At Western Lake, good things come to those who wait. No matter what day it is, queues can be upwards of over an hour and that’s even for people with existing reservations. If you’re going to try your luck and walk in without a reservation, expect to be disappointed. People flock over to get their hands on their affordable, fresh dim sum. Although my family no longer resides in Vancouver, Western Lake still remains as one of my mom’s top choices for a solid meal. Timing is always a bit tricky when it comes to planning meals with my family due to our hectic schedules, but our long awaited dim sum date with my mom has finally happened !
What I love about Western Lake is that they offer some of the best value in the city when it comes to dim sum. Dim sum here is like Asian tapas on steroids with the portion sizes compared to other establishments. Once you are seated at your table, the waitress will hand you a menu for you to mark off which items you want. The price of each dish varies accordingly depending what you order ranging from small, medium, large, and specialty.
Steamed Prawn Dumplings ($5.50) Prawn dumplings are a must order every time here! Delicate glutinous skin wrapped with a mix of whole/ coarsely chopped shrimp. Filling was plump and juicy albeit a little on the bland side which was easily solved with some mustard and hot sauce.
Steamed BBQ Pork Buns ($5.00) This is the boyfriend’s favourite dim sum dish. At Chinese restaurants, you will commonly find different variations of this: either steamed or baked. We much prefer the steamed version. The bun was soft and pillowy! Could have used my filling on the inside otherwise they were pretty good as well!
Steamed Prawns and Pea Shoot Dumplings ($5.50) My mom much prefers their steamed prawn and pea shoot more than regular prawn dumplings. This time around, they weren’t as tasty as the dumplings were evidently overcooked by the breakdown of skin and not as fresh as we had hoped.
Pan-Fried Eggplant with Shrimp ($5.50) The highlight of this dish was the nice execution of Chinese eggplant. The eggplant provided a nice base for the shrimp filling and soaked up the oyster sauce wonderfully.
Steamed Mini Sticky Rice ($5.50) This came with three mini ones wrapped with lotus leaf nestled in a bamboo steamer. I grew up eating a lot of stick rice so I had high hopes for this one! Although the sticky rice was nice and fragrant, there were barely any ingredients inside! Just bits minced pork and dried mushroom. I remember them incorporating Chinese sausage and salted egg yolk before but I guess they’ve cut down a lot on quality.
Steamed Rice Flour Rolls Wrapped in Chinese Donut($5.50) Rolls were a little on the thick side and chinese donut didn’t taste as fresh as I would have hoped but still a must order for me anywhere!
Pan-Fried Chive Dumplings ($5.50) Can you guys tell my mom is a huge fan of shrimp? The filling tasted exactly like the steamed version of this. Thick filling and not too heavy on the chives. The pan-fried version was much more palatable than the steamed ones!
Deep Fried Tofu with Pepper Salt ($7.25) Surprisingly, these were the first to come out! They were piping out and fresh with a good amount of heat from the chilli pepper salt!
XO Stir Fried Radish Cake ($7.95) My go to dish every time I come here! Nice crisp exterior, soft and chewy on the inside with plentiful of ingredients like dried shrimp, scallion, Chinese sausage evenly distributed throughout each piece. The addition of the garlic chips provided a nice textural contrast to the softness of the diced radish cake. It was our most expensive dish of the day but it’s definitely worth it for the amount of food you get.
All in all, Western Lake is a solid choice for dim sum if you’re looking to impress out of town guests. Don’t forget to make reservations a few days in advance!
4989 Victoria Dr
Reservation? Yes – mandatory for dim sum!