Garden City Hot Pot in Richmond

More than a month a go, we received an email from a couple from New York saying that they will be in Vancouver and asking if we would like to meet up.  Aaron and Charmaine wrote that they had been following chowtimes for sometime and that they will be in Vancouver to do the Alaska cruise.  After some email exchange, we decided to meet up for dim sum in Richmond.

I suggested meeting at the Garden City Hot Pot mainly because it is high on my list to visit.  I had been there for dinner once but not for dim sum.


Truth be told, Suanne and I are bored with dim sums.  We are  just bored with unexciting generic items like siu mai, har gow, sticky rice and such.  We like places like Sea Harbour because they have unique one of a kind dishes.

We came to know Garden City as a place where they serve individual serving of tea from Doesn’t Tazte Like Chicken.  So at least at the Garden City Hot Pot we get to experience something new.


Interior is clean — much more cleaner than I expected actually.  The walls were quite tastefully decorated with paintings and they even have pots of flowers (albeit fake) on the tables.  It is something you don’t see often in dim sum places.

To our pleasant surprise, the service was also top notch for a busy dim sum place.  They took the time to let us settle down and even took time to chat with us.


We were asked first off what tea we wanted.  Having absolutely no idea what to order, we quite randomly picked our choices.  We ended up Rose, Lychee Hoong, Chrysanthemum and Jasmine.

Apparently at Garden City Hot Pot, EVERYONE must drink tea, even the kids.  They charge $3 per head whether you want tea or not.


Arkensen and Nanzaro asked for ice water but they clearly informed us that we will need to pay $3.  So we decided that since we are dinged for it already, we went on to order two additional type of tea.  Based on their recommendation, the additional choices were Sau Mei (good for curing sore throat) and Grey Tea (bitter and good for curing cold).

Someday … I will go learn more about the finer aspects of Chinese tea but for now my choice is Rose simply because it has flower bulbs in it.

Since we are unsure how to go about steeping the tea, they gave us a demo.  Here … I am reproducing the steps for you info.

Garden-City-Hot-Pot-4-200x300They have provide you the kettle at the table where you keep the water boiled.  It is hazardous especially if you have children around.There was no switch to control the heat.  You need to move the kettle away from the heating surface if the kettle is boiling.
Garden-City-Hot-Pot-3-200x300The tea leaves are served in small saucers and is sufficient for multiple rounds.You don’t use up all the tea leaves at one go … just a bit would do.
Garden-City-Hot-Pot-5-200x300Fill up the steeping cup with boiling water, cover and then …
Garden-City-Hot-Pot-2-200x300… immediately you pour away the water.  They provide a bowl to collect the water and comes by regularly to clear them.  I think this first rinse is to wash the leaves.   Then you refill the steeping cup with boiling water to steep the tea.  I have no idea what is the optimum time to wait.  I just let it get to a stage when it is dark enough.

Simple huh?


The hardest part is pouring the ready tea from the steeping cup to the drinking cup.  You got to do that with the lid on.  Obviously, we made a mess because we can never get it done right without having spills dripping down the bottom.

Is there a technique to doing this?  Our technique is to use the saucer to catch the spill.  Not quite elegant but it works.


Enough of tea … on to the food.  One of the items we had is called the Steamed Fish Head with Preserved Vegetables in Black Bean Sauce. ($7).  The fish was fresh and flakey.  Somehow this does not come across to me as a dim sum and more like a normal lunch/dinner dish.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the sauce was … steamed rice.  Would you think of the same thing too?


Curiously, they asked us twice if we wanted Baked BBQ Pork Bun.  We said no initially because we thought it was just the normal char siu bau.  They insists that we try their version saying that it is the most popular dim sum they served.  We relently … and was surprised.


It is unlike the normal BBQ Pork Bun one would expect.  Instead, it is like a cross between a Pineapple Bun (Bolo Bau) and Char Siu Bau.  Very unique indeed.

The topping is sweetish with a little saltiness.  It is excellent.  If you happen to dim sum here, you should try it.  Chances are that you will love this.  This is $4.50 for three.


The Deep Fried Ground Pork and Tofu Skin Wrap was another item we like a lot.  This is $6.  It is bigger than one normally expect, partly because, I think, it’s wider than normal.  The deep fried crispy skin balances the texture from the ground pork.


Their dish names are soooo long.  The above is called “Steamed Pig’s Cheek and Spinach Noodle in Black Bean Sauce”.  Five bucks.  The Pork Cheek is good … we like the chewy and springy texture.



While the above looked like it’s just liver but it is a combination with pork dumpling.   You can’t see clearly from the angle of this shot.

Despite the Pork Dumpling name, the dumpling also has prawns in to.  It also looks like they hand chop the pork (not normal ground pork) because of the texture.

So, for the $5 dish they should call it “Steamed Pork and Prawns Dumpling with Pig’s Liver” instead of just “Steamed Pork Dumpling with Pig’s Liver”.


The above is Pan Fried Tofu with Shrimp Paste.  It is $5.


What we like about this is that there are more shrimp paste than tofu (see above).  The tofu is really smooth.  This is $5.


This next one has abalone and so it a bit more expensive than normal.  It is $10 and is called Sliced Abalone and Boneless Chicken in Rice in Hotpot.  The soya sauce came in a bowl … lots of it.


Our boys just had to order the Fried Rice.  Woah … this is really expensive and is perhaps the most expensive fried rice we ordered in recent memory.  Believe it or not, it is $18.

