But first, a quick note: I have added a few pictures to the previous post. As per a request below, I am going to work on getting more pictures on the site–especially on home cooked meals–I don’t know about getting restaurant pictures yet.
And now on to my wonderful dim sum at Sun Sui Wah on Sunday. Aside from the whole catastrophe of me losing my passport on sunday morning (turns out you don’t actually need a passport or birth certificate to get in to Canada), we managed to get out of Seattle by 9:30, making it to the downtown Vancouver branch of SSW before noon. There was a bit of a wait for a table, but not bad, maybe 20 minutes, which isn’t all that much when you consider we drove over 2 hours to get there. The clatter and clank of dishes right away reminded me that we were not at a quiet, polite Seattle dim sum anymore. “It’s like a different country” Said B. Meaning China, not Canada. And it is, this was a real dim sum experience, and for me a first. I chose piece carefully, wanting to try everything–new things for the experience, things I get all the time to see how different they were here. I was careful to eat only small bites of what we got in order to conserve as much stomach space as possible.
I’m going to describe what I got here, please, anyone who knows the real names of these things, I would love to know!
The first cart that came by I picked a steamed barbecue hum bao. The outside was a great texture, pillowesque as it enveloped pork that fell apart at the slightest prodding. The hint of sweetness that I so dearly treasure may have been a bit overpowering, but it was better than lacking it. Next up was a squid dish, it appeared just to be a few whole pieces of squid steamed in a very light sauce. Simple, yet for a squid lover like me, a great punch of flavor. The tubes held sauce so there was a little explosion of flavor when you bit into it.
We grabbed a few pork potstickers from a tray, which were good, but still just potstickers–nothing overly exciting. A sticky rice was nicely packaged into small package so there was a very high sausage to rice ratio, a nice bonus for the meat lovers among us, also allowed the rice to take on more of the meaty flavor. I always order my thick rice noodles with shrimp inside, but here they had only beef, so I took that and was surprised at the soft texture of the beef inside, matching the noodles perfectly in texture, but with a terrific bite of flavor from the inside of the plainness of the noodles.
A little treat I had never had before came by soon after, small circles of tofu (soft and custurdy on the inside, but with a solid skin, so they didn’t fall apart) with a ball of shrimp on the top–like the inside of a har gow, but with out the skin, and a small sprinkling of roe. This was a great new treat, and it was very well liked by B and I. Another new dish that we really enjoyed, I can barely even describe. The outside was like the dough part of a steamed hum bao, but it was sliced like it had been from a log, and the inside was almost all filling–only maybe a centimeter of bao around the edge. The filling looked a little like sticky rice, perhaps? With just a bit of sweetness. It was my favorite of the day, so if anyone knows what it is, please tell me!
Unfortunately I haven’t convinced B to get over his fear of chicken feet, so one of my staples was out, but my other one was definetly in–Congee. B agreed this was some of the best congee we have tried. And nothing cures a hangover like a good congee. This made us very happy, it was the only thing I had trouble enforcing my one bite rule. We finished up with a little pan fried pork dumpling, which made our potsticker taste like cardboard, it was so packed with flaver (a breadier type of dough, much better meat). Last but not least, I finally realized that I had to ask for my daikon cake to get it, which I did. Those were pretty average, despite being fried to order.
I left Sun Sui Wah with a grin on my face. I finally understood why people were so snotty about Seattle’s dim sum–this was what they were talking about. And I’m willing to bet there are people who turn their nose up at Sun Sui Wah’s dim sum, so I’ll have to keep looking for new and better places!