One thing that’s great about knowing Richmond (somewhat) is that I can now act as a tour guide to those unfamiliar with the city and its food. Take my mom and eight of her friends, for example, all gathered together for a ladies’ weekend and looking for experiences “outside of the box.” Seeing as all but one of them are former teachers, that meant trying dim sum (not illegal substances) for the first time. I come from wholesome roots.
I made us a reservation at Sea Harbour Restaurant, and did so for two reasons:
1) They had room for all ten of us, and
2) It was easy as heck to get to.
It’s located just a minute’s walk from the Bridgeport Skytrain station, in the same complex as the River Rock Casino and Resort. The restaurant is quite new, and looks it; there were large chandeliers, walls of gilt mirrors, and plush, comfortable chairs. It was a good place to celebrate a bunch of birthdays, this being the reason for the ladies’ getaway.
If you’re new to dim sum, this is a friendly place to start: the menu has English, and better yet, PICTURES, with numbers for each menu item. Simply match the number of the dish with the number on your sheet, mark with a pencil how many orders of that particular dish you’d like, and hand it to your server. The best part is that they’ll look it over, and let you know if you’ve ordered too little or way too much. My order was deemed “just right.” I think I may have actually fist-pumped the air.
We didn’t have chicken feet – I didn’t want to scare anyone off on their first try – but instead we ordered:
Gai lan – healthy and excellent!
Bbq pork pastries – these were rich and flaky with saucy bbq’ed pork inside. These have been good everywhere I’ve had them in Richmond, and they were superb at Sea Harbour. A real hit with the ladies!
Chinese donuts wrapped in rice cake – these were great! A crispy, crunchy doughnut, and soft, mild rice cake wrapped around it like a crepe. The salty topping (a light, shredded pork ‘floss’ called Rousong) added yet a third interesting texture.
Chive, egg, and shrimp steamed dumplings, which were the only thing on the table I was disappointed in. The filling was bright, fresh, and delicious, but the steamed dumpling wrappers can only be described as clear, gelatinous creatures of the sea. Jellyfish, really.
They were nearly impossible to pickup, and the wrappers were too thick and stretchy. Since they were difficult to eat, everyone ended up just scooping the insides out and leaving the wrappers on their plates.
The radish cakes with XO sauce were the surprise hit of the meal. They looked so modest, but many eyes opened wide upon tasting them for the first time; they were a bit crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and massively flavourful thanks in part to the sweet, salty, seafood-y heat of XO sauce.
A tower of steamed sticky rice in lotus leaves arrived at the table, each filled with rice, pork, shrimp, and a salted egg yolk.
These are wonderful, and are slowly but surely weening their way into the exclusive world of Lindsay Anderson Approved Comfort Foods.
We also had steamed vegetable and mushroom buns, but I failed to take a picture of them. Actually, I full-on failed to even eat them. There were a lot of dishes, and a lot of ladies, many spins of the lazy-susan, and things got a little hectic! But word on the street was they were good – a little doughy, but good.
Finally, because no dim sum birthday celebration is complete without a sweet, we ordered the mango mousse on coffee cake, which arrived with mini umbrellas. Bonus bonus points there.
The square pieces of mousse were firm – they tasted more like a marshmallow to me than mousse – but they were naturally-flavoured and not too sweet. Don’t think I’d order these again.
The meal came to $19 per person after tax and before tip.
Another reason to try out Sea Harbour is the service – it was so, so friendly. One of our servers, Eddie, as well as the manager, Lango, were particularly great. So if you’re planning on hosting visitors from foreign lands (or nearby cities), you could take them to Sea Harbour for dim sum. It’s easy, accessible, welcoming, and has the same wine rack I hope to install in my house someday.
Thanks to my mom and all of her lovely friends for joining me for a meal!
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available