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Northern Chinese Food - Great NEW find in Richmond Hill!

Charles Yu Jul 11, 2008 05:32 PM

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!

  1. blue bike Jun 27, 2010 03:54 PM

    Went back to Northern Dumpling Kitchen for the spicy cold pork and also tried a couple of other dishes: the "fennel" and pork dumplings (it was dill, not fennel) and the lamb noodle soup. Both very flavourful and yummy! The broth of the lamb soup had an interesting spiciness to it.
    it's quite a drive to get there from the west end but well worth it!

    4 Replies
    1. re: blue bike
      d
      DDD Nov 29, 2012 08:01 PM

      Dredging up an old thread - Is the quality still there? We will be in the area tomorrow night. Any non-pork recs?

      1. re: DDD
        n
        normanwolf Nov 29, 2012 08:47 PM

        I was there about a month ago.....still delish. I've been going off and on since I discovered this thread and they're pretty consistent. Had the spicy cold pork, green onion pancake and an order of the fennel and pork dumplings. I broke my rule of no eating in the car and scarfed down the green onion pancake....nice and crispy outside, flaky and that sort of sweet flavour of cooked green onions....just couldn't wait till I got home.

        I've liked the lamb dumplings in the past.

        1. re: DDD
          b
          blurion Nov 29, 2012 10:11 PM

          I was there just ~2 weeks ago and it was pretty fantastic! I waited ~10 minutes for my table of 4 at 1:30 PM on a Saturday. Delicious cold spicy pork - even my brother thought it was amazing - and amazing dumplings. The lamb dumplings were awesome! Also, the beef noodles!

          1. re: DDD
            TorontoJo Nov 30, 2012 05:08 AM

            The chicken pot stickers are delicious.

        2. MeXx Mar 28, 2010 02:14 PM

          Must try out sometime. I'm not a fan of Asian Legend anyways so it can't disappoint lol.

          1. blue bike Mar 28, 2010 01:29 PM

            We went there for lunch just before it started to fill up. Thank you all for the reviewed dishes. It made our selection much easier. And, hopefully, making us look like we knew what we were doing, since we were the only non-Asian patrons. ;-)

            Outstanding items which we are going back for: spicy cold pork, soup filled dumplings, stir fried bok choy with garlic

            Great items (may reorder them at some point): stewed ribs with green beans and vermicelli noodles (perfect for a cold day so we are going to wait for fall before ordering again).

            OK dishes (nothing to write home about): shrimp and leek dumplings, rice cakes with shrimp and vegetables, pancakes with smoked pork belly. It's not like these were bad, but the spicy pork dish came first and the delicate flavour of these three dishes got lost.

            Will definitely go back to try more items and reorder the spicy pork. We just couldn't get enough of it!

            Seven dishes came at $50 with tax and before tip. Great value.

            1 Reply
            1. re: blue bike
              TorontoJo Mar 28, 2010 01:35 PM

              Agreed, this place is great. I finally made it for a visit a few weeks ago and we stuffed our faces with all the recs on this thread. We pretty much rolled out of there. The one thing that stood out is how juicy all the dumplings were, with the soup dumplings being a remarkable feat of dumpling engineering -- to get that much soup into a dumpling, while having reasonably thin wraps that manage to not burst apart when picking up was quite impressive. I liked that the soup dumplings didn't taste overwhelmingly of ginger (as I find so many places do), but others might find them a bit bland. Nothing some sauce and fresh ginger doesn't cure, though.

            2. TorontoJo Feb 22, 2010 09:27 AM

              Has anyone been to Northern Dumpling Kitchen recently? Looking to go in the near future and wanted to see if any of the recommended dishes have declined or whether anything else has improved.

              6 Replies
              1. re: TorontoJo
                Charles Yu Feb 22, 2010 03:48 PM

                I was there twice last week! All the aforementioned dishes are still goooood!

                A few more dishes I tried which was also delicious were the 'Seafood Dumpling', the Stirred fry mutton with scallions and the Pancake wrapped sliced smoked pork belly with Hoi Sin sauce and scallions. The latter, so addictively smokey! BTW, the Xiao Lung Bao is as good if not better than DTF.

