Restaurant: Red Star Seafood
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum/Seafood
Last visited: May 31. 2010
Location: Richmond, BC (Central Richmond)
Address: #2200 – 8181 Cambie Road
Price Range: $10-20 for dim sum, $20-30+ for dinner
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- 2 locations: Richmond and Vancouver
- Considered higher end Chinese dining
- Chinese casual fine dining
- Traditional Chinese food
- Popular for Chinese seafood
- Overall good quality and fresh seafood
- A lot of dim sum items not available on menu
- Popular to Chinese locals
- Very busy for dim sum
- Dim sum reservations recommended
- Dim sum/lunch/dinner
- Dinner better than dim sum
- Chinese and English menu
- Daily specials
- Available for private parties/banquets
**Recommendations: Pan fried eggplant stuffed with fish cake, pan-fried flat noodle with chicken in black bean sauce
Red Star Seafood Restaurant is a popular high end Chinese restaurant with 2 locations, the original one in Vancouver (Marpole) and the other in Richmond. The one in Vancouver is much more popular and famous and apparently the quality of food is better at that location. The menus are also slightly different at each location. I’ve been to both before for dim sum and dinner, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to either. It is fine dining Chinese food, but I still prefer the Kirin Restaurant chains overall if I’m going to be dining at this level.
I’ve come for dinner at Red Star Seafood Restaurant and I found it more enjoyable than the dim sum, although it’s been a while since I’ve had dinner here. The dim sum was on the whole good, but I found the menu for it somewhat limited. I have to add that half of the items I originally ordered were “sold out”. One was actually sold out, but they really need to update the menus because I was disappointing when I discovered that the other 2 were never available to begin with.
Red Star Seafood Restaurant is more expensive than most Chinese restaurants but the quality of food is there and the ambiance is nice. However, with these prices I would rather have Rainflower Restaurant, or Top Gun J&C Restaurant that are even better and have just as nice ambiance. .
On the table:
**Pan-fried Eggplant stuffed with Fish Cake – 5/6
- Either $3.50 or $4.25? I think it’s only available at the Richmond location.
- I really enjoy eggplant, so I really like this dish.
- It tastes like a braised eggplant and it’s very tender and soft. It just melts in your mouth and it’s served with a garlicky thick soy gravy. It’s salty and slightly sweet.
- The Japanese eggplant was huge and it was stuffed very generously. It was more than most places will give you.
- The fish cake is just like a fishball. It’s made fresh in house from pureed white fish, firm and quite good.
**Rice Flour Rolls Wrap with Chinese Donut – 4.5/6
- I’ve had this at numerous Chinese restaurants, but I actually really enjoyed it here.
- It’s served with a side of sweet soy sauce and Hoisin sauce and sesame sauce for dipping. You pour the soy sauce on to before eating it. Don’t go overboard because you still dip it in more sauce afterward and you don’t want the donut to get soggy or too salty if it’s swimming in soy sauce.
- It’s chive rice rolls wrapped around pork floss and a savoury Chinese donut. The reason it was so good here is because not every place will put pork floss in between the sheet of rice roll and the Chinese donut.
- It’s also really good because the Chinese donut was very fresh with a crispy outside, and the inside was fluffier and softer than most others. I thought the donut was too big at first (especially compared to most) and I would have preferred it bite sized, but since it was good, it didn’t bother me as much. It’s a great texture with the smooth and slippery rice roll wrapping.
- Actually Kirin does an excellent version of this that I highly recommend. although more expensive, the one at Kirin is even better than the one served here.
Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumpling – 3.5/6
- Prawn dumplings wrapped in a chewy skin made of rice flour. They were good, but I’ve also had better. I still like the ones at Rainflower Restaurant the most.
- The prawn just kind of broke apart into smaller chunks, rather than being an actual prawn ball. It wasn’t as crunchy or juicy as I’ve had. It wasn’t overcooked, but the flavour was just okay relative to others. The skin was a bit thicker, but still quite chewy and nice.
- I think this may be only available at their Richmond location.
- It’s a common dim sum dish and sometimes it’s found under desserts… but I have no idea why. Just because the pork has a sweet characteristic to it, doesn’t make it a dessert. It’s like calling BBQ pork a dessert… no.
- The pastry was actually very good, it impressed me more than the stuffing and that’s probably because there wasn’t much stuffing.
- The outside was a very buttery and flaky pastry with a slightly sweetened buttery glaze on top.
- It’s very tender and not thin and crispy like filo pastry, but it’s more soft and almost more like a soft pie crust topping.
- The ratio was off for the puff pastry and the BBQ pork filling – not enough filling. I also like the filling to me more saucy because the puff pastry tends to be a bit dry. This tasted good, but I’ve had better elsewhere.
- They also topped it with some dried lemon peel as garnish and I’ve never seen that done before on this dish… it didn’t work for me and was unnecessary.
