Sherman's Food Adventures: Dolar Shop (Burnaby)

Dolar Shop (Burnaby)

It may be a surprise for many, but this is the first time I'm posting on the Dolar Shop.  It isn't as if I didn't have the opportunity to do so, especially since they opened a location in Burnaby at Station Square.  However, there are so many places to eat and frankly, so little time.  Well, we did finally make it with the whole family including my parents.  Unlike the Richmond location, the one in Burnaby is more compact and less opulent.  So if you desire a bit more space as well as nicer seating arrangements, then you should head out to their other location.  For me, I didn't want to drive that far and besides, they have covered parking at Station Square.

For those who do not know, diners choose their individual hot pot broths and do not share a big pot in the middle of the table.  They do, however, share the a la carte ingredients ordered by a tablet.  With that being said, they do have lunch specials that are individualized and also, if you are not one to share, you can order things for yourself only.  We ended up with the following soup bases: Black Truffle Mushroom, Pork Leg Bone, Tomato and Exquisite Silver Soup.  For myself and Viv, we had a half & half pot each in the Szechuan & Tomato and the Szechuan & Chicken.  We found the tomato as our favourite as it was super flavourful and tomatoey with depth.  The Szechuan had a kick with numbing spiciness.  Even though it was the most expensive at $16.99, the truffle mushroom was mostly mushroom forward.  The best deal was the exquisite silver soup because it included a side plate of chicken and tripe for $10.99.

Off to the good stuff,
we had the Boneless Short Plate which was very fatty.  However, that is what made it super buttery and of course, tender and full of flavour.  Even though it was only AA beef, the meat still ate really well. Hands down, the most excellent dish we had was the Hand-Cut Prime Short Rib.  These were fairly thick-cut, but oh-so-buttery soft.  The marbling ensured the meat was tender and moist while providing plenty of beefy flavour.  We would've ordered another plate of these but we were looking for more variety.   At the end, we added the Wagyu Short Plate and that was also very good.  I would say it wasn't as buttery soft as the short rib, but it was quite close.  Again, plenty of fat to make it taste good too.

In terms of seafood, the Fresh Ling Cod Slices and Jumbo Scallops were top notch.  Served on a pile of ice, the ling cod was indeed super fresh and great quality.  When cooked in the broth, the fish generally stayed intact and came out buttery soft.  It was naturally sweet with the taste of the sea (with no fishiness).  Oh those scallops were a real treat as they were jumbo as described.  With just a quick cook in the boiling broth, they came out soft and tender.  They were super sweet and had the beautiful taste of scallop.  Near the end of the meal, we added The Dolar Shop Shrimp Pâté presented as a big ball in a small metal pot.  It was hand formed (with a spoon) into balls and placed directly into the broth.  These were fantastic with a wealth of shrimp flavour and texture. There was an appealing snap to go with the softer and springier mousse binding portions.

With the meats, we also added the Boneless Chicken Leg and the Kurobuta Pork Shoulder Collar.  Now don't scoff at these selections even though they aren't as sexy as the beef.  Due to the marinade, the chicken was soft and tender, even if it was overcooked.  It kept moist throughout, even the leaner portions of the thigh meat.  Furthermore, it was nicely seasoned as is, even without dipping it into sauce.  As for the pork shoulder, it was sliced thin and cooked up really quickly.  It was meatier in texture than any of the other meats, but was still soft and easy to chew. 
We also got the Hand-Crafted Noodles that came in a plate of three.  These turned out in accordance to how much you cook them.  I like mine al dente, and I cooked them as such (with the eye test).  They were chewy and once again, tasted great due to the delicious tomato broth.

One of the most surprising items was The Dolar Shop Mung Bean Noodles served as small sheets.  We liked them so much, we ordered them twice!  These cooked up relatively quickly and it was really dependent what texture we personally wanted.  So it could range from chewy (in a good way) to completely soft.  For me, I liked them chewy while soaked in the delicious broth.    Unlike some versions, the Fried Gluten was soft and cooked up fast.  I would've preferred them to be chewier.  Of course we had to get our veggies in the form of Napa Cabbage, Spinach and Taiwanese Cauliflower.  Oh, the Quail's Eggs were not veggies, but hey we like them.  Things were fresh and we particularly enjoyed the cauliflower the best due to the firm texture that had a nice crunch.

Of course we can't forget about the Sauce Bar, where you can make your custom sauce for your hot pot.  This was not as elaborate as some places, especially HaiDiLao and in fact, was a bit smaller than Liuyishou.  Despite this, it had all the necessary items including some kimchi, grapes and peanuts.  At the end of our meal, we were served Soft-Serve Ice Cream in waffle cones.  This was a sweet and cold finish to a boiling hot meal.  We could've had another cone if we wanted too!  In the end, our experience at the Dolar Shop was a good one where the quality and service were top-notch.  Prices reflected that fact though.  If I had to compare, I would say Liuyishou would be the better value pick, while HaiDiLao has a better sauce bar and more options.  You can't go wrong with any of them and I would say that the Dolar Shop has the premium individual hot pot thing all to their own.

The Good:
- Quality ingredients
- Excellent service
- Individual hot pots

The Bad:
- Sauce bar is a bit basic

- On the pricier side
- This location is more cramped and less opulent than the Richmond one



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