It was near the end of my Vancouver trip and my grandma was shocked to hear that I had not yet had dim sum. So, we ended up at Kirin for lunch, one of our go-to dim sum restaurants.
Kirin has four locations in the lower mainland. The one we went to is their newest location, inside the Starlight casino in New Westminster. My grandma likes this location the best due to its abundance of free parking and spacious interior.
It’s very large inside, making it a popular spot for banquets. For dim sum, you won’t find push carts here (a rarity these days). However, you’ll see the occasional server walk by with a tray of fresh dishes, for your ordering pleasure.
The first dish to arrive was the Deep Fried Chicken Joint Cartilage. My sister loves this stuff so we had to order this. The fried joint cartilage came in bite-sized pieces and for those unfamiliar with them, they resemble popcorn chicken (with a much bigger crunch). The ones here were nicely fried – not too greasy and were well seasoned. This dish got my sister’s approval!
Next up was the Beef Tendon – braised in chef’s special sauce. Don’t you love it when Chinese restaurants refer to their sauce as “special sauce”? Anyway, the dish was a hit. Not everyone enjoys tendon due to its fatty texture but I’m a huge fan. It would’ve tasted great with a side of noodles.
After the beef tendon, the Steamed Minced Beef and Chinese Donut Rice Rolls arrived. The beef filling was tasty (similar to the beef balls) and the bits of donut provided a nice crunch.
A dim sum dish I really like are Deep Fried Prawn Dumplings – served with consommé. Since it’s not available at all restaurants, I always order it at places that serve it. Like the cartilage, the dumplings weren’t greasy at all for something that’s been deep fried. I enjoyed the filling and the lightness of the broth (served on the side).
What’s dim sum without an order of Spareribs – steamed in black bean sauce? While I can’t say the ones here were anything out of the ordinary, they were certainly satisfying.
Onto the dessert! We started with the Egg Tarts which came with three small tarts in an order. I love a flakey crust (no cookie crusts, please) and the ones at Kirin were light, flakey and delicious.
My favourite dish came at the end of the meal, the Durian Loh Mai Chi. The smell of durian drives most people away. I used to hate durian as a kid but I’ve developed a taste for it since then.
My grandma informed me that Kirin makes these durian treats the best and I can see why. Served cold, these glutinous rice balls each consist of a piece of sweet durian inside a thin layer of glutinous rice. If you’re a fan of durian, this is a must-order! Ask for them early though to avoid disappointment as they tend to sell out.
I found the service here to be pretty good for dim sum. The servers were quite attentive, coming by often to change our dirty plates. Although I’ve never been here for dinner, the dim sum at Kirin is a solid bet!
At a glance:
• Located in the Starlight casino in New Westminster
• 3 other locations around Vancouver
• Plenty of free parking
• Durian lovers must order the durian loh mai chi
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4 stars
• Service: 4 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars