Sherman's Food Adventures: Lee Garden (Henderson Centre)

Lee Garden (Henderson Centre)

Okay, our last visit to the newish Lee Garden in Henderson Centre was only half-a-year ago, but that was after a heavy snowfall.  This meant the restaurant was not fully staffed nor was it completely busy either.  We had a decent meal, but I felt we had to go back when it was 100%.  I guess going on Father's Day itself might've not been the best choice because that could be deemed too busy.  However, it was not overflowing with customers and it seemed like they had the full compliment of staff.

So without further delay, let's get right into the food!  Well, I'll talk about the two most important dishes right off the hop.  The Ha Gau (Lee Garden Crystal Prawn Dumplings) were quite good.  Although the dumpling skin was medium-thick, it wasn't too dense.  There was a nice translucency with appealing elasticity.  Inside, the shrimp filling was moist and buttery with a classic snap texture.  Seasoning was mild with sweetness and some sesame oil aromatics.

Off to the Siu Mai (Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings), they were not uniform in appearance, but ultimately that didn't matter much.  Somewhat loose, the mixture of pork and shrimp were texturally on point.  Exhibiting the desired rebound while being tender and moist, the pork was also well-seasoned (so it wasn't too porky in flavour).  As for the shrimp, it has all of the same qualities as the Ha Gau with a buttery snap.  

We also had the Steamed Rice Noodle Roll with Prawns & Chives which was not bad.  I found the rice noodle itself on the stiffer and drier side.  Now with that being said, it didn't make or break the dish necessarily.  By employing some of the sweetened soy, it somewhat helped soften the rice noodle somewhat (in addition to adding flavour).  As for the prawns in the middle, they were of a good size and had a meaty snap while being lightly seasoned with appealing sweetness.

We always enjoy the Baked BBQ Pork Pastries and naturally we would order these here.  Generally, these were quite good where the pastry was buttery and flaky.  There was a nice aroma while we ate them and I'm sure it was due to the use of lard (hey Dim Sum isn't health food!).  Love the colour on the outside too.  Inside, there was an average amount of BBQ pork filling that featured fairly lean pieces.  The minimal amount of glaze was mostly sweet with some savoury elements.

One of the strangest items we had was the Ling Cod Congee.  Okay, nothing really strange about the dish itself, but the preparation was not what we expected.  They put the head as well as the bones into the congee which meant it tasted great with a natural sweetness.  However, we had a fun time trying to not accidentally swallowing bones.  Not sure if that is necessarily a good idea to prepare fish congee this way.  In terms of the congee itself, the viscosity was good where it was thick but drinkable.  It didn't get watery at the end either.

Onto another larger item, we had the Crystal Noodles with Beef Brisket Hot Pot.  This was served in a hot pot and it was indeed sizzling.  That was good and bad since the noodles on the bottom got pretty singed.  Hence, those noodles were more chewy and in some parts, actually hard.  The positive of the sizzling hot pot was that the whole dish remained warm and the sauce caramelized.  The brisket itself was excellent being tender and meaty.

One of our go-to dishes whenever we are at Dim Sum is the XO Daikon Radish Cake.  These cubes are deep fried then wok-tossed with XO sauce, peppers and bean sprouts.  We found the radish cake to be rather squishy, but they were delicate and not dense.  However, the deep fry on them was not aggressive enough and hence the squishiness.  There was not a lot of XO sauce going on either, so I needed to dunk it into hot sauce.

As you can see in the picture, the Pan-Fried Eggplant with Shrimp Paste was pretty generous with the stuffing.  It was also good where the shrimp was airy and light with a rebound texture.  It was sweet and had a natural shrimp essence.  I thought the eggplant was excellent where it was cooked through while still having some firmness.  The only part of the dish that could've been better was the starch-thickened sauce, it was rather bland.

The parade of shrimp-related dishes continued with the Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with Garlic.  Again, if we reference the picture, you will noticed the generous amount of whole shrimp jammed within the roll.  There were no empty voids and this made for a robust spring roll.  Texturally, the shrimp had the requisite buttery snap while being well-seasoned.  The spring roll wrapper was wound tightly and was crunchy without being greasy.

Onto the offal portion of our Dim Sum meal, we had the Hong Kong-Style Steamed Beef Tendon & Tripe.  Honestly, I've never seen a dish like this plated so carefully (well at least not at this class of restaurant).  Instead of tripe strewn about, they were neatly arranged on top of the tendon.  Besides that, the tripe were in large pieces and perfectly textured being soft with a chew.  Tendon was also soft but not melted while savoury and sweet in flavour.

A touch on the paler side, the Phoenix Talons (Steamed Chicken Feet in House Special Sauce) were a lot more plump than it should be.  Let me explain, the chicken feet are fried before they are steamed.  They didn't fry them enough, hence the texture of the skin was more akin to steamed from raw than the desired texture.  Beyond that, the rest of the chicken feet was good though being soft and tender.  Flavours were good with lots of garlicky spice.

One of, if not the best dish of the meal was the Steamed Spareribs with Pumpkin.  First of all, the portion size was generous with predominantly meaty rib pieces that weren't too fatty.  Secondly, the meat was the proper texture being tender with a rebound.  In terms of flavour, the seasoning was impactful with lots of garlic, a touch of spice and plenty of savouriness.  Underneath, the pumpkin was soft and soaked up all of the flavours.

Last savoury item was the Beef Meatballs and they were also quite good.  Texturally, these whipped meatballs were fluffy and airy.  However at the same time, there was still some "meatiness" left.  There was just enough green onion mixed in for some flavour without taking over the dish.  I was happy that they put fried bean curd skin underneath as it provided a different texture as well as soaking up some of the juices.

For dessert, we had the Steamed Egg Yolk Bun as well as the Steamed Sponge Cake.  I found the buns to be fairly fluffy with a good amount of runny salted egg yolk filling.  It was sweetened enough so there was balance.  The nuttiness of the egg yolk came through.  The sponge cake was fluffy and light yet there was a noticeable baking powder aftertaste.  It was mildly sweet with a rich brown sugar aroma.  So this second visit to Lee Garden in Coquitlam was good.  Sure, some dishes could be better, but overall, we enjoyed the food.  Service was decent and the spacing of the tables was comfortable enough.

The Good:
- Decent eats
- Decent service
- Fairly comfortable

The Bad:
- Some refinements needed


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