                1. re: Charles Yu
                  TorontoJo Feb 22, 2010 04:27 PM

                  Good to know, Charles, thanks! Looking forward to trying it in a few weeks. Do you happen to know if they are busy on a Saturday around noon?

                  1. re: TorontoJo
                    Charles Yu Feb 22, 2010 05:51 PM

                    Unsure about Saturday afternoon but was packed after 7.30 Saturday evening!!

                2. re: TorontoJo
                  Chester Eleganté Mar 9, 2010 11:17 AM

                  Went back again recently and also grabbed a takeout menu. New hits:

                  114 - steamed fennel & pork dumplings - i'm pretty sure it's dill and not fennel, but these are now easily my favourite. the dill sets it off so well.
                  809 - sauteed baby broccoli - it's actually pea shoots, and it's noiice. get your greens on.
                  314 - stewed rib & green bean vermicelli - the vermicelli (fun pei) in question are these flat, chewy, translucent 'noodles' made from potato flour, that get soaked up in this rich stew broth, with these pai gwut spare ribs done just right. hearty and yum.
                  415 - shanghai style fried noodle - the basic. def. one of the best versions i've had.

                  most of the dumplings are good. you have the base of the really thin wrappers and fresh fillings all around, so it's hard to go wrong. fried chicken woh teep, steamed lamb, chinese celery & pork sui gow, you name it.

                  good veg choices include the deep fried tofu, the shredded bean curd (i think these are the tofu noodles), the veg dumplings, and the five colour special vermicelli & cucumber platter.

                  -----
                  Northern Dumpling Kitchen
                  550 7 Hwy E, Richmond Hill, ON L4B3Z4, CA

                  1. re: Chester Eleganté
                    thenurse Mar 16, 2010 08:16 AM

                    Any chance you can post that menu? I'd like to peruse it before making the trip north to try this place out. Anyone know if they have high chairs or booster chairs there? Or a kids menu?

                    1. re: thenurse
                      Chester Eleganté Apr 13, 2010 11:55 PM

                      Well, I could if I'm around a scanner sometime. They have a ton of items to choose from, fairly typical of this type of menu. There's a couple of high chairs, but no kids menu. Btw, the shredded bean curd is a garlic haven, but avoid that shredded potato...

                3. Notorious P.I.G. Apr 3, 2009 12:50 AM

                  Hey Charles,

                  How would you compare this place to Dumpling King at Finch and Midland?

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                    Charles Yu Apr 3, 2009 06:39 AM

                    Been to Dumpling King only once. Wasn't that impressed. All the dishes I tried were OK but no 'stand-out'. On the other hand 'Northern Dumpling Kitchen' has a few dishes like the sliced pork with spicy garlic sauce or their smoked pork served with pancake that are outstanding.

                    1. re: Charles Yu
                      BokChoi Apr 3, 2009 08:19 AM

                      I really enjoyed the smoked pork with pancake, but I would have to say some of the dishes also fell flat for me here. One tasted very similar to a homemade spaghetti sauce and pasta dish, strangely enough. I went earlier this year though.

                      Here are some photos of the dishes we had:

                      Pancake: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/3201396487
                      This was a great dish. I loved the smokey flavour of the pork. The pancakes were light and crisp as well.

                      The typical chili beef with tripe dish: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/3202242700/
                      Closeup: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/3202242930
                      It didn't have as much chili flavour as I would have liked. Texture was better than normal, but it didn't rank among the best I've had.

                      We had a few dumplings, including the siu loong bao's: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/3202242740
                      These were quite forgettable and nothing of note

                      This was the spaghetti sauce pasta I was mentioning: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-snowpea/3202242762/
                      Fun to eat, but taste was just okay.

                      Not enough chili in the wontons again: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                      It was fine, and better than average, but I wouldn't go back or go out of my way for it. Nice to have tried it though.

