Guess who’s (sadly) had her last dim sum meal of 365? This girl. And guess who ordered durian as a part of it? This girl. And guess what – this girl still doesn’t like it.
Now that I’m heading into the last week, I’ve been doing some interviews about my experiences over the last year, and one of the most common questions is “What foods didn’t you like? Is there something you absolutely will NOT miss?” While the vast majority of foods I tried in Richmond were so good I craved them later, there are a few that didn’t find their way into my good graces. And remember – I’m the type of person who keeps eating a food until I like it (which DID happen with tripe), but there were a few I just couldn’t conquer, and I’m at peace with that. If I never have squid guts, boiled pig liver, or durian ever again, I’ll be fine. Fine, FINE, FIIIIINE.
I gave durian a third and final go yesterday at Neptune Seafood Restaurant, a glamorous place on Ackroyd next to Neptune Noodle. It’s busy any day of the week and just a short walk from Lansdowne skytrain station, so I’d highly recommend making a reservation.
We ordered seven dishes: the BBQ pork pastries (I insisted, they’re my favourite, after all), rice rolls with shrimp and fish roe, fried radish cakes with XO sauce, eggplant with edamame and preserved cabbage, steamed buns with chicken and ginger, steamed cake, and durian cream rolls (the restaurant is famous for its durian – I had to).
The star-like BBQ pork pastries were heavily flavoured with ginger, and very good. Scrap that – they were magnificent, as pork pastries always are.
The rice rolls with shrimp and fish roe were something a little different, and I liked the combination of flavours and textures, particularly the little beads of roe that burst as I chewed.
Whether you’re at Neptune or Sea Harbour, the fried radish cakes in XO sauce are a must-order. These had a chunky texture, and the side of XO sauce (which is much coarser than the one they serve at Vivacity) was quite spicy. I added it to nearly everything on the table.
The eggplant with edamame and preserved cabbage is one of their signature dishes, and it’s phenomenal. They remove the skin from the eggplant, and it’s SO tender, with crunchy edamame and salty strips of pickled cabbage. No wonder it’s a signature – they nailed it on all fronts.
The steamed chicken buns had particularly fresh and sweet dough, and while I liked the filling, I think I prefer BBQ pork over chicken. But don’t be offended chickens, remember how much I respect you?
And then, the final round of fireworks – durian cream rolls, wrapped in powdery, uber-soft rice ‘mochi.’ Inside there were chunks of fresh durian and cream, and I took several big bites.
At first I thought I’d conquered my fear of this fruit, but then I realized I just had a mouthful of cream. As soon as I got some durian in there, I suffered a violently sulphurous defeat.
My mouth felt humid and stinky, and a piece of steamed cake came to my rescue. It was particularly tunnel-filled and rich-tasting, and I enjoyed it even more than the first time I tried this dish, at Gingeri.
Our meal at Neptune came to $39, filled us both up like crazy, and was excellent quality. I would definitely go back, and you know what I will NOT be ordering. DURIAN. I’ve put in my time, you unruly spiked fruit, but it’s clear we’re just not going to be friends. And that’s ok. ‘Cause BBQ pork pastry and I are going to be best friends forevs.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available