Dim Sum is an experience. It’s about as close as we get to hunting in our urbanized environment. There’s nothing like the satisfaction I feel when I finally catch that elusive dumpling that kept whirring by on the trolley, always just out of reach. It is for this reason that I have found that going out for a Dim Sum lunch can often be a stressful affair.
At Kirin Restaurant in Vancouver, the most stress you are likely to encounter is at the moment you try to decide which steaming morsel to eat first.
Gone are the days of desperately trying to catch the trolley-driver’s eye. No more do you suspect, after finally flagging down a dumpling that was on the tepid side of warm, that your particular dumpling had been driven to its death.
Kirin’s Dim Sum is à la carte. I realise that this seems like it would detract from the whole experience. It doesn’t. In fact, it is the better for it.
All the usual Dim Sum are there: the Har Gow (prawn dumplings) are plump and lightly seasoned with ginger. The rice paper is paper-thin. The steamed BBQ pork buns (Char Siu Bao) are small, deliciously fluffy and filled with a just the right amount of BBQ pork.
One of my personal favourites is the Chee Fak: a sticky rice roll filled with Chinese donut, preserved vegetable and ‘pork fluff’, otherwise known as Rousong. Kirin steams the sticky rice to perfection and the crunch of the donut followed by the salty sweetness of the pork fluff always leaves me coming back for more.
And all this is complimented by the best XO sauce I have ever tried. It is not too hot and is a vast improvement chili and mustard sauce duo.
There are also monthly dim sum specials that really are quite, well, special. Recently, the stand-out dish was a slice of steamed sole, minced prawns and enoki mushrooms encased in paper-thin bean curd roll and then steamed in a light broth.
But just when you think you’re as stuffed as a steamed dumpling, it’s time for dessert.
I always have the mango pudding with carnation milk. And, if the kitchen has happened to bake some fresh egg tarts then they are a must too. The unbelievably flaky pastry is always buttery, light and the perfect case for its warm egg custard filling.
Kirin Restaurant Locations
#102 - 1166 Alberni Street, Vancouver Phone: 604.682.8833
12th & Cambie
2nd Floor, City Square, 555 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver Phone: 604.879.8038
2nd Floor, Three West Centre, 7900 Westminster Highway (& No. 3 Road), Richmond Phone: 604.303.8833
2nd Floor, Henderson Place 1163 Pinetree Way (& Lincoln Avenue), Coquitlam Phone: 604.303.8833