The Jade Restaurant on Alexandra Road, Richmond

Please allow me to do a comparison in this post.

Yesterday, I blogged about the tapas we had in Mis Trucos.

Today I am going to blog about Chinese Dim Sum in The Jade Restaurant. I think this is going to be a bit fair comparison because The Jade restaurant is not a cheapo dim sum joint.


The Jade Restaurant is located on Alexandra Road.

This is the kind of restaurant that you will see a fair number of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot.


We don’t normally go to Chinese restaurants that have high ceilings and chandeliers. Those kind of places are reserved for special occasions.


There are not just one … but several chandeliers.

And that explains why we had never been here before. We were put off by the chandeliers.


And the captains wear suits too. The tables have double table cloth. The banquet hall is bright and large. This type of restaurants are designed for banquet dinners. The smallest table is meant for four people. For morning dim sums on a weekend, it is usually a family affair. So seeing multi-generation families are not uncommon.

The only reason we were brave enough to step into here was because we read of the review from Wendy (Eat N About). It seems like the prices were not as bad as I feared.

You know what sucks here? The service. It was not that it was bad all round but a lot of the waiters/waitresses “tai yan” — that means that they have extra good service to the richer tai-tai’s (from the way they dressed and speak in Cantonese) while for us English speaking customers, we are left with the whatever they wished to dish to us.

That is the problem with such successful Chinese restaurants. They are so popular and have so many customers than they can handle, they can afford to select their customers. For some customers, we see that the waiters were always milling around waiting to fill the tea cups for them. For us, when we ask for anything, we were told to “mmm goi tang-tang” (please wait) and they don’t come back. When we ask them again, they give that annoyed look.

So when dining in such places, you got to deal with this or you are better off not going at all. IF … if you can look beyond this, dining in The Jade is good in every sense.


The Jade Restaurant opens at 9AM. So we were there early because their dim sum is really cheap in the first hour from 9AM – 11AM.

My tip to you is to go at 10’ish and order the first round of cheap dim sums and then follow-up with the better (more expensive) dim-sums at 11AM when the sifu (master chef) arrives in the kitchen.

When we arrived, the place was pretty empty. By 11AM, the whole place was buzzing with activity and there was already a number of people waiting for a table.

We ordered the ‘Bo Lei’ tea. It was a very dark tea … much darker than coffee but the flavour was not overly strong. This is one of the more unusual Chinese tea. You might want to try it if you had never before.



The menu does indicate the availability according to time. Click on the menu above to display it larger. If you don’t know what to order, just go for the ones that is marked with a red star. Those are their specialties.

But anyway, the prices of the dim sums between 9-11AM is $4 – $5 but have a limited selection.

After 11AM the prices ranges from $7 – $10 with more varieties like congee, noodles, and some special price items.

We thought it was not too expensive for a classy-looking place like this.


Arkensen and Nanzaro wanted cheong fun. Suanne and I decided to get one that you don’t normally find in other dim sum restaurants. This one has mushrooms and scallops. The boys protested saying that they don’t want this because it has vegetables (mushrooms!) in it. We tried to reason that this has scallops and they will like it. Well, rather than prolonging the debate, I just over-ruled their protest. Guess what … they love it. LOL! They just don’t want to listen to their mum and dad anymore.

They use fine inoki mushrooms. The scallop was most unique and has a very exquisite taste.

This is $5.28. For the non-Chinese, did you know why the price is so oddly ends with twenty eight cents? The number 8 is an auspicious number to the Chinese because the word sounded like “wealth”. The number 2 is a word that sounds like “easy”. So in combination, 28 is “easy wealth”. That is why you find that the Chinese will pay to get car license plate with the number “8” in it.

In some Chinese cities, people pays hundreds of thousands of dollars for not just car license numbers but for things like phone numbers, the floor of an office building, etc. Even the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony kicked off on 08/08/08 at 8:08 PM.

If the number 8 is auspicious, the number 4 is to be avoided by the Chinese … because it meant “death”. LOL!



Despite protests across the table, we went ahead and ordered the Steamed Mushroom Dumpling ($4.98). The Jade restaurant makes their dumpling very well. The wrap is so thin and translucent that you could virtually see what is inside. This one has shitake mushroom and has a unique flavour.