Steamed Spare Ribs with Pumpkin – 2.5/6
- This was not bad, but I’ve also had it better elsewhere. They steam it with some black beans and the flavour was there but I wasn’t a fan of the quality of meat they used.
- The spare ribs were a bit chewy and there was a lot of bone. It was also very oily, and although this dish is usually oily, this one was overboard.
- See it was just swimming in oil and I could feel the grease all over my lips.
- Underneath were chunks of pumpkin and I loved this part. I also really like pumpkin in general. The flavour was well absorbed and it’s nice and tender. It was creamy, salty and naturally sweet at the same time.
**Pan-Fried Flat Noodle with Chicken in Black Bean Sauce – 5/6
- I think this was a sign that the dinner is better than the dim sum. This was easily the best thing we ordered.
- It was rice noodles stir fried with lots of boneless white meat chicken slices, onions, and green and red pepper.
Even the noodles underneath were nicely coated with sauce and not dry or too greasy.
- All the ingredients were very fresh and the taste was perfect with freshly cracked black pepper and garlic.
- Black bean sauce is made from preserved black beans and it has a very pungent and salty taste. It has that salty bite that most preserved stuff has and then it’s also very slightly sweet with a bitter kick in the very end. I love them! Who am I kidding… we’ve all tried this sauce before. No need for me to describe it.
- Overall the quality of this dish was very high and it was loaded with ingredients and tons of good quality tender chicken.
- The veggies were actually not cooked that long so they were still quite crunchy, but I liked it.
It’s funny, I keep reading your blog and you keep refering to Kirin’s dim sum being really good. I’ve always gone to the Kirin in downtown because we work right above in the same building and I always find it horrible!!!! I don’t like going there but we go there so often because they are our tenant and it’s so convenient. I’m sure the other kirin locations are much better but when you mention Kirin, i always think about the downtown location….and yuk comes to my mind right away!
Mijune – Flora has this really big adversity to Kirin downtown but I’ve tried the one at City Square on Cambie and thought it was fantastic. She’ll recommend that you go to Victoria Chinese Restaurant by the Hyatt for dim sum though… it’s one of her favourites 🙂
I also recommend you go to Prince Seafood Restaurant in Burnaby by Rupert – across from the McDonalds. It’s great – I like the XO Radish cubes.
I’m also surprised that you find the food at the Kirin as one of the best fine dining(Chinese)…I feel you can lump in Kirin, Sun Sui Wah, the Jade, Fisherman’s Terrace, etc.,etc, as high end, beautiful places but only average food. The Red Star’s rice noodle with chicken looks a little greasy…great pics though. You might check out the Wonderful Shanghai, Shanghai Cuisine, the Golden Star and the Happy Valley as dim sum choices(albeit 2 aren’t Cantonese); not only are these places better but also cheaper than the group above.
YUMMM!! I can’t remember the last time I went out for good chinese food. I am currently following a vegan diet, but know I can still enjoy the rice and veg with some black bean sauce. I am in love with the sauces!!
I got invited to downtown Kirin quite often in the 90’s because of its location, very convenient for out-of-town visitors and friends living in the North Shores. They had a few dishes resembling Indonesian flavor, not surprising given that they had a branch in Jakarta then. Funny that I often bumped in to Kirin Richmond’s staff when I lunched/dined at Gingeri, and they still recognized us after we stopped going there years ago. The Kirin I go to now is the one @New Westminster.
You are right about “The prawn just kind of broke apart into smaller chunks, rather than being an actual prawn ball. “ That means these are prawns, not the cost-cutting minced prawns with lard that is so unhealthy especially when I eat out almost every day. So are their fupeiquin, springroll, fried funquo/soup have real prawns.
Their deep fried chicken knees actually have meat attached. (O.o) But their Tilapia with Bittergourd is awful. Just as awful is their fish soup diced-duck rice and expensive too when compared to their $5.99 laifun with chunky roast duck leg. Their egg tarts are huge and the steamed yolk layered cake seems to be disappearing from other dimsum places.
Lastly, it is safer to stick to their specialties like spicy suikau, sharkfin dumpling soup, and fish-paste puff soup.
Sorry for rambling on. Dimsum can be unhealthy, so I thought I would share my strategy of what to order. 🙂
Victoria is not my favourite but my go-to dim sum place on work days…it’s either that or Kirin downtown. (nothing else close by) Don’t get me wrong, i think dinner @ Kirin is good but that’s also @ other locations. Downtown Kirin has gone downhill and haven’t come back up…even after the renos.
Oh how I miss my cupcake!
lol thanks for all your comments guys. The Kirin I prefer is most definitely the New Westminster one or the Richmond one. I find that each location isn’t as consistent as well. Not EVERYTHING on the menu at Kirin is good, but I do think on the whole it is very good.
Yes, dim sum is no the healthiest, but since it’s only a “bite” of everything I figured it’s “well balanced” =p