But perhaps the pretentiousness is justified. "Sea Harbour was the first of the advanced wave of high-quality gourmet Chinese dining, with menu-driven dim sum, following a trend that began previously in Vancouver, and subsequently followed in the Bay Area and Toronto," said David R. Chan, the man who has eaten at over 6,000 Chinese restaurants.
Managed by Oriental Garden F&B Management Ltd., Sea Harbour is part of a family of high-end Hong Kong restaurants with locations in Vancouver and Hong Kong. The management company is a member of Chaine des Rotisseurs, an international gastronomic society that celebrates fine dining. "We're always changing our menu," said Ping Wang, supervisor of Sea Harbour. The restaurant refreshes its menu once a year, at the end of December.
"In dim sum, you have your four big kings: (si da tian wang, 四大天王) chicken feet, shu mai, shrimp rice noodle rolls and pork ribs," Wang said. "But we go above that. Our methods are innovative." According to Wang, at Sea Harbour, the innovation comes from the top down. Chefs are told to create dishes based on concepts delegated by the corporate office.
Squid Ink sat down with Wang, who gave us a insider look at six of Sea Harbour's most popular dim sum dishes -- other than the four classics.6. Sticky Rice Ball Stuffed with Salty Egg:
The sticky rice ball has a mochi-like texture. "It's searing hot inside, so use your hands to open it," Wang said. "Don't just pop it in your mouth." Inside of the ball is hot egg yolk, which is a salty contrast to its sweet compartment.