In speaking with several friends and acquaintances who live here and abroad, there is a strong sentiment that the Chinese food in Metro Vancouver in general and in Richmond in particular is better than what you find in Hong Kong. That’s high praise indeed with a particular focus on just how great our dim sum is. Add in the growing influences of cuisines from elsewhere in China and Taiwan and the dim sum scene in Richmond starts to look even more compelling.

The challenge, then, is deciding where to go to find the absolute best dim sum in town. Here are ten of the best dim sum restaurants in Richmond. Pass the har gow!

Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant

ChefTony06Black truffle siu mai. Photo credit: Lindsay Anderson

For a more upscale approach to dim sum, make your way over to Empire Centre where you’ll find Chef Tony (Unit 101, 4600 Number 3 Road). The photo-centric menu reflects this upscale approach. Instead of the usual shaomai (siu mai in Cantonese), you get pork and shrimp dumplings with black truffle. In addition to more standard rice noodle rolls, you get a vividly green, bitter gourd version filled with shredded chicken. How about a sticky rice stuffed chicken wing? This certainly is not your run-of-the-mill dim sum restaurant!

Empire Seafood Restaurant

baked BBQ pork bun from Empire Seafood RestaurantImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

Offering a more traditional take on dim sum is Empire Seafood Restaurant (Unit 200, 5951 Number 3 Road) in London Plaza. You’ll notice that it’s mentioned multiple times on the Dumpling Trail, recommended for several dim sum classics. These range from har gow (shrimp dumplings in a translucent skin) to ham siu gok (minced pork croquette). Make sure you don’t leave before trying the baked BBQ pork buns, which come with a sweet upper crust similar to what you’d find on a “Mexican bun” at your favorite Chinese bakery.

Fisherman’s Terrace Seafood Restaurant

Fisherman's TerraceImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

Conveniently located on the top floor of Aberdeen Centre, Fisherman’s Terrace (Unit 3580, 4151 Hazelbridge Way) is consistently regarded as offering some of the best dim sum in town. Enjoy many favourites here from the Chinese doughnut wrapped in a rice noodle roll with shredded pork, to the lotus leaf-wrapped sticky rice. The wu gok — fried taro root dumplings with minced pork — are not to be missed. Seating is comfortable in the oddly curved dining room. Fun fact: Fisherman’s Terrace is owned by Chef Tony.

Shiang Garden Seafood Restaurant

Shiang GardenImage credit: Tourism Richmond/Joyce Chiang

As you make your way through the multi-level parkade of Empire Centre and enter the dining room of Shiang Garden (Unit 2200, 4540 Number 3 Road), you’ll immediately be greeted by several shimmering chandeliers. It’s no wonder the restaurant is so popular for wedding banquets; my wife and I actually wanted to hold our own banquet here but they were fully booked. The same sense of extravagance carries through to the dim sum service too, including chair covers. Appearing on the Dumpling Trail, Shiang Garden offers both traditional and more creative dishes, from BBQ pork buns to mini sticky rice purses.

Vivacity Restaurant

dim sum at VivacityImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

Found along the wonderfully dense “Food Street,” Vivacity (Unit 110, 8351 Alexandra Road) might look like any other Chinese seafood restaurant, but the culinary approach here is much more unique. Much like the dinner menu, the lunch menu at Vivacity strives to include local ingredients whenever possible with a special aim to go organic. Co-owners Kitty and David are not only dedicated to offering something a little different, but they want to make sure all dishes are healthy and well-presented. You’ll enjoy a good variety. For an added kick, be sure to ask for a dish of their house-made XO sauce.

Continental Seafood Restaurant

dim sum steam trayImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

Found in the same Cambie Plaza as Tandoori Kona, Continental Seafood Restaurant (Unit 150, 11700 Cambie Road) is one of the few restaurants left where you’ll find the traditional dim sum push cart. Just about everywhere else, you can expect to order from a menu. The dim sum cart is from a bygone era where you can offer a stack of covered steamers to see what tickle your fancy. This is far more accessible to diners who are less familiar with dim sum and want to see what they’re getting before they get it. Unsurprisingly, Continental keeps things casual, fun and boisterous, just as dim sum should be.

Parklane Chinese Restaurant

Parklane Chinese Restaurant, Image credit: Michael KwanImage credit: Michael Kwan

With same owners as Empire Seafood Restaurant and also featured on the Dumpling Trail, Parklane (Unit 200, 7997 Westminster Highway) is the more casual restaurant of the two and focuses more on “Chiu Chow” style cuisine. In the context of dim sum, you can expect a good variety of traditional favourites. The pork siu mai and the steamed pork and radish dumpling with peanut are particularly noteworthy. The latter, also known as Chiu Chow fun gor, is a dumpling where the chewy skin sharply contrasts the crispy crunch of the chopped peanuts and dried radish.

The Jade Seafood Restaurant

The JadeImage credit: Follow Me Foodie

When you consider that there are some 200 restaurants located along the two or three block stretch, it’s not at all surprising that you’ll find more than one terrific dim sum restaurant on Food Street. The Jade Seafood Restaurant (8511 Alexandra Road) comes highly recommended by local foodie superstar Mijune Pak (Follow Me Foodie) for its delicious dim sum. She’s especially a fan of the steamed mushroom dumplings. Other highlights include the deep fried spring roll with shrimp and garlic, the steamed bean curd stuffed with fish paste, and the steamed scallop and enoki mushroom rice roll.

Sea Harbour Restaurant

Sea HarbourImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

You might remember several years ago when this restaurant occupied a space across the street from Yaohan Centre. There wasn’t much seating, the decor was dated, and the parking lot was always full. Sea Harbour (Unit 150, 8888 River Road) has since addressed all those concerns by moving across the street from River Rock Casino, near the Bridgeport Skytrain station. Now, you’ve got lots of parking, an expansive dining room, and the same tremendous food at a reasonable price. This is particularly convenient for any visitor who may be heading off to the airport after dim sum. Order the radish cakes with XO sauce. You won’t regret it.

Golden Paramount Seafood Restaurant

duck feet at Golden Paramount RestaurantImage credit: Lindsay Anderson

Found in the same quiet strip mall as Happy Date, Golden Paramount (8071 Park Road) is another one of Richmond’s most treasured hidden gems. With a female owner and dim sum chef, Golden Paramount offers a great variety of dumplings, including some not as commonly found at other restaurants, made with crab, pork and vegetables. If you’re looking for something a little different, get the duck feet with pumpkin or the deep fried eggplant with fish paste.

Whether you stick to the classics like sticky rice in lotus leaf wrap and pork siu mai, or you experiment with more creative offerings, the dim sum scene in Richmond is an absolute delight. It’s best enjoyed in larger groups, because it means you can order more dishes to share!