Sherman's Food Adventures: Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant

Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant

There are some Chinese restaurants that have been around forever and continue to exist with their original names.  However, that is the exception in the Lower Mainland rather than the rule.  I'm sure this phenomenon happens in other places, but I'm focusing on the musical chairs of changing names of Chinese restaurants locally.  One of which is the current Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant on Hastings.  It started off as the popular International (or Gwok Jai), then Dung Sing Chin, then Tung Sing Chin and finally Van Dragon, where it closed not too long ago.  Seeing how I've tried every iteration of this place, we went for a quick Dim Sum lunch recently.

Now, it took a little longer than we thought because we ended up waiting for a table even though there was no lineup.  There seemed to be a shortage of staff and we were not attended to for a bit and then we had to wait for our table to be cleaned.  Looking over the menu, we noticed that the prices were not exactly expensive, but it wasn't that cheap either.  When the Steamed Shao Mai with fish roe hit the table, it made sense why it was priced at $9.38.  Instead of the usual 4 dumplings, we found 5 of them (that were quite large).  They were good with a good mix of bouncy processed pork along with chunks of meat.  There was shrimp that were properly textured as well.  Seasoning was on point and overall, these were solid dumplings.

I was so excited about eating, I forgot to take a picture of the Shrimp Dumplings (Ha Gau), but luckily, it was in the background of the Rice Rolls with Crispy Bean Curd Skin and Fish Paste.  Once again, the ha gau came in a set of 5.  These were solid with medium-thick dumpling skin which had good elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was meaty with a sweet snap.  Seasoning was a little light though, but we could taste was sesame oil.  It needed a bit more salt.  As for the rice roll, it was thin and delicate with some chew.  Inside, the filling was crispy and the fish paste had a nice rebound.

We also got the Seafood Congee for the kids and they enjoyed it.  We found exactly 2 each of the prawns, scallops and fish.  All of them were cooked properly where the fish was flaky and moist while the prawns were large and had a meaty snap.  The star of the show was the huge scallops which were buttery and sweet.  The congee base itself was very smooth with a medium viscosity.  It was seasoned enough where we didn't need to add anything (other than white pepper).

The kids wanted BBQ Pork Buns and well, whatever they want, they get...  Good choice though as these featured a fluffy bun that was lightly sweet and soft.  Inside, the BBQ pork filling was fairly lean with only some fatty pieces.  The glaze was typical sweet with some savoury elements.  We liked how there was enough of it that it helped flavour the rest of the bun.

For myself, I had to get the Beef Tripe & Tendon in Special Sauce.  Not being very descriptive, the special sauce was sweet with some garlickiness.  Both the tripe and tendon had soaked up the flavours from the braising.  However, they were cooked a bit too much where the tripe was rather soft while the tendon was bordering on melting.  However, with that being said, I much prefer this than these being chewy.

Another dish for me (mainly) was the Bean Curd Wraps with enoki mushroom.  Unlike many other versions I've had, the bean curd skin was actually rather chewy and somewhat hard.  Now you would think this is a negative, but in fact, it was rather appealing with a good mouth-feel.  The chewiness gave way to a juicy pork filling that was tender, yet at the same time exhibited a good meaty rebound.  It was mildly seasoned, but there was enough starch-thickened sauce to help things out.

Back to the kids, they had to get their favourite in the Deep Fried Garlic Spring Rolls.  Another solid offering where the outer wrapper was crunchy and easy on the grease.  It was wrapped somewhat tightly where it was full of shrimp.  The shrimp were cooked just enough (being juicy) where there was still a cold-water crunch.  They didn't ease up on the garlic as we could get a burst of flavour in each bite.

Lastly, we got the Rice Casserole with Spareribs and Chicken Feet.  We found the rice to be nicely dry and chewy.  Hence, even when topped with wet ingredients and doused with sweetened soy, it did not get soggy.  As you can see, there was quite a bit of spareribs on top.  They were tender while still having a chew.  Seasoning was mild, but it was enough.  The chicken foot (singular) was pretty good where the cartilage and fat underneath were tender.  We didn't end up having dessert as we were pretty full.  Portions were fair and the quality of food was overall good.  We would have no problem coming back in the future.

The Good:
- Above average eats
- Decent portions
- Okay service, but see below

The Bad:
- It wasn't as if service wasn't friendly, but there just wasn't enough of it (kind of the theme these days with all businesses)
- A little pricey, but portions reflect it



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