Sun Sui Wah
We have tried both branches of this popular restaurant and came away
with rather different impressions. This may have been mere chance, or
it may have been a reflection of the varying quality of their branch on
Main Street and their more suburban branch on Number 3 Road in Richmond.
Our first visit was to their Main Street establishment, where we tried
a number of dishes including their signature dish, roast squab. We had
a pleasant meal. The food was good, but it was just that, good, not
Our second visit was to their Number 3 Road establishment. This started
with a bit of confusion, as we are urban and rural people, and less
comfortable in the suburbs than in either the city or the country. The
restaurant is located in sort of the heart of a shopping mall, or
perhaps it was a mall-ette, though clearly bigger than a mini-mall.
There was no sign visible from the road, so it took us some exploring,
and getting trapped in complex parking lots, before we found the place.
Once inside, things started looking up. Our meal was excellent, the
cooking fantastic and the service enthusiastic. We started with a
wonderful deep fried tofu with bits of fiery jalapeno, and huge oysters
with black bean sauce. On the East Coast, one thinks little of a dish
of six, or even a dozen oysters, but on the West Coast, particularly as
one gets farther north, the oysters get gigantic. In Tofino, at the
Wickininish Inn, they were the size of pork chops and almost as hearty.
Here they were merely huge and wonderfully rich and seasoned with black
Then came the Peking duck, strikingly crisp and richly flavored, the
patches of duck skin were served with the usual pancakes, hoisin sauce
and scallions. We the meat of the duck meat minced in bowls of lettuce.
A sign of the success of the meal was our inability to stop eating.
Normal humans would have been sated by now, but we ate on. We savored
the slightly green flavor of bamboo pith, here served with dungeness
carb meat and chinese broccoli. Then, we scarfed down the thickly
sliced bacon slices stuffed with some kind of shrimp paste. We then
ordered one of the day's specials, fresh prawns served on a bed of
shrimp chips with hot and plain sauces.
At this point, we drew the line. We had to get back to Bellingham that
evening. We ordered one more dish, the pork chops in an orange based
sweet and sour sauce that set off the sweetness of the meat.
Reluctantly we staggered out to our car, vowing to return. We hadn't
even tried the roast squab, and that was their signature dish.
Our conclusion: an unqualified recommendation for the Richmond branch,
but mixed feelings about returning the the Main Street branch. We might
have just been unlucky, or it might have been the chef's day off.
Still, after our great experience in Richmond, we might not want to
take our chances.