Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top Gun Hot Pot 尖東火鍋 : Dim sum


Top Gun Hot Pot is one of the five restaurants that belong to the Top Gun group. The restaurant is located in Crystal Mall and serves as a dim sum restaurant during the day, but turns into a hot pot buffet in the evening. I have never been here for dim sum before but my parents have many years ago and according to them, the only edible item was the salty rice pudding, which is no longer available. This probably explains why ever since I was a child, the only dim sum restaurant in Burnaby we would go to is Fortune House at Metrotown. Although I do not know why they even like Fortune House because the food is overpriced for the quality and the line up is always ridiculous.

Anyhow, fast forward to years later, I finally get control of where we go for dim sum! After begging my parents to come here with me for two weeks… My sudden interest in having dim sum here is because ever since I had dinner at Top Gun J&C in Richmond, I thought Top Gun may be a fine dining restaurant and serve good dim sum. I actually looked through some of the dim sum photos from Top Gun J&C and the food looked good, so I assumed Top Gun in Burnaby would serve the same dishes… But I was wrong. Oh well, I had nothing to lose because I received an e-mail that dim sum would be 40% off for members.

The restaurant has plenty of booth seating arrangements along with well spaced out tables. The seating arrangements are not cramped either and are fairly comfortable. But when considering that dim sum starts at $4.95, the atmosphere does not match the higher prices. With regards to the service, there were no plate changes as well so the service does not match the higher prices either. However, the staff were fairly polite. There is only a Chinese check list menu and when I asked if there was an English version, the manager mentioned I could tell him what I wanted to order in English and he could check the items off for me! Also despite that the order sheet is in Chinese, the actual menu has English.

Since Top Gun is a hot pot restaurant during the evenings, they make use of their electric burner. A kettle of water is brought to a boil at the table which is later used to rinse tea leaves into a provided side bowl, before enjoying the tea. There were some technical difficulties however because after waiting fifteen minutes, we wondered why the water never boiled. Turns out the waitress did not turn on the burner properly… 

Moreover, there is also a bit of a safety hazard. My father kept positioning the spout towards an empty seat and I kept moving it to the side (as photographed) for a photo. Then somehow during the middle of dim sum, I probably left the spout facing the side (as photographed) and when I went to grab a chicken feet, the steam burned my thumb! My reaction was really slow too because rather than running to the washroom, I asked for a cup of cold water which took ten minutes to arrive lmfao. The burn was pretty bad too.

TIE GUAN YIN, "Iron Goddess Oolong"; OOLONG TEA; AND LONGJING, "Dragon Well Tea".
Top Gun charges $1.20/person for tea and each individual can choose their own. The tea menu is printed in Chinese though so for those who cannot read Chinese, will have to ask one of the staff to translate. Our selection includes Tie Guan Yin, Oolong and Longjin. The favourite at the table was Oolong which was a fairly good quality tea. The Oolong has a nice aroma along with a smooth taste and is very comparable to higher end restaurants'. As for the Tie Guan Yin, it was a poor quality tea that left a dry taste in the mouth. Longjin on the other hand, was average and not as poor. In our opinion, only the Oolong is worth ordering.

Rating: 1/5.
Is this the same photo I took? The rice roll looks fresh along with silky smooth and the prawns look bouncy. However, the prawns are actually very small shrimp which taste overcooked and stiff. On top of that, where are the chives? There is only one cut of chive which is seen in the photo. The rice roll on the other hand is indeed fresh, tender and slippery smooth. But for the price being charged, it is not comparable to other restaurants of the same calibre and even Top Cantonese's rice roll tastes better.

Rating: 3/5.
The only good item from the restaurant would be these, the steamed Chinese parsley dumplings. These are definitely a must order if you have to have dim sum at Top Gun. The bouncy dumplings have a thin skin and a refreshing taste from the parsley.

Furthermore, the prawns are just cooked, have a nice spring, and the dumplings do not consist of too much pork fat. The dumplings are also packed with ingredients, do not fall apart, and are topped with a tender slice of scallop.

Rating: 1/5.
Burning my thumb when reaching for a chicken feet was not worth it because these taste very bland along with dry. There is literally no flavour whatsoever except for a light sweet soy.

