Restaurant review: Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant

Sherman Chan,
Special to The Post
Sometimes, people get confused whether Dim Sum is breakfast, lunch or brunch food. For me, it is essentially a Chinese-style tapas that can be eaten anytime of the day. They do that in Asia, but for some reason, it has never caught on in Vancouver, despite the large appetite from Dim Sum. 
So where do you go to satisfy a late-night craving? The good news is, you can enjoy an early morning Dim Sum before 2:00 a.m. at Pelican Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver.
My friends joined me for this unusually timed meal after a recent hockey game. We started with the Spicy Green Beans. They were oil-blanched enough to be tender while maintaining a nice crunch. There was no absence of flavour and spice, but it was a bit salty. Next, we tried the Shrimp Spring Rolls, which were fried crisp with a mix of mousse and whole pieces of shrimp. 
I didn’t like the Haw Gow (Shrimp Dumplings). The skin was doughy and thick, but worst was the mushy filling with a predominantly mousse texture and bits of soft shrimp. It was also far too mild tasting with few distinguishable flavours. The enormous Sui Mai (Pork & Shrimp Dumplings) had large chunks of pure, chewy pork fat. I didn't find this appetizing. If they had chopped it into smaller pieces, it would have been fine. I also felt there were not enough shrimp and shitake mushroom to offer a variety in flavours.
We thought that the Steamed Bean Curd Skin Rolls were well executed. The pork filling was tender and meaty within the moist, chewy exterior, and the flavours were mild so we could taste the ingredients without being overloaded with salt. The Beef Meatballs came with greens and were soft with a slight bounce, but there was too much moisture. The Steamed Spareribs tasted okay, with plenty of seasoning and garlic, however, the meat was chewy.
Our last savoury dish was the Lo Mei Gai (Sticky Rice). It was wet, and the rice was more mushy than sticky. The moisture seemed to be from the plethora of ground pork (mixed with starch-thickened sauce), and as a result, it tasted good though there was a lot of meat.
For our sweet tooth, we ordered Mango Pudding prepared in Hello Kitty molds. There were quite firm and not very sweet, and as expected, they did not have a lot of mango flavour either. 
Overall, the food was average at best, but since there are not many places that do late night Dim Sum, Pelican is a good choice to fulfill a craving.
Pho Tan Vietnamese Restaurant
4598 Main Street  |  604-873-3345
The Good:
• Decent food
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