We’ve been writing a lot about dim sum lately, and honestly, it’s very easy to be inspired by this dish, the ultimate Chinese comfort food. There are so many variations on this traditional Chinese dumpling that you could spend a lifetime exploring its gooey, crispy, saucy, savoury, sweet, and sour possibilities. But when it comes to having the best possible dim sum experience in Metro Vancouver, there are a few places and dishes that you should prioritize.
We wrote about a few of these restaurants (below) in our local’s guide to the best Asian restaurants in Metro Vancouver as well as in our guide to Richmond’s Dumpling Trail. But now we’re going to tell you exactly what to do in order to have the best possible experience at these places. Bon appetit…or more appropriately, chī hǎo hē hǎo!
Fisherman’s Terrace is an institution in Richmond; it’s been providing its particular brand of seafood-focused cuisine and warm-hearted service since 1995. When you go for dim sum here, this is what we’d recommend:
- Do order the steamed prawn dumplings. Biting through that thin, translucent wrapping into the crunchy sweetness of those fresh prawns will change your life.
- Do order the pan-fried rice rolls. They’re caramelized with dark soy sauce, then topped with house made XO sauce that’s replete with dried scallops, Chinese aged ham, and chilli.
- Do ask for a serving of house-made chilli sauce.
- If you’re vegetarian—and even if you’re not—do order the Buddhist feast.
- Do finish with bitter melon fried mochi balls stuffed with silky smooth black sesame and peanut paste.
Kirin was Vancouver’s first Chinese fine dining restaurant when it opened up in downtown in 1987. Now their Richmond location is their flagship restaurant, and it attracts a lot of guests. When you go, you’ll understand why. We recommend:
- If you want to go on a weekend, book a week ahead.
- Do order the pork siu mai. The hand-chopped texture is divine.
- Do order the crispy fish rice roll. The contrasting textures of crispy fish and silky-smooth rice make this a delightful twist on the traditional steam rice roll.
- Do order the always-fresh baked barbeque pork pastry.
- Do order the taro puffs. They’re the best in town.
- Do order the piping hot egg tarts.
The Golden Paramount has been awarded multiple times for having the best dim sum in Vancouver, but miraculously, you can still get a table here easily. When you check out this perennial hidden gem, we recommend:
- Do order the steamed dumpling with crab meat and pork. It’s a totally unique dumpling that no one does better than the Golden Paramount.
- Do order their sweet and sour pork—it’s unmissable.
We love Shanghai River as a place to enjoy Shanghainese dim sum. In Shanghai, the convention is to make thin-wrapped soup and pork dumplings and steam them in a small basket. Variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to dim sum. If you want to try out the Shanghai variation on this beloved dish, we recommend:
- Do start with the Chinese donuts paired with a sweet or savoury soy drink.
- (Obviously) do order the soup and pork dumplings—they make them before your eyes!
- Do order the exquisite fried turnip pastries.
- Do order the chicken with wine sauce. It’s well marinated and served cold.
- Do order the scrambled egg white with broccoli. This fascinating dish involves preparing the egg white to taste like crab and pairing it with a rice vinegar.
- Do order their signature Sichuan spicy soup noodles.
- Do finish with their fried dumplings with red bean paste.
Many say that the best dim sum in Metro Vancouver is served at Deluxe Chinese, and we say they make a convincing argument. Their variety of dishes is fairly mind-blowing, but if you go, we recommend:
- Do order the delicate, fluffy baked mountain buns and enjoy their coating of crispy-sweetness.
- Do order the country style steamed honeycomb cake. This chewy treat is shaped like a honeycomb inside, so it gets extra points for cuteness.
- Do order their house special wild rice rolls and enjoy the subtle sweetness of the rice.
Chef Tony’s is a place that focuses on the delectable possibilities of truffle infusion. If you’re as wild over this umami-rich flavour as we are, we recommend:
- Do order their truffle-tossed chicken.
- Do order their pork siu mai dumplings topped with truffles.
- Do order the steamed shrimp dumplings in squid ink wrappers.
- Do order the salted duck egg yolk buns.
That’s, in a nutshell, how to enjoy the best dim sum in Metro Vancouver. These places deliver, each and every time, and the dishes we’ve highlighted showcase them at their best.
Of course, there’s one thing that could make the experience all the more delightful, which is to have it with us! When you come on the Authenic Asian Eats tour, you don’t just savour the food, you pick up a quick, enriching education on the history, culture, and etiquette of dim sum. We host food tours in Richmond often; join us one of these days.