Houston has spoiled me. I grew up there making frequent visits to our massive Chinatown area and indulging in my family’s favorite feast, Dim Sum. When I moved to Richardson and first checked out our Chinese food scene I was massively disappointed, but I persevered and found two places, Kirin Court and Golden Joy BBQ, with decent Dim Sum service.
Similar to the Spanish small plates, tapas, Dim Sum is where you order many small or individually portioned plates of food. Generally you go in a big group and share many plates, but it works just as well for a two-person date night. Place to place the menu is about the same with dishes like steamed pork buns, various dumplings, and delicious sticky rice. Since the food is consistent everywhere, it’s easy to compare places solely on their cooking before delving into the differences in service and crowds.
Both destinations had good food, perfect hot turnip cake and juicy shrimp dumplings alongside pyramids of rice wrapped in lotus leaves. Everything was hot, fresh, and well made. Kirin Court had a more expansive menu, with some things in a buffet style line and the rest on carts and made to order.
Golden Joy had a simple photo menu on the tables, handy for those new to the experience, as well as certain items going around on carts during the busy times I have been. In the slower periods the carts stop and you just submit your order like a normal restaurant.
The striking difference comes in the amount of customers. At Kirin Court, going during Sunday brunch might lead to a wait of easily over an hour. The line runs out the door with groups waiting out in the heat or cold for their name to be called. Always willing to wait for good food, my group stuck it out for the better part of 45 minutes before heading in. The place is easily twice the size as Golden Joy and super packed with large families enjoying their post-church meal. At a similar time, we were seated right away at Golden Joy. While smaller, there were plenty of empty tables waiting for us, and it was the same everytime I’ve gone if not even emptier.
Honestly this baffled me as the food was just as good. I stopped going to Kirin Court in favor of the quick seating and much faster service of Golden Joy, and happily stayed in my Dim Sum bubble for several visits, telling friends about the discovery of this alternative location. Like all good things though, this came to an end.
Golden Joy BBQ was ruined for me after seeing a flagrant health violation in the form of the kitchen’s cook clearly smoking a cigarette while making the little dishes we had just ordered. I was so disgusted that I haven’t been back since. We paid, left, and that was that.
I’m starting to get the hunger for Dim Sum once again, but I’ll have to expand my search beyond Richardson in order to find another place that is a compromise between the food quality of Kirin Court with the quick seating of my once beloved Golden Joy BBQ. If you have suggestions, leave them below and I’ll add them to my list to try!
Golden Joy BBQ