Tao Tao Jiu, Dishifu Rd, Guangzhou, China.

This classic dim sum palace located on the second floor above a busy primarily pedestrian street was recommended by the young breakfast chef at our hotel. Having seen dim sum restaurants in Vancouver it was pretty well exactly as expected: brightly lit, round tables, garish red and gold decor, businesslike but also mildly festive.

Very few people speak English in this city, and one must simply point to be served, but nobody seems to mind.

We started with absolutely delectable dumplings with seasoned seafood which were soft and prepared in a savoury broth, sui mai containing minced seafood with a shrimp on top, and braised chicken feet. All three were tender, perfectly seasoned, and delicious. Tripe with braised Asian radish was not quite as satisfying, the tripe a little bit bland so my European-oriented taste missed the piquant sourness you find for example with andouilette. A broccoli and cloud-mushroom-based vegetable dish again had that apparently effortless perfect seasoning balance and the vegetables were cooked just short of soft. Crisp spring rolls with a seasoned pork centre were also unusually satisfying especially accompanied with hoisin or a spicy red sauce.

It’s pretty hard to get around the placebo effect of being in the source of the world’s Cantonese food: dim sum, duck and pork barbecue, chicken and egg rolls, etc. But I would say this was as good as or better than any dim sum I’ve ever had. Especially the dumplings. 2 PM lunch for two approximately $25.

Food 8.8, service not applicable, ambience just right for the genre, value 8.7.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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