Golden Paramount Chef May Chau (PHOTO TARA LEE)
Chef and owner of Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant May Chau appears fairly shy and unassuming for a dim sum chef superstar, but make no mistake — she’s a wizard at making dumplings. Just last year Chau won Silver for Best Dim Sum in the Vancouver Magazine’s 2014 Restaurant Awards.
Her intensive training began at age 12 when she started apprenticing at a top dim sum restaurant in Hong Kong. Since then, she’s been honing her skills, eventually opening Golden Paramount in Richmond in 2007 (located at 8071 Park Road).
Chau eschews showy fusion cooking and instead concentrates on transforming traditional dishes into revelatory eating experiences. “My dim sum is focused more on delicacy, craftsmanship, and ingredients,” she explains during a chat at the restaurant.
Steamed Crab Dumplings (PHOTO TARA LEE)
A prime illustration of her dim sum philosophy is her steamed dumpling with pork and crab meat, which was a Critic’s Choice Signature Dish for the 2013 Chinese Restaurant Awards. They really are a work of art, with the dumpling’s wheat starch wrappers so thin that they are almost transparent. The interior of minced Chinese mushrooms, bamboo shoots, pork, crab meat, shrimp and cilantro has a fine texture from meticulous knife work.
Pan Fried Pork Buns (PHOTO TARA LEE)
Chau’s exacting attention to detail applies to both taste and aesthetics. The dough of her pan-fried pork buns is crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside. And the bun’s leaf-like pleating on the top makes them oh-so-pretty. “Customers say they’re too beautiful. They don’t want to eat them,” says Chau.
Daikon Spring Rolls (PHOTO TARA LEE)
To keep the menu fresh, Chau is constantly coming up with tweaks on traditional dishes. “I go to Hong Kong every year and meet all the dim sum chefs I know there to get new ideas and inspiration from them,” she explains. Diners, for example, love her version of a spring roll, which features shredded, juicy daikon.
Sticky Rice Cakes (PHOTO TARA LEE)
Her latest creation involves steaming and then pan-frying sticky rice cakes, filled with mung bean paste, until perfectly golden.
Chau ends the interview with some advice for any aspiring dim sum chefs: “Don’t be afraid of challenge because dim sum is very delicate work and has so many procedures.” However, one bite of Chau’s dumplings makes all that work seem worthwhile.
8071 Park Road, Richmond, BC
Hours of Operation: 10:30am – 3:00pm | 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Closed Tuesdays.