Dim Sum - outside of Richmond
1166 Alberni St, Vancouver
Price: Fair + (compare with other Richmond dim sum places, it's more expensive)
If you are craving dim sum when you are in downtown, there aren't a lot of places to go to. The only other place I know is Imperial Seafood Restaurant. So out of the two, we ended up at Kirin, as reservation was already made.
We got there, and notice that a wedding banquet was in session, so the restaurant was packed, hence it took a long time for the waiter to come by and take our order.
We ordered the typical shrimp dumpling ($4.50). It was good, but not great. Personally, I find the shrimp dumpling very plain, it consist nothing more than shrimp for stuffing. I preferred the scallop dumpling, as it had shrimp scallop and some type of veggie. This dish is consider specialty, thus cost $4.95.
We also ordered the xiao long bao ($4.95) and sui mai ($4.50). For once I am impressed with dim sum xiao long bao, because typically these would have no soup and the skin tend to be quite thick, but that is not the case with these. They were soupy and had relatively thin skin. Although they are definitely not the best tasting ones, but they are definitely the best I've seen at dim sum restaurants. The sui mai is not bad, but I think I detected some msg.
Next up is the deep fried tofu and chicken knee. I love the deep fried tofu from Kirin, as it is crispy on the outside and soft in the inside. I also like their deep fried garlic/spic that they sprinkle on the tofu. This dish was $6.80. I've never tried chicken knee at dim sum before, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is actually good. It remind me of chicken nugget but with more cartilage/tendon like texture. However I think this dish is a bit expensive at $8.25.
We also ordered a non dim sum item, that being the creamy seafood e-fu noodle. It was delicious, the noodles were soft and the cream sauce was just right. It wasn't overly rich or salty. They were also big pieces of fish, prawns, scallops and squid mixed in as well. This dish was $15.80, far more worthy than the $9.80 soft shell crab we ordered. There were a total of 3 small pieces, as the Chinese would say "this is not even enough to fill the gaps between my teeth." Because of the limited quantity, I did not get to try any, but from what I've heard, it wasn't all that great anyways.
This is actually my favorite dish, from the appearance you really couldn't tell what it is. It's actually green onion pancake you can get at many Chinese restaurants. However this is special, because it's not the typical flat pancake you normally see, it's a rolled up version, where the green onion is stuffed inside. The outside of the pancake was crispy and the inside was moist and flavorful. This dish was only $4.75, in my opinion totally worth it.
We also tried several other dishes, but none made a impression on me except the pan fried rice roll with soy sauce. It was actually quite good, despite the simplicity in its preparation. The grand total came to $107.10 for a total of 8 people sharing 16 dim sum dish + the e-fu noodle. So it ended up about $15/person including tax and tip.
Service is slow, as I mentioned earlier. They took our order, and brought our food, that's about it. They never really smile, but that's typical for a Chinese restaurant. Decor here is pretty nice, I would say second to the one in New Westminster (so I've heard).
Overall, I believe this is definitely decent/good dim sum. So I would recommend this place if you are craving for dim sum in downtown. Other wise, I would suggest Richmond, as they have far more restaurants to choose from.