Soup buns in Vancouver BC
My family is driving up to Vancouver from Seattle in a few days and being Shanghai natives, we're looking for a place to enjoy some xiao long bao. I've read recommendations for Shanghai River, Shanghai Wind, and Chen's Shanghai Restaurant. Which place has the most affordable soup buns? Do these restaurants serve the dumplings for dinner or is it lunch only? Since we're driving up from Seattle, calling to make a reservation might be difficult so how busy are these 3 places, especially on a weekend night?
Thank you Chowhounders! My tummy thanks you!
Of the three places you mention, I've only been to Chen's. It is very affordable at $3.80CAD for 6. San Jeen Bao is $4.00CAD for 6. All menu items are available at all times. Chen's rocks! The following are some past posts on xlb:
Long’s Noodle House west side of main street, between 32nd and 33rd.
I really hate to give this place up since they only seat about 25-30 people, but if you love xiao long baos (mandarin: xiao long ji; cantonese: xiu long gae) , try Long’s Noodle House.
they have all of your yummy old-skool shanghainese favourites. for lunch, they close at 3pm, so i usually get there around 2:15pm and not have to wait for a table. between my bf and i, we usually just get one green onion cake, one order of xiao long bao (6 pcs.), and one bowl of noodle--either the braised chicken & veggie in soup if we're feeling blah, or tza tzeung meen (translation: fried sauce noodle (?)-wow, my parents would have a coronary if they ever saw how badly i butcher chinese...*sigh*) when we feel like a bowl of "chinese spaghetti" as my bf calls it.
the 3 items, more than enough to share between the two of us, usually puts our bill just under $13 CDN. crazy, eh?
keep in mind, like many chinese restaurants in town, they only accept cash.
Chen's Shanghai Restaurant
I had one of the best Xiao Long Bao last night in a new Shanghai restaurant along Park Road in Richmond. It is super juicy and good. The meat has a slight hint of ginger. If you burst the dumpling, the juice will overflow the Chinese spoon. It's soooo good. The name of the place is Chen's Shanghai Restaurant and it on the same spot as the vegetarian restaurant on Park Road that just recently closed. It's along the same strip mall as the Chinese supermarket. The place is nice being fairly newly renovated. I always go to Shanghai Wind, going there at least once a week, but I think I'm gonna start coming here instead. The menu prices are just about the same as SW, without the long wait for tables.
Dude - went based upon your recommendation and you know what? I think we have a new XLB Champeen. They were swollen and full of soup like the place on Granville St, but thin skinned and the soup was clear, bright, light and delicous. Very Very GOOD! I mean - I can't think how they could improve. Damn you - just when I thought I found a Vancouver XLB place that could satisfy my needs.
Also had the pan fried buns (san jeen bau also full of soup - but molten hot like magma). And the best chinese dessert I have had in a very long time. Black sesame seed puff pastry. Delicious - the pastry skin was so flaky and light - perfect foil for sweet, dark - almost bitter - filling. Excellent! The pastry is all made in house - the quality is certainly top flight. The owner's daughter apparently has opened an outpost at the Metrotown food court - but I have no first hand knowledge of the place.
It's my understanding is that the owners have owned other places before and have looked hard for the current location. Their track record seems to be things are very very good at first - but then if they get too busy - quality goes down hill as they can't keep things cooking quickly enough.
One of my favorite dishes was beef wrapped in a really yummy green onion pancake, i could have eaten ten of them! And the cold curry prawns.....so fresh!
The Place Restaurant 8028 Granville open 11-11
We've been sampling the xiao long bao all over Richmond/Vancouver. What a surprise to find the BEST of all, per an earlier tip.
Not the delicate wrapper of Shanghai River, and still not as good as Joe's Shanghai in New York (or some places I've tried in Taipei and Shanghai), but overall the best in the northwest. The medium-thickness (less than Shanghai Wind's) wrapper holds a LOT of delicious broth. We even went back the next day to make sure it wasn't a fluke - and we were again happy.
Our happy memories of those xiao long bao (and a couple of other dishes I'll try to report on later) helped get us through the horrible 7+ hour drive home to Seattle yesterday...
Went and checked it out - in Chinese the name means "Old Place" or "the Regular Place" - meaning old hang out. The XLB were very good - swollen with soup and the broth itself was clean and sweet. Came with shredded ginger and good vinegar. The skin was a little thick - and I would have to say that I like the Shanghai Wind ones a little better. But really, when the XLB are this good - this is splitting hairs.
The rest of their dim sum items are quite good also. The Shanghainese Sesame Cakes were savory, flakey and filled with a sweet meaty filling (sounds odd - I know). Not greasy at all. And the day we were there - the Wo Tip or Chinese Fried Dumplings were very good - crispy skin and juicy. The filling was a mix of pork and chopped spinach - not quite as savory as the XLB.
Also had the preserved vegetable/shredded pork with hand pulled noodles and broth. Nice clean tasting broth and good chew to the noodles - a bland contrast to the stronger flavored things we had been eating. Try the Black Sesame Cakes - 'Huachiao' Cakes - they are very good. Also they have Red Bean Spring Rolls - have not had them but they looked well done.
Thank you thank you! After a little more research last night, I think I might be leaning more towards Chen's. It's good to know the menu items are available at all times, since we're driving up, we're looking for a place to eat for dinner with a reasonable wait time.
I read that Shanghai Wind has new management and the old owners moved to Shanghai Wonderful. And Shanghai River is a bit pricey. Hmm... still need to do a bit more research. Thanks again!
Shanghai River is probably the most pricey option of the 3, but they have wonderful xiao long bao with delicately thin wrappers and lots of soup. Personally, I would recommend them more for dinner than lunch, though (mmm... choy pong hai... pork hock...)
In May, we had xiao long bao at three places: Shanghai Wonderful, Northern Dynasty, and Shanghai River (which we've been to several times before). We liked Shanghai River's the best. They are small (8 to an order, 6 at the other places), thin skin, lots of soup and we've never received a broken one here. The xlb are served in the evening at Shanghair River; I assume that this this is true at the other locations also. We're from Portland, so after we driven to Vancouver and paying to stay, the price of the xlb is not a factor with us; we're looking for the best flavor.
We also can really recommend the pork hock at Shanghai River. Can't wait to have it again!