Chef’s Choice Chinese Cuisine is Vancouver’s newest dim sum restaurant serving dim sum with traditional techniques that are rooted in Hong Kong culture.
The 10 dishes listed below are among the must-try menu items, ranging from steamed supreme seafood consommé filled dumplings to gingery char siu puff pastry.
1) Nostalgic Seafood Consommé Dumplings (懷舊灌湯餃)
These large and delicate soup dumplings are filled with seafood and minced pork. This soup dumpling is traditionally steamed. Yet many dim sum chefs lack the skills to determine when the dumplings are ready. So to avoid waste, these large soup dumplings are served in a bowl.
Chef’s Choice stands out from the rest of dim sum restaurants because of this dish. In the owner’s words, he hired a dim sum master from Hong Kong to head the kitchen and, more importantly, determine the perfect steaming time for these delicate, expensive dumplings. They spared no expense when creating such an iconic dish.
2) Baked purple ginger and barbequed pork pastry (子薑叉燒酥)
In my opinion, this is the best version of char siu puff pastry I have ever had. There is an incredible amount of ginger flavor that goes well with the barbeque pork. The pastry is flaky and light. An absolute must-eat!
3) Shrimp and cilantro dumplings (魚翅香茜餃)
Even cilantro haters will like this shrimp dumpling because there is absolutely no “soapy” taste. You only taste the sweet shrimp with a hint of herbaceous notes that rounds out the overall bite.
4) Steamed sweet salty egg paste layered cake (懷舊千層糕)
Despite appearing simple, this multi-layered steamed cake is packed with quality ingredients with a ton of flavor. First of all, you get a richer egg yolk taste because duck eggs are used, not your typical chicken eggs. Coconut flakes were added in the filling for a different texture. I loved how fluffy and light the cake was! You need to order this.
5) Baked egg custard tarts (酥皮焗蛋撻)
Coconut milk was added to the custard for an additional creaminess and to make it more fragrant. The crust was super flakey.
6) Pork liver dumplings (豬潤燒賣)
I enjoy eating liver which is why I got so excited when it appeared on the menu. I was pleased with the texture of the liver, which was not overcooked or mushy. The dumpling is your typical pork mixture from siu mai.
7) Chicken shreds rice noodles roll (雞絲滑粉卷)
This is a hard to find and a classic dim sum dish you would get at old tea houses or street dim sum shops in Hong Kong.
8) Har Gow
At every dim sum table, it is a given to order steamed shrimp dumpling and pork dumpling. No faults here as it tasted like the textbook version.
9) Dried scallops and preserved meat radish cake (瑤柱臘味蘿蔔糕 )
Dim sum parlors typically serve deep fried or pan-fried radish cake but Chef Choice opted for steaming instead. In comparison with the pan-fried version, the steamed version tasted less “cakey” and “floury”. They also put a generous amount of Chinese preserved sausages (lap cheong) so there’s nothing to complain about!
10) Pan-fried minced pork and sticky rice cake (鳳凰煎米雞)
I’ve never had lotus-wrapped sticky rice pan-fried before. It was more enjoyable to eat the crispy rice rather than the steamed lotus wrapped version, which has a mushy and sticky texture. It was great to try something different but if you prefer the lotus leaf flavour, this might not be your favourite.
Chef’s Choice opened quietly during Covid-19 in December 2020. When I see their dining hall full of Hong Kong people who are enjoying their childhood favourite dim sum, I feel proud that the art of traditional Hong Kong dim sum is being preserved.
As far as texture, ingredients, and flavour combinations are concerned, certain items at this restaurant are much better than others. Due to the pandemic, their menu is a bit smaller, but I respect their decision to choose quality over quantity, as you can taste their evident decision.
You should come and try Chef’s Choice for yourself! During the last three months, my family has dined twice here, and we enjoy the service. Most importantly, they got to taste the nostalgic flavours of street side dim sum.