Last fall, while visiting Vancouver, my friend C and I had the opportunity to meet up with local foodies, fmed, twinkienic, Ellis, and grayelf for dim sum at Dynasty Seafood Restaurant. I’d tried dim sum at a few of the popular restaurants in the Vancouver area in the past including Red Star Seafood Restaurant (Granville location), Good Choice, The Jade Seafood Restaurant and the now defunct Spicy Court. With the exception of Good Choice, which I quite enjoyed, the rest of the others were just ok. I was really hoping to find a place that would really impress me. And after hearing great things about Dynasty, I had hoped it would become my go to place for dim sum when in Vancouver.
We started off with an order of the Baked Mince Pork Pie ($4.98). I thought the pastry was well executed. It was flaky and light and not too greasy. The minced pork filling was flavourful and delicious.
Next up was an order of the Sautéed Celery, Fresh Lily with Burdock ($6.99). This was one of the vegetarian appetizers. This was my first time trying fresh lily bulbs and burdock root. Burdock root (also known as gobo in Japanese or 牛蒡 Niú Bàng in Chinese). The plant belongs in the same family as artichokes and daisies. This was my first time tasting burdock root. The burdock root has a mild and slightly sweet flavour with a crispy texture similar to that of lotus root. Together with the celery, carrot, lily bulb, and wood ear fungus, all the components of the dish worked well together to provide different flavours and textural contrast.
In terms of steamed dumplings, we tried the Steamed Watercress Dumplings with Shrimp ($4.88). Personally, I’m not a fan of plain shrimp dumplings so I really enjoyed the watercress flavour mixed in with the shrimp. This would be an item I would order again on my next visit.
And of course, we had the Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($4.88). This has never been a favourite of mine at dim sum but this version was well executed. The wrapper was not too thick and not overly sticky either.
Next was the Pan Fried Eggplant Stuffed with Fish Paste in Black Bean Sauce ($4.88). This dish was flavourful and executed well. The eggplant was perfectly cooked as it was still toothsome and not mushy.
We also tried the Pan Fried Beef and Onion Puff ($4.68). Though I found it to be a touch on the greasy side, I loved this dish. The pastry reminded me of green onion cakes.
The Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Roll with Garlic ($4.68). Again, these were executed well. They were crispy on the outside and not too greasy.
The second vegetarian appetizer we tried was the Sauteed Buddha Feast ($7.99). I was really curious about this dish because it had won the 2012 Chinese Restaurant Awards Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Award in the Vegetable/Tofu category. Though I’m not usually a fan of buddha feast type of dishes, this was one different. I really enjoyed this dish. All the components were perfectly cooked as apparently each component is cooked separately to the proper cooking time and then sautéed together at the end so that components which require a shorter cooking time won’t get overcooked and mushy. This dish consisted of vermicelli, wood ear fungus, abalone mushrooms, dried bean curd and cabbage. All the components were really flavourful and I enjoyed the textural contrast.
The one dim sum item I was really excited to try was the Baked Lemon BBQ Pork Pie ($4.68). I had read rave reviews from several local foodies about it. One tidbit to note is that this item is only available after 12pm so we weren’t able to order it initially when we first arrived at 11am. We proceeded with ordering the rest of the dim sum items initially and waited till noon put in the order for these pastries.
Flavour-wise, I could taste the hint of lemon rind in them. And that’s what sets them apart from a normal bbq pork pastry. They were delicious but I was really expecting to be wowed after reading rave reviews. Maybe it’s just personal taste, but I didn’t think it had much of a wow factor. They were definitely really good and I would order them again. I liked that the pastry was perfectly flaky and the filling not overly sweet. As a side note, this dish actually recently won the 2013 Chinese Restaurant Awards Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Award in the Dim Sum category.
For dessert, we started with an order of Baked Egg Tarts ($4.68). These were well executed but my favourite are still the ones from Good Choice Restaurant, especially when they are served fresh out of the oven and are still warm.
One of the desserts that I really liked was the Black Sesame Pudding ($4.28). I wasn’t sure what to expect and was pleasantly surprised to see the Black Sesame Pudding paired with an Osmanthus Jelly on top. This was a very well-balanced pairing. The slightly floral Osmanthus Jelly was nicely contrasted by the creamy black sesame pudding.
The second dessert I really enjoyed was the Baked Sago Pudding with Black Sesame ($4.48). It came with a flaky pastry crust on top. The sago pudding was nicely balanced with the black sesame and not too sweet. We liked it enough that we ended up getting a second order to share. If it were up to me, I could probably eat a whole order myself.
Last, but not least, we tried the Crispy Noodle with Sugar and Vinegar ($16.99). This was a special order item and is not even listed on the menu. I would never have known about this dish if it were not for this Chowhound post. Local hound, clutterer, had posted about a Chiu Chow/Teochow noodle dish where egg noodles are crisped up on both sides while still being chewy in the center. I did some sleuthing on the internet and found out that this dish is called “Tong Cho Mein” in Cantonese (or 乾煎糖醋麵), which literally means “sugar vinegar noodles”. This dish was literally just that. Crispy fried noodles served with a dish of sugar and a dish of black vinegar. I’m glad I got to try it but I didn’t love it. And I certainly didn’t think it was worth the price although I can appreciate it requires technique to make it just right.
Overall, dim sum at Dynasty was solid. I wouldn’t say it was amazing and it certainly wasn’t the most memorable dim sum that I’ve ever had. But I like that they take reservations and there is free 2 hour parking at the back. The majority of the dishes were well executed. I still have yet to find a dim sum place in Vancouver that totally blows me away.
Dynasty Seafood Restaurant
777 W Broadway #108