Don Mee Chinese Seafood Restaurant0
If you’ve never been to Victoria’s Old Chinatown, I highly recommend you go at least once.
It may not seem very big, but there are lots of places to eat, shop, and explore in what is North America’s second oldest Chinatown.
Once you have had a chance to walk down the narrow “Fan Tan Alley”, and maybe buy a few artsy souvenirs, hopefully you will have built up an appetite for a good authentic Chinese meal.
If you happen to be in Chinatown around the lunch hour, a good spot to go for lunch is Don Mee Chinese Seafood Restaurant.
It’s located right in the heart of Chinatown and has been there for over eighty years. The big sign out in front makes it hard to miss.
One big reason you will want to go for lunch at Don Mee is to try their traditional “Dim Sum” which in my opinion, should be tried at least once in your lifetime.
Dim Sum, in case you’ve never had it, is quite a filling lunch made up of various types of Cantonese style snacks.
Instead of ordering off a menu, waitresses come around to your table with a trolley to present you the different dishes.
Pretty much as soon as my friend Mark and I were seated, one of these waitresses came round to our table and I was asked if I wanted some… some… well, I can’t tell you what the waitress asked me as she was speaking Cantonese. She pointed at these doughy looking things and I nodded and said sure, I’ll try that.
Now remember I said this is a very filling type of meal so make sure you pace yourself!
The waitresses are very efficient and will come around very often so you don’t need to get too many of each dish in order to be satisfied.
By the way, I really liked the feel of this restaurant. The fact that most of the wait staff only speak Cantonese makes it feel like a very authentic Chinese restaurant.
So, my first dish was a “Steamed Chicken Bun”. At least I’m pretty sure that’s what it was.
As I said, we didn’t have a menu to tell us what each dish was, and if our waitress did say what it was in English, I didn’t quite understand her.
It’s okay though, I thought it to be a little adventure eating new and interesting dishes.
From the first bite of my chicken bun, I could tell that it wasn’t going to take long for me to get stuffed here.
The dough was so thick and filling, and though it did taste pretty good, I thought I would wait for the trolley to come by again and pick something new (remember, pace yourself!).
The next time the waitress came by, we were offered “Spring Rolls”. I recognized these and knew they would be something I would like as I’ve had them many times before.
They were simply made, and quite a bit different than spring rolls I’ve had at Chinese buffets, but they ended up being my favourite dish of the day.
Pretty much everything we ordered was served with two of each item.
Each time you order, the waitress checks it off on a little white card that’s on your table. The prices for each dish range from $2.99 – $6.99.
All of the dishes we ordered were $3.59 (which usually came in twos), except for one which was $6.99 (“Crab Claws”).
Speaking of crab claws, they were definitely the most interesting looking dish that our waitress brought to our table.
It’s hard to tell what they are when you look at them, but if you look closely, you can see the claw sticking out of them.
Although I love crab, these didn’t go down as easy as the spring rolls. The crab itself was wrapped in this “shrimp meat mixture” that I just didn’t have a taste for.
Mark really liked them though, so I would say give them a try, you might like them.
Well I’m not sure how many times a waitress came around with new dishes for us to try, but before we knew it, we had a table full of food.
I actually had to tell Mark to stop saying yes to the nice Cantonese ladies or we would be so stuffed we would be needing a trolley to carry us out of there!
One neat thing that stood out to me (other than my stomach, haha) while we were eating was one of the waitresses who would sing while she was preparing our dishes.
I’m not sure what she was singing as it was in Cantonese, but it was really nice, and added to that authenticity of the restaurant that I mentioned before.
Table Full of Dim Sum
Table Full of Dim Sum
I forgot to mention that they serve hot tea with your meal as it’s apparently the “preferred beverage” to accompany the richness of the dim sum snacks.
The tea helps with digesting the food, so make sure you drink a lot of it!
By the end of our afternoon, we had sampled seven different dishes; steamed chicken buns, shrimp stuffed peppers, BBQ pork buns, spring rolls, crab claws, pork and shrimp dumplings, and taro (like potato).
Both of us were absolutely full by the time we left, and agreed that although we loved our lunch, for the sake of our waistlines, doing Dim Sum might be something we only do once in a while.