Takeaway Tales: Is Luckee’s dim sum as good at home as in the restaurant?

Takeaway Tales: Is Luckee’s dim sum as good at home as in the restaurant?

We're taste-testing popular delivery dishes and evaluating the apps that bring the food to your door

Thanks to a flood of food delivery apps, it’s now easier than ever for the hungry and housebound to order almost any dish from almost any restaurant. But just because you can order something, should you? We’re taste-testing some of the most popular cravings in town to see how the entrees hold up, and how the at-home version compares to the dining-in experience. Along the way, we’re test-driving the apps that bring the dishes to your door. Up next:

Foodora

foodora.ca

What were we in the mood for?
Dim sum from Luckee. I love dim sum, and it’s my go-to if anyone insists on meeting for brunch. But I worry that I have become overly accustomed to the dishes and cart service at Dim Sum King and Sky Dragon, and I’m eager to see if these flavours can be presented in a different way.

Har gow (left) and siu mai at Luckee.
The lo bak go at Luckee.

What’s the food like in the restaurant?
Just like at my favourite Chinatown cart-service restaurants, the food at this upmarket Susur Lee joint, located in the Soho Metropolitan Hotel, arrives in round, bamboo steamers. A microscopic leaf of black truffle (the actual right amount of truffle) and a sliver of scallop crowns siu mai exploding with concentrated chicken and porcini flavour. The har gow are tight packages of carotene-dyed rice dough wrapped around bundles of shrimp and topped with a pinprick of grated ginger. And the lo bak go, turnip cakes encrusted with fried onions, are closer to a kugel than the Jello-like versions more commonly available, though I actually adore the room-temperature bricks circulating on the carts at Dim Sum King.

Sold. Now, how was the app’s selection and ordering process?
Foodora is one of the more user-friendly services out there, allowing pre-orders so you can take care of your lunch thinking in the morning. Filters make it easy to search for food categories—like dumplings or vegan or gluten-free—beyond just cuisine type. Many of the restaurants feature photos of each dish. And all of the restaurants post delivery-time estimates before you click. It’s mostly the same restaurants available through other apps: under “Foodora Exclusive,” there are only two restaurants in my delivery range: the Halal Guys and Duke’s Refresher.

How long does delivery take?
The food is promised in 30 minutes. An order screen keeps track of four steps, letting you know that your order has been received; when the restaurant is preparing your food; when your order has been picked up for delivery; and when it’s close to arriving. Exactly 30 minutes after ordering, my delivery shows up. Instead of waiting for me on the street below, the delivery person comes up to the fourth floor to hand me my order.

Luckee’s dim sum via Foodora.

So how does the delivery version of the food compare?
Everything arrives hot. But the har gow have overcooked and shriveled, the shrimp inside now as supple as a bath stopper. And the siu mai wrapper, like silk in the restaurant, is now as tough as a Fruit Roll-Up. The fried turnip cakes retain their integrity the best. They are still crispy.

How much did it cost?
$36.61 with tax and tip at Luckee. $34.56 with delivery fee, tax and tip through Foodora (the dishes are each $9 in the restaurant and $7 on the app). There’s a $15 minimum order. Driver tip is offered in a range of percentages at checkout.

The takeaway: is it worth ordering at home?
Even with Foodora’s near-flawless execution, the precision of the cooking is mostly lost in transit. There’s likely no delivery service on the planet that can accurately recreate the pleasure of a quality dim sum experience at home.