It was so good that you don’t really need chili sauce or sweet soy sauce to dip. I think pure Cantonese dim sums does not provide the dipping sauces unless you ask for them specifically. Is that right?


Our waiter recommended this. The Steamed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce ($4.48) was kind of oversteamed because the eggplant is too soft and mushy.

 Steamed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce from Royal Dinner and Dance
Steamed Eggplant with Black Bean Sauce from Royal Dinner and Dance

We like the version we had at Royal Dinner and Dance better.


For some reason, they gave us this one above when we ordered the Supreme Dumpling in Soup. Their Supreme Dumpling in soup is their specialty.


We thought that it would be good to try dumpling with lamb meat for a change. The Pan Fried Lamb Dumpling is $4.48.

They serve this with sweet soy sauce mixed with chili, cilantro and garlic which was really good with the gamey tasting lamb dumpling.


So many dumplings right? This one is called Steamed Chiu Chau Dumpling ($4.48).

The skin is so thin that we got to be careful picking it up. The crunchy texture of the fillings inside was great. It consists of turnip/jicama, chives, dried prawns, pork and peanuts. Loaded! It crumbles when you bite into it and so you want to eat it placed on a spoon.


The best part of the meal has got to be this simple dish. This item is only available after … 10AM and is on a separate menu which they only hand out after 10AM. After 10AM, we ordered more items from their expanded menu.

This is called Fried Noodle with Julienne Meat Sauce ($6.99). We ordered this simply because we saw the neighboring table order this. It looked so unique because it came with a plate of noodles separate with a claypot. We did not even ask exactly what it is and said we’ll get that.

This is the way that such crispy noodles must be served …


… the meat sauce is served separately from the crispy thin yellow noodles so that they do not become too soggy and soft when eaten. This is perfect.

The meat sauce has carrot, mushroom, bean sprout and green onion. There are not much of meat here but the sauce alone with the crispy noodles is what matters here.


I thought that the White Wine Sauce with Clam in French Style ($7.79) sounded out of place in a dim sum menu. I got that just to see what it is.

No one touched it other than me. Suanne decided not to like it which was fine by me. The broth has a funny taste and even has pieces of grapes in it. It was actually nicer when it is eaten with rice — which I did.


The boys wanted rice. We call for the simple Rice in Hot Pot $6.99. There are two options available … Preserved Meat or Dried Squid. We had the Preserved Meat option.


Do you find the perspective of the picture above kind of wrong? That’s what you get sometimes with a wide angle lens. LOL!

Anyway, in this claypot are different kinds of preserved meat and sausages.

It was hard to eat rice with chopsticks on a plate. So we asked for bowls but the bowls never arrive. Service!


Not many people will like the type of meat above. It’s all fat but it is delicious.


The bill came to about $45.54 before tips.

So this works out to be about $12 per person. Let’s compare this dim sum with the tapas in Mis Trucos we had the day before. The bill came to be about $33. In terms of value for money, what do you think? Or if this is even fair to compare that way?

Please let me know your thoughts because I wanted to follow-up on this matter on the next few days.

BTW, The Jade restaurant is good in many respect. I think the only thing you need to be very aware of is the poor service. But I think the poor service can be addressed somewhat — just remember to wear your wedding jewelry and get one of the faux BMW key fob and place it on the table. Oh, if you have a cheapo cell phone, keep that in your pocket. With this few simple tips, this may turn out to be one of the best dim sums you will ever have.

Sorry for the sarcasm but service was bad for us.

The Jade Seafood Restaurant on UrbanspoonBusiness Hour

7 days a week

9:00 am to 3:00 pm
5:00 pm to 10:30 pm

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  1. bill

    Heck it is hard to decide I’ll have both.
    If it comes to penny pinching you can’t beat dim sum.

  2. I’m used to the kind of service you describe. I don’t mind it as much. Sometimes, I just get up and get the items that I want myself, e.g. extra bowls, extra napkins, etc. . .The only sticking point sometimes is the pitcher of ice water, which I can’t get myself. Of course, with the order of ice water, they know immediately that we are “different.” LOL

    1. LotusRapper

      JS: I do that too, I often get up and go fetch things like chopsticks, extra bowls, napkins etc myself. Restaurants with bad service usually don’t mind anyway as it’s one less thing they have to do, LOL.

