Chef Tony - Dim Sum in Edmonton

August 22, 2019
Chef Tony from Vancouver has finally arrived in Edmonton, at the old Tropika location on the west side. The dim sum menu is available all day! Some of the items are blocked out because they are currently not available. These are the signature items and in order to ensure consistency, they will be made in Vancouver and shipped over.

Prices range from $5.88 to $8.98, and I averaged around $7 per dish based on what I ordered. Tea is $2/person which is somewhat pricy compared to other dim sum restaurants, but you could order a different tea from other people at your table or choose to opt out and just have hot water instead. Also it's a nice touch that the teapot is heated over a tealight to keep it warm.

This bowl of stewed duck congee ($8.98) was the most expensive item I ordered. It had quite a few chunks of tender savoury duck meat inside, and also came with some clear noodle bits. The congee was well seasoned and tasty, but it wasn't quite hot enough.

One of the more popular items here is the sweet salty egg yolk lava bun ($6.98). I enjoyed the soft fluffy bun texture and the salted egg yolk filling was rich and tasty.

Only complaint is that the filling was too runny and not quite lava-like. I would've preferred a slightly thicker consistency. But I saw someone else's picture of the same bun a day after my visit, and the filling was much thicker, so I think I might have just gotten a runnier batch.

A lot of people are interested in this variation of har gow (shrimp dumplings) ($8.98) made with cuttlefish ink in the skin. Apart from the unique colour and gold flakes, there was nothing special about this dish and I would not recommend it. Portions were tiny, literally bite-sized, and the skin was slightly mushy and doughy which is not what shrimp dumpling skin should be like at all.

Another dim sum staple, siu mai (pork and shrimp dumplings) ($6.68) got a new twist with black truffle added on top. Again these were bite-sized and possibly the smallest siu mai I have ever seen. They used a good quality lean pork, but traditionally siu mai has always been made with fatty pork for the juiciness and flavour. As a result, these dumplings were quite dry and flavourless apart from the musty taste of the truffle that just didn't go with them.

Just for reference, below is the same dish from the Vancouver location 3 years ago. I would say the siu mai have shrunk a bit!

One of my favourites at dim sum is the chicken feet ($5.88) and this did not disappoint. The marinade was done well and the flavour of the sauce was all absorbed into the chicken feet.

Now for the dim sum that really stood out to me, the pan-fried taro cake ($6.68) was my absolute favourite of this meal. Unlike other taro cakes that are mostly made with a rice flour batter, this was made with real taro shreds. They also added a thin layer of crispy dried noodlefish on top that provided a nice crunch and burst of salty flavour. They're kind of like anchovies though, so not everyone would enjoy this.

Another item I liked was the spring roll ($6.68). This wasn't too greasy, and the pineapple added a nice refreshing element. I couldn't really taste the seaweed though. But once again I have to mention the tiny portions, since there were only 2 pieces of spring roll compared to at least 3 or 4 at other restaurants.

Overall some dishes were good, and some were not that great. Service was very chaotic, probably since they just opened. Most of the servers were quite inexperienced and inattentive. It took a long time to wave someone down to put in the order, and even longer to get spoons for our congee (since they forgot to give us spoons as part of our place setting). We had wrong dishes delivered to our table at least 5 times... But I assume these issues will be worked out with time.

I'll also post a few pics of the dim sum I had at the Vancouver location 3 years ago. All of these are still available on the current Edmonton menu. The first three items below (BBQ pork buns, egg white tarts, mushroom tarts) are the signature items that will be shipped in from Vancouver, so they should be available shortly!

Baked BBQ Pork Buns - signature item that is arguably the best dish at Chef Tony!

Baked BBQ Pork Bun - soft fluffy bun that deflates when you bite into it

House Special Egg White Custard Tarts

Baked Assorted Mushrooms Pastries

Flaky Almond Meat Loaf Sticks

Steamed Sweet Sponge Soft Cake


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