Imperial Court Beijing and Szechuan Cuisine in Richmond

We went to the Imperial Court Restaurant for breakfast more than two months ago. Although we know of Imperial Court, we had never been inside simply because it looked expensive from the outside. To us, it is expensive when they have “captains” (chief waiters) in black vests, have tablecloth and expensive chairs.


It sure does look like an above average Chinese restaurant, don’t you think? Well, it does to us. Because of our limited use of the Chinese language, we are somewhat intimidated and uneasy in these kind of places.


As usual, the boys asked for water (they don’t like Chinese tea). Even then the water came in a nice looking glass. We like little touches like this.


We went to the Imperial Court only because of the ad they put up in the Richmond area papers. They had special discounts then for dim sum between 8AM to 11AM. I don’t think they have the discounts now. So don’t just go there now and say that chowtimes said they are suppose to give 25% discounts for dim sum, OK?

Back then they have a Peking Duck special for just $10.80. Anyone have any idea how much would a whole duck normally cost? The last time we had Peking Duck was … oh … 12 years ago in HK!!


The Imperial Court is located in the strip mall right across from Richmond Center on No 3 Road. Their address is #6-6360 on No 3.


This is not a push cart dim sum place. You place your order on the order form. We prefer push cart types as we can see what it is we are ordering. It is hard for us trying to figure out the English descriptions. Most of the dim sums are below $3 which is inexpensive for a place like this. Their most expensive ones are those with shrimps which even that is below $5.

For this post, I would like to get the reactions from the non-Chinese readers of chowtimes. You see, I had often brought my non-Chinese friends to dim sum but more often than not, I get a lot of reactions to the food — mostly of uncertainty over the content of it. Here goes … my impressions of non-Chinese’s impression of Dim Sum.


Siew Mai ($2.96), I find is the one that is a favourite among non-Chinese. Anything that has lots of meat (especially beef and pork) is a favourite to non-Chinese. But I sometimes got to explain what the orangey stuff is on the top!


Deep Fried Roll ($2.96) is another favourite with non-Chinese. Maybe it is because of the easy to remember name and that it is quite westernised by now. We would not have ordered this if not for Arkensen wanted this.


Steamed Shrimp Dumpling ($2.96) is also a common dim sum choice that I notice non-Chinese gobble down very fast! Normally, the Chinese would just order one serving of this but when I am with my non-Chinese friends, we ended up ordering more.


The looks of the thing above puts off a lot of my non-Chinese friends. I guess they must be thinking … now … why would anyone wrap their food with a rotten piece of leaf?!? Many of these friends, does not touch it … not even with their chopsticks.


The lotus leaf warp aside, they are great. In it is sticky rice ($4.50) … if they served it unwrapped, it looks a lot more appetizing. I also think that to non-Chinese, aside from sushi, rice are not supposed to be sticky … i.e. sticky is yucky.

But frankly, to the Chinese, it is low class sticky rice if it is not wrapped in lotus leaf. The lotus leaf actually imparts some flavour to the rice.


I get mixed reaction from Steam Rice Roll. The one above is with Shrimp ($4.50) which is acceptable to most non-Chinese because, well, they can see the shrimp in it. But I don’t think it is a favourite because it is tasteless besides the shrimp. But that is not the point … you MUST have this with the soya sauce.

I once was asked … then why they not pour the soya sauce in it before it is served. My answer? “Just because …”


The one above is also Steam Rice Roll but with Pork Liver ($2.96). It looks like beef at a glance. If I tell my friends it is beef, they will eat it but would probably have thought that the texture was kind of … different. But when I let them know it is pork liver … eeww.


The Baked B.B.Q Pork Bun ($2.96) from the Imperial Court is quite unique. They are extremely glossy and also really beautiful if you ask me. They apply a thick layer of syrup on the bun and make it very very sticky. This one you must try in Imperial Court. I always describe this as the Chinese version of burgers.


The Spicy Shrimp Dumpling ($4.50) is not the normal dim sum dish, I believe. I think they have this because of their Szechuan background. Dim Sum are from south China (HK mostly) and are somewhat bland in taste. So, having such strong spicy dim sum is a good idea. I don’t think many non-Chinese would appreciate this because of the spiciness.


The Beef Ribs with Garlic ($2.96) was quite OK. This would have been great with steam rice.


The Imperial Court have other choices too other than Dim Sum but they only serve this in late mornings. Looking at the prices, they are quite OK … just a tad more higher than other Chinese restaurants. But then this is not like any other Chinese restaurant.


They have a “Patrons” charge of $3.20 which I think is for the Chinese tea. Total bill with tips came to $40. No bad … not bad at all.


It was one of the better dim sums we had.

Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine on UrbanspoonBusiness Hour

7 days a week

Dim Sum: 8:30 am to 3:00 pm
Dinner: 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm

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  1. KimHo

    Hi Ben,

    A whole roasted duck could cost go anywhere from $16 to $25 in a Chinese market. Have not purchased one of those in a while so don’t quote on me on that one! However, I find it odd they will serve a whole duck as a single course. You know, skin with scallions and hoisin sauce in a thin Chinese pancake makes up one dish, the meat itself another dish and so on.

    For an average of $3 per dish, it is really cheap; but, then again, that’s only true if you are early. Whenever I go for Dim Sum with non-Asian people, there is one rule: unless you have a death threatening allergy (which they will conveniently make up “just to be safe”), no questions allowed. You will have to trust us! If they insist, we will say “just eat it!” or “we will tell you AFTER you had it!”. Anyway, the conclusion I have arrived is that, unless it is something they can immediately identify, they will not have any. Oh, well, more for me, I guess! ^_^

    What you mentioned is true, my non-Asian meal companions usually request siu mai (pork dumpling) and haa gao (shrimp dumpling). I will just have one of each and move to something else. As for the dishes I have to order, they are lotus leaf rice (just like you) and the usually freaks non-Asian: the infamous fung zao, aka, phoenix talons, aka, chiken feet. Their usual complain is the fact there is no “meat”. But I guess a lot of people misses the point of this dish.

  2. Chris

    I don’t read Chinese either but I’ve found most of the wait staff are pretty good at explaining, esp. if we are with non-Asians. I love har-gow….I’d have the whole serving to myself! I do like to gross ppl out with the chicken feet or duck tongues or the cow innards but I’ve had a few folks brave enough to sample some. Peking Duck in a decent resto. in the Toronto area will run at abt $30 for 2 dishes; $10.80 for one dish is a very good deal(just as a reference, in Sydney, Aust for 2 courses of Pek. Duck in a rather dive-y joint cost abt AUD80!). The “cheong-fun” I find is not too popular with non-Asians, although most would try it with char-siew. A tough sell is the sweet soyabean curd which Asians enjoy, likely cos of the slippery slimey texture. I find in the Toronto area more non-Asians, even kids are getting into dimsum. Got to have dimsum tomorrow morning……

  3. Chubbypanda

    Even without the coupon, those are great prices for dim sum in Canada (taking into account the US exchange rate). I must try this restaurant when I’m next in BC.

  4. ET

    Hey Ben, how would you compare Imperial with other dim sum places in Richmond? C and I used to think of Imperial as one of our stand-by yum cha places before they redecorated. The food was pretty greasy, but it was tasty and prices were great. We visited after their faux French-country renovations, and found that their food standards had taken a surprising turn for the worse. When one of the captains told us their head chef was from Kirin, we were even more bowled over. Perhaps the chef has finally found his footing and things are back on course… in that case, a trip back to this place may be in the works for us.

  5. Ben

    Hi ET: I must say that there were better dim sums in Richmond. I don’t find any problem with the quality but I would say that it is nothing special. We like new types of dim sum and really find things like rice rolls, dumplings, siew mai boring. Would we go back to Imperial Court? No, not for dim sum but perhaps would want to check out their lunches and dinners.

  6. akwok

    The best dim sum (and coincidentally, the best formal dinner) I’ve had recently is the restaurant inbetween Canadian Tire and Yaohan on No. 3. It’s quite fancy looking, too!

  7. Sandy

    I don’t usually enjoy having dim sum with people who aren’t familiar with it because I spend too much time explaining and too little time eating! I describe most items as shrimp dumpings or shrimp & pork dumplings.

    I like the restaurants where you mark off what you want because you’re sure to get certain items. With the carts, you may wait awhile before you see something in particular.

    That price for Peking Duck is great. A local restaurant in San Diego has a Sunday-Thursday price of $19.99.

  8. iridescence

    This is in the same mall as Staples, is it not?

    I recall having Alaskan King Crabs here before. It wasn’t bad and it wasn’t the best, but it was definitely one of the cheapest places around.

    I’ve never had their dim sum, though… I usually have my Sunday morning fix at either Neptune Sharkfin Seafood Restaurant or at Lucky Tao (on Alexandra). Thanks, I think I’ll be giving this a try!

  9. eddiep

    10 bucks for peking duck is awesome! I have had it in HK as well. It usually runs at about $25 usd for the skin and pancakes. This is at Peking Garden. In the states, I have had it in SF for about the same price. They do run $19.99 USD specials every once in a while in the Bay area. I live in Dallas so the $10 deal is making me hungry and very jealous. Happy eating.

  10. Opus

    It’s strange (or not) that I don’t find animal innards disgusting to eat at all. Well, I sometimes think “how can white North Americans be so cowardly about food?” But then, the Cantonese are known to eat some weird stuff compared to other Chinese.

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