It’s a rapidly dying art, but you can STILL get dim sum served on carts in Richmond.
Continental Seafood Restaurant – an old favourite of many in Richmond – still operates this way, with servers pushing carts around the dining room stacked with various dishes. As the carts pass, diners sit up tall in their seats and lean in to see what’s on offer, consulting with the rest of their table before claiming their dishes. The server then marks down the item on their ordering card, and at the end it’s tallied up to a not-so-large total.
It’s an interesting way to eat, because instead of choosing your meal based on a written description, you choose it based on what looks good. Or, if you’re very hungry, you choose it based on whatever happens to pass by first!
Continental is located at Cambie and No. 5, just down from Tandoori Kona and Farmhouse Bakery. Because it’s in a strip mall and has an old-school sign, I assumed it would be a modest size, but was therefore blown away to discover an expansive restaurant as soon as we walked through the door. There’s a large dance floor, and apparently on the weekends people get very dressed up and dance all night. Dim sum, however, remains casual, and seated.
There were two of us, and we chose six dishes. In terms of pricing, they’re each categorized under Small, Medium, Large, or Extra Large, so instead of paying for specific dishes, you pay for (2) Medium dishes, (1) Extra Large dish, etc.
The tofu wraps were bean curd skin wrapped around pork and vegetables, and I really liked them, especially the toothsome texture of the bean curd skin.
The steamed ribs with black bean sauce had a lovely flavour, but I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the texture of this kind of steamed meat. I find it’s too difficult to tell what’s meat and what’s gristle!
I think that if I had to choose my favourite dim sum dish of all time, it would be the BBQ pork pastries.
I’ve never had one I didn’t like; in fact, I’ve downright LOVED every one I’ve had in Richmond, and think the combination of sesame-topped pastry and sweet BBQ’d pork is just impossible to beat. They’re the Usain Bolt of dim sum.
The pan-fried rice rolls with bean sprouts didn’t do much for me – the best part of this dish was the sesame sauce it came with, and added the flavour I felt was lacking from the rolls themselves.
The shrimp and scallop dumplings were lovely.
I particularly loved the dim sum cart from which they were pulled – stacked with baskets and billowing with steam.
For greens, we ate an entire plate of gai lan.
This meal could have easily fed four people, and would have only cost them only about $9 or $10 each.
We didn’t order dessert, because we were so close to the Farmhouse Bakery! I bought myself a piece of Hummingbird Cake, which is banana cake with pineapple, pecans, and cream cheese icing. IT WAS GLORIOUS. It was served on a cake stand, not a cart, and that’s ok.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available