the gaminess.

Looking rather pale, the Steamed Bean Curd Skin Rolls stuffed with pork and veggies was pretty average.  I found that since they didn't fry the bean curd skin, the texture was too soft.  Not to mention, it was also not appealing to look at and didn't have that fried nutty flavour either.  Inside, the pork filling was loose, yet tender.  The sauce was very mild and almost not there.  Hence, I needed to dunk these into Worcestershire sauce for impact. I guess the bean curd skin rolls weren't as pale as the bright white BBQ Pork Buns.  Mind you, the buns should be that colour.  They were fluffy like they appeared while being moist at the same time. Inside, the lean pork filling was plentiful and sauced in a sweet and savoury glaze.  Pretty textbook in my opinion.

We can't go for Dim Sum and not order any Rice Noodle Rolls.  So we not only got the shrimp, we also go the BBQ pork rice noodle rolls (only shrimp pictured).  These were also done right with a medium thick noodle that was soft with some elasticity.  There was more than enough shrimp and BBQ pork for both rolls.  I found the shrimp to be cold-water crunchy with sweetness while the BBQ pork was lean.  Moving onto a different type of roll, we had the Garlic Shrimp Spring Rolls.  As illustrated in the picture, the filling consisted of whole shrimp that were meaty with a garlicky snap.  There was not a whole lot of shrimp mousse in these rolls.  The outside wrapper was crunchy and hot while easy on the grease.

Onto dessert, we went for the good ol' Egg Tarts which were a pale such as the bean curd skin rolls.  Yes, the egg custard filling was a touch pale (and semi-sweet), but the puff pastry was truly without colour.  This was because they didn't bake it enough and/or not at high enough heat.  Therefore, the shell was as flaky as it could've been and furthermore, some parts were gummy.  Despite the egg tarts and a few other items, the Dim Sum at this location of Lee Garden is solid and respectable for anywhere in the Lower Mainland.  Not sure what difference there is over the restaurant here before though (Happiness).

The Good:
- Solid Dim Sum
- Fairly good service
- Decent selection

The Bad:
- A little pricey


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