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sludick Jan 27th, 2010 08:18 AM

Your Favorite Dim Sum Place in Richmond?
We are finally going to be able to get to Richmond for some dim sum this trip (late May). I did get some good info a while back (thanks, Carmanah!), but it's been a while.

Does anybody have a favorite Dim Sum place in Richmond? And if so, what are your favorite dishes? Descriptions will do fine..



sludick Jan 28th, 2010 06:42 PM

Another question -- in my research, I see that this area seems to have a lot of strip malls vs. the traditional "Chinatown" that I have experienced before. Are there any malls/areas in particular that I should look for?

I have heard that Richmond is the place to go, but I grew up with San Francisco Chinatown and am not sure what to expect. Strip malls are so much harder to figure out than just walking up a block or three of storefronts and restaurants..

Carmanah Jan 30th, 2010 02:13 PM

Hey sludick,

I noticed nobody has written to you yet. I work in Richmond around those malls. I'm not a dim sum expert at all but do shop for groceries and have lunch in this area frequently so I can at least give you a bit of what to expect.

Just a little background, Vancouver, like San Francisco, has a traditional Chinese and historic Chinatown downtown which was established by the Chinese pioneers that moved here for the gold rush, among other reasons. But Vancouver's Chinatown's been around as long as Vancouver's been around - it's one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods. It's the history, the Chinese-influenced architecture and exotic items on the sidewalk that make Vancouver's Chinatown interesting. It's more of a traditional Chinese market these days (great for buying ingredients), but not really thought of as an inspiring restaurant destination. I visited San Francisco's Chinatown a few years ago for the first time since my childhood, and I found San Francisco's Chinatown much more tourist-oriented than Vancouver's.

Richmond always had Chinese immigrants living there, but it was never a significant portion of the population until the late 80's and 90's when hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Hong Kong moved to Vancouver in anticipation of the handover of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China in 1997. The major difference here was that these immigrants were wealthy and brought lots of money with them. Richmond practically transformed from a generic residential suburb into a city with a major Hong Kong influenced retail and restaurant scene.

Those shopping/restaurants areas are located around the intersection of No 3 Road and Cambie Road (and Hazelbridge) in Richmond. It was formerly an ugly strip of car dealerships, tire shops, and big boxy stores - it was never a real sidewalk strolling area. I can't think of any San Francisco equivalent, but just imagine fairly standard suburban sprawl stripmalls. They're places you explore by car.

And it's a still fairly ugly part of Richmond - it was never built to mimic a traditional Chinese aesthetic and it wasn't built to be a tourist attraction. People sort of jokingly started to refer to it as a "new Chinatown" but it juts kind of evolved into a massive collection of Chinese shops, restaurants, malls, and businesses. You can't really think of it as a traditional Chinatown, but more or less a big chunk of a suburb where most businesses cater to Hong Kong immigrants.

If Vancouver's Chinatown is small, compact, traditional, and historic, Richmond's Chinese malls are large, sprawling, cosmopolitan, and modern. Chinese village vs. modern day Hong Kong.

Malls to explore:

Aberdeen Center =
Parker Place =
Yaohan Centre =

And it's been years since I've been, but many claim that Richmond Public Market's food court is a great source of authentic street food:

You'll notice along No 3 Road just south of Cambie (including many side streets) all the way down to Granville Ave are strip mall after strip mall of restaurants and Chinese businesses. Use Google Street view and just virtually explore to see what I mean :)

And for what it's worth, the big news article here is that Conde Nast Traveler magazine voted Vancouver as having the best Chinese food:

Carmanah Jan 30th, 2010 02:26 PM

I should also clarify, you can certainly walk around to explore this area (especially now that the Canada Line has several stations along No 3 Road). It's compact enough that you can get around completely on foot if you're up for it. Just don't expect beautiful storefronts and architecture.

sludick Jan 30th, 2010 02:52 PM

Thanks so much, Carmanah. This should get us somewhere we can find something to our liking. You're right about San Francisco Chinatown being more touristy. I used to work very close to it and ate lunch there many times. In Vancouver's Chinatown, the restaurants seem mainly "work-a-day" fare. Here where I live now, in Florida, one just does not see dim-sum places, and I miss it - so I'm hoping to find something on this trip to satisfy the craving. So, if you know of any to recommend in Chinatown, we'll also give that a try.

Since we'll be staying a week in downtown Vancouver, we of course will make our way to "Chinatown" at least once or twice. I do like to explore those little markets, and have purchased things like very good quality teas, odd candies, bakery items (yum), and even a couple of dried geckos. We've been there to see fresh, live shrimp and other seafood arrive, and that is quite a sight -- maybe this time I'll be able to buy some myself.

Carmanah Jan 30th, 2010 06:25 PM

You're welcome! :)

I just thought of something. Have you tried getting dim sum recommendations on the Chowhound forum? I know that it's a great resource for getting up to date info on dim sum around Vancouver and Richmond:

NWWanderer Jan 31st, 2010 09:18 AM

Nancy Leson, who is a food writer for the Seattle Times, recently did an article on Vancouver and mentioned Shiang Garden in Richmond as being her new favorite place for dim sum:

immimi Jan 31st, 2010 10:12 AM

Carmanah - what a brilliant overview of Richmond's Chinese
Connection! Terrific advice; almost makes we want to cross
the bridges to check it out. lol

sludick Jan 31st, 2010 11:11 AM

Yes indeedy, thank you for the really great advice! I will also check out chowhound.

And NWWanderer, that article has tons of info. For sure we'll make a stop at Shiang Garden to see what's up there, since the writer threw down the gauntlet to San Francisco.

I also saw in the article a mention of cornish pasties at the Granville Island Public Market, which was one of the next items on my food search, so this was a jackpot for me! :)>-

sludick Jan 31st, 2010 11:21 AM

I forgot to mention another point in the article -- the "tasteless" comment about Hon's Wun Tun House. We've eaten there and also found it pretty blah :-< , although a coworker has eaten there and loved it.

Carmanah Jan 31st, 2010 12:58 PM

Yeah Hon's is easily accessible but kind of uninspiring, hence my "Chinatown's restaurant options are uninspiring" remark. Although they also have a location on Robson and a location in Richmond on No 3 Road - they're just fast food Chinese.

BTW - if you do make it out to Richmond, if you visit Steveston (which is a quaint historic fishing village about a 15 minute drive away from the Asian shopping malls), there's a great British import store called British Home. They have some fantastic Cornish pasties :) That store's an institution in Steveston!

Carmanah Feb 3rd, 2010 09:42 AM

By the way, the New York Times published an article going into a bit of detail of the dim sum dining scene in Richmond:

sludick Feb 3rd, 2010 05:49 PM

Wow. This is quite a comprehensive study, very impressive and I thank you. I'd recommend to anybody here to take the time to read it. Thanks; I'll be bringing that with me (along with your other really great suggestions).

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