      It’s when I help myself with the beers in the fridge that gets them all uptight ………..

      J/K 😀

  3. Marike

    LOL, funny that you mention the biased service for the “rich” people. I think it’s common in Hong Kong, where social status means alot . Can anyone confirm?

    Though to CBC (Canadian-born Chinese) I think it’s comforting to see places like T&T and higher end restaurants like Sun Sui Wah become english speaking friendly and welcome all customers, tai tai or not.

    Btw, Bo Lei tea is a fermented tea that’s supposed to “cut the greasiness” of foods. Some studies say it helps reduce cholesterol. If you want to buy it in stores, it’s called “Pu Erh” (Mandarin). I look for the kind from the Yunnan, China region.

    The preserved meat in your claypot rice looks like “lap yuk” which is dried, salt cured fatty pork. Mmm, what flavour! I love the dried chinese liver sausages (yun cheong). Was there salted fish (ham yue) in there?

  4. schweetb

    Ohhh, I’ve always wanted to go try Jade Restaurant, but again with the decor style…it intimidated me if i didnt have my parents with me…haha.

    for about 12.00 per person, do you think the quality of the food was worth it? the pictures looked appetizing, but at the same time the food items seemed quite ‘regular’. i noticed that you guys didn’t try the traditional har gaw and siu mai…i heart har gaws =P

    not sure if you noticed, but since you mentioned the auspicious number 8 in the price 5.28…..28 does mean ‘easy wealth’, but if you include a 5 … it changes the meaning to ‘no easy wealth’. crazy huh?!

    1. LotusRapper

      “168” is even better … 😉

      1. Marike

        or “458” but the 4 doesn’t sound like death. It’s more like “never get rich.”


  5. ET

    You must have gone for dim sum early Ben – I think you got the early-bird 20% discount.

    I’ve been to the Jade several times over the years, starting back when it was known as Carrena(sp?). I’d say the food was decent, but the prices have always been dangerously close to those of the more well-known dim sum places in YVR. The service at Jade/Carrena might have been a little brusque at times, but I don’t remember any staff being outright dismissive of us.

    It wasn’t smart of them to not take care of their customers. It leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths – regardless of the how good the food was. I’m sure this is one restaurant you won’t be going back to.

  6. Eric

    Wow, your photos are making my mouth water Ben, just before lunch too. Deal-wise…dim sum is the better value. But I would say it’s not fair to compare directly against ‘Mis’. Even if Mis does sound over-priced, the genre of food is the distinguishing point. If there is a restarant with similar offerings to Mis, that would be a more fair comparison in terms of quality of food and price point.

    You can probably draw a similar discussion that Jade is over-price (to some degree), based upon many other chinese locations that offer similar / better quality @ lower price.

  7. LotusRapper

    Ben said: “We don’t normally go to Chinese restaurants that have high ceilings and chandeliers. Those kind of places are reserved for special occasions.”

    But I’ll bet ya the washrooms’ cleanliness was still less than optimum, and there just might be a few kegs of compressed soft drink syrups along the sides of the back hallways 😉

  8. maxmillan

    Thanks so much for a colorful write-up. I love the sacrcasm at the end which I will heed when eating there. Unfortunatelyl, the attitude of this business is indicative of the old British colonized Hongers. I’ve met wealthy families that are humble and others that are superficial. I think this applies to all nationalities but this situation is more glaring because I am a banana. However, the dish looks good and bad service will not intimidate me as long as I get to taste the food. For really good dim sum and amazing service I go to Kirin at City Square Mall.

  9. Elaine

    Wow Ben! I never knew Jade restaurant was good! Me and my friends always thought no one ever goes there cuz the parking lot always seems quite desserted. Guess not!

