Reviewed September 1, 2005   »   |     

Cha Liu

2352 Yonge St., 2nd Floor - Toronto, Canada
Complimentary XO Chili Sauce – wow! Not the standard orange and yellow chilli paste and mustard. For the prices indicated below, these luxury was probably included in the cost.

Iron Goddess Tea - $1 – Nice ceramics, very traditional. Tea was like any other Chinese restaurant’s...not the really expensive good stuff, but passable. Helped especially with digestion.

Supreme shrimp dumpling (4) - $4.50 – 4 plump Har Gaw with a tiny baby one in the centre topped with tobiko. Standard fare, albeit the crystal wrapping was quite nicely textured, and didn’t fall apart when picked up, still giving some resistance when bitten.

Shrimp, scallop & asparagus dumpling (3) - $4.50 – were there scallops? Barely. What were those surimi-like pieces? And was that a thin, overly cooked sliver of an asparagus? Besides the cool triangular shape of the dumpling, the overall product was so-so. Not worthy of trying again. Better on paper than in the mouth… and for that price!

Chicken and chive dumpling (3) – $3.50 – Delicious! The rice flour shell was bright green from the chive juice used in its making, and springs a delicious fresh taste and aroma when the whole treasure is popped in your mouth.

Shrimp, conpoy & egg white dumpling (3) – $4 – surprisingly decent. The conpoy (aka dried scallops/yu chu) was barely visible, but still can be tasted somewhere in the shrimp filling which was intermingled with rustic pieces of fried egg white. The overall texture was springy and gave some slight resistance in the mouth. A worthy piece to take a risk on.

Chang fun with shrimp & scallop (3) - $6 – a little too expensive for what you receive – 3 small portions of chang fun, 2 small shrimps and a thin slice of scallop laying in between the very silky sheets of rice noodles. Very basic dim sum fare probably worth $3.50 at most.

Fried shrimp and mango roll (3) - $4.00 – excellent use of a rice paper roll, making this a very crispy and light exterior, once again surrounding what appears to be a deficiency in the shrimp and mango market. Oh well. Too oily, however, as even the doily under the rolls were beyond soaked, and the rolls still drenched in oil. Still tasty. Still recommended. Just make sure you drink lots of tea.

Fried shrimp paste and green onion seaweed rolls (3) - $4.00 – Not to be missed. Not greasy in appearance, although battered and fried, the cigar shaped rolls were light and bright with the flavour of fresh shrimp and mild green onions (a little on the large chunky side). The “wah yeem” that accompanied the rolls had a nice hint of cinnamon and was a highlight, if used sparingly, in the dish.

Fried salmon milk custard bar (2) - $3.00 – Interesting blend of salmon bits suspended in “ja lai” – the savory version of that mysterious Asian delight of fried milk custard. Personally, fried milk custard has always lured me to salivate while pondering how it is that the whole process is done. If you’ve never had something like this, you should try it. Neat stuff.

Steamed trio crystal buns – egg custard, red bean paste, taro paste (3) - $3.50 – Nice crystal wrapping enclosing very delicately flavoured fillings. Not a strong and overpowering package to end the meal. The wrap held together when the jewels were picked up and gave to the bite after a bit of a tug. Good.

Conclusion: Neat little place to go for small eats. As you see, I ate a lot. Unique combinations, but for the real stuff, go to a good dim sum restaurant. This is really a place to half eat and hang out – suitable for the "North Americans" in all of us.


out of 5.0


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