It’s fairly well known that world-class Chinese food is available in Vancouver. Some believe the quality is better than what you can obtain in Hong Kong. Through my research I discovered that the local Chinese residents don’t typically frequent Chinatown. In fact they travel to Richmond, a suburb near the Vancouver airport.
In 2015, Chef Tony’s Seafood was named Best Dim Sum Restaurant by Vancouver magazine. That level of distinction was confirmed with other awards and recognition given to them. This raised my confidence that we were going to really enjoy this meal.
We walked to the Waterfront train station and boarded the southbound Richmond train. When the train wasn’t running through a tunnel, there were some interesting sights to see. As we crossed the Fraser River, we observed a lumber mill where logs were lined up on the river according to size.
After exiting at the Aberdeen stop, it was a short walk to Chef Tony’s. The look on everyone’s faces told me that they were hungry and running low on energy. It was only a few minutes after they opened and yet the place was almost full. The lady running the front of the house repeatedly asked if we had reservations and we repeatedly said no. They ended up turning us away and did not appear to care that we had come a long way just to dine at this restaurant.
A search for “dim sum” on Yelp revealed another restaurant on the same street located a few blocks away – Sun Sui Wah. Because I suggested it, everyone seemed to have high expectations and I was a bit concerned that I hadn’t properly researched this place. I phoned them and said, “I have nine people in my party, can you seat me right now?” The guy hesitated and stuttered a bit, “I think so, we should be able to do it.” I thanked him and told him that we would be there in 5 minutes.
It was only a three block walk to Sun Sui Wah. After arriving, the lady in the front asked if we had a reservation. “Oh no, deja vu”, I thought. Our initial response was “no”, but I quickly added that I had phoned 5 minutes ago and the guy verified that he could seat 9 people. It took about 5 minutes (perhaps a back room discussion took place), but two of the wait staff rolled out a 6 foot plywood round and placed it on the top of table. After adding the table cloth and the requisite “Lazy Susan”, they instantly converted a small table to one that could seat 10. We smiled at our good fortune.
Ordering is done by writing down a quantity next to the numbered item on the menu. Seeing a picture version of the menu instantly translated items like “Gaylan” to Chinese Broccoli. A few of us added our favorites and we handed our selections to a waiter in mid stride almost like he was picking up a baton.
Items immediately started streaming out from different servers. A huge bowl of hot and sour soup was placed on the Lazy Susan. Since we already had soup bowls, we took turns turning the wheel serving ourselves.
In my opinion Chinese Broccoli is a must have. Dum sum is comprised of mostly pork, shrimp and other meat dishes and you need to have some vegetable options to help balance the meal. Steamed clams with black bean sauce was a favorite with a few of the seafood enthusiasts; char siu bao was a big hit with my daughter.
The spareribs contained an interesting mix of spices and were a lot more flavorful than most other dim sum restaurants. A big surprise for me was the crab and scallion dumplings – it was probably my favorite dish. Another hit with our group was the oxtails braised in red wine.
We were fortunate to be seated because when we left, there were about 50 people waiting for a table.
I was also happy that our group agreed on another of my choices – The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia (UBC). My cousin had spoken to the concierge that morning and got the scoop on how to get there from the restaurant. We boarded the Canada Line northbound and transferred to a bus headed west. The end of the line was at the UBC Campus.
UBC is incredibly well stocked. There is a tall and spacious room filled with a variety of totem poles, but when you go into some of the side rooms, you begin to get an idea of how large their collection is. For example, they have an impressive collection of ceramics. Of course, a major section is devoted to items that were created by the First Nations people and pull out drawers featured some of the smaller items that would get lost in a conventional display.
In my opinion, this museum should be on your list of things to do when you visit Vancouver. After seeing just a few items, you’ll quickly become impressed with the beauty, creativity and craftsmanship of their holdings.