Kam Wai Dim Sum—Good Dim Sum. Even Better Filler Dish.

By Tana Kosiyabong

Beef and Vegetable Ho Fun at Kam Wai Dim Sum

I came across Kam Wai Dim Sum, a new restaurant in Vancouver Chinatown, while I was exploring the area a few weeks ago. The restaurant is located on Pender Street between Main and Gore street, the block I rarely walk on. Thanks to my inquiring mind, I have a new restaurant to check out. So I took a quick look at the menu on a store window and the prices were very wallet-friendly. However, dim sum is meant to be shared with others. So I made a mental note to come back later for a review.

A few days later Natee, a friend of mine, called around lunch time. So I told him to meet at Kam Wai. “Dim Sum for two? Is it expensive?, he asked. Natee is about as cheap as I am. Perhaps that’s why we get along well. “I’ll try to keep it under 10 bucks each. We’ll get just a few dim sum and a filler dish,” I replied.

Natee was fashionably late as usual. He showed up just under fifteen minutes late which is his personal best record to date. Kam Wai was plainly decorated. But perhaps that’s why they can keep the price low. All the tables were lined with thin plastic sheets which will be conveniently thrown away after each meal. Practical but not very green.

Kam Wai Dim Sum Check List

Kam Wai serves dim sum all day. The dishes were priced from $2.50 up. The restaurant only makes dim sum to order; They do not push the carts filled with yummy stuffs around. The check list of selections is categorized by prices which make it easy for us to manage our budget. After a lengthy finger counting session to ensure we didn’t overspend, we decided to order the followings: Steamed Crystal Prawn Dumplings ($3), Green Onion Pancakes ($3), Steamed Spareribs with Pumpkin ($2.75), Baked Egg Custard Tarts (2.75), a pot of tea (50 cents) and a filler dish, Beef and Vegetable Ho Fun (Flat Rice Noodles–$6.50). This last dish was actually on the menu as Beef and Vegetable Chow Mein, but I asked to substitute with the flat rice noodles instead. Somehow, they let me have my way with no extra charge.

Ha Gow at Kam Wai Dim Sum

Green Onion Pancake at Kam Wai Dim Sum

The Ha Gow came first. The skin was thin and transparent. I could see through the shrimp inside. These are the signs of a good Ha Gow. The shrimp filling was perfectly cooked. It was a nice start.

The green onion pancakes were next. These tasty little cuties were cut into quarters. They were crispy on the outside and softer on the inside. The onion flavor was rather mild. I could have eaten up the whole plate by myself.

Steamed Spareribs with Pumpkin at Kam Wai Dim Sum

Beef and Veggie flat rice noodles at Kam Wai Dim Sum

Then came the steamed spareribs with pumpkin. It was my first time tasting this dish with steamed pumpkin. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first; however, I was pleasantly surprised with the lovely flavors in my mouth. The spareribs were tasty and tender. I could smell a refreshing hint of orange peels in each bite. The ribs also had a mild kick of chili peppers. And the soft, sweet pieces of pumpkin were hidden treasures under the pile of delicious spareribs.

My squinty eyes were wide-opened when the beef and vegetable ho fun arrived. It was, perhaps, big enough portion for both of us to share as a meal. Better yet, it’s only $6.50. And best of all, it was scrumptious. The beef was so soft and tender. The broccoli was slightly undercooked the way it should be. The Ho Fun noodles imparted the alluring Wok Hei. The sauce was skillfully flavored. It wasn’t too salty or too bland. The Shitake mushrooms had soaked up the delicious gravy throughly. It is definitely a cheap appetite.

Kam Wai Dim Sum Egg Tarts

The baked egg tarts were also nice. It wasn’t too sweet which I really like. The tart shell was fluffy. But I was already full with the previous dishes. So I only had a piece. To be honest, I don’t remember much about them.

Overall Kam Wai Dim Sum is good and cheap. For both of us we spent $18.50 ($9.25 each). Although we went there mainly for the dim sum, their filler dish impressed me most. Since then I went back there again by myself to try the beef and vegetable chow mein. However, I prefer the ho fun one more.

Kam Wai also offers the Taiwanese beef noodle soup on the menu too. It will be next on my list to try.

Kam Wai Ha Gow: ©©©1/2
Kam Wai Green Onion Pancakes: ©©©3/4
Kam Wai Steamed Spareribs with Pumpkin: ©©©3/4
Kam Wai Beef and Vegetable Ho Fun: ©©©©1/4
Kam Wai Baked Egg Tarts: ©©©1/4

NOTE: Kam Wai Dim Sum has now transformed into a self-served, take-out Dim Sum joint. They also sell frozen Dim Sum but no longer offer the noodle dish and green onion pancake shown above. For more details please click here.

