When I was told that we were heading over to Urban China for New Year's Day dinner, I was curious as I thought I had tried out most of the Chinese restaurants in Edmonton. I was slightly uncertain at first because I was told that it used to be a Rosie's diner! Certainly, the image of low ceilings, glass windows and flooring tiles comes to mind. Well, friends, be rest assured that Urban China does not look like that when you step inside. Quite the contrary actually.
The inside is very modern! New Year's Day dinner had us enjoying a great menu (we ordered off the set menu), and service in a rather spacious dining area. So, naturally, I was anxious to try their Dim Sum as I've often found options in Edmonton somewhat limited in variety and taste. So, to be completely fair, I've compared my impressions of Urban China's dim sum to other places in Edmonton.
Typically most Dim sum dishes have 4 servings so if you only go with another person for Dim sum you end up filling up on only two or three dishes-a small fraction of the myriad of choices! So, going for dim sum with a group of 6-8 people seems to work out best, as you're able to try a great variety of dim sum (almost each one), each serving can be cut in half and the cost is split quite nicely at a reasonable cost per person. Here are a few selections:
Once dishes started arriving, I judged from the silence and minimal comments, that everyone was enjoying their food. Someone commented that she was no longer hesitant about Urban China given her initial impressions from a friend. The variety was fantastic, food was hot, and because all Dim sums still circulate on little push carts (Note: no yelling of Dim Sum dishes were observed as waitresses circulated) everyone could see what they wanted to order. You could still order off the paper menu, though we were encouraged to order from carts, if you didn't see what you wanted.
The traditional ha gao's and siu mai's were quite good, although I was never a big fan of the ha gao's wrapping as I'll much rather eat the shrimp inside. This particular ha gao had a thicker crepe then expected, but there was a substantial amount of shrimp inside. Other dimsums such as the stuffed eggplant, stuffed peppers (with their accompanying dips) and rice crepes were all fresh, hot, and eaten quite fast. Unfortunately, the steamed sticky rice, was a bit too sticky for our liking. The rice simply stuck to our chopsticks and made it difficult to split up. As for the Sweet Dim sums, the pumpkin taro cake is a must!
And finally, a selection of 3 Dim sum dishes that are certainly not for the faint palate. From what I've been told, "chicken feet" are the best Dim Sum dish and must be served hot. So far, I'm not convinced. However, my dim sum counterparts exclaimed that this chicken feet was hot and tender, to the point that the meat fell off the bone! They liked it so much we ordered 3 of them! Oh and the "Durian pastry" was definitely different. We all know that durians have an unusual and very pungent smell, so naturally I expected the taste to be unusual despite being fried and crispy. My first bite of it, reminded me slightly of mango paste in a crispy shell. However, I still couldn't get over the smell! So, if you're up for a challenge in your Dim Sum adventures then I invite you to try them! For the rest of you like me, we'll probably stay with the familiar.
Dishes for the typical fare ranged from $3.75-$5.25 which isn't too bad given the clean and modern look. Plus, it ends up being reasonably priced when eating with a group. It's also a great option to do when you want more variety to your Dim Sum.
Note: we've been twice to Urban China for Dim Sum on Sundays around 1pm. Service didn't seem hindered by the number of people as many people had finished just as we arrived. Throughout the meal the flow of food and people coming into the restaurant was steady.
Urban China has become the place I would recommend for anyone looking for good and new Dim Sum.
10604 101 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 2S1
Edmonton, AB T5H 2S1