                      Thanks for the rec Charles Yu

                      1. re: BokChoi
                        Charles Yu Apr 3, 2009 03:51 PM

                        Yes, I noticed its getting harder and harder to find restaurants that can deliver stand out dishes from start to finish. Very often we are presented with a few initial ones that wowed us, inflated our hope and expectation and then brought back to earth by disappointing dishes to complete the meal. May be our palette are spoiled or we are raising the bar too high. At least to me, I'm satisfied that up here in Richmond Hill there's an above average Northern Chinese place that I can frequent once in a while!
                        BTW, one can request degree of spiciness for the chili beef and tripe or the sliced pork. However, the spicier it gets the oilier the dish becomes!

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          BokChoi Apr 4, 2009 09:48 AM

                          Ha, yes, perhaps I am spoiled. If I lived in the area like you do, I could see myself returning. Being that I am a bit further away, I doubt I'd make a large detour to dine there. I do love the bacon pancake dish though. That was indeed standout!

                      2. re: Charles Yu
                        Notorious P.I.G. Apr 3, 2009 08:52 AM

                        Ok, thanks very much for your feedback Charles. Much appreciated.

                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                          Charles Yu Apr 3, 2009 03:58 PM

                          You're most welcome!
                          Bon Appetite!

                    2. t
                      tygrr_lily Mar 31, 2009 06:08 PM

                      i finally tried this place tonight and i really enjoyed it! i do eat at asian legend fairly often, and the shanghai restaurant at first markham place, and the food at this restaurant was definitely better than both

                      We had the aforementioned spring onion pancakes with sliced smoked pork and hoisin sauce and they were absolutely delicious. the pork was really nice and smokey with a good balance of fattiness. the pancake was delciously crispy, albeit a bit greasy, but i guess that can't be helped. overall it was a very nice play on peking duck.

                      i also really enjoyed the soup filled steam dumplings. the soup/broth was very flavourful as was the meat. much much better than the ones at asian legend. the size was also perfect to pop into my mouth. we also tried the leek and pork steamed dumplings which had the thinner skin everyone else has mentioned. they were good, but i think i'd rather get them fried next time. as magic stated, they were more wattery than i would have liked

                      we had the shanghai style noodles and they were very flavourful and not too greasy. the noodle they use is a bit thinner than the other restaurants. i also found it saucier which i liked because i sometimes find it bland at other places. we also had a tofu/veggie dish which was quite ordinary, but did it's purpose.

                      i'd definitely return. the 5 dishes came up to just under $31 and we had food to bring home. i WISH i could have tried the pork in garlic sauce that everyone has been raving about, but my bf didn't want it and i didn't think i could eat the plate myself. definitely something i'd like to try in the future though

                      thanks for the rec!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: tygrr_lily
                        Charles Yu Mar 31, 2009 06:27 PM

                        Ah! You missed out on the 'pork in spicy garlic sauce'! Sigh!!!
                        You should order it, finish as much as you can and take the rest home. Its a cold dish so overnight might taste even better?!

                        1. re: Charles Yu
                          t
                          tygrr_lily Apr 3, 2009 06:02 AM

                          i've made plans to return this week w/ a friend that has a more adventurous palate, so we'll definitely try it then!

                      2. m
                        magic Feb 9, 2009 06:59 AM

                        Thanks for the rec, I enjoyed this spot!

                        The smoked pork with pancake and beef/onion roll were wonderful. Loved the julienne green onion with the smoked pork slices. Beef roll could have done with less hoisin, but this is typical of pretty much every beef/onion roll I’ve eaten. Still, it was scrumptious. The smoked pork was my favourite dish of the evening, and the pancakes were my favourite component of that dish. As good as the actual pork was, the pancakes were just fantastic.

                        Ordered 3 sets of dumplings: soup filled, pork+mushroom, and pork+leek. The 2 pork dumpling selections were quite tasty. But I found the pork/leek ones too watery inside. The soup dumpling was nice but a tad salty (which surprised me given that good dim sum I’ve had is often subtle, not overly seasoned).

                        My friend ordered hot and sour soup, which although beautifully made was fairly bland I thought.

                        The service was competent, but not overly warm or attentive. I’ve had better, but I’ve certainly had much worse. It was fine but not much more than that. But in a dumpling house I wouldn’t demand or expect much regardless.

