Sun Sui Wah (Main St.)

February 3rd, 2008 · 5 Comments

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Target 1: Sun Sui Wah (Main St.)

ssw.extAddress: 3388 Main ST (map)
Phone: 866-872-8822 (toll free)

Specials menu: Page 1; Page 2
Small – $3.20
Medium – $3.75
Large – $4.20
Deluxe – $5.95
Kitchen – $6.80
Tea – 80 cents per head we ordered two kinds: Shou Mei and Chrysanthemum. Fairly good quality and well worth the charge)

Visit date: January 27th, 2008
Visit time: 11:00 AM


Jason’s ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 75% or 26.25 of 35 possible points
Steamed other: 80% or 12/15
Fried & deep fried: 70% or 10.5/15
Baked & sweet: 70% or 10.5/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 75% or 7.5/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 90% or 9/10

Jason’s total: 76/100

Des’ ratings –

Steamed dumplings: 80% or 28/35
Steamed other: 85% or 12.75/15
Fried & deep fried: 85% or 12.75/15
Baked & sweet: 75% or 11.25/15
Rice-noodle-veg: 75% or 7.5/10
Other factors (service, atmosphere, etc): 80% or 8/10

Des’ total: 80.25/100

Total Score (averaged across both raters, all variables) = 78.125/100

Notes from Desmond:

Most of the dim sum we ordered fell in the medium (11) and large (6) categories. Six of us ordered 20 dim sum which was plenty. We paid about $18 per head which included a very generous tip – the service was good, the staff being attentive to empty teapots and changing our messy plates for fresh ones.

As a general rule of thumb, four dim sum per person plus a dish of rice or noodles should be very satisfactory.

To begin our quest for Vancouver’s finest dim sum experience, we chose the famous Sun Sui Wah as the first stop. (As Eat Vancouver readers surely know, there are two branches of the Cantonese restaurant. We went for the one on Main Street being closer to Downtown.) And it was a good decision.

An important point to note is that, like most of the larger dim sum venues in Vancouver, Sun Sui Wah’s dim sum come wheeled out on carts by ladies (it seems to be a given that the ladies ply the wares while the gents wait on the tables) announcing their tasty goods in Cantonese and English. There is no menu listing all the dim sum and so it is highly recommended to get a good selection of different kinds of the delightful little dishes, with an additional order of a larger dish of rice or noodles.

ssw.har.gao.siu.maiClassics of dim sum are har gau (steamed shrimp dumplings, Mandarin: xia jiao) and siu mai (steamed pork dumplings usually topped with shrimp and often also with other seafood; Md: Shao mai). The siu mai was firm and succulent setting a delightful standard. Personally I thought that the har gau was just a bit too firm and the shrimp too compact, preferring a whole fresh shrimp (note from Jason: I agree, the har gau was subpar). The Chiuchow fan gor (dumplings with minced pork, vegetables, and peanuts; Md: Chaozhou fen guo) offered a fine balance of the tasty morsels within and the fried chive dumplings managed to offer a tastily juicy parcel within a fine yet crisply fragrant exterior.

Other dim sum I enjoyed included: the steamed chilli and black bean ribs (chopped from quality pork in a flavourful sauce that managed to avoid being excessively oily); the fried daikon and yam cake (lor bak ko and wu tau ko; Md: luobo gao and yutou gao) which had hearty chunks of the root vegetables complemented by the cured pork pieces; the deep fried squid; clams steamed in black bean sauce; and the baked mango tapioca.

SSW.dantatJust as minor quibbles, I was less enthusiastic about the baked egg tarts (the smaller version served here was simply eggy – I prefer a sweeter, more complexly flavoured tart); and the baked barbecue pork buns were over-glazed though the steamed version was fantastic. As for more innovative dim sum, the steamed tofu with shrimp and fish roe was full of freshness though it could have carried a bit more flavour. The fried seaweed rolls looked interesting but the crabstick-looking chunks within were a bit disappointing.

Overall though, Sun Sui Wah offers an excellent and varied selection of dim sum and is certainly to remain one of the favourite dim sum restaurants in Vancouver. We were advised to go earlier as it was a Sunday – at 11am instead of our planned 11:30 – and it was good advice. Soon after our arrival we were one table of happy diners amid a sea of bamboo steamers.

[editorial note: well placed sources tell me that while the Richmond Sun Sui Wah is better for dinner, the dim sum chef at Main St is more accomplished than his suburban counterpart]

Sun Sui Wah Seafood on Urbanspoon

Tags: Chinese · Dim Sum

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 chowman // Feb 3, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    I have dined at both locations of the Sun Sui Wah. Unless it has changed, the Richmond location does not use carts. One selects dim sum from a list, and it is brought to the table.

    The Vancouver location can get very crowded and noisy. I have heard the same comment about the difference in the dim sum chefs, but I found that I preferred the Richmond dim sum. That may be a function of my lack of sophistication in this area. Or it could be that the food in the carts at the Vancouver location took too long to get to us.

    I look forward to more reviews in this area.


  • 2 Jason // Feb 13, 2008 at 5:34 pm

    Hey Chowman,

    I definitely respect your opinion, so I think trying the Richmond location is definitely a priority.

    Cheers bud,


  • 3 mbe // Aug 2, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    Our experiences at SSW Downtown have been generally mixed, a high note being the baked and deep fried dishes. I believe that the cart service is only on the weekend though.

  • 4 Jason // Aug 3, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    is there a downtown SSW?

  • 5 sun sui wah on Main st | Sour Grapes // Aug 18, 2008 at 6:30 am

    […] […]

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