Dim sum lunch review
I would venture to say that anyone who has ever had good Chinese food finds that those wonderful, rich, complicated flavors and textures make an impression that can last a lifetime. That is certainly what happened to me the first time I went to Chinatown in San Francisco many years ago. I’d grown up eating fried rice and chow mein almost every Friday night here in Salt Lake, but the resemblance of that food to the stuff I got in San Francisco was minimal at best. Over the years, I’ve tried various Chinese restaurants here, but I’m very happy to report I’ve finally found a place that actually captures the flavors I’ve come to expect in that “real” Chinese food.
I’d had a few friends tell me about Red Maple Chinese Cuisine, and I finally got out there to try their dim sum last weekend. From almost the moment we sat down our table was covered with all sorts of dishes. I have to apologize here though. I took pictures of many of the items we tried, but we actually had quite a few more than I got shots of because everyone was starving when we arrived. I also have only a passing understanding of the names (or for that matter what was in many of the dishes) we ate, but I’ll try to describe each item that I took pictures of.
The first picture is of one of the best things we tried. I think they are called steamed siu mai, but really I only know there was pork in it. Whatever was in there, it was delicious. The next picture is of the steamed BBQ pork bun and I actually didn’t snag one of these fast enough to try it. I hear the exterior steamed bread was light and the BBQ very flavorful.
The next picture shows a vegetable dumpling at the top and then a crepe kind of item with who knows what in it. I really liked the veggie dumpling, but the sauce on the crepe thing was a bit too gelatinous for my taste. Fine flavor, but I didn’t love the texture. The next dish was some kind of chopped fried pork dish, I think. Good flavor, but watch out for the little bones in it.
The next are steamed custard buns, and I really liked these; very sweet and perfect for the end of the meal.
The next was also one of my favorite things, pork belly. Crunchy and soft at the same time the flavor here was really good and the hoisin sauce served with it was a great accompaniment. The next picture is of a lone sesame ball with sweet red bean paste inside. Yum!
The next item was my very favorite thing; hot out of the fryer fried shrimp dumplings. Not greasy at all, they were crunchy and the filling was stellar. Even the mild mustard sauce they were served with was delicious. The next plate is of fried squid. The tempura style batter was light and the squid was barely cooked, so the texture was perfect.
Next was a noodle dish that I think had chicken in it. Not your run of the mill chow mein by any means. I actually would love to have this on its own.
And finally, eww, chicken feet. I’m all for eating nose-to-tail, but all I’ve got to say is eww about these. Not my cup of tea in the slightest. I have to admit one of my friends ordered these on a whim and they did not get taken home.
On the weekends, Red Maple has a very efficient dim sum cart service (dim sum is also served during the rest of the week, just not with cart service), and we definitely got caught up in the fun of pulling random things off carts and accepting dishes from roving waiters. There were so many other dishes we never got to try too, including almost all of the dessert kind of stuff and several different kinds of soup.
After gorging ourselves, and realizing how many dishes we had tried, the five of us started trying to figure out just how much money we’d spent. Red Maple categorizes each dim sum item as an A, B, C, or D dish and at the beginning of the meal they had given us a little card that as we took things, the waiters could jot down what category the dishes were. With tea we’d ordered 19 separate things. We also realized we’d had more “chef’s specials” – the D category – than anything else. Standing at the cash register we all braced for the total, guessing we’d easily spent over $100.00.
We all guessed wrong. This amazing meal was about $66.00. What a bargain. A items are $2.60, Bs $3.00, Cs $3.50, and Ds, a whopping $4.95. Chinatown flavors and Chinatown prices, all in Salt Lake.
Red Maple Chinese Restaurant
3361 S Redwood Rd, West Valley, 84119