                        On first visit my fave dumpling kitchen still remains Mother’s Dumplings, not only for their dumplings but for their non-dim sum items as well. However, I will absolutely return to Northern Dumpling Kitchen. Food was generally excellent, and the value for the amount and quality of food ordered is superb. Look fwd to trying more of the menu.

                        Btw, it’s cash only there…

                        1. c
                          cho33 Jan 31, 2009 09:53 PM

                          Decide to take SO to try this place after all the reviews. Arrived around 8pm on Saturday night and the place was packed. Took the last table (right in front of the door) and proceed to order some of the CH favourites (dumplings, pork w/ garlic sauce, smoked duck). We ordered way too much b/c we want to try everything and now I have enough leftovers for 2 more meals (and am very happy about it!!)

                          I love the dumplings but the pot sticker didn't have the same wow effect. Pork w/ garlic sauce was surprisingly good (I didn't think I'd care for it but SO likes garlic so I picked it after the reviews). Smoked duck was crispy on the outside and the meat was moist.

                          Dan Dan noodles - at first SO and I thought it was too soft and mushy but by the end of the first bowl, it really grew on us. Perfect comfort food on a cold winter night.

                          Maybe I have relatively lower expectation of service in a Chinese restaurant, I have no complaints. The one male server (I presumed it's the owner) was considerate enough to ask leaving patrons to close the inner door before stepping out into the cold. This is to minimize the frigid draft coming through. After that, he even came over and apologize for the cold since we sat right in front of the door.

                          Needless to say, we'll be going back for sure!!

                          1. c
                            cinbot Jan 31, 2009 06:59 AM

                            Tried this place last night. We tried the steam buns and post stickers, pork on pancakes and egg whites on broccoli which were all quite good.

                            The dan dan noodles, hot and sour soup, fried rice was not up to par, very homemade and lacked flavour and salt. The noodles were actually a little mushy and were lukewarm.

                            The lamb skewers tasted and looked like it was covered in cumin, it was so awful we couldn't finish it.

                            There was a miserable waitress there with short hair who didn't want to speak to us in English even though we didn't speak Mandarin. She acted like we were a nuisance and spoke to us with attitude when she finally did speak English after she proceeded to ask everyone at the table if they spoke Mandarin. She gave me the impression that she was doing us this huge favour by allowing us to spend money and eat there.

                            We wouldn't come back with such horrible service, it's too bad since the dumplings and pot stickers would have probably kept us coming back.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cinbot
                              red dragon Feb 10, 2009 01:22 PM

                              Wow, I haven't tried this place yet, but will be on the look out for any girl server with short hair. We can get by with Cantonese, but not Mandarin. Typical attitude I'd say. How horrible for you.

                            2. m
                              magic Jan 28, 2009 09:24 AM

                              Can anyone recall if they accept payments other than cash? In other words, debit, Visa....

                              Thx!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: magic
                                t
                                tochowchick Jan 28, 2009 09:44 AM

                                Why don't you just call them...

                                550 Highway 7 East
                                Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3Z4
                                (905) 881-3818

                                1. re: tochowchick
                                  m
                                  magic Jan 28, 2009 10:06 AM

                                  I just might....

                              2. b
                                baby_tran Jan 12, 2009 09:25 AM

                                We had an enjoyable dinner last night. Everything we ordered tasted great and the prices were great too ($42 for 8 items).

                                Thanks for the suggestion!

                                1. a
                                  auberginegal Jan 8, 2009 05:18 PM

                                  wanted to echo the thanks to Charles for mentioning this place. I tried it out the other night with family and we really enjoyed the pot stickers (loooved that they were soup filled!) and the pork in garlic sauce. will definitely be back to try some other things, seems like they have quite an extensive menu. i will say that i was disappointed with the smoked duck. the skin was not crispy, but more importantly, i could tell that it had been reheated (i have a strong aversion to the taste of reheated poultry).

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: auberginegal
                                    a
                                    Apprentice Jan 9, 2009 11:25 AM

                                    Are the spicy garlic and Szechuen peppercorn sauce dishes on the english menu?

