Dim sum is a rich and longstanding piece of Chinese culture. It is said to have dated back to a simple stand in Qing Dynasty that provided tea and snacks for customers to rest and chill. Over time, this little shop evolved and led to bigger and more tea houses, which further rooted this tradition of drinking tea and having delicate bite-sized treats. Because dim sum was very popular in Guang Dong and Hong Kong, it brought about the Cantonese term Yum Cha (饮茶 = drink tea). So, going for yum cha means the same thing as going for dim sum.
The style of dim sum varies based on the geographical region as different parts of China will have different preferences and traditions. The common Westernized dim sum resembles more of Hong Kong and Guang Dong style. It entails the well-known dishes such as shrimp dumpling, siu mai, steamed pork bun, rice noodle rolls and egg tart.
Enough with the background information, let’s get into the goodies. I love dim sum?! To me, it is the equivalent of an Asian brunch, with countless choices that will bedazzle you. I am down for dim sum any time, because they serve sweet, savoury, vegetables, meats, fried, steamed, basically everything. While I was visiting a friend in the area, I decided to grab lunch at her recommendation – the Premiere Ballroom and Convention Centre in Richmond Hill.
The interior decor exuded a 19th century European vibe where the walls were embellished with Victorian paintings, high ceilings were dangled with massive chandeliers and gold ornaments, and long and dark red robes were draped along the walls. It was as if you were invited to have English tea with the Queen. Heck, even the servers wore maid dresses. I guess Hong Kong did have a colonial era.
It was a very majestic banquet hall, I can totally envision big events like weddings being held here.
They started us off with some pu’er tea in very fancy tea set. Tea IS NOT free here, they charge $1.50 per person.
They have an early bird special for Monday to Friday, where all orders before 11 am, no matter the size, are $3.50 each. Too bad we came on a Saturday, and after 2pm, lol.
The snow pea leaves were garnished with bits of fish, goji, and chopped dates. I didn’t care much for the sweet goji or dates, but the leaves were very umami in the fish broth. The deep fried taro dumpling came as a set of three, my boyfriend stole a piece before I could take a picture. A good deep fried taro dumpling has that honey comb texture and appearance to its shells and is filled with juicy ground meat. The ones we got definitely had the looks, but I found the shell was not as airy as it could be and slightly over-fried. The filling was so-so.
Hmm, I noticed a piece of dried up leaf stuck at the bottom of their plate. It seems as they may be too busy to pay much attention to the cleanliness of the plates. I tell myself that it was just a random leaf on the kitchen counter and not that they slopped up in rinsing their dishes.
The pan fried short ribs were sweet and tender, very tasty. The steamed seafood dumpling and steamed shrimp dumpling (Har gow) were so mouth-watering delicious! The wrappers were chewy and thin. The shrimp filling was juicy and bouncy, and you can visually see the whole shrimp (maybe 3 per filling)! The dumplings were purely stuffed with the filling without any extra empty space under the wrapper. Hopefully, one day I will reach that level of dumpling making as well.
Our dessert was the steamed egg yolk paste bun. O, do not let it’s boring appearance fool you and miss out on it. They are filled with flowing molten sweet and savoury egg yolk custard filling. It has another name called Liu Sha Bao (流沙包) which literally translates to runny sand bun thanks to its golden oozy goodness. It also has a relative named custard bun and is made with milk yolk custard.
As you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed these buns to the last bite?. So delectable.
My dad once told me the best way to judge a dim sum place was by how the quality of their har gow was. I was quite impressed with their har gow. So I say, this place is legit?, in terms of food. The servers seemed impatient, rushing around and ignoring eye contact. They all had an unsmiling look as if they hated their job☹. Maybe it’s the intense stress from this busy work place. This was not a quiet dining place either. There was constant clinging and clanging of the plates and dinnerware in the background, definitely a bit of a mismatch with the high tea setting, but fairly accurate for Asian restaurants.
The bill came out to be $49.16, with the snow pea leaves dish being the most expensive $13 dollars and the rest among the range of $4.50 to $6.50 each. I guess J meant Jumbo. I probably wouldn’t have ordered the snow pea leaves if I knew it was that expensive. Still, $50 dollar for 2 people wasn’t too bad, just on the pricier side for Asian restaurants. Plus, we were both stuffed in the end.
Service and price aside, this is certainly a solid place for dim sum. If I do come back for the food, I would make sure I come during early bird time to get a steal on some high quality dim sum?.