    Ditto with some of the comments above. I am kind of used to poor service at Chinese restaurants ha ha ha

  10. Doug

    I personally hate restaurants with bad service. I work in a Chinese restaurant and we do our best service with the poor,disable, or anyone. Sure I am not a Doctor and see my job as a life accomplishment but I work hard to achieve that dream. All my co-workers have that same understanding. We know our customers are same as us, we want and need certain things and we provide them. I just want people to know that its not “Chinese restaurant” are awful services, its the people that manage the restaurant! You go into any other restaurant and will have bad service or food. There is many great restaurant with awesome service and it doesn’t have to be Italian food or Western cuisine. So before anyone say Chinese restaurant are bad services, its Jade restaurant bad service and not the culture or people!!!

    1. Ben

      A very important point note, Doug. And am sure everyone knows this. There many Chinese restaurants with awesome service and we should not take that away from them.

  11. egirlwonder

    Interesting question Ben. Comparing a western restaurant to a Chinese restaurant – I do think it is fair to compare value for money directly between the two.

    I’m always in search of a deal – no matter what kind of food I’m hungry for – so I don’t think that I consider dim sum or other Asian food as a “cheaper” or lower-class of food (case in point: awful Bon’s $2.95 breakfast!). I actually think many people turn to Chinese food (specifically) because you can get a fairly balanced, filling meal, usually with veggies (and not just potatoes) for a decent price compared to what that same $$ could buy you elsewhere.

    1. LotusRapper

      I gotta admit, when dining with family (ie: my parents, extended family, etc.), even at a casual down-home place like Congee Noodle House you get a lot of “bang” for your dining bucks in terms of balance and variety, compared to non-Asian establishments. For the same money, that is. At a typical non-Asian restaurant, figure $15-30 per person for a typical meal excl. alcohol, and you don’t get the same variety of foods and ingredients. But at an Asian (esp. Chinese) eatery, that same budget can easily net you a bounty of fresh seafoods, meats, veggies and other ingredients in a variety of cooking styles and flavours.

  12. trisha

    I would say the value seems better here – you got way more food and a better variety. The steamed mushroom dumplings look delicious! On the other hand, bad service is a huge turn-off for me. Not to sound racist but do you think I would get ANY service, being white?

    1. Jame

      Yes, and will probably get better service than an ESL Chinese trying to eat at an English-speaking restaurant =)

      1. trisha

        LOL… thanks, good to know! (for me, not the ESL Chinese… )

  13. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    It’s funny how you talk about the cars :). At my area basically all restaurants except for fast food have plenty of luxury vehicles! Especially at Chinese restaurants too…

    I don’t get what is wrong with the pot rice photo but I do love the cheong fun photo. I think any kid would like it! Looks so good and they even served the soy sauce on the side which is nice.

  14. HM

    Been here several times for dim-sum & dinner, haven’t come across any bad or dissappointing service so far. If you have a chance to go for dinner, they have great chicken dishes in their specialty chicken menu. BTW, another way of eating crispy noodle in HK is to have it with dark vinegar & sugar. Does anyone know where they serve this in Vancouver?

    1. David Seto

      I agree with most of your comments on the food quality and price. I think the value is good. However, I had very good experience with their service even though I drive a Toyota. I can only explain this by saying that I speak Cantonese with them. I find that most of the waiters or even captains in Chinese restarants are very limited in English speaking.

  15. Jerimiah

    I’ve been here plenty of times, probably 40 or more times over the years, and they have great dimsum and dinners. I speak both cantonese and english but have not found that any of them are a serious barrier. I always ask for recommendations, but when describing the food its best if you can understand the chinese.

    They have a new menu there the other day I went that if you eat and leave before 7:30 at night you can eat a $39.99 meal for four! I tried it and I have to say that value is amazing.

  16. Philip Ma

    I’ve been here plenty of times too and I feel they have excellent food and service!!

  17. v

    a bad tip, to me, will reflect the bad service. it is typical of chinese restaurants to have bad service.

  18. TimeToChow

    Didn’t have a problem with the service, but from exp weekend dimsum service normally suffers a little. Even ur regular favorite server will feel a little less hesitant to stay and chat with u. I think that is the norm in most Richmond eateries. Where they make more than 50% of their weekly sales on the weekend. Normally in dimsum service there are gonna be good servers and bad servers working the same dining room. You can tell which one are dedicated in their work as oppose to the servers who are just waiting for their shift to end.

    I really like the grandpa chicken and sweet bun dessert which both won an award from the cra as well.

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