Sherman's Food Adventures: Excellent Dim Sum King

Excellent Dim Sum King

Whilst googling for "the best" Dim Sum restaurants in Vancouver, one of the ones to pop up was something that seemed unfamiliar to me - Excellent Dim Sum King Restaurant.  I guess when you put in "best" into the search, "excellent" will be one of the search results.  Well, I was indeed on the lookout for something new, so this would be a good place to check out with Goose on his annual visit back to Vancity from Seattle during Christmas time.  Luckily I made a reservation because the the place was packed on a Monday (albeit days before Christmas).  On a side note, they might want to acknowledge customers waiting at the door because no one did for the longest time.

Looking over the menu, prices seemed reasonable and the selection was decent.  We began with the Sliced Beef Congee that arrived in a fairly large bowl for a small order.  It was full of tender beef that was in large slices.  As for the congee itself, it was somewhere in between being too watery and just right.  Ultimately, it did the job and it was seasoned just enough without being salty.  Next, we had the BBQ Pork Pastry.  This as pretty good featuring flaky pastry that was nutty and texturally consistent throughout.  I enjoyed how it was buttery without being completely greasy.  Moreover, it wasn't overly sweet either, rather having a good balance with the savoury elements.  BBQ pork was plentiful and lean too.

As usual, we had the Ha Gau (Shrimp Dumplings) and Siu Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings).  Featuring medium-thick dumplings skin, the ha gau was decent in size.  The dumpling skin was on the softer side with only a touch of rebound.  Consisting of whole shrimp, the filling was good with a moist snap texture and enough seasoning such as sesame oil and white pepper.  The ha gau was good, yet I considered the siu mai to be even better.  They were the perfect texture where the combination of processed pork (with the fat) with pieces of pork, shrimp and mushroom created a meaty and moist bounciness.  In terms of flavour, it was also point with the natural sweetness coming through accented by enough saltiness for balance.

We ended up with two rice noodle rolls including the shrimp as well as the beef.  Starting with the Shrimp Rice Noodle Roll, it was pretty typical with three rolls wrapped around medium-sized shrimp.  Texturally, the shrimp were what you'd expect being cold-water crunchy. As for the rice noodle itself, it was medium-thickness where it was not dense texturally.  Rather, it had a slight rebound giving way to softness.  Now the shrimp rice noodle roll might've been typical, but the Beef and Cilantro was a bit different.  Instead of 3 separate rolls, we had one continuous ribbon of rice noodles that was filled with sliced beef, cilantro and green onion.  This gave a totally different texture where it was more buttery soft with filling in almost every bite.  The beef was properly tenderized being tender with some rebound.

Onto the offal portion of the meal with the Beef Tendon & Tripe as well as the Phoenix Talons (Chicken Feet).  Even before we took our first bite, it was pretty obvious that the tripe appeared to be too soft.  That it was as it didn't require much chewing.  As much as we would've preferred more texture, the tripe was still okay as too soft is better than too chewy.  The tendon was just as soft, which wasn't a huge deal as it hadn't all melted away.  Flavours were good though being plenty garlicky with a hint of spice.  Also garlicky, the chicken feet were fairly large and plump.  The skin was fried just enough where it was still plump after steaming.  Underneath, the cartilage and fat was tender.  Not that it affected the overall eating experience, but the whole chicken feet were a bit mangled which wasn't visually appealing.

To ensure we were full, we headed onto some carbs (or filler dishes as sometimes described).  First, the Sparerib Clay Pot Rice was completely loaded with meat.  There was much more in the way of tender and bouncy spareribs than actual rice.  As shown in the picture, most of the rib pieces were meaty rather than fat and cartilage.  Underneath, the rice was fairly dry and nutty.  Normally, this type of rice during Dim Sum service can be mushy since they don't really cook it properly in the clay pot.  For the kiddies, we got a couple orders of the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice wrapped in lotus leaves).  This was also quite good with a proper ratio of lean ground pork filling to sticky rice.  I found the rice to be on the wetter side, but it was still chewy.  Seasoning was on point where we got the meaty aroma and umaminess of the shiitake.

Next up, we had the kid favourite in the Shrimp Spring Rolls.  These were slender and tightly-rolled where it helped create a firm crunch from the multiple layers of fried wrapper.  Now there is a difference between firm and too hard.  This one was perfect, riding the line between them.  The filling consisted entirely of whole shrimp (or at least very big chunks) which meant the texture afforded a buttery snap with no airy mousse.  Possibly the most impressive dish of the meal was the Steamed Beef Meatballs.  Yes, no kidding!  Sometimes, the meat that is processed and marinated with baking soda can be rather artificial in texture.  However, this was the best of both worlds as it was light and bouncy yet still retaining significant bits of beef that was naturally textured.  Moreover, there wasn't an overload of green onion nor cilantro to overpower the meat flavour.

As usual, we got the BBQ Pork Buns because the kiddies wanted them.  We like them too, but they kinda fill us up needlessly when we can eat more variety!  Anyways, these were pretty textbook with a fluffy bun with a moderate amount of filling.  It featured lean BBQ pork and bathed in a semi-sweet glaze.  We actually remembered to not order the Egg Tarts on the original sheet and hence, we had it for dessert (not arriving first).  These were served warm with a buttery and flaky tart shell.  Inside, the silky egg custard was balanced in terms of sweetness and aroma.  This was a solid version of this dish.  In fact, most of the food at the Dim Sum service was good and the pricing was reasonable too.  Only thing that could've been better was the service as it was hard to flag anyone down (and there was no one to greet us at the door either).

The Good:
- Reasonably priced
- Dim Sum is solid

The Bad:
- Tight seating
- Service is extremely sparse

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