Restaurant: Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant
Cuisine: Chinese/Dim Sum
Last visited: August 7, 2010
Location: (2 locations) Richmond, BC
Address: 4920 #3 Road
Price Range: $10-20 or $20-30
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- 30+ years
- One of the most famous Chinese restaurants in Vancouver
- Popular to locals and tourists
- Fresh seafood, in house tanks
- Traditional Chinese food
- Dim Sum/Lunch/Dinner
- Higher end Chinese restaurant
- Featured on Rachel Ray’s Tasty Travels
- Popular for banquets/private parties
- Very popular for weddings & special events
- Free parking
**Recommendations: I wouldn’t really recommend anything… but if you’re coming anyways then try the roasted squab and “Love Bird Fried Rice”
Sun Siu Wah Seafood Restaurant is one of the older and most popular Chinese restaurants in Vancouver and Richmond, BC. It’s original location is in Vancouver and the 2nd location opened in Richmond, BC soon after. Sun Siu Wah is perhaps the most well known Chiense restaurant in Vancouver, but it’s certainly not the best in my opinion. It’s the place that everyone knows about and that tourists flock to, but there’s definitely better. It’s pretty much one of the very few Chinese restaurants in Vancouver and the lower mainland that focuses so heavily in marketing and advertising – I mean c’mon they even have a website. This all works in their favour though because after 30 years and going, it has established itself as one of Vancouver’s “best” Chinese restaurants offering “superb quality”. I mean when you get a visit from Rachael Ray to be featured on Food Network’s Tasty Travels you know you’re doing something right… right?! Uhhh I’m not so sure…
To sum it up, Sun Siu Wah is not bad, but it’s not as great as people make it out to be. It’s not the best for Chinese food in Vancouver, but it’s decent and fit for tourists or functions, which is one of their main focuses they try and promote. It’s never a place anyone Chinese I know plans to go on a regular basis, but it’s a place that is very popular for hosting weddings, banquets and special events. The food is good, but it’s really nothing special and you can find better elsewhere and most locals will know this. Sun Siu Wah still attracts Chinese locals and it is always busy for dim sum or dinner, but I honestly find it over-rated. This is mainly because the standard of Chinese food in Vancouver is super high (it’s better than Hong Kong) and if you know this then you know there’s better in Vancouver (especially Richmond), but if you don’t then Sun Siu Wah is already “excellent” enough.
Having said all that, this is a post on their wedding feast menu called the “Promising Future”. It’s a set menu for 10 people and costs $668. The Sun Sui Wah banquet menus and prices are here. It’s not fair to “judge” a restaurant solely on the banquet menu where food is usually “mass-produced”, but I’ve come here several times for various occasions and I still feel the same way.
On the table:
- Roasted suckling pig, surf clam, beef slices, bean curd rolls, deep fried crab meat and seaweed rolls and jellyfish.
- I’ve had better cold cut platters. The bean curd rolls (6 o’clock position) taste so much better when there’s sweet and juicy Shiitake mushrooms wrapped into them. See the bean curb wraps with mushrooms here from Kirin.
- The deep fried crab meat and seaweed rolls is not a common item to see on a cold cut platter, but they were a nice change although they weren’t that good. They were a bit soggy and chewy and even if they were served immediately they wouldn’t impress me. It was just fake crab meat wrapped with seaweed dipped in a thick flour batter.
- The jellyfish sitting underneath the roasted suckling pig was bland and just salty. It’s supposed to be an equal balance of sweet, salty, tangy and even sometimes spicy.
- The surf clam isn’t common or very traditional, but if it’s on the cold cut platter it should be served with soy sauce and wasabi like they do at Kirin – but it wasn’t.
- The beef slices I’ve never been a fan of because they’re too tedony so I passed.
- The best thing was the roasted suckling pig. That was actually very good and it had a very crispy skin and very juicy meat that was perfectly salted.
- These were good, but also not the best I’ve had. It’s a crab claw that’s wrapped in shrimp paste and the whole thing is lightly battered and fried. It’s often eaten with red vinegar, sweet and sour sauce or chili sauce.
- I prefer the bread crumb batter at Empire Chinese Cuisine (see deep fried shrimp balls here) or Shun Feng Seafood Restaurant (see their deep fried shrimp balls here), rather than this time saving flour batter.
- The shrimp meat wrapped around the crab claw was pretty tasty though and I love the piece of crab meat in the middle. It’s almost the savoury Chinese version of a Kinder Surprise! The shrimp ball was damn hot, but juicy and tender and it has a nice contract with the crispy exterior, however the exterior could have been crispier if they used a different batter.
- This was another basic dish that was good and quite standard in execution.
- It was big pieces of tender and crunchy broccoli layered with a significant amount of fresh scallops sauteed with green onion stems.
- The scallops were tender with a very mild onion flavour.
- I don’t eat shark’s fin for my own ethical reasons after visiting the aquarium in Shanghai.
- No complaints, but people were happy to eat my share since shark’s fin is a Chinese delicacy… that has no nutritional value.
- This was actually very good, mainly because it’s lobster and Chinese people are unstoppable when it comes to preparing the freshest seafood.
