Vancouver Dim Sum

Ben Nelms

With a population that's nearly one-third Chinese (hailing mostly from the dim sum mecca, Hong Kong) and a choice location on the seafood-rich Pacific Ocean, Vancouver is the North American capital of dim sum. Even in a city overflowing with spectacular cuisine from all over Asia, the hectic ritual of Cantonese brunch is exalted by Vancouverites above all others. Whenever I travel there, my schedule is dictated by har gao, siu mai, and char siu bao—shrimp dumplings, pork dumplings, and steamed pork buns—dim sum's holy trinity. On weekends I join the hundreds of people who crowd into massive banquet halls such as Pink Pearl for the finest rice noodle rolls and the flakiest custard tarts, or Fisherman's Terrace in the heavily Cantonese suburb of Richmond, which boasts what may be the deftest hand with dumplings. At each spot waiters pushing carts full of delicacies cover the tables with a flotilla of small plates and steam baskets that are emptied within seconds. A single meal might consist of plump shrimp and scallop dumplings, salty deep-fried squid, glazed eggplant stuffed with minced shrimp, piquant pepper-steamed short ribs, mounds of garlic-sautéed pea tips, and sweet black sesame rice balls. Inevitably, treats I hadn't ordered, such as fried sweet potato dumplings or shrimp wrapped in delicate bean curd skin, somehow find their way to my table. And I never leave town without picking up some of the fluffiest steamed pork buns from Chinatown's New Town Bakery. If there's one thing I've learned about Vancouver's dim sum, it's that even if I've just eaten a marathon of dishes, there's always room for one more bite.

_Pink Pearl
1132 East Hastings Street
604/253-4316

Fisherman's Terrace
3580-4151 Hazelbridge Way
604/303-9739

New Town Bakery
148 East Pender Street
604/689-7835_