Does it seem like we haven't been for dim sum in forever? The correct answer is 7 and 1/2 months but it feels like longer. Since we are dedicated dim sum fanatics, the reason for this dry spell is the on-again-off-again nature of the restaurant business these days. We have done our best to support local places but often this has been in the form of take-out. We were happy to find Spring Garden Chinese Seafood Restaurant in New Westminster and we were thankful that we landed here.
Located just about 5 blocks down the hill on 12th after Kingsway has disappeared, this is also the area where I discovered falafel several decades ago. Well, I didn't discover it like a new element on the periodic table but I tried it for the first time around here. We wandered into Spring Garden just before noon and were seated right away and served tea by an enthusiastic young fellow and what I assumed was his mother.
We set about ordering too much, as usual, starting with Pan-Fried Crispy Bean Curd Wrap with Mushrooms. This was pleasantly crispy, as advertised and filled with a comforting mushroom melange. A little different from anything that we have had before but it's not like we're experts. We would order this again.
We have come to very much enjoy chickens' feet (Chicken Claws with Special Sauce here) and these were meltingly tender. The sauce was tomatoey and mildly spicy and very good. These rate highly in our experience.
The Deep Fried Squid was a tad on the too chewy side but they arrived hot and with lots of garlic and chillies.
Next were Deep Fried Tofu and Shrimp Pastries. There was nothing wrong with these. The filling was a comforting tasty enough mix with a crispy exterior. They were not standouts in the unique flavour category but they were nice enough.
Next was our off-the-beaten path item to order. Deep-Fried Halibut Belly in Premium Soy Sauce. I have to admit that I would not recognize premium soy sauce but it was rich as were the nicely cooked onions and ginger. I am always enthusiastic about halibut and at $11.99 this was very reasonably priced.
Finally, back to the stuff that we always order, Rice Roll with Chinese Donut. I admit that I am kind of more interested in the dips than the rice roll (Hoisin and sesame) but the Chinese donut holds some appeal too. We have had mixed results with donuts in the past but these were quite good. Just another comforting dish.
This is not an overly fancy place but it seems well maintained despite being an older building, and it was very clean. It seems to be family-run and with efficiency and friendliness. This borders on a hidden gem except it might not have been hidden to everyone else. A reasonably priced and probably reliable place for dim sum!
Food 3 1/2 out of 5
Service 4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort 3 1/2 out of 5
Value 4 1/2 out of 5
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