Sherman's Food Adventures: Seaport City

Seaport City

For awhile there, especially during the pandemic (I guess it isn't really over, but you get the idea), there was a lack of new restaurants.  Business was tough and opening a new spot would've been probably not the best idea.  This also true for Chinese restaurants as many of the existing ones were struggling to survive.  Now that things are seemingly better, we find a few new spots popping up here and there including the brand-spanking new Seaport City.  It takes over the old Milestone's location above Whole Foods on Cambie at 8th.  They serve up Cantonese-style dim sum but for dinner they offer a rarity in Vancouver - Chiu Chow cuisine.  We ended up trying their Dim Sum service first.

With designated parking spots below and a dedicated elevator straight to the restaurant, Seaport City does offer up a convenient setup.  After looking over their menu, we ordered some items including the Crispy Prawn Rice Noodle Rolls. As you can see in the picture, the rice noodle was a tad too thick.  However, it was quite soft and delicate.  There was an absence of elasticity though.  Inside, the crispiness of the coating was a nice textural contrast to the overly soft rice noodle.  The prawns were meaty and cooked just right with a fresh snap.

For some reason, they did not specify the type of Spring Rolls on the menu.  So I'm happy to report they were the garlic shrimp variety.  I much prefer this over the pork and/or vegetarian one.  These were prepared well with a crunchy wrapper that was not overly greasy.  Inside, the shrimp were well-seasoned and nicely textured being moist with a rebound.

It seemed like we go all the shrimp/prawn items first and that continued with the Ha Gau (Steamed Prawn Dumplings).  Like the rice noodle roll, the dumpling skin on these were on the thicker side and slightly gummy.  They weren't terrible, but it definitely lags behind the better versions in town.  With that being said, there was some good elasticity though.  Inside, the prawn filling was good though with large buttery bouncy pieces.

One thing we do not see very often on Dim Sum menus these days is the Taro Cake (usually daikon radish cake instead).  They had it here and we were more than happy to order it.  However, it wasn't very good though. There was far too many pieces of dry taro and not enough pudding cake.  Hence the whole thing was powdery and mealy.  We had a hard time eating it without drinking lots of tea.

Coincidentally, the next item to show up was the Wu Gock (Deep Fried Taro Dumplings).  3 shrimp, then 2 taro dishes, interesting.  Anyways, these were good with a thin creamy layer of taro (love that lard in there..) with a crunchy exterior.  Beyond the lard and the deep-fry, the dumpling wasn't actually that greasy. Inside, the minced pork filling was tender and moist.  It could've used a bit more seasoning though.

Funnily enough, the Steamed Chicken Feet also had a base of taro underneath.  3 taro dishes in a row!  I digress...  This was actually very good with plump chicken feet that were larger than most I've had recently.  Hence, there was plenty of tender skin and cartilage.  Sauce was good too where it was the right viscosity, therefore clinging onto each foot perfectly.  It was sweet and garlicky with a light kick.

Staying with the offal theme, whenever it is on the menu, I always go for the Steamed Beef Tendon and Tripe.  This was also quite good with sliced tendon that was was soft, yet not completely melting away.  The big pieces of honeycomb tripe were also tender with an appealing chewiness.  Once again, the sauce was a nice consistency and quite similar to the one with the chicken feet being sweet and savoury with a slight kick.

Another one of my favourites is the Bean Curd Wraps and the one here was just alright.  I thought the bean curd skin was a little soft and lacked the fried chewiness that is the hallmark of this dish.  However, the biggest issue was the lack of filling as each roll ate very loose and did not have much substance.  It felt like we were eating only bean curd skin.  For the small amount of filling inside, it was tender though.

Now to one of the best dishes, the Steamed Pork Spareribs were excellent.  Practically all of the pieces were meaty and the desirable rib portions.  Very little cartilage and fat which meant more of the dish that could be eaten.  Now this may have been the luck of the draw though.  The texture of the meat was perfectly bouncy and tender.  Flavours were on point with plenty of garlic, slight pepperiness and savouriness.

Continuing on with good dishes, the Steamed Beef Meatballs were textbook.  That meant that the meatballs were fluffy and airy while still having some meat texture left.  I've made these before and the way you must process the meat, in order it to be perfect, rides the fine line of being too chewy or too mushy.  This was perfect.  In terms of seasoning, it was pretty mild as usual with some sweetness and bitterness from the tangerine peel.  It is intentional though, because you would typically dip it into Worcestershire anyways.

Although the Scallop & Shrimp Siu Mai looked extremely pale and unappetizing, they were actually quite good.  Maybe they should've put some tobiko, carrot and/or salted egg yolk on the top for colour.  In terms of texture, these were a bit lighter than usual due to the ingredients.  The scallop and shrimp did have textural contrast, but the result was fluffy and airy.  I personally loved the taste as they were sweet and seafoody.
For our bigger item, we went for the Stir-Fried Udon with Chicken and Egg.  This was a massive portion size of chewy udon that was moist from the perfect amount of sauce/oil.  There was equal parts of ingredients from the texturally appealing wok fried egg to the shredded dark meat chicken.  Crunchy cabbage and carrots rounded out the textures.  Flavourwise, it was mild, but still had enough for some background sweetness.

On the topic of sweet, we had the Salted Egg Yolk Bun which came in a shade of purple.  I assume there was some taro in the bun for it to be that colour.  As for its texture, the bun was fluffy with a somewhat firmer exterior.  It held in the liquid egg yolk center beautifully for it to be leaking out once cracked open.  That liquid gold was sweet with the unmistakable saltiness of the egg yolk.  As usual, it got a bit messy since for the picture, I split it open.
For the next item, I wouldn't necessarily classify it as a dessert, but we ordered it as such anyways.  The Baked BBQ Pastries were one of the best things we ate.  The pastry itself was flaky and buttery while not being heavy.  Inside, the lean pork filling was predictably sweet (so it is a dessert then?) with just enough savoury elements.  The addition of lemon really helped perk things up.

Lastly, we had the Deep Fried Egg Fritters with honey.  This was a fairly large portion of crispy and airy egg dough fritters.  They were not greasy at all and had just enough honey for effect without making them too sweet.  Some shaved almond completed the dish.  Overall, we didn't mind the Dim Sum at Seaport City where the dining room was spacious and well-appointed.  Service was quite good and the free parking downstairs made things convenient.  I realize that we went during their soft opening, but some dishes could use some tweaks.  But they were fairly minor issues.

The Good:
- Decent eats
- Attentive service
- Nice dining space

The Bad:
- Parking is free, but only for 2 hours, should be longer
- There is no real place to wait for a table (unless you wait downstairs in the parking lot), so it gets a bit crowded near the elevator and entrance


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