Daimo (Ranch99 Mall, RIchmond)

Ranch 99 Mall aka Pacific West Mall, separate bldg outside
Lunch Review Date: November 2021
On impulse I suggested to Spouse we try Daimo again. It’s been years since we were here last. Spouse was agreeable, so we entered (with difficulty, the door takes a really hard push) and took a table. It was reasonably well-attended, with two large tables occupied and about eight two- and four-tops in use.

Daimo is located far outside any official Chinatown, but is open from 9 a.m. to after 11 p.m. without closing. It serves Chinese breakfast from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., one of the few Chinese restaurants to do so in the EBay. The menu on the web, btw, seems more extensive than the printed one we received.

Pea Sprouts with Garlic. Beautifully executed, with plenty of finely chopped fresh garlic, quickly stir-fried.

XLB. Daimo has dim sum but doesn’t specialize in it, as it sits between two dim sum restaurants – Asian Pearl Seafood inside the mall and Saigon Harbor Seafood outside it. XLB is a (relatively) new addition to their dim sum menu. We remember when not so long ago, one had to search for one of the rare Shanghainese restaurants in order to enjoy them. Daimo’s XLB are very loose in their filling, but some of the juiciest XLB around. The skins are very thin as well, and the flavor is very good – not perfect, but above average. The size is what it should be, one bite only. There are eight in a tray, making this a good value as well. It doesn’t match Sichuan Fusion inside the mall, which makes a more traditional firmer filling that isn’t quite as juicy, but has ten XLB to a tray.

Shu Mai. Very firm filling of pork and shrimp, topped with roe of average quality. Good; again nothing remarkable, but tasty and a good value.

Roast Duck. Half a duck, with a surprising amount of juices on the platter; side dip of golden plum sauce which wasn’t needed. This isn’t the usual deli roast duck seasoned with five spice and black soya. This is the Cantonese soy sauce roasted duck; beautifully crisp skin burnished a darker brown. It requires a good quality soya, which is what Daimo uses. A nice change from the roast duck we usually get, and I made sure to bring all the bones home with us for my soup stock.

Fried tofu cubes. Spouse is more fond of this dish than me, but this time I ate my fair share! The tofu was absolutely fresh, as was the oil in which it was fried, which is critical. The golden plum sauce from the duck went fne with the tofu cubes. We made sure to finish this dish at the table – it doesn’t reheat well.

E-fu mein with dried scallop and yellow chives. Daimo gave us a fine version using the Shanghainese mein, square shaped like Japanese udon, but thinner and less regular in form. The cooking time for the noodles is important in this dish. In any version, the noodles need to be al dente, a tender exterior but still with a little chew internally, to prevent mushiness. Spouse loves the Shanghai mein, which aren’t often used in restaurants. This wasn’t the best quality of dried scallop, but the amount used was astoundingly generous. I don’t think we’ve ever seen so much shredded dried scallop in a single dish before. It makes this a remarkable value – at least, assuming those were truly scallops and not punched-out circles of shark meat!

Summary: We both enjoyed our lunch and look forward to returning. Daimo is not your typical Cantonese restaurant. It conforms to all the appearances and uses the same ingredients – yet there’s something a little different about the flavor of many of their dishes. As my HK-born Spouse said, it’s almost like a village difference. He noted Daimo has only pan-fried chow mein. There’s no HK-style, aka “with gravy”, listed on the menu.

Two people, lunch: two dim sum plates, one veggie, three mains, with tax but without tip $81


The flavors should be quite different though. Dried shark meat was a lot less flavorful and a lot more chewy, so it won’t add to the dish in the same way that dried scallops do.

The kitchens shred the dried scallop meat so it’s quite difficult to tell - and poor quality dried scallop actually isn’t much different than shark (which is a sad thing for the many endangered shark species, unfortunately!).

Tonight I ate a scallop egg white fried rice from a place near home (not Daimo). There’s a distinct fishiness in the dish that I never had before. I wonder if it’s because of shredded dried shark or crappy dried scallop