Updated 23rd Oct 2011; This restaurant is closed, verified against Urbanspoon.com.
I am not sure if you notice this. For quite a long while already, we had been dining out by looking for particular dishes instead of wanting to try a restaurant. That is why our to-try list is sorted by dishes rather than by restaurants. We find it more fun seeking out interesting food than interesting restaurants.
And what really helps us is that we get quite a number of recommendations via emails and comments from Friends of Chowtimes. Of course, right? If someone cares to write to us about something they discovered and like a lot, chances are it will not be too shabby.
Lily wrote to us about two weeks ago. Out of the blue … and boy, is she expressive. Her descriptions of her favourite food in select restaurants were so detailed that I was wondering why she did not put up a blog of her own. LOL!
Lily wrote to us about the sago and red bean pudding she had in the Golden Phoenix. Golden Phoenix is located just next door to the ever so busy $2.95 breakfast joint on Nanaimo and Broadway.
It is a long way from home in Richmond but for something unique we are more than willing to take the drive. Suanne and I just am bored with the same old siu mai, har gow and stuff like that even though our boys love those. We took the trek nevertheless on account of Lily’s description of the one item.
I did not expect this but this restaurant is prettier than I thought. It is so plain on the outside but inside is pretty classy. The carpet is nice and newish … double layer table cloth instead of layers of throwaway plastic ones. Even the seats have covers.
I did not expect this at all. I was actually thinking … “oh no, how much is this gonna cost now?”.
I actually did not expect a lot of other things too. I read about poor service in this restaurant but our experience is more than pleasant. The ladies who attended to us were sweet and we felt mothered, if I can describe it that way. It’s like our own mums asking us if we wanted any particular item and then telling us why this is good for us — very persuasive.
Granted the restaurant was about 80% full during that time we were there. It is a push cart dim sum restaurant. They also bring out individual items by hand.
Language-wise, we got by fine with them with English. They understand but their English is limited.
Chinese tea charge is 60 cents per person whether you drink or not. Our boys always have iced water. They do charge them for 60 cents. It is not a problem for us but just wanted to point this out.
Despite how fancy the restaurant looked, their prices did not match that. As a matter of fact, I found them quite on par with “lesser” restaurants.
Look at the picture on the left … the top part that says “Chef’s Special House Steamed Soup”. I learned that they are big on steamed soup. The logo outside the restaurant is a steaming pot. As we walked in, there was a dozen or so soup pots on display. There is even a banner on top of the entrance to the kitchen extolling the benefits of drinking soup.
Most of what we got was just $2.36. Good value for money, I am sure you would agree.
So, we were quite happy with everything up to this point.
The above is what Lily was telling us about. This is called Tapioca with Red Bean Paste on their menu. We couldn’t find this in their menu and had to describe this to the waitress. It took a while before she understood what we were looking for. She had to go to the kitchen to get this for us. So, if you want to get this, you might need to ask for it specifically.
I like it. It is not super delicious or anything like that. It is just interesting and nice.
This is served cold and jelly-like. I thought it would be … sticky but it was not. Instead, it is a bit chewy and has a firm texture (definitely firmer than jelly).
The sweetness came mainly from the red beans.
Golden Phoenix is a soup specialist. In here you must order their soup to try. And they are not expensive too.
There were so many soup options to choose from that we did not know what to get. I asked the waitress what her favourite one is and she said the Ginseng & Pearl Chicken Soup. So we got that.
The regular price for this soup is $6 but it was discounted at $4.80.
In Cantonese, the only way to describe this is that it is “jang”. I am not sure what the English equivalent word is. It is a word better than “good” … a word that one use to say that it is so good and that one is satisfied.
This one I like too. I like the name … the Empress Pork BBQ Bun. For those of you who understands Cantonese, this is called Kwei Fei Char Siu Bao.
This is like a cross between two of my favourite buns … the char siu bau and the pineapple bun. Not quite the same, but like.
They served this fresh out of the oven and this is the only way one should have it.
It is overall sweetish. It is also very soft and airy and has a crunch topping which is sugary. Unlike the topping in Pineapple Buns, this one is finer and tasted a bit creamy. The Pork BBQ is juicy and moist as you can see.
I can’t see anyone not liking this at all.
The Mixed Sesame Seeds Balls was another favourite item.
I like the whole idea of having a mix of black (hint of bitterness) and white sesame (slightly nutty) seed here.
The sesame seeds are well roasted to a crisp. Inside, they are half filled with gooey black sesame paste.
This is what I like about restaurants like this. I like to have items like this in dim sum.
Arkensen and Nanzaro wants Siu Mai.
Even with a common item like siu mai, they make it different. They are HUGE.
It is not often I see Siu Mai this size. I put one into a normal tea cup and it almost fit. Just wanted to show you how big is big. They taste pretty decent too.
Ditto the Har Gow.
Ditto the Sticky Rice.
Not one only but they serve two in a basket.
And ditto the Black Bean Pork Ribs with Japanese Pumpkins.
Considering that this is just $2.36, it is difficult to find fault with their dim sum.
Oh … there are more.
The Steamed Fish with Black Bean Sauce on Tofu was quite good. I like the sauce with the bits on top (garlic?) which has a strong flavour.
They have some firm tofu underneath the fish. The sauce complemented well with the bland tofu and the fish.
All these just for $31.
So, Lily thanks for the recommendation. We enjoyed this dim sum very much. It was certainly worth the long drive!