Lee Garden Seafood is a somewhat new resto in Burnaby that replaced the infamous Grand Buffet. For many years, Grand Buffet was a solid, go-to spot for a cheap fill…the Uncle Willy’s of Asian fare. As the years went by, it slowly deteriorated into an unseemly dive with barely warmed chaffing dishes of nastiness alongside crunchy, past-due sushi and frostbitten ice cream. On our final visit, I pulled a ladle of soup from the tureen with a foot-long hair attached. Rock-bottom. They shut down, thankfully, a couple of years ago. This past spring the space was transformed into a rather luxurious new restaurant. Miss Vancouver Piggy captured the room beautifully in her post.
As is tradition in our office this time of year, we say goodbye to our summer students with a feast. This time around we went with a rather major meal at Burnaby’s newest Dim Sum joint.
Lee Garden is an extremely popular spot. On most days the parking lot is full by 11:30 a.m. with the overflow lining the side streets. Most dim sum items are in the $5 range so it ain’t bargains drawing in the crowds. It seems cleanliness, good eats and great service are the main attractions.
Har Gow will always be ordered. It’s a standard to go by. Here it’s labelled Lee Garden Special Prawn Dumplings. And these were pretty special. There’s a sizeable amount of fresh, firm prawn encased in a light wrap all steamed to a perfect degree. I haven’t come across many better executed.
Another standard, of course, is Sui Mai (Steamed Pork Dumplings). These were prepared very well. Tight, fresh ground pork, still juicy and full-flavored. The haphazard tossing of tobiko seemed odd. Why finish a nice dish so sloppily? Sherman noted this in his post as well. It’s very strange that a higher-end establishment would allow this kind of inconsistency to hit the table repeatedly.
From the Chef’s Specialty menu, we went with the rather inexpensive Pan Fried Noodle with Chive ($5.98). Nothing special but tasty, nonetheless. A good noodle cooked right.
Deep Fried Pork & Shrimp Dumplings. I love these mainly for the crisp and chewy wrap. The minced ingredients are on the minimal side but it is one addictive morsel!
For another crunchy, grease-laden treat, we grabbed a couple plates of Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls with Garlic. These were well-packed with crisp prawn and almost enough garlic. A sweeter dip would’ve helped but that’s just me being a gweilo.
A couple of Fridays ago, my mission was to get the gang in the mood for Dim Sum. Part of that mission was also to do a reasonably priced Friday lunch. Nothing scares fellow diners off more than a continuing string of expensive meals. When I brought up Wah Lun Chinese Restaurant on Hastings in North Burnaby, the idea was met with, “Why don’t you try it on your own gut first“. You see, the internets are full of so-so opinions about this place. There are also a bunch of positive comments out there and because Burnaby is sorely lacking in decent Dim Sum restaurants, I figure it’s best to check out each and every one. In the end the “Let’s all give it a shot” sentiment won out.
So, on an absolutely horrendous rain-soaked day, seven hearty souls trundled to the northern reaches of Burnaby to see what was really up at Wah Lun.
The checklist menu here has most of the usual suspects as well as a boatload more. What jumped out right away was the assortment of interesting dessert items. Not just egg tarts and coconut jello here. Unfortunately, no one had room after the dim sum feast.
After many, many dim sum lunches of late, I figure I’ll order at least one or two items I’ve yet to try. There’s always the must-haves, but variety is…well, you know. One item here that caught my attention was the Deep Fried Crispy Seafood Salad Roll. Damn tasty. Not what we’d expected, tho.
During a recent visit to Sun Sui Wah we decided to start a gluttonous run through the vastness of Vancouver’s top Dim Sum spots. Next stop…Spicy Court Chinese on Cambie at 41st.
Upon arrival, it was obvious that street parking nearby wasn’t gonna happen. That meant only one thing…scary underground parking. Having read about Spicy Court’s parkade, I got a tinge nervous. A parkade four levels deep with tiny stalls and no exit…yikes!
Spicy Court’s spots are on the third level down. Being Sunday at peak hours, this is a ridiculous situation. With the upper two levels completely empty, Spicy’s spots are near fully packed. Can’t y’all work something out?
As with Sun Sui Wah, we arrived on an early Sunday afternoon, absolutely famished. Even worse, Benzie and I had to wait for a couple of stragglers. Being somewhat polite diners, we held off ordering for fifteen minutes. When they still hadn’t shown up, we chucked the politeness out the door and started ordering like it was a death row meal. As the first plate arrived, so did the other half of our crew.
Before the dishes arrived we were sure to grab a saucer of Spicy Court’s fermented bean chili paste. This has a nice, dense flavour with a mighty kick. Perfect for virtually any dish. Especially this one:
A couple of months ago a new, up-scale Chinese restaurant opened its doors in Burnaby. Grand Dynasty Seafood Restaurant is located in the Grand Villa Casino complex. With a mix of high-quality Dim Sum and top-notch plates, it seems to be the go-to place for well-heeled locals.
Upon arrival, we asked for a table for six. There were a few tables available but we were seated at the biggest one, a ten-top. When I asked why we were given a table so big, the service captain said, jokingly, “So you order more food!”. I knew he was kidding, but in the end, he was spot on.
The service here, it must be noted, is well above average. There’s a small army of suited waiters looking out for their customers. While waiting for the other half of our party to arrive, I realized I hadn’t plugged the parking meter. On my way a server actually followed me outside to offer suggestions on where to park for free. As I was parked just outside, and it was a dollar an hour, I just paid the meter. You’ve got to appreciate that level of attention.
Seeing as how we are a group of five and a half Caucasians, there was a small amount of trepidation. Three of us were adorned in our finest work clothes, the other three nattily attired in office gear. But, as Kim says, “I’m only here for the food!”.
We started with an array of dim sum. The price points are a tad higher than most. Small $4.50, medium $4.95, large $5.25, special $5.50 and Chef’s Special $6.50.