Sherman's Food Adventures: Chiu Chow Seafood Restaurant

Chiu Chow Seafood Restaurant

Having already visited the newish Chiu Chow Seafood Restaurant for dinner, it was only a matter of time we went back for their Dim Sum Service.  To be honest, the dinner was a disappointment as the Chiu Chow dishes were a bit lacking.  However, the Dim Sum looked promising as it seemed like the menu was barely different than when it was still Regal Mansion.  Did they actually change staff?  Looks like many of the same people and maybe even the kitchen?  That would explain the mediocre dinner but promising Cantonese Dim Sum (despite being Chiu Chow now).

So I made several visits for their Dim Sum service already, but I'll amalgamate all of it in this one post.  Naturally, we need to have the staples including the Ha Gau and Siu Mai.  Both of these were quite good with the ha gau featuring a medium-thick dumpling skin that had good elasticity.  It was not oversteamed, so it held together when I picked it up with my chopsticks.  The filling had a moist and buttery texture with the classic shrimp snap.  Nice sweetness with an aromatic brininess.  As for the siu mai, they were buttery with the classic bounce from the pork and shrimp.  There was minimal chunks of fat, but the siu mai were still juicy.  Nicely seasoned with it being more sweet than savoury.

Due to the multiple visits, we were able to try 4 versions of their Rice Noodle Rolls including beef, prawn, scallop and BBQ pork.  As you can see in the pictures, the texture of the rice noodles were a bit different.  The one with the beef was the ribbon-type while the others were the classic rolls.  Hence, the beef version was softer and more intertwined with soft bouncy beef and green onion.  Large with a meaty snap, the prawns were texturally appealing.  Scallop was a more uniform texture being soft on buttery soft.  Loved the natural sweetness.  Overstuffed, the BBQ pork was combined with cilantro.  Not sure if that was necessary, but there was lots of lean meat.

Onto two versions of fried dumplings in the Deep Fried Glutinous Dumplings and the Deep Fried Taro Dumplings.  I found the glutinous dumplings to be only mildly crispy, but the shell was soft and nicely textured.  Inside, the pork and shrimp was moist and mildly-seasoned.  As for the taro dumplings, the mashed taro outer shell was a bit oil-logged, but that is typical because they mix the taro with lard (yes really).  So it was creamy and soft with a crispy exterior.  The pork and pine nut filling was also moist with a bit of starch-thickened sauce.

For me, I always like to get the Steamed Beef Tripe & Tendon in Teriyaki Sauce.  This was piled high with buttery tender slices of honeycomb tripe that had completely taken on the flavours of the braise.  It was sweet, garlicky and savoury.  There was no gaminess, so they had prepared the tripe well.  The tendon was super soft, but not melting.  Hence, there was an appealing sticky texture.  Looking like it needed something for colour on top, the Steamed Pork Spareribs with prune & taro was ultimately well-executed.  The meaty pieces were tender and buttery with that classic rebound.  I didn't really get too much prune, so it was more porky tasting than anything.

Continuing on with the usual Dim Sum items, we had the Chiu Chow-Style Steamed Beef Meatballs.  So these were sitting in a clear broth with some greens on the side.  Hence, the dish was very subtle.  Even the beef was not seasoned aggressively (that is what the side of Worcestershire sauce is for).  Texturally, they were a bit more dense that I would've liked, but they were still tender and bouncy.  Another classic was the Steamed Chicken Feet with chili and garlic.  These were fairly large and plump.  They were prepared properly where the cartilage and fat underneath were soft, but not melted away.  The skin was intact and tender after the deep fry and subsequent braising and steaming.  Lots of garlic flavour as well as a bit of spice.

Normally, we find Pan-Fried Daikon Radish Cakes on most Dim Sum menus.  Nothing unusual about this dish, but here they slap on a layer of shrimp paste on the top.  I've never seen this done before and really, it wasn't rocket science, but I enjoyed it.  It gave more body to the medium-firm pudding.  The shrimp paste was sweet and nicely seared.  On the topic of shrimp, the Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls were also quite good.  They were served hot and the wheat wrapper was crunchy and not too greasy.  Inside, the whole shrimp were buttery moist and bouncy.

Moving along, we had 2 types of carbs including the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaves).  As you can see in the picture, there was an equal amount of ground pork filling to the sticky rice (with some wild rice thrown in).  That meant this was obviously meaty tasting.  The starch-thickened sauce mixed well with the soft sticky rice and helped flavour it.  We also got the Seafood Congee with prawns, scallops, fish and squid.  There was a good amount of seafood that was cooked just enough.  Hence, their textures were exactly how it should be.  The congee itself was well-seasoned but not salty.  It was not super thick, but not watery either.

One of their best dishes is their Baked BBQ Pork Buns (Gwei Fei Bao).  These were pillowy soft with a thin crispy & sweet sugary butter topping.  Inside, the ample amount of lean BBQ pork was coated in a sweet sauce.  I kid you not, another must order is their Sweet & Sour Pork.  This was a smaller Dim Sum version, but it was still plenty.  The chunks (or large strips) of pork were meaty and tender while not too fatty.  They were fried-to-order unlike some places that are par-cooked.  Hence, beyond the crispy and thin batter, the meat was juicy.  With just enough sauce to coat each piece, the flavours were definitely balanced between sweet & sour.

For dessert, we had the Baked Egg Tarts.  These were exactly how we like them with a buttery and flaky puff pastry shell and a silky semi-sweet egg filling. However, their signature dessert is their Twisted Egg Pastry (Daan San) with coconut and syrup (probably a honey/maltose mix).  These light-as-a-feature crisps were very fragile but appealing to eat.  With a bit of both condiments, it was sweet and aromatic.  Honestly, the Dim Sum here feels like it is exactly the same as when it was Regal Mansion.  Sure, there are some Chiu Chow additions, but that is about it.  Could it be the same Dim Sum chef?  Possibly.  Whatever the case, it is better than their dinner service in my opinion.

The Good:
- Generally above-average eats
- Comfortable dining space
- Fairly good service
- Validated 3-hour parking

The Bad:
- Still not sure about their Chiu Chow dishes
- Not the easiest restaurant to get to from the parking lot.  Only one elevator for that side.


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