Dumplings are made around the world. They come in different sizes, with different flavours. Some of savoury, while others are sweet. The Original Vancouver Food Tour offers a walking tour where you can sample Asian-crafted dumplings along the Richmond, BC Dumpling Trail. I was offered a Media tour over the weekend to try out the dumplings that Richmond has to offer.
My Dumpling Tour Stops
4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine
Our first stop was at 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine where we tried 2 vegan dumplings; a vegan bbq cut bun and a gyoza. The filling for the bbq cut bun had excellent texture and reminded you of meat and their bbq sauce with it’s sweetness was delicious. The gyoza was filled with sliced/shredded vegetables and vegetable protein. Again eating this gyoza you cannot tell that it is vegan. The gyoza was cooked very well, with a nice crispy exterior. I would love to eat here again.
Empire Seafood Restaurant
Empire Seafood Restaurant is very upscale and elegant; even our teacups came with tiny saucers, which I rarely see at a Chinese restaurant. We were treated to tasty har gow (steamed shrimp dumpling), a taro bun with minced pork (wu gok), xiao long bao (a soup-filled pork dumpling), ham sui gok (a Cantonese egg-sized pork croquette), and siu mai (steam pork with shrimp dumpling topped with roe, a staple at many dim sum). The wu gok was of great interest to us all as the outside of the bun had tall filaments that gave this bun a hairy look. One of the media people said that this was the best version of wu gok that they have ever tasted. I agree that it was very good. You get the crispy filaments on the outside of the bun, then some creamy texture from the taro, and the nicely spiced ground pork filling. If you have never had xiao long bao be careful as it is filled with very hot broth. I suggest picking it up with a spoon so that you do not break the wrapper and have the soup spill on you. A top-quality restaurant I would also go to again. I did notice that this restaurant does have a selection of wines, but did not have a chance to investigate them. Maybe on another trip. Also note, when you finish sampling these dumplings, you will start to feel full.
Tsim Chai Noodle Restaurant
Our third stop was at Tsim Chai Noodle Restaurant. We had one boiled and one deep-fried dumpling with shrimp. The boiled one is topped with oyster sauce and shredded ginger. The wrapper was nicely thin so that you can enjoy the shrimp filling. I like the ginger with it, but the oyster sauce was a little salty for me. The deep-fried dumpling had a nice crispy texture and hot shrimps inside. The neon red sauce added some subtle flavour without taking away from the taste of the shrimps.
Xi An Cuisine
Our last savoury stop was Xi An Cuisine at the Richmond Public Market. Xi An cuisine are dishes from northern China. Xi An is famous for its Terracotta Warriors. We tried boiled wontons in a spicy chili sauce topped with chopped cilantro and pan-fried dumplings. The chili sauce does have a kick but if you are OK with medium spice this should not be too hot for you. I enjoyed the freshness of the dumpling together with the sauce and cilantro. The pan-fried dumplings I believe was filled with ground pork. It has a thicker wrapper which was pan-fried crispy.
Peanuts Bubble Tea
We finished our savoury dumplings and now had a sweet bite in the Richmond Public Market at Peanuts Bubble Tea. I had a ground peanut wheel cake while others had the black sesame mochi and the matcha white chocolate wheel cakes. I do like peanut and this one had the peanuts finely chopped so that you get the texture of the peanut as well as the flavour.
Thank you to Vancouver Food Tour for bringing me on this tour as their guest. I really enjoyed it.
How To Sign Up
You can sign up for this tour on their website. The price is C$60 per person plus GST. Warning that these dumplings may be small but are very filling so make sure you arrive hungry. Enjoy.