Brunch, Chinese-style, is where it’s at.
This favourite of west side Chinese families features a mix of excellent dim sum standbys and innovative small plates. The superb garlicky steamed eggplant is a vegetarian take on Chinese-style king crab legs. Dessert offerings are wide ranging: warm egg tarts, chilled tapioca mango soup and purple yam pastries are all kid pleasers, but the deliciously pungent durian mochi balls are best left to grown-ups.8298 Granville St.
The dim sum menu changes monthly, reflecting Kirin’s commitment to seasonal and local ingredients. However, one constant is the deep-fried pork and shrimp dumpling, served with a side of superior stock. Perfectly balanced textural contrast between the crisp exterior and a softly chewy mochi wrapper, bathed in a cleanly sweet broth; it is a must order for loyal regulars. 1172 Alberni St.
While chef Tony’s entire dim sum menu reflects the exuberant ambitions of modern China, focus on the top-flight pastries. Egg-white custard tarts so delicate, they collapse at the merest hint of a fork. Jet black buns filled with salted duck egg custard “lava” are divine but require careful handling. The softly tender steamed Malay sponge cake is so popular, it’s now also available at dinner to satisfy customers’ cravings. 101–4600 No. 3 Rd., Richmond
Chef/owner May Chau’s dim sum is the absolute epitome of Cantonese restraint and purity. Start your meal with the steamed pork and crab dumplings to best appreciate their magnificent delicacy. The crispy spring rolls are a lesson in confident simplicity, showcasing the clean earthy sweetness of daikon. Secret off-menu tip: the sweet and sour pork here is beyond exemplary. 8111 Anderson Rd., Richmond
Refined yet rustic, Dynasty’s offerings lean toward the saltier and sharper flavours of Chiuchow. Steamed truffle-scented mushroom dumplings, deep-fried dumplings filled with BBQ duck and the lemon scented BBQ pork pastries are all standouts. But the superstar dish is the pork pie pastry, richly flaky and resplendent with the floral bite of black pepper.108–777 W Broadway