Sometimes, I get a little bored with typical Sunday brunch, omelets and eggs, it can get a little repetitive. One exotic variant on the traditional brunch is Chinese dim sum. Normally, I associate my dim sum fix with Kam Fung, either downtown or in Brossard on the south shore. However, I recently read a great blog post by Mr. Lew’s Great Burger Search on a dim sum restaurant in Cartierville. What with all the construction going on in downtown Montreal and on the bridges, I figured Cartierville was a great bet!
Also, it’s good to note that they actually serve dim sum every day from 10 to 3pm, so you don’t need to wait until Sunday for your Dim Sum fix. One good thing is we arrived at around 11:30am on Sunday and didn’t have to wait for a table, the same can’t be said of either Kam Fung locations. I love the foreigness of the dim sum experience, as all these carts go rolling by with strange offering. As someone who doesn ‘t speak chinese, the experience can be intimidating but definitely an adventure, you’re never sure what you’ve just ordered!
We started with some pork sui mai, dumplings made up of pork and small pieces of shrimp. These were very good, while simple and classic, these were a nice start to our experience.
Next, we had some har gow shrimp dumplings. These are one of my favourite dumplings. The sweetness of the won ton like dough, rice noodles, have a sweetness to them that when combined with soya sauce makes a really nice combination, delicious!
Next we tried some taro puffs. These were an interesting choice, they were on the desert trolley, but when I asked the lady pushing the cart, I thought I understood sweet potatoes. Always adventurous, and having never seen these at any dim sum restaurant, I figured, go for it!
This is what they looked like when cut in two. I really enjoyed these, though my boyfriend didn’t like the texture of the interior. Frankly, I’m not sure what was inside. It had a creamy, smooth texture, and to me tasted a lot like potatoes. After doing some research when I got home, I realized these were taro puffs, and despite their purple interior, they generally contain pork. So, maybe these did too…. I’ll never know …
Next we chose some beef meatballs, served over a thin bean-curd skin. Neither me, nor my boyfriend liked these. The texture was slightly gellified and did not resemble any beef I’m used to. We barely touched these, I would avoid these…
This next dim sum was some shrimp, peppers and a scallop served over some fried tofu. This was also a bit of a letdown. The overpowering taste was that of green and red peppers. The fried tofu was too bland, and tasted too much of green and red peppers, and the scallop was much too overcooked.
The next plate was shrimp cheong fun. This is definitely my favourite dim sum of all, and it was excellent here as well. The rice noodles were a little bit thick, but this was delicious, and very reminiscent of the gow shrimp dumplings we’d had earlier.
We were both quite full at this point, but when these pork dumplings rolled by, I couldn’t resist. This was a mix of pork and spices, and had a distinctive taste with nutmeg and ginger flavouring. My boyfriend thought these were the best dumplings!
Finally, despite being full, we wanted some desert. We settled on some sesame balls. These have a core generally made of red bean paste, but in this case, the paste was more brown in colour and had a distinctly peanut taste. Around this core is a sweet paste made with glutinous rice flour, and the entire thing is fried and covered in sesame seeds. I was introduced to these a couple of years back and they remain my favourite chinese dessert. These were particularly good, but we were too full to finish all four, so we took these in a doggy bag to go.
Funny side note, since no forks and knives are given, we ate with some chopsticks. I’m generally pretty deft with chopsticks, but when I tried to cut the pork dumplings with them, I ended up cracking one in two. It made a resounding snap that could be heard from tables away. I felt a little too strong!
But to get back to the food, dim sum is not meant to be an elegant, refined brunch. It’s fun, surprising, and definitely not run of the mill. Is it gourmet, no, but it’s exactly what it’s meant to be, authentic chinese cuisine. I thought this was a fun alternative to Kam Fung, and I would definitely go back.
Enjoy, bon apétit!