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Dec 15, 2007 10:33 PM

Bye bye Shanghai Xue Yuan, Hello Tian Xin Place (Thornhill)

Ventured out tonight with the wife and kid in the freezing cold for dinner at one of our nearby homey Shanghainese restos (Shanghai Xue Yuan on Glen Cameron in Thornhill), only to find that it has turned into a new place called Tian Xin Place.

Decor has had a much needed updating (looks more like Ding Tai Fung now), completely new owners (very nice Mainland lady with her obnoxious young child running amok amongst the tables). Chef remains the same according to the waitress, but with a few more new "partners".

Menu seems to have changed somewhat, particularly more seafood/fish dishes. We tried the smoked marinated cold fish (good), smoked duck (meat was too dry and lacked enough smokiness), pan fried meat buns (we specifically asked them to fry it a bit extra to make the bottoms crunchier, but it was still barely fried underneath and the meat almost looked raw), tofu/bacon soup (nice milky texture to soup) and a soup veggie noodle (decent serving size, but considerable amount of MSG in the soup).

The young man who was working there was running around like a chicken with his head cut off (and the place was barely 1/3 full). He was the one who took our order and erroneously charged us extra for the noodle dish (which we had to correct later).

Here's a scan of their lunch menu (sorry, it's Chinese only), while a dinner menu is in the presses.

Overall we were dissapointed with their main dishes and particular the service. We'll probably venture back after they've settled down from their grand opening jitters, since there's some really nice dishes that we miss from the previous owners.

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  1. Hello Royaljelly! Thanks for the heads up. The lunch menu looks interesting. Like you, I'll most probably give them a try in a few weeks time, after they settled down. Glad that 'shouting/screaming' owner is no longer there! I too love Shanghainese pan fried meat buns ( provided they do it properly ). The version you tried, does it have a little broth inside the bun when you bite into it? I hate it when its just dry meat/vege filling. Same should apply to pot-stickers too.
    PS: Posting at 2.33 in the morning! Are you up admiring the snow?!! Ha!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Hi Charles, I didn't realize it was so late already...maybe it was the MSG that kept me up:)

      Their pan fried meat buns were undercooked on the inside and barely cooked on the underside, so I can't comment much on the amount of broth it "should" have if cooked properly. But I know what you mean when the buns are overly dry on the inside. The absolutely best ones I had was when I picked up a six pack from this sidewalk shop in Shanghai on our way to a bookstore. The buns (probably about 30 of them) were packed into this one large frying pan and cooked beautifully. I was sitting outside the bookstore waiting for my wife, all the while quietly enjoying those buns in heavenly bliss. I have yet to experience anything that good in Toronto. :(

    2. Thanks for the heads up, this used to be a staple for us when we lived in the area, wary of trying it now, but I guess we should check it out sometime.

      1. bumping this from the abyss....

        I was wondering if you (royaljelly) have given this another chance. I haven't been back since the days of Xue Yuan, and it was always one of my favourites for Shanghai food in Toronto.

        2 Replies
        1. re: aser

          Unfortunately we haven't been back, esp. after we moved further south now it's been harder to get uptown for us except for those "exceptional" places that litter Hwy 7. :) I was hoping Charles or Skyline might have tried it recently, since I liked the previous owners creations as well. I had a hunch that perhaps they had moved to become Ala Kitchen near First Markham Place (just before the old resto changed hands, they had a stack of Ala Kitchen cards in the front), but I haven't received any confirmations of that either.

          1. re: Royaljelly

            I have tried that rest. a month ago during lunch time and I would rate them average. I think I will give them a try after they are offically grand openning. But I did find the woman (I guess she is the owner)who work there are very friendly.