One of the challenges of living in Ottawa is finding good Chinese food; for whatever reason, the Chinese food here is often mediocre at best – at least in comparison to Calgary.
Good dim sum is even harder to find. Unless you live in the vicinity of Chinatown, there are not that many options out there.
I was craving dim sum recently and so my wife and I decided to try out Golden Restaurant located in Barrhaven.
The online reviews for the restaurant were very mixed, but many of the complaints had to do with customer service rather than the food. Word of Advice to foodies out there: you do not go to a Chinese (or any East Asian) restaurant for service – you go for the food.
We arrived at 11AM during a weekday and there were already some Chinese seniors seated for dim sum (this is always a good sign). The decor at Golden Restaurant is actually very nice and inviting. We opted to try our usual collection of dishes to see if their dim sum was favourable and also ordered a bowl of congee (rice porridge) for a sniffly son.
The congee was plain – literally. The order sheet says “Plain Congee” so please do not complain when it comes out as a flavourless soup. We added soy sauce and a bit of salt to the congee and our son was happy to eat two bowlfuls.
We also ordered the other staples: har gow, shu mai, fung chao, and one of our faves: steamed meat wrapped in bean curd skin.
We ordered two types of shu mai, a shrimp shu mai and a shrimp and pork shu mai. Both were very succulent and delicious.
I rather liked the shrimp shu mai and my wife enjoyed the pork and shrimp shu mai more.
I like offal.
You will know this if you follow this blog.
And so, one of my favourite food items to order at dim sum is “Assorted Tripe”. Usually this dish consists of tender honeycomb tripe, melt-in-your-mouth beef tendons, and decadent pork lung, and sometimes beef heart and other cuts of offal.
Usually “Assorted Tripe” is cooked in a five-star spice powder sauce reduction and thus has a very earthy and deep tone to it. This particular dish at Golden Restaurant is instead cooked in a thick sweet plum sauce of some sort and it actually adds a different note to the offal.
My wife was very adventurous this time at dim sum (she usually lets me order our meal) and had already ordered a few items for us to try.
We tried a deep fried pork dumpling that was made out of a glutinous rice powder. The dumpling was cooked just right as it was firm and crunchy on the outside but still glutinous on the inside. The pork and vegetable dumpling mixture was sweet and savoury at the same time, blending together a good mix of freshness and saltiness. This is definitely an item we will order again – my son thoroughly enjoyed eating this item.
Lastly, one of our favourite dishes: Steamed meat wrapped in bean curd skin.
In Calgary, our favourite dim sum establishments had a number of variations on this dish, sometimes it would be steamed seafood in bean curd skin, and other times it would be a pork mixture steamed in bean curd skin. Our favourite one can be found at Forbidden City Restaurant in Calgary, it is a steamed meat wrapped in bean curd with abalone sauce (delish!!!).
The steamed meat wrap at Golden Restaurant did not disappoint. The sauce melded perfectly with the bean curd skin and meat, the pork mixture was flavourful. My wife ate two of the three rolls, I was sad. We will have to come back again in the future and order two of these plates.
So if you are ever in the Nepean/Barrhaven area and are craving dim sum, I recommend checking out Golden Restaurant beside the Cineplex in Barrhaven.
It is not a bad establishment at all for dim sum and is probably the best dim sum on the west-end outside of Chinatown.