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Wednesday 28 March 2012

Urban China Edmonton, AB - scrape yourself out of bed for dimsum!

Rating Food 8/10, Service 7.75/10
I'm totally not a morning person.  Try to scrape me out of a nice warm pile of blankets and pillows early on a weekend and your head may have a sudden affinity for high velocity flying objects and be entertained with whatever half coherent snarled creative phrases my neurons can scramble together.  Thankfully, since the last few times I've been to Urban China, they are kind to those that don't wake up at the crack of dawn with energy and pep.. as they serve freshly made dimsum till 2pm... hallelujah!

The glass etched anime characters are fun along with classic cream, black and gold accents in the warm woods colored decor. Service remained efficient and quick, with relatively short wait times for tables in the packed joint. If you arrive closer to 2pm, the dim sum carts are no longer circulated, but you can order whatever you want for dim sum and the kitchen makes them to order.  We showed up around noon, so the dim sum ladies were still adding to the loud and lively atmosphere.

Phoenix Claws "F-ong zh-ow"
The first dim sum cart had one of our favs... phoenix claws! The chicken feet are fried, before being slowly braised in a rich caramelized sauce with lots of garlic, ginger and a hint of chilis.  They are so velvety soft tender, the flavorful meat just falls off the bones as soon as you take a bite.  Nom!

Siu Mai "S-ew My"
The wonton wrapper barely holds a large moist pork meatball loaded with juicy crisp shrimp, Chinese mushrooms and topped with a small dot of salted duck egg yolk for a touch of extra richness and color. They were so large, they almost looked distorted... who cares? Yumyumyum!!

Ha Gow "Ha G-ow"
A nicely executed dumpling with a med-thin rice wrapper enrobing a large ball of whole succulent and crisp shrimp, held barely together with shrimp paste. Mmmmmm!

Deep fried shrimp and scallop wontons
No translation needed here! These are deep fried to a crispy golden, drained of oil and packed full of salty savory sweet shrimp paste (shrimp paste = large shrimp sort of pressed together) and a few small nuggets of scallop... Hooooh! it definitely doesn't need the small dish of miracle whip for dunking it comes with.  Nom!

Chinese Meatballs
These large meatballs are studded with sweet diced crunchy water chestnuts and served on a bed of bean curd that absorbs all the savory juices as these meatballs get their steam treatment. S
pringy and tinged a slight pink from the nitrate added to them, they are very different from Italian style meatballs served with tomato sauce, garlic and cheese. Its served with a small saucer of Worcestershire sauce for those that like a bit more salt and acidity with their meatballs.

Beef tripe "Gn-ow toe"
Bite sized pieces of beef tripe are braised in a fragrant light sauce of ginger and green onions.  Rich and savory, they were a bit overcooked and had a soft texture rather than the slightly chewy soft mouthfeel we were expecting.  Still tasty!

Deep fried taro fluff dumpling "Woo gok"
One of my mom's favorite dim sum dishes.. its airy crispy taro root (think light purple colored sweet potato) phyllo like exterior gives a slight sweetness and richness as it melts on your tongue when you bite into this dumpling.  The taro floss hides a treasure of savory pork, Chinese mushrooms and diced creamy taro in a light gravy within. Mmmm!

Pork and vegetable steamed dumpling
These large semi translucent dumplings are filled with a salty savory mixture of browned ground pork, a hint of sweetness from diced veges - carrots and bamboo shoots, and a nice crunch from toasted peanut bits. Mmm... too bad they are so big.. you only get 3 an order as thats as many as they can cram into a bamboo steaming basket!

Pickled Phoenix Claws "Bach one fong zh-ow"
One of my auntie's favorite dim sum dishes:  chicken feet are cooked and then pickled in a tangy brine flavored with peppercorns and various spices.  Served cold with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, the meat is springy crisp and tangy with a hint of the spices from the pickling.  The texture is similar to marinated calamari. Its hard to take a sexy picture of chicken feet lol!

Fried shrimp and bean curd rolls
These little packages stuffed full of savory shrimp paste are wrapped in a layer of bean curd before being fried to perfection.  The soft bean curd is used more as an excuse to hold all the fresh crisp savory yummy shrimp together and give the dish a nice golden color.  Mmmmmm!

Mango Dessert
Last but not least, we actually had room for dessert! Essentially mango jello topped with a layer of evaporated milk to give it some creaminess, there was some chunks of fresh mango in the slightly artificial tasting dessert, but a nice refreshing way to finish off our meal.

Overall, one of the best places in the city for dim sum. The prices are a bit higher than the others, but Urban China stands above the others in terms of food and flavor.

Urban China
10604 101 Street Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5H 2S1
Phone (780) 758-1888 ‎
Hours Opens daily for dimsum and late for dinner
Urban China on Urbanspoon


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