Rating: 0/5.
Another unappetizing dish is the steamed rice roll with Chinese donut. The donut is freshly fried but poorly executed which resulted in an oily mess. After the first bite, a burst of oil  and grease hits the mouth. This is a shame because the donut is freshly prepared and the rice roll is thin, but the pieces are extremely oily and the donut is not even crispy.

Rating: 1/5.
Continuing with the mediocre dim sum, the barbecue buns have a crispy and sugary topping but taste very oily. There is not much barbecue pork, the filling tastes overly sweet and the buns are very hollow too. My parents thought these were one of the worst dim sum dishes and wondered why Top Gun tries to be unique rather than sticking to a traditional barbecue pork pastry.

Rating: 2.5/5.
An unique item we ordered are the blocks of sticky rice wrapped in mantou. The sticky rice is well cooked and there is a bit of dried shrimp along with Chinese sausage, but the rice tastes very sweet rather than savoury. Moreover, the fresh and thin mantou skin tastes extremely sweet as well. But sweetness aside, the mantou tastes soft and neither stiff nor dry.

Rating: 0/5.

The dumplings consist of ground pork and a bit of water chestnut, but we could not see or taste any shrimp. In addition, the dumplings are fairly flat rather than puffy (despite the appearance) and there were bits of cartilage in the filling.

From the dry dumplings to the bland taste, these are one of the worst dumplings I have had at dim sum.

Rating: -5/5.
Another "one of the worst" items I have had at dim sum would be the spareribs and I honestly believe a $2.50 dim sum restaurant would serve a better variation (South Ocean Restaurant). The spareribs are not fully chopped through so every piece has three pieces hanging off of each other and there are plenty of inedible fat. On top of that, the flavour is one dimensional with only the taste of a light soy sauce. Just looking at the photo, I cannot believe any restaurant would serve this for $5.25.

Rating: 2.5/5.
Dining with two other people instead of only one for has its benefits, such as not being too full to order dessert at the end of dim sum! The egg tarts arrived fresh and hot, but taste a touch under baked. The crust has flaky layers and looks flaky, but the inside is very doughy. As for the silky smooth custard, there is a mild sweetness but the consistency is a bit too soft and the interior is runnier than usual.

Rating: 2.5/5.
Served fresh and hot like the egg tarts, the buns have a fluffy, soft and pillowy skin. I also made sure to confirm if the buns are the Liu Sha Bao variation after feeling gypped at Fisherman's Terrace. With regards to the custard, it does indeed flow out of the buns and there is a controlled level of sweetness. However, the custard is lacking that rich duck yolk flavour. Chef Tony has one of the best egg yolk buns in my opinion.

TOTAL: $37.30 + TIP $5.70 = $43.00.

How does Top Gun charge such high prices for their quality of food? The prices are on the higher end which include the infamous restaurants Kirin, Sun Sui Wah and Red Star. FML the prices are even higher than Chef Tony's, which is one of the best dim sum restaurants I have come across! But, thankfully we were here for a promotion and the food was 40% off. With that being said however, I truly believe that Top Gun J&C in Richmond will serve better dim sum and it is the next restaurant I want to try. Please do not disappoint. Guess Fortune House ain't so bad after all too...

- Polite staff
- Large selection of tea

- Majority of the food is fairly poor
- Watch out for the steam from the kettle
- Food quality, service and atmosphere does not match the higher prices
- Most of the items arrived in groups of three which worked out for us, but may be a problem for those dining with four

- Top Gun Hot Pot dinner post [here]
- According to my parents, apparently the dim sum here is better than Victory Seafood in Crystal Mall. Victory Seafood is still one of their worst dim sum experiences, ever
- Other restaurants in the Top Gun Group are Garden City Hot Pot, Kingsway Sushi, Richmond Sushi and Top Gun J&C

Food: 1.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Top Gun Hot Pot 尖東火鍋 on Urbanspoon


  1. Thank you for your post. I was thinking about taking my team mates to this place in a few weeks. But seeing your description and also the photos, I am leaning more towards New Starlet or if they don't mind the distance, Golden Swan

    1. How is the dim sum at New Starlet? I have never been. Have you tried Top Cantonese? The Chinese parsley dumplings were good here! But that is about it… haha.



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