While I had to venture out to Oakridge Center for an always-awkward dental appointment, I thought: we should go for dim sum! But where would we go? I don’t want to pick a bad choice, and I don’t want a mediocre choice, so where could we go? So when I found Good Choice Restaurant I thought: wow, that’s exactly what I’m looking for!
Heh all joking aside, Good Choice Restaurant is a smaller place (as Chinese places go) located on Fraser and E44th in the aptly-named Punjabi Market area. If you ever need fabric, Indian sweets, or cheap produce, this is the place. But we wanted to know if this was also the place for a good choice of dim sum? We rustled up ChaSiewBen-Caricerolline, LoBakMo, HoGow, MichSaiGohBow along with newcomers DimSumthia, and ChaSiewSoo to find out.
The interior was typical of a Chinese restaurant. The clientele was mostly from the neighbourhood, with a lot of familiarity between customers and the servers. As soon as we arrived we got seated promptly. Wow, reservations at a Chinese restaurant actually meaning something!? No… they just weren’t full yet. In fact, there was never a lineup longer than two groups throughout our meal, lending even more to the neighbourhood feel.
We started things off with an order of the Pan Fried Green Beans w/Minced Meat & Preserved Veg ($6.95). These were crunchy and tasty, but we didn’t notice the preserved vegetable flavour, and it became too salty after a few bites. We also noted that it seemed to be quite a small portion for the price, which didn’t make much sense since none of the ingredients were particularly exotic or pricey. Perhaps there’s a global bean or pork shortage?
Next, we had the Stir Fried Radish Cake in Spicy XO Sauce ($6.25). These had a semi-crisp exterior with smooth interior consistency, although the spiciness level was high, the XO sauce flavour was a bit inconsistent piece to piece, but overall this was well-received with the radish flavour coming through.
We continued with Spicy Deep Fried Squid ($7.25) that had a definite radioactive orange glow, Despite this (when have we ever let appearances stop us from eating?) we found it slightly over-crisp, with a somewhat thicker batter, but it had good peppery-salt flavour and just the right amount of seasoning. However, with the price commanded by this dish, we expected a larger portion. Does the radioactive orange colour cost extra?
The Deep Fried Eggplant wrapped with Shrimps ($4.95) came next. This was fairly bitter from being overcooked and the skin had developed a toughness which gave it an unpleasant mouthfeel when combined with the mushy overcooked interior.
The Steamed Shrimp Dumplings ($4.95) had a thin, translucent skin that could have been a touch chewier, although it generally held up well. The shrimp filling was flavourful with juicy shrimp that was generally well-received by our group. These dumplings are typical of all dimsums. One may even say that ordering this was…A Good Choice. Heh.
Then came the Beef Tripe & Tendon in Special Sauce (4.95) which was tender and had a good flavour to the sauce (well, I guess it is special) but we noted a lack of much taste to the tripe & tendon itself separate from the sauce. But overall it was still a reasonably pleasant dish.
The Steamed Spareribs with Pumpkin ($3.95) were tender, but they also had a fair amount of fat and as a result, the oil content was quite high. It was also notably under-seasoned, and the pumpkin flavour wasn’t noticeable at all. Overall this dish was a disappointment.
The Deep Fried Soft Tofu ($7.25) was nice and crispy on the outside, with silky soft tofu on the inside. Even though they came underseasoned, it was well-executed and had a great contrast in texture.
Finally, the Steamed Pork & Shrimp Dumplings ($4.95) were large, tender, and surprisingly had bits of watercress throughout which changed the flavour profile quite a bit. This, however, polarized the group. While many enjoyed this addition, some also disliked the texture and flavour combination.
Overall this place had mostly average food with only a few misses. However, the portion sizes didn’t match up to the prices for what you get. However, this lends itself to a less-busy location, and if you don’t mind the value proposition, it could be a Good Choice, but for us, it’s really more of an Average Choice.
Here are our ratings!
[table caption=”Standard Dishes” width=”500″ colwidth=”25|15″ colalign=”left|center”]
Dish Name,Score (out of 5)
Shrimp Dumpling, 3.5 – above average
Pork Dumpling, 2.9 – average
Spare Ribs, 2.8 – average
Tripe/Tendon, 3.0 – average
Fried Radish Cake, 3.0 – average
Buns/Pastries, 2.5 – average
Prices for standard dim sum item ranged from $3.25-$7.25 and our members felt that this gave us BELOW AVERAGE value for the quality of food.
[table caption=”Noteworthy Dishes” width=”500″ colwidth=”25|15″ colalign=”left|center”]
Spicy Deep Fried Squid, above average
Deep Fried Soft Tofu, above average
Deep Fried Eggplant wrapped with Shrimps, below average
All things considered, we thought that Good Choice Restaurant had an overall rating of: 2.9 out of 5 (average)