Want the best dim sum in Vancouver? Look no further than Western Lake Chinese Seafood Restaurant. Open for nearly a decade with dim sum from 9 am – 3 pm every day, Western Lake is consistently ranked as the most popular Chinese dim sum restaurant on Zomato. They are known for quality dim sum at large portions; their har gow (prawn dumplings) are reportedly the largest in the area. I had known that legendary food blogger, Sherman (shermansfoodadventures.com) identified Western Lake as one of his top picks for dim sum for many years now. So, yes – this place is good (see line up outside in the photo below).
Courtesy of Chinesebites.com, I had the opportunity to attend a media dim sum feast at Western Lake. This meal was more than your typical dim sum experience because many kitchen specialties were featured.
What We Tried
Disclosure: I was invited to a media tasting by Chinesebites.com. All food was complimentary. Opinions are my own.
Our dim sum extravaganza included 31 dishes:
- Kitchen Specialties
- Chef’s Specialty Shredded Chicken ($7.25)
- Deep Fried Tofu with Chili Salt ($6.95)
- Japanese Style Chicken Feet ($6.95)
- Clams in Spicy Chinese Wine Broth ($7.95)
- Deep Fried Squid Tentacles with Chili Salt ($7.25)
- Stir Fried Radish Cake in Spicy XO Sauce ($6.95)
- Rice Flour Rolls in Hot Pot with Beef Offals ($7.25)
- Rice Flour Rolls in Hot Pot with Spareribs ($7.25)
- Minced Pork & Oysters with Rice in Soup ($11.95)
- Special ($5.75 each)
- Steamed Rice with Chicken & Chinese Sausage
- Steamed Rice with Pork Toro & Salted Fish
- Steamed Bean Curd Rolls Wrap with Minced Fish
- Steamed Scallops with Prawn Dumplings
- Egg Tofu Wraps with Shrimp Paste
- Large Item ($5.00 each)
- Steamed Dumplings with Prawns & Pea Leaves
- Steamed Beef Tripe & Beef Tendon
- Steamed Prawn Shiu-Mai with Dried Scallops
- Pan Fried Eggplant with Shrimp Paste
- Steamed Rice Flour Rolls Wrap with Chinese Donut
- Pan Fried Chive Dumplings
- Deep Fried Yam Balls Topped with Syrup
- Steamed Prawn Dumplings
- Steamed Shiu-Mai Dumplings
- Medium ($4.50)
- Steamed Beef Meatballs with Bean Sheets
- Small ($4.00)
- Chilled Goji Berry with Lychee Gelatin
- Green Tea Coconut Milk Gelatin
Now instead of discussing each dish individually, I have decided to focus on the best and the worst. Good news is that there aren’t really dishes that I highly disliked. For dim sum, there are so many options that there is something for everyone. So, in this roundup below, I’ve picked my top 10 favourite Western Lake dim sum items.
1. Har Gow
Most remarkable of the prawn dumplings are the size. Go big or go home, right? The shrimp is just wonderfully bouncy and snappy. That thin, stretchy, translucent wrapper is just perfect. A must-have at Western Lake.
2. Pan Fried Eggplant with Shrimp Paste
As an eggplant lover, this dish is one that I order regularly for dim sum. And Western Lake’s version did not disappoint. The eggplant has very nice, soft texture that is held up by the shrimp paste. Top it all off with a flavourful black bean sauce. You’ve got yourself a winner here.
3. Steamed Rice Flour Rolls Wrap with Chinese Donut
I quite enjoyed the soft, springy texture of the rice flour rolls. The Chinese donut was crunchy and not overly greasy.
4. Stir Fried Radish Cake in Spicy XO Sauce
A very enjoyable savoury dish consisting of radish cake rectangles stir fried with dried shrimp. Not too greasy and just gently crispy on the outside.
5. Deep Fried Squid Tentacles with Chili Salt
I loved the chewy almost crunchy texture of the tentacles and the simplicity of the spicy, salty coating.
6. Steamed Shiu-Mai Dumplings
A must-have for a dim sum meal, Western Lake’s shiu mai was on point. The shrimp was snappy, the pork was flavourful and bouncy and the shiitake was fragrant.
7. Clams in Spicy Chinese Wine Broth
Shellfish lovers should try this dish. Clams cooked perfectly in a subtly spicy yet flavourful Chinese wine broth.
8. Steamed Rice with Chicken & Chinese Sausage
Nicely tender pieces of chicken paired with sweet-salty, smokey, savory Chinese sausage and dried, chewy rice. A good, hearty rice dish.
9. Green Tea Coconut Milk Gelatin
For dessert, the green tea coconut milk gelatin was an excellent change of taste from the rest of the savoury dishes. The texture was firm yet still gelatinous. Flavourwise, this dessert is heavier on the coconut milk than green tea. Still very good.
10. Chilled Goji Berry with Lychee Gelatin
This was texturally a fun dessert to eat from the soft, chewy chilled goji berries and the firm, fleshy lychee. A very mildly sweet dessert overall.
Overall Impression of Western Lake
Western Lake delivers a solid dim sum service with large portioned dishes of good quality and pricing. I continue to be a fan of Western Lake and would recommend them. Rating: 4.5/5