Vancouver, British Columbia / August 28, 2010 / brunch
Winederlust Rating (details below): 8.3 out of 10 / Winederlust Worthy: Yes
One thing Jay and I always have to eat when we visit my family in Vancouver is dim sum. After taking the Cathay Pacific flight from NYC that doesn’t arrive till 2am, we’ve actually made a tradition of getting a decent night’s sleep at a hotel near the airport and then heading right for dim sum the next morning. Our journey is made much easier considering the airport is in Vancouver’s Richmond district, a heavily Chinese area where most of the best dim sum joints live.
To break our Chinese eating fast (we had consciously avoided Chinese food since overdosing on it during our China trip in the spring), we decided to try the Richmond branch of the Vancouver mini-chain Kirin, a large restaurant filled with Chinese families on the second floor of a nondescript mall (as most good Chinese restaurants seem to be!). Though Kirin didn’t offer the dim sum wheeled around on carts that we love, we were impressed with the huge menu featuring some unusual choices. (And we ended up totally over-ordering.)
We started with the Steamed Abalone and Chicken Bun, which ended up being one of our favorite dishes. It was filled with lots of mushrooms and had a bit of a flowery flavor, and the steamed bun was tender and fresh.
Next came the Steamed Scallop and Asparagus Rice Roll, which was good but a little boring. The third dish was also one of our favorites – the Steamed Chicken and Wolfberry with Flat Rice Noodle on Casserole. We were intrigued since we’d never heard of wolfberries, but it turns out it’s another name for goji berries, the trendy red and somewhat bitter fruit. The berries were sprinkled throughout the delicious light rice noodles and tender chicken.
The Steamed Scallop, Crab, Prawn, and Egg White Dumpling was delicious and bursting with seafood, but the poor simple Steamed Prawn Dumplings paled by comparison.
The Steamed BBQ Pork Buns were yummy – nice fluffy buns with not overly sweet tender pork inside – but we could have skipped the Steamed Free Range Chicken with Cordyceps Flower. Though it sounded intriguing on the menu, the chicken included all sorts of chewy parts filled with bones that we didn’t enjoy eating.
The Prawn and Peapod Spring Rolls was another dish we could have done without, since they were very fried and didn’t have a lot of flavor.
Though we were stuffed, we had to end the meal with the Chilled Fresh Mango, Pomelo, and Tapioca-Sweetened Soup – a great choice since it tasted so deceptively light despite the likely-not-light coconut milk.
Overall, the food at Kirin was more innovative and less greasy than a lot of the dim sum we’ve had in New York. We’ll just have to keep up our morning-after dim sum tradition every time we venture to the West Coast.
– by Liz Humphreys, Winederlust Eater in Chief
Winederlust Rating Details (out of 10):
Food: 9.0 (preparation, presentation & taste)
Wine: N/A (selection, recommendations, pairings & taste)
Service: 8.5 (helpfulness, attentiveness, knowledge & pacing)
Place: 7.5 (location, view, decor & vibe)
Price Range: $$ (Moderate)
Kirin Restaurant, Richmond / 200 Three West Centre, 7900 Westminster Highway, Richmond, British Columbia [map]
Direct Line: (604) 303-8833
Open daily 10am-2:30pm and 5pm-10:30pm; reservations
recommended, especially on weekends.