Red Star Seafood Restaurant, Vancouver
I was really put off the first time I went to Red Star because of the chaotic scene at the entrance – more than one person was irritated by the wait and heated words were being exchanged in Chinese. After waiting about 10 minutes and seeing the situation none improved, we bolted which was rather inconvenient since Red Star is in Marpole which is not exactly an area teaming with dining options. Still, remembering all the glowing reviews online, I returned for dim sum, and was very pleasantly rewarded for my persistence. Arriving at about 1.30 we strolled right in and when confronted with a menu in Chinese, we made do using the universal language of pictures and by enlisting the help of a waiter. Unlike many dim sum venues, at Red Star, they hand you a menu and pencil where you order the dishes you want – I actually prefer this to cart service since who knows how long some of those plates have been making the rounds. I am a huge fan of shrimp and I gorged on them here – their har gow were loaded with juicy coral morsels practically bursting out of the translucent skins that contained them. I also enjoyed the fried shrimp and garlic wontons – these arrived piping hot and although deep fried, they weren’t at all greasy. My last indulgence was the deep fried shrimp and pea tip shoots stuffed in beancurd skin, something I’ve never seen on another dim sum menu but they were so tasty I wonder why. The pea tip shoots were a lovely complement in flavour to the shrimp and helped alleviate some of the density of the meaty flesh; both were contained by the light, crispy beancurd skin offering an excellent contrast in texture. In order not to have an all-prawn meal, I also tried the green beans which were sautéed with dried olives and minced pork giving them a deep savoury and salty goodness. Although there are less expensive options, Red Star does really stand out in terms of the quality of their ingredients and the value is still quite good. I’m looking forward to heading back to try a traditional, non-dim sum style meal.
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