                                    1. re: Apprentice
                                      a
                                      auberginegal Jan 9, 2009 11:45 AM

                                      i remember it said "pork in garlic sauce" under the cold appetizers, with a pepper symbol to indicate the dish was spicy, but no specific words saying it was szechuen peppercorns, though they appeared in the dish. like charles said, seasoning was great, though i too found it a tad oily, but i would definitely order it again.

                                      1. re: auberginegal
                                        aser Jan 9, 2009 12:01 PM

                                        I'm looking at it on the takeout menu....

                                        209. pork with garlic sauce $5.50

                                        1. re: aser
                                          a
                                          Apprentice Jan 9, 2009 12:52 PM

                                          Well there it is! I never bothered looking at the cold items - it just sounded hot (temperature wise)! Sounds even more interesting now that I know it's a cold dish.

                                          Thanks.

                                    2. re: auberginegal
                                      t
                                      tksh Jan 11, 2009 03:47 PM

                                      I'm not sure if it's because they have different chefs or if it depends on how overwhelmed their kitchen is but their smoked duck varies between moist, tender and 'wet' to utterly and completely dried-out crispy (and so very smoked and good). It's unfortunate but give it a try again the next time if you're in the mood, you might get a crispier duck.

                                      I tried the pork belly in garlic recently too based on the recommendations and it was great, don't know why I never bothered to tried it before. I was just surprised at how fatty the pork was.

                                    3. d
                                      downtown Jan 6, 2009 12:04 PM

                                      Thanks for the recommendation, we tried it out on Saturday night. The dumplings were excellent, as was the pork with garlic sauce that you recommended - it was a surprise favourite. However, overall for szechuan cuisine I must say that I prefer either Szechuan Legend or Chili Secret. On the other hand, who can argue with a huge meal for 3 people for only $45??

                                      1. a
                                        Apprentice Jan 5, 2009 08:04 PM

                                        Hi Charles is Szechuan Smoked Duck the same as "Tea Smoked Duck"? I'm trying to sample more Szechuan cuisine (or is it Sichuan???) from our fine city and I understand that TSD is a must have as part of the journey.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Apprentice
                                          koknia Jan 6, 2009 02:03 AM

                                          I asked the staff there and the duck is smoked with tea.

                                          1. re: Apprentice
                                            Charles Yu Jan 6, 2009 04:29 AM

                                            Yes, the real Mckoy should be called ' Szechuan camphor-wood, tea smoked duck'. Should taste and smell like an aromatic version of duck confit?!

                                          2. aser Dec 30, 2008 10:15 PM

                                            This place is one of the best bargains in Richmond Hill imo. It's a very homey operation, dumpling fillings taste extremely fresh. Perfect comfort food for this miserable cold we've been getting. Charles nailed it with the comparison to DTF & 369, save your $ and go here instead.

                                            Looking at the takeout menu makes me drool at this late hour. I recall they're open till midnight.

                                            1. red dragon Dec 30, 2008 01:51 PM

                                              I have yet to make it to this place! Charles, when you say inside Times Square, do you mean it's not located on the outside of the plaza? It's actually inside?

                                              TIA!

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: red dragon
                                                Charles Yu Dec 30, 2008 03:40 PM

                                                The restaurant occupies an outside unit inside the complex. A few shop from Judy 's Cuisine.

                                                1. re: Charles Yu
                                                  koknia Dec 30, 2008 06:59 PM

                                                  Went a couple times this year for the 'Sliced pork with spicy garlic and Szechuen peppercorn sauce'. Indeed a great dish.

                                                  (Let me know if you're going to do another dinner in HKG this spring...)

                                              2. Charles Yu Dec 25, 2008 11:40 AM

                                                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
                                                  k
                                                  KevinB Dec 25, 2008 08:24 PM

                                                  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
                                                    Charles Yu Dec 25, 2008 09:30 PM

                                                    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
                                                    Chester Eleganté Dec 30, 2008 12:57 PM

                                                    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.

                                                  3. red dragon Sep 11, 2008 02:54 PM

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

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: red dragon
                                                      Charles Yu Sep 11, 2008 03:29 PM

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

                                                    2. m
                                                      Minnow Sep 9, 2008 12:31 PM

                                                      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
                                                        t
                                                        tksh Sep 9, 2008 07:12