Sherman's Food Adventures: Lee Garden (Coquitlam)

Lee Garden (Coquitlam)

For those who are familiar with the Lee Garden chain, their first location opened on Kingsway in Burnaby back in 2014.  They added a second location in Surrey on Scott Road a few years later.  However, that one didn't really last as it quietly closed during the pandemic.  Alas, it is still a 2-restaurant chain as it took over the vacated Grand Palace in Henderson Centre in Coquitlam.  Before that, it originally opened as Kirin.  I guess 3rd times the charm right?  So we decided to check it out one day after the biggest snowfall of 2022.  Good thing we have an SUV with snow tires!

Interestingly, the first item to arrive was the Lo Mei Gai (Steamed Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves).  I guess they had some on the go already.  This one sported some wild rice which added both colour and texture to the soft and glutinous rice.  Hidden in the middle was an equal amount of moist ground pork that was mildly seasoned.  There was enough starch-thicken sauce to add some extra flavour to the rice.

One of our "go to" items is the XO Lo Bak Goh (or Daikon Radish Cake) and as such, we ordered it as usual.  They prepared this dish with enormous chunks of radish cake and hence, the texture was a bit softer and delicate.  We didn't mind this as a denser variation would not be pleasing to eat.  The exterior was a bit crispy and not overly greasy.  We would've liked to see more XO brininess and spice though as this dish was a bit flat.

Since my son loves brisket and noodles, we got the Crystal Noodles with Brisket and Tendon Hot Pot.  As you can see, there was much more tendon that brisket (to my son's dismay...).  However, I love tendon, so it didn't bother me one bit.  It was especially good that the texture was just right being soft while retaining a bite.  The brisket was equally good being tender and not dry.  I wish there was a bit more sauce to go with the slippery and chewy noodles though.

Another one of his favourite dim sum items is the classic Char Siu Bao (Steamed BBQ Pork Bun).  Yep, we got that too and it was pretty good.  Looking at the picture, it is clear that there was plenty of BBQ pork filling nestled in the soft steamed bun.  There was the random fatty piece, but most of the pork was fairly lean.  The filling wasn't overly saucy, but there was enough glaze to keep things sweet and moist.

We ended up getting 2 rice noodle rolls in the Prawn Rice Noodle Roll and the Crispy Fish Paste Rice Noodle Roll.  Sporting a medium thickness, the rice noodle was slippery and somewhat soft.  It did have some elasticity and chew.  The prawn were of a good size and exhibited a meaty snap texture.  Loved the addition of flowering chives as they added both brightness and texture.  We weren't huge fans of the crispy fish paste as it was rather dense and inundated with far too much green onion (do we really need it on both the rice noodle and in the paste?).

Now to the one of the, if not the most important Dim Sum dish - Ha Gau (Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumplings).  These were decent in size and featured medium-thick dumpling skin. The skin could've been a bit thinner, but it did exhibit some elasticity and was not overly dense.  Inside, the shrimp filling was moist and buttery.  There was a good snap texture where the pork fat added aroma and the aforementioned butteriness.

Wait...  Where is the Siu Mai???  Well, you'll have to wait because we had to!  Anyways, let's get to the offal part of the meal with the Steamed Chicken Feet in house special sauce.  These were a bit on the smaller side, but okay nevertheless.  The skin was tender while the cartilage and fat underneath were also soft.  They weren't as plump as I would've liked though.  Flavours were good with a garlicky sweetness.

Right next to it was the Steamed Beef Tendon and Honeycomb Tripe.  This was a bit small in portion size as you can clearly see in the picture.  Not much in the way of tendon and not really all that much tripe either.  At least we got our fill of tendon in the noodle hot pot.  Texturally, both ingredients were on point with the tendon being soft while the tripe having a certain meatiness to go with its soft chew.  This was plenty seasoned with equal parts saltiness and sweetness.

Off to another one of our favs, the Steamed Pork Spareribs with Pumpkin. Normally, we like to order this with rice in a clay pot, but since we had some noodles coming our way, we just got them on their own.  I found these to be a bit over-tenderized where the bouncy chew of the ribs was missing.  Now they were super tender though, but a little soft.  There was plenty of garlicky goodness though and it would've went well with rice.

Yes, just like we always do, we ordered the Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with garlic.  If the kids had their way, we'd order 3 of them!  But we got just one and they were pretty good.  These were served hot where the wrapper was wound decently tight enough for a firm crunch.  Greasiness was modest with some glistening parts.  The shrimp filling was moist with a nice rebound.  Lots of garlicky savouriness as well.

As mentioned, here is the Braised E-Fu (Yee Mein) with assorted seafood.  This was supposed to be spicy, but due to some people at the table not wanting spice, we chose for it to be plain.  That didn't mean it did not have any taste though.  It was definitely salty enough.  The noodles were soft but still had a chew while the small pieces of seafood were cooked properly.  I liked how they added small chunks of eggplant as well.

Another larger item was the Seafood Congee.  This came in a much bigger bowl, but for my own serving, I had pieces of squid and prawn in mine.  The congee base was a bit on the thinner side, but still good.  This was drinkable rather than being too thick.  Seasoning was mild where the seafood provided much of the sweetness.  They were cooked properly with flaky fish, tender squid and bouncy prawns.

One of my favourite Dim Sum dishes is the Bean Curd Skin Roll.  I always order it, but not everyone likes it as much as I do.  So I end up eating most of it.  Oh poor me...  LOL...  This one was pretty good with tender, yet still chewy bean curd skin.  Inside, the pork filling was meaty yet tender with more of a natural texture.  The starch-thickened sauce was mild, but still provided some saltiness.

Looking a bit flat, the Beef Meatballs were much better than they appeared.  The whipped meat was bouncy and tender, yet we found little bits of meat that provided natural texture.  They didn't overdo it with the green onion, so it wasn't overly green and herb tasting.  It was mildly seasoned though and it truly needed the side of Worcestershire sauce.  On a side note, why do they always give too little of that? 

Lastly, we had the missing Siu Mai (Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) that I mentioned earlier.  We waited an extra 20 minutes from the time we received our previous dish.  Maybe they were short-staffed due to the snow?  Anyways, these were also good with bouncy shrimp and meat chunks of pork.  Texturally, they were buttery and well-seasoned.  We didn't end up having dessert due to the amount of dishes we ordered.  Yes, we can actually be full sometimes...  We felt the Dim Sum here at this location of Lee Garden to be acceptable and generally above average.  Service as a bit slow, but I'm sure they were short-staffed due to the snow.

The Good:
- Generally above-average food
- Nicely appointed dining space (same as before with Grand Palace and Kirin)
- Indoor parking so you don't have to brave the elements outside

The Bad:
- Things were a bit slow, but maybe due to the lack of staff


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