I kid you not, when I left for work yesterday morning I thought “what should I pack for lunch today?” Then I remembered what my job is, and all at once felt very stupid and really quite pleased.
The past few days have been surreal. Monday was spent talking my jaw off, and by the end of it I’d learned what ten hours of interviews and three layers of makeup feel like. I had fun, and am grateful to everyone for being so kind to a rookie like me.
Then there was yesterday. Yesterday I was given my new computer, ate my first meal in Richmond, and had a radio interview with the CBC. I was so excited to be there, I took a photo of Ian Hanomansing’s headshot on the wall like some sort of crazed groupie. I just couldn’t help myself. I love Ian Hanomansing. Then I went home, made a cup of tea, and sat down to write about food. I didn’t last long in the chair, however, because suddenly I realized that this – my favourite routine of tea + writing – had actually become my job. I may have cried just the teeniest bit, put on “Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine, and danced around my room. I may have. There were no witnesses to confirm these events.
Several minutes later I was sufficiently shook out (thanks Florence), and returned to my desk to get down to business.
My first of 365 meals was dim sum at Sun Sui Wah Seafood Restaurant in The Golden Village. Why? Because one of you lovely readers suggested it, dim sum is an absolutely CLASSIC meal to have in this city, and a few folks at Tourism Richmond were willing to join me. Friends don’t let friends dim sum alone, after all. For anyone not sure what dim sum is, I shall explain it now, because I’ll be eating it a lot over the next twelve months. If you’re from Richmond, please ignore this next paragraph, as explaining dim sum to you is like explaining hockey to a Canadian.
This meal is linked to the Cantonese tradition of “yum cha,” which involves drinking tea. Dim sum eventually grew to mean a shared meal of bite-sized foods and small plates, with tea served alongside to aid in digestion. Many of the dishes are steamed or deep-fried, and various kinds of dumplings are consistent staples.
In Richmond, countless restaurants serve dim sum and many are filled to capacity every day. Each have their own specialty, and at Sun Sui Wah it’s whole roasted squab. “Yes!!” I thought, “I’d LOOOOVE to try the squab!” Then I asked someone to please tell me what squab is.
Turns out it’s pigeon, and it was squab-nificent. The small bird arrived at our table cut neatly into quarters, golden, and glistening. Its skin was crispy, and the spiced, dark meat was similar to duck but leaner. I look forward to the next time I’m eating duck and can jokingly say (with crinkled nose and pursed, disapproving lips) “Hmmmm, I really wish we’d gone with the pigeon.”
I won’t go through every last dish, because then you’d have a novel to read. But I can say I enjoyed them all, despite a few tough stalks amongst the Chinese Broccoli with Oyster Sauce. Our servers (and at a restaurant that serves dim sum, there are many) were attentive and efficient.
It’s tough for me to give an over-arching verdict. I’ve had dim sum before, but never in Richmond, and since this city has some of the best you can eat, I’ll have to try a lot more places in order to compare. But for classic dim sum I really enjoyed Sun Sui Wah, and if you have a hankering for pigeon, this is your place!
For $17 per person including tip, we were full and happy. Thanks to the ladies who joined me for my first meal; it was a delight to dine with you.
One more (completely unrelated thing) before I head out for my next meal: I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to the rhubarb that’s been sitting sadly in my kitchen for an entire week. If it could talk it would say “What’s the deal, LA? I’m bored,” and I’d say “The deal is, rhubarb, I’m going to use you soon and share the recipe in an upcoming blog post.” Then it would give me the stink-eye and say “Fine. But make it good.”
Speaking of sharing, anyone willing to dish on their favourite dim sum specialties and/or seasonal rhubarb recipes?