Disclosure: I was invited to a Chinesebites.com media tasting where all food was complimentary. All opinions are my own.
Kirin Seafood Restaurant has been one of my go-to places for reliably good Chinese food in Metro Vancouver. There are four locations in total: Cambie, Downtown Vancouver, New Westminster and Richmond. I’m a regular at Kirin City Square and I have visited the Downtown Alberni location. On the to-go list still is their New Westminster restaurant. As for Kirin Richmond, I hadn’t been there in years though my memory tells me that I was there for dinner and wedding banquets.
As Sherman’s Food Adventures has aptly put it, not all locations of the same restaurant produce food of the same taste and quality particularly when it comes to Chinese restaurants. The dishes are created based on “feel”, he notes, so it is hard to achieve the same consistency. Recently, I revisited Kirin Richmond for a Sunday dim sum tasting organized by Chinesebites.com. I was eager to indulge in my usual favourites as well as dishes I hadn’t tried yet.
What We Tried
Our tasting menu included the following:
- Steamed Prawn and Sakura Farm Premium Pork Dumpling Topped with Flying Fish Roe
- Steamed Prawn Dumpling
- Steamed Pine Mushroom and Pork Dumpling Filled with Consommé
- Rice Rolls
- Deep Fried Minced Fish and Chinese Mushroom Bean Curd Roll in Steamed Rice Roll
- Steamed Green Onion and Chinese Donut Rice Roll Topped with Bread Crumb
- Steamed Pork Liver Rice Roll
- Pan Fried Pork Belly and Preserved Vegetable Bun
- Steamed Abalone and Chicken Bun
- Deep Fried
- Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling Served with Consommé
- Deep Fried Tofu with Minced Pork
- Steamed Tofu Puff Stuffed with Minced Fish and Dried Shrimp
- Sticky Rice with Pork and Dried Scallop Wrapped in Lotus Leaf
- Braised Assorted Cow Offal in Chef’s Special Sauce en Casserole
- Sparerib in Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Plain Rice Roll en Casserole
The amount of food at the tasting was generous so I did not get the chance to try everything. My comments are based on the items that I have tried. Starting off with the Steamed Prawn and Sakura Farm Premium Pork Dumpling Topped with Flying Fish Roe, I quite enjoyed the burst of savoury flavour when I bit into it. The shrimp was snappy, the pork was flavourful and bouncy and the shiitake was fragrant.
Kirin’s Steamed Prawn Dumpling were on point with plump and meaty shrimp fillings with a slightly crispy texture.
I wasn’t a fan of the Steamed Pine Mushroom and Pork Dumpling Filled with Consommé (also known as xiao long bao or Shanghai dumpling) , however. The overall filling starting from the pork meat to the broth just seemed off in terms of flavour.
Next up was a variety of rice rolls including the Deep Fried Minced Fish and Chinese Mushroom Bean Curd Roll in Steamed Rice Roll, Steamed Green Onion and Chinese Donut Rice Roll Topped with Bread Crumb and Steamed Pork Liver Rice Roll. In general, I quite enjoyed the soft, springy texture of the rolls. As for the fillings, the deep fried minced fish filling was nicely bouncy while the Chinese donut was crunchy and not overly greasy. However, I would say that the Steamed Pork Liver Rice Roll is a bit of an acquired taste. Too much iron/metallic taste for me to enjoy it.
The texture of the Pan Fried Pork Belly and Preserved Vegetable Bun was outstanding. It was fried golden brown on top and on the bottom and gave way to a delightful crispy texture. The pork belly and preserved vegetable filling had a nice savoury flavour.
Similarly, the steamed Abalone and Chicken Bun was nicely fluffy with moist, savoury filling.
Both the Deep Fried Prawn Dumpling Served with Consommé and Deep Fried Tofu with Minced Pork had nicely crispy exteriors. When I grasped them with my hands, I appreciated that they weren’t too greasy. The prawn filling was quite snappy and the tofu had a fluffy and airy texture. Both items were well-executed.
The Sticky Rice with Pork and Dried Scallop Wrapped in Lotus Leaf is my favourite dim sum item and Kirin’s version did not disappoint. When I unwrapped the lotus leaf, I was greeted with the pleasant aroma of the filling. The sticky rice was moist and tender and overall the flavours were on point. I would order this again.
The Steamed Tofu Puff Stuffed with Minced Fish and Dried Shrimp was one of the few dishes that didn’t excite me. Perhaps it was just too “seafoody?”
The two dishes that I did not try were the Braised Assorted Cow Offal in Chef’s Special Sauce en Casserole and Sparerib in Black Bean Sauce on Steamed Plain Rice Roll en Casserole. I was simply too full!
To finish off a lovely meal was the Thousand Layer Cake – a sponge cake with alternating layers of cake and sweetened duck egg yolk. It was surprisingly good with a moist, fluffy cake texture and dense yet sweet duck egg yolk layers.
Overall Impression of Kirin Richmond
All in all, the dim sum quality at Kirin Richmond was on point. I continue to be a loyal customer of Kirin restaurants and would recommend them for dim sum. Rating: 4.5/5
For more reviews on other Kirin locations, follow the tag Kirin.