- The lobster should have come with more supreme stock sauce though. Usually they give more sauce like the one from Empire Chinese Cuisine – see their lobster here. The stock sauce is gourmet and it’s made from the shells of the lobster, so it should really come with lots of it since you’re paying for it.
- The lobster itself was tender though and perfectly cooked. The flavour was still good, but I missed the sauce.
- This is a traditional Chinese delicacy that’s commonly known as roasted pigeon. It’s not those dirty pigeons that eat garbage though, it’s squab – they’re different.
- Roasted Squab is Sun Sui Wah’s claim to fame and signature dish, but it’s actually available at most Chinese restaurant and I actually like the ones from Jade Seafood Restaurant, Kirin, or Empire Seafood Restaurant which are the same owners as Empire Chinese Cuisine.
- The squab is excellent here as well though. It’s marinated in seasonings and spices and is roasted until the skin is crispy and the meat is juicy. The meat is actually very lean, low in fat and cholesterol so it’s hard to cook it without being dry. It’s almost the same texture and flavour as duck with a nice sweetness and meaty flavour that isn’t gamey.
- I love this dish. It has tons of flavour, is relatively healthy and is almost like duck, but without the fat and it’s still moist… I actually like it better than duck.
- I’m pretty sure this was canned abalone. Weak… for a famous SEAFOOD restaurant that boasts itself on quality… I was not impressed. Although you pay for what you get, I don’t even think they should even have canned abalone in their inventory let alone on the menu. It tasted like oyster mushrooms.
- It was a very saucy dish and I did love the peashoots, but any Chinese restaurant will make peashoots just as good if not better.
- The giant Shiitake mushrooms were nice and tender as well, but overall everything was a bit slimy and the sauce was a bit overwhelming.
- The fish will vary depending on what’s cheap… err no I mean depending on what’s seasonal… yes, seasonal…
- The fish was Rock Cod, and it’s always Rock Cod. It was actually good, moist and not fishy in taste but nice and smooth in texture.
- It’s served with a soy sauce made for steamed fish and it’s sweeter and less sharp than the standard soy sauce.
- The fish should have been served with more minced cilantro rather than 2 springs of it that were used more as decor. Rock Cod doesn’t absorb flavour that well and it’s best eaten with lots of the sweet soy sauce, onions, cilantro and a bowl of rice to soak it all up.
- This is a traditional Chinese dish that is often served at weddings and it’s also commonly known as “Honeymoon Fried Rice”. It’s supposed to be presented in a Yin Yang design and that represents the male and the female or husband and wife – an equal balance and unity.
- The dish was excellent here, but I’ve also had better. This is one of my all time favourite fried rice dishes though, so I tend to gravitate towards it.
- It’s fried rice served with half tomato sauce and half cream sauce. There’s something for everyone! I love the tomato sauce side, or I like to mix the two together. It’s like having tomato pasta and Alfredo pasta at once – but Chinese style.
- The tomato sauce side had thin strands of white meat chicken and few diced tomatoes, but I like it when they have lots of sliced onions it it as well. It’s tangy and sweet and almost like sweet an sour sauce, but less tangy.
- The cream sauce side is the seafood side and has sauteed shrimps and sliced broccoli tips in it. The shrimps were frozen though so I wasn’t impressed and the cream sauce wasn’t that good either. The cream sauce should be thicker and creamier, but this one was almost like a clear white gluey gravy thickened with more cornstarch and water rather than milk or cream. It’s also common to see peas instead of broccoli tips, but I like both and some places even bake some Mozzarella cheese over the top of the cream side. It’s awesome!
- Gingeri in Richmond does an excellent version of it, although I haven’t had it in a while. Cafe Gloucester does a Hong Kong Cafe version of it that’s great (I think it has cheese if I recall correctly), and No 9 does it as well if you want to try it without paying a huge price to do so, but it’s not as good there and it’s still $14.
- This was boring, but I always find it boring. It’s the “lucky noodle” or the “happy noodle” so it’s tradition and respectful to eat it no matter what the occasion is.
- It wasn’t dry, but the ingredients were lacking. I like it to have more green onions and more Shiitake mushrooms in it. Some places will even saute Enoki mushrooms in it. It could have used more flavour and it was very mediocre overall.
- I’m not a fan of red bean soup ever so I didn’t try it. I’m even less of a fan when it’s all hearty, but it also make it more gourmet and expensive.
- Hot bean soup just doesn’t do it for me… especially as dessert.
- I bet you didn’t even know it was called “Chinese Dainty Two” – I’ve had these for years and I just discovered the name now… unless it’s only Sun Siu Wah that calls them that.
- The older I get the more I love these almond cookies. I love the almond cookies at Kirin because they have a walnut on top, see here, and I also love the almond cookies at Vivacity Restaurant in Richmond because they’re very thin and crispy. The almond cookies here are great too. It’s not a soft chewy cookie but it’s not crunchy either. It has a crispy exterior and a soft and tender crumb and an aromatic almond flavour. They’re wonderfully nutty and not too sweet so you can easily eat 3 or 6.
- The round sesame balls in the middle are also growing on me. They’re a traditional Chinese cookie and they’re very soft although hard to bite into at first. It’s a dry crumbly cookie and it’s rolled in sesame seeds so it has a nutty flavour. They’re not as good as the almond cookies, but I still enjoy them if they’re there.