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Jul 11, 2008 05:32 PM

Northern Chinese Food - Great NEW find in Richmond Hill!

Hello fellow CH,

Move over Asian Legend, there's a new kid in town and the food is much much better!!!

Had dinner at ' Northern Dumpling Kitchen ', Unit 52A, 550 Hwy #7, E. Richmond Hill ( inside Times Square ). First thing I heard when I entered the restaurant was Mandarin being spoken inside of the kitchen. A good sign, especially when ones objective was to savour some genuine Northern style Chinese cuisine. The place was nothing fancy, fairly barren but pretty clean.

The first thing we ordered was their 'Bok Choi and Pork Pot-Stickers'. ( afterall they do call themselves 'dumpling' kitchen ). If one uses Asian Legend as reference, then I would give AL a 'C' whilst I'm going to give Northern Dumpling Kitchen an 'A'. The dumpling skin of the latter was ultra thin but still has the resilience to hold the soup broth and the generous veggie and pork filling. The dumpling was non-greasy and the overall taste was very delicious and genuine ( a la HK/Shanghai ).

We then tried their 'thinly sliced leg of pork with spicy garlic sauce'. What a delightfully tasting dish. Though a bit oily ( as expected from genuine Northern/Shanghainese cooking ) however, the seasoning was spot on, the taste exquisite and the texture of the meat so addictively chewy.

Next, we tried out two entrees. The 'Szechuan Smoked Duck' and the ever popular ' Double cooked Pork'. The former, a ' Chinese duck confit clone ' was crispy, smokey and tender. Definitely one of the best I've eaten in Toronto. As for the Double cooked pork, again, the seasoning and execution was spot on but once again, I found the dish a touch too greasy for my liking. However, the taste was very good.

For carbs., we ordered a bowl of their 'House secret spicy noodle with shrimp'. Wow! what a great tasting bowl of noodle. The thin noodle was cooked perfectly al dente and the sauce! What a spicy delight!

Overall, I would rank the food and value for money of this 'pseudo hole in the wall' outfit way above your other Northern Chinese food destinations such as Ding Tai Fung, 369 and the ever popular CH favourite- Asian Legend.

BTW, our entire meal only costs $38, tax included! Not bad for 5 great dishes!

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  1. Hey Charles, is this the one that's a few shops down from Judy Cuisine? If it's the one I'm thinking of, I think we've been there a few times and enjoyed their food and good prices as well. We did have one bad experience with a whole fish dish in dark soy/vinegar (fish was not fresh, bladder was ruptured and very fishy odor), while most of their noodle and cooked dishes were pretty good from what I could recall. We haven't been back in awhile, ever since we moved south, but for a northern chinese place it is one of the better ones for the area.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Royaljelly

      Hello Chow friend!
      The location is the same but I think this place supercedes the place you mentioned. Its fairly new, less than a few months old. I have their menu in front of me but there's no fish dish that resembles your description.
      BTW, you, myself and skylineR33 still havn't got together for a mini chowmeet yet?!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Ah, new and improved... the dishes you had sound delish. No wonder I didn't recognize the smoked duck dish, as I would've had that one for sure.

        As for getting us to come out for a mini chowmeet, it's going to be tough since we just had a new baby girl 3 weeks back. Now it's mostly quick chinese restos and take out's for us... I don't know why I keep reading Chowhound... I'm never going to eat at all these good places for awhile yet. :(

    2. Hey Charles, good to see you're still around.

      How was the line up at this place, if any?

      1 Reply
      1. re: tksh

        Hi tksh! Yes, I'm still around. Just not focusing on Toronto alone, thats all. ( Been chowing in Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York )
        As for Northern dumpling kitchen, when we were there at 7 pm on a Friday, only three tables were occupied out of may be 12. Definitely much less chaotic than say Richmond Court a few stores down.

      2. I just wanted to report back and mention that that we really enjoyed our recent visit (although I'm sure it will be reported that it has gone down hill... always my luck)! We had many similar dishes as Charles, although I did find the duck a bit dry. We also tried the green beans as a veg, and, while it was the basic version you'll find at many similar places, it was very well done. Thanks for the recommendation.

        Oh, and for the non-Chinese speakers like me, the english spoken is basic, but enough and friendly, and it seems like the entire menu has been translated (although it can be a bit cryptic.)

        10 Replies
        1. re: Minnow

          I've actually been there a few times since Charles' recommendation and it's been consistently good for me. And surprisingly, not that full no matter when I went. I'm liking it for its family-run-hole-in-the-wall feel. All of their dumplings have skin on the thin side to boot.

          Anyone tried that new Shanghai place across the street at Commerce, where fat lamb use to be?

          1. re: tksh

            Good question! I too am waiting for input from fellow CH before giving it a try.

            1. re: Charles Yu

              I have tried it, it is ok but I do not find it stands out from the other Shanghai restaurant in that area like Ala Kitchen.

