Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunday, November 14th - Floata Chinese Restaurant - Dim Sum in China Town

Steamed BBQ Pork Buns
It's true what they say.  It's harder to have too many choices.  If you ask someone in Vancouver for a recommendation for GOOD Dim Sum, there is always a momentary, ponderous look to the sky and a follow up question.  There are ranges of quality, price, and location.  We have been looking and asking for a while now.  If you ask folks in SFO, though the Chinese community there is quite established and ubiquitous, there will be a trending tide towards a particular joint near the financial district.  There does not seem to be any consensus here.  I don't know why.  So what we do now when we ask for recommendations is narrow it down to preset parameters: 1. Must have carts so we can look at the food. 2. Must be about the food so decently priced so you know you're eating Chinese food and not some shi-shi fusion statement.  3. Must be good quality and tasty food.  4. Authenticity.

Steamed Braised Fried Tofu

Steamed Shrimp and Chive Dumplings
We still get a few pauses and thoughtful silences so this time we gave up and went for the gigantic place in Chinatown that we're always driving by, Floata.  It is at the heart of a pretty boring and waning Chinatown.  Vancouver's downtown Chinatown is quite a disappointment.  It is quite small.  It is normally closed and deserted quite early and most doors are shut on Sundays.  Most have made the migration to Richmond.  I suppose, it's proximity to one of the most sketchiest intersections of Vancouver, Pender and Main, has had its role.  We have been to Dim Sum in Richmond but they weren't cart places and we ended up being nuisances to the waitstaff that struggled to explain the food and did not have the variety we otherwise would have eaten impetuously off the carts.

Fried Sesame Rice Balls with Lotus Root Filling
Baked/Fried Pork Buns
Floata is adjacent to a large parking tower near Andy Livingstone Park.  You can't miss it.  In fact, you can enter the restaurant directly from the parking.  You have a comp on the first hour of parking which is great in a downtown area.  It is enormous and you can easily picture a grand Chinese wedding taking place here as probably occurs frequently.  The tables were full but we only waited briefly to be seated.  We were a sore thumb minority amongst the patrons which is a good sign.  The waitstaff speak very little English, which for Dim Sum is also a good sign though challenge in ordering when you want to avoid meat :^D

Fried Shrimp and Spinach Dumplings
The carts were constantly in motion but where not as frequent or in as large a number as the size of the room would warrant.  So we waited quite a lot between visits from servers.  There were also servers carry trays too, to order from.  Dishes ranged in prices but the decent ones, and the majority of the ones we ordered for the three of us were considered 'large' and cost ~4-5$.  You have to be patient and or, know what to ask for because they will likely be cooking it and it may well be making the rounds in some other part of the room.
Stuffed Sticky Rice in Banana Leaf

Steamed Gai Lan
The carts tended to come out thematically so pace yourself and try to get a veg in.  Steamed, Fried, Vegetable, Meat, Salads...  The food was always hot, and fresh.  You have to go out of your way to ask for condiments so ask when you have the attention of a cart. We ordered 9 dishes for the three of us which probably put it over the edge slightly as far as comfortable satiety but a last minute cart with Scallops with Taro paste couldn't be turned down.  Still we did see some things on the grill as we were leaving that I had been waiting for and hadn't thought of.  Oh well, it will have to wait for the next visit.

Cost: $$-$$$ (for Brunch)
Ambiance: Bustling, family
Service: Sporatic
Floata Seafood
180 Keefer St
(604) 602-0368
Vancouver, BC V6A

Fried Scallops with Taro Paste

Floata Seafood on Urbanspoon

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