Move over, Kirin. See ya later, Sun Sui Wah. There’s a new upscale dim sum restaurant in town. Peninsula Seafood Restaurant specializes in elevated Cantonese classics—with nutritious twists—and has quickly become the power-lunch hot spot for Vancouver’s new wave of nouveau riche immigrants from mainland China.
Part of Peninsula’s appeal is its desirable location, in Oakridge Centre—close enough for wheelers and dealers to saunter over from their Shaughnessy mansions, but also offering ample space to park the Bentley. Small and intimate, relative to most banquet-style Chinese restaurants, the marble-and-mahogany-clad dining room features four private rooms (where the big deals are signed), a wall-length wine case filled with rare cognacs, and its own sushi bar. Sushi? “I like to eat sushi,” shrugs owner Alex Wang, a 27-year-old SFU grad who is now building a second restaurant in the Marine Gateway complex that will boast 11 private rooms.
Only in smog-clogged China, or perhaps Gwyneth Paltrow’s test kitchen, would nutrition be equated with luxury. Peninsula’s signature dim sum dishes include vitamin B-rich wild rice (suspended in cubes of clear gelatin pudding or stirred into creamy pumpkin congee), delicate tangles of double-boiled bird’s nest soup infused with ginger extract (beneficial for the complexion) and vibrant red-yeast rice rolls filled with red dates (which apparently help blood circulation).
Seal the deal with a half-dozen Peninsula buns. Soft and airy with a sweet, crunchy topping (somewhat like pineapple bolo bao buns but filled with creamy taro), they are probably not overly nutritious but have garnered a cult following for good reason. Fans have been known to drive up from Seattle just to take home a few dozen.