              1. re: skylineR33

                Went the other night and had a couple of Charles recs. The cold pork in garlic and Szechuan peppercorns was amazing and the duck not dry in the least. It was a busy Friday night. I think these places do better when the kitchen is pumping.
                Had an incredible passion fruit shake with tapioca at the place next door as well.

                I'm now in Hong Kong and going for Szechuan tonight!

                1. re: koknia

                  Going to try this place out but do you recall the name of the place next door (passion fruit shake) or is it easy to find?


                  1. re: red dragon

                    The bubble tea place is immediately next door and is called Fancycup Teashop.

                    Went to Northern Dumpling tonight and next door for a mango milkshake afterward. Very friendly guy mixing up the drinks.

                    At Northern Dumpling we ordered a total of 9 dishes for $55 (not including tip).

                    From the dim sum section:
                    - silver roll (deep fried) - nicely loose bread threads on the inside
                    - fried cabbage & pork dumplings - excellent wrap texture!
                    - soup filled dumplings - very simple seasonings which we appreciated
                    - onion pancake roll and sliced beef - a little skimpy on the beef for me but still tasty because of the julienned green onion

                    From the cold platter section:
                    - smoked fish - not the best we've EVER had but still very good
                    - five-colour special vermicelli and cucumber - a bed of wide, glass-noodles(?) surrounded by piles of julienned meat, carrots, cucumber, omelette, and wood ear fungus (for crunch factor) accompanied by a sesame-based sauce

                    To accompany this we also ordered:
                    - pork with mixed vegetable noodle in soup (aka "da lu" noodle)
                    - pot-stewed pork & egg fried rice - a nice (flavour) change from regular fried rice
                    - garlic fried water spinach - mostly because we needed some greens and it was a dollar off the regular price

                    All in all a very satisfying meal. We arrived shortly after 6:00 and the place was empty except for one couple. By the time we finished the restaurant was full (~7:30).

                    Thanks for the rec, Charles_Yu!

                2. re: skylineR33

                  Hi skylineR33, we used to eat at Ala Kitchen once a week ever since it opened, then it went downhill (not sure if the mgmt or kitchen staff changed). Portions changed, the chunked beef noodle soup was bland and beef chewy, etc. Have you noticed a change yourself? It was so disappointing for us.

                  1. re: red dragon

                    The last time I was at Ala kitchen was like 2 months ago, I found the quality ok, as I mentioned, I find the shanghai restaurants kind of similar in quality and items in markham area and really cannot find one that stands out, I do like Shanghai Bund the most, but heard that it is now closed.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Yes skylineR33, Agree with you that most GTA shanghainese restaurants are almost the same and not worth the mentioning! In addition to a great Japanese noodle place, a great Shanghainese restaurant here in TO would be nice. A plate of perfectly cooked slice eel with yellowing chives and bean sprouts would make my day!

                    2. re: red dragon

                      i agree red dragon
                      i went when they first open as well
                      but i found them very inconsistent

            2. Hi Charles - is the house secret spicy noodle with shrimp a dry noodle dish with sauce?

              1 Reply
              1. re: red dragon

                Yes! Kind of similar to the Cantonese 'lo-mein' with the sauce atop of the bed of noodle.

              2. With every good Cantonese dim sum place in Richmond Hill jammed pack for lunch during this Christmas day, we headed out to Northern Dumpling Kitchen for some Northern version DS instead. In addition to some of our old favourites, we also tried out a couple of new ones. The 'Spring onion pancakes with sliced smoked pork and Hoi Sin sauce' was an absolute killer! The smoked pork so smokey and tasty. The 'Spicy won ton in peanut sauce' was delicious too. Exactly how northern style peanut sauce should be, in both consistency and taste. We again ordered the 'Sliced pork with spicy garlic and Szechuen peppercorn sauce'. This time we asked them to go easy on the chili oil. Perfection and so addictive!
                Glad to find a restaurant with consistent standard.
                Merry Chritmas to you all fellow chowhounders and Happy Chowing for the New Year!!!!

                3 Replies
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  We were at O-Mei today (Christmas) at 11:40 am to pick up take out, and there had to be at least 10 empty tables; the restaurant was just over half full. People were coming in as we went out, but it wasn't jammed pack by any definition.

                  1. re: KevinB

                    We went searching for food at 1 pm! Good Dim Sum place like Yang's, Ambassador and Full House all have lines!

                  2. re: Charles Yu

                    The smoked pork w/pancakes is an interesting and whimsical dish. It's prepared as a mini-take on Peking Duck, wherein you have the plain onion pancakes, the dish of hoisin, the dish of julienned spring onion, and a spread of samgyupsal-like pork belly slices, and you just dig in and form your own Nouvelle Vague Peking Pork delight! Keep in mind that the sliced beef pancake roll is also very good.