It is called Fried Rice with Diced Seafood and Dried Scallop.  While it is nice and well done with loose rice, I felt it is way too expensive for fried rice.

I think it is the dried scallop that makes this expensive.  I can’t pick out the taste of the dried scallop.


For dessert, we had the Double Boiled Egg White and Milk Custard.  It is light … in Suanne’s words, like cloud.  There is a slight hint of ginger in this.  Really nice … $4.50.  You can almost never go wrong with dessert … any type of dessert.


Overall, it was an enjoyable experience … interesting dishes and learned a bit about the protocol of drinking Chinese tea.  For the tea leaves, they gave us way more than anyone would be able to finish.  Having paid $3 each, we asked that they pack it to go … they even have containers ready for this!  Think about it … that is $18 worth of tea for the six of us.  Kind of expensive right?

The best part of this meal was meeting with a fan of chowtimes.  We had a great time with Aaron and Charmaine wishing that they live here … we could have been great foodie partners.  Aaron/Charmaine fought (and won) to pay for this meal.  I think it came up to $80 before taxes and tips.  Is that right, Aaron?

Anyway … Aaron, Suanne and I wanted to thank you for contacting us and meeting up.  One of these days when we go to New York again (which I think we will), YOU show us what New York has to offer in terms of dim sum!

Garden City Hot Pot 新鏞記火鍋 on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. ET

    Hey guys, glad you finally made it there. GCHP a great place for both dim sum and hotpot.

  2. RobynT

    Wow, I’ve never been to a dim sum place where they give you a choice of tea. Usually they just have one. I am a big fan of tea, but at dim sum I don’t really think about it; I just use it to cut the grease! Lychee tea sounds good but I don’t know if I would fully appreciate it at dim sum.

    1. Christine

      You should also try Top Hun if you have the chance as they give you a choice of teas too. Its pretty inexpensive if your a club member there too! Wow, I’m surprised you’ve never tried baked bbq pork pineapple buns! You’re missing out (They’re in most dim sum restaurants I go to)! Food looks delicious though. Keep up with the great work!

  3. Christine

    Oppss… Its Top Gun

  4. koji

    GCHP is part of the top gun group, they have a web site that lists their group. i’m a club member and i think i get 25% off the dim sum. at Top Gun, their dim sum menu is pretty limited, i think because of a small kitchen, but they have strong service. most of thier restaurants try to maintain service quality, i once complained about kingsway sushi to the owner when i went to dim sum at TG, i ended up having the owner and a senior manager asking for details so they can fix the problem.

  5. GourmetBride

    They have a shark fin special with crispy rice (warh bah) that’s $11.99 at lunch. Very tasty and affordable, about 5-6 servings. It’s not the best grade of shark fin but it does give you the fix you need.

  6. PinoyGourmet

    With all due respect,eating sharks fin is not good for the planet,just as well as eatings dogs or cats etc is not good either.Btw make sure its real shars fin,sometimes they use substitutes not made from sharks,now thats more earth friendly

  7. Adelaide

    GCHP is one of my favourite dim sum places!!! I agree in that the food is more expensive than most places, but the food is always good and the staff is just amazing. I think one of the old managers branched out and now runs “Hot Pot 1” in Aberdeen Mall, and they provide the same types of dim sum.

    My son LOVES their special BBQ pork buns. He could eat the 3 on his own. LOL

    The next time, if you go, you have to order their congee. It comes in a huge bowl that keeps warm on their burner on the table. They’re known for their congee. Their spring roll is good too.

    That’s weird about the tea. I don’t think my kids get charged since they only drink water. Mind you, my kids are younger than your sons, so maybe there’s some age limit. ??? My brother sometimes replaces the tea leaves with cold chrysanthemum tea (which is really good there). It’s a good substitute with their hot pot too.

  8. Dan

    I’ve found char sui bao like the ones you had at the Galaxy Bakery on Fraser Street (near 47th Ave). They are awesome.

  9. koji

    went to GCHP today, tea is only $1.60 per person, i checked the bill. i enjoyed the food, i have a TG membership card, so i got 25% off. service is a bit of a hit and miss, some of the servers are good, some aren’t.

    for anyone else, at the end of the table, underneath is the dial for the induction stove, they turn it full when they give you the water which is a bit crazy considering it boils like crazy, just turn the dial counter clockwise to low and adjust when you need it to boil.

    i’ll be back.

  10. mikeyjrd

    i want to take some out of town relatives to a fancier Hot POt place, not AYCE.

    how’s is the dinner here? what about variety and prices?

    other places besides this one if possible?


    1. Ben

      Hi Mikejrd: If you want a fancy hot pot place, then I would suggest you consider Landmark Hotpot. See this post Ben

      1. mikeyjrd

        how would you compare these two places?

        i heard Landmark Hotpot is dirty and has bad service..

        thanks for the reply

        1. Ben

          Hi Mikejrd: I had never been to Garden City for Hot Pot before and so I can’t compare it with Landmark. We had dim sum in Garden City and the place is very pleasant and clean. Service, we remembered, was very good too. As for Landmark, I don’t think they are dirty and has bad service. It is kind of typical Cantonese service where they may come across as aloof at times but personally, I don’t think that’s necessarily bad service. Landmark is expensive though because they do have quality food. Here is another one for you to consider: Ben

          1. mikeyjrd

            thanks for the reply

            i’ve been there a few times already, besides there good hot pot broth, i find there portions are quite small

            just wondering if i have better luck at other places not AYCE..

            i sometimes go there for their Northern Dim Sum for lunch..

Leave a Reply