BUDGET BREAKDOWN:
Remaining Budget: $228
Budget Spent: -$9.25 (($3+3+2.75+2.75+0.5+6.5)/2)
Budget Available: $218.75

Kam Wai Dim Sum is located at 249 East Pender Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (T) 604.568.6692

©2010 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.

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23 thoughts on “Kam Wai Dim Sum—Good Dim Sum. Even Better Filler Dish.

  1. What’s up! I love dim sum! Especially if it is cheap and delicious, like this place. My favorite dim sum dish is the green onion pancake…my mom used to make that for us all the time and we would dip it into soy sauce! Oh my goodness, makes me hungry this morning and I just ate! Also, I have a friend who is habitually late. It drives me INSANE! But she is still a good friend….

    1. The green onion pancake here is yummy. I’m sure you’ll like it patty:) Your mom rocks! I love the green onion pancakes too. I guess we can’t fix the people who love to be fashionably alte. It’s in their blood. lol.

  2. I’m having dim sum with my family today. It’s been a long time when my last visit. I seriously hope I’m going to have something delicious like these.
    BTW, that noodle dish with lot of sauce is always my favorite.

  3. Good find. and nice report. i was just in Chinatown recently and noticed this new dimsum place. i was about to set foot inside but realized i didnt have enough time. ended round the corner at the little take out dim sum place. for some steamed bun, har gou and siu mai. love to hear your comparison to this place and KW.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/timetochow/ChinatownVancouver#5474223189908734610

    the previous was more HK style cafe but would qualify as cheapappetite worthy. Have you been to there before? They had decent priced dimsum items as well. Kam Wai does look like an improvement overall.

    happy to see the pics and will add this to my list to try. thanks!

    1. Timetochow,
      Let me know what you think when you go to Kam Wai. I think the dim sum was good, but not as good as the beef and veggie ho fun 🙂 I will check out the place you told me and let you know. I’ve never eat there, but I walked past it a few times.

  4. That is a smart way to order and is often how I order as well if I want to feel full without breaking the bank, my filler dish is often some kind of fried rice, I love them though that ho-fun dish looks delish. Never heard of Kam Wai but from the pics, looks good quality so will check them out. Tana, you should organize a Cheap Appetite dineout and gather your blog readers for some cheap and yummy grub! I’m game for that!!

    1. Hehehe, I’ll see what I can do about the Cheap Appetite dineout, imkoonta. LotusRapper also mentioned that before but I don’t know if there is going to be anyone else showed up. But now you’re also suggested the same thing. There are a lot more dishes I have to try at Kam Wai. They have so many selections! I see some patrons ordered fried rice too. Looks yummy!

  5. I went there today, and I must say…hands down the best dim sum ever! And especially at the stupid crazy cheap prices that they offer them at! I am still pretty dumbfounded that my friend and I spent less than $20 for the two of us! We got ourselves the staples- ha gow, shaio mai, shiao long bao. Then we tried the green onion pancakes on your recommendation, and they were really good- very oniony! Then we got the pan-fried shrimp and chive patties, and they were AMAZING! For dessert, we got the wolfberry gelatin- slightly sweet with a hint of tea flavour. YUM! All in all I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Kam Wai! And the service was even awesome! Well, much better than most Chinese establishments…

    @Timetochow- the dim sum place you took pictures of is of 882 dim sum, AKA Kam Wai Dim Sum! Apparently, they’re expanding! So, I guess it’s the same owner, but not sure if the food is the same…

    1. Cool! moomoo, I’m glad you like Kam Wai:) The pan-fried shrimp & chive patties sound delicious. I’ll have to try it next visit! You guys make the $20 last so long. I’m very impressed:) I didn’t even got dessert like yours. Also Thanks for the tip about 882 dimsum. Good insight!

  6. Tana, I just can’t put my eyes off the egg tarts! haha… It’s my favourite kind of dim sum. mm..mm… The food here looks pretty nice and yummy. I’ll definitely going back there again if I’m in Vancouver. hehehe… Hop eyou’re having a wonderful day!
    Cheers, Kristy

    1. The egg tarts was nice there. But I have to say my love is in the filler dish. I love the beef and veggie ho fun a lot. C’mon over to Vancouver, I’ll take you to Kam Wai 🙂

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