Spring Garden Chinese Seafood Restaurant
832 12th St., New Westminster
Price: Fairly cheap
I been craving dim sum for some time now, but haven't had the chance to make my way out to Richmond. After a quick search on Urbanspoon, yielded a dim sum restaurant with good reviews in New Westminster. This is perfect for my meet up with D, as he is located in Burnaby and I am in Surrey, so it's sort of in the middle. Spring Garden was really easy to find with the big yellow sign and all. They had ample parking at the back of the restaurant. We made the reservation for 11:30, which in my book is already pretty late for dim sum (consider how early people go in Richmond). We walked in to find a empty restaurant which kinda concerned me, but the place soon filled up. By about 12:30, the place was packed. Knowing that most dim sum dishes have minimal veggie or none at all, so I ordered a Garlic green bean with minced meat for $4.99. Although it may sound expensive, but the portion size was fairly large. The beans were oil blanched so it had that crunchiness to it. The sauce was good, but they put dry shrimp in it. I dislike that part, but R loved it.
We ordered the typical Sui Mai ($2.75) which was okay, the pork was chewy, but there was a lack of flavor. The Rice Roll with Shrimp ($3.25) was good, as the shrimp was crunchy, but the rice roll was a bit chewy and thick.
The Deep Fried Minced Tofu and Shrimp Paste ($3.15) was not what I had expected. I thought it was deep fried soft tofu cubes, but sadly it wasn't.. I learned something, always read the English description, because the Chinese ones just sounds fancy, but it doesn't tell you anything. This was not bad, as the outside was crispy but a bit too mushy on the inside. The Pan Fried Pork and Chive Dumpling ($2.75) was okay. The skin was rather thick and chewy. The stuffing was generous, but the taste was average.
The Pan Fried Radish Cake ($2.50) was okay, I was never a fan of it. Both D and R seem to like it. On the other hand, I always loved the Steamed Spare Ribs ($2.50). This one was pretty good, the ribs were more fatty than some, but I like that. This one did not have any veggie on the bottom, thus the sauce was a bit oily.
The Rice Roll with Fish Puree ($3.25) was another dish that was totally not what I expected, because in Chinese it was called Fish puree Zhaliang. Zhaliang is a term for Chinese Donut wrapped in rice roll, but what we got was like deep fried bean curd wrapped around fish puree with rice roll. This dish sounded interesting, but really it was just okay.
This was one of my favorite for the day: Prawn with Scallop dumpling ($3.35). The shrimp was fresh, and the scallop was tender without being fishy. I also noticed they used mostly egg white to 'hold' the shrimp together instead of corn starch, which to me spoke quality.
Service here was actually not bad. They filled our tea pot often and the food came out relatively fast. I think the reason is because they are not as busy as restaurants in Richmond, and the the place is not that big, so they can be a bit more attentive in comparison.
Overall I like this place for for several reasons. 1) The food is certainly decent if not good. 2) It's closer to home. 3) I don't have to wait in line, at least not for long and 4) I don't have to fight for parking. With so many benefit, I will certainly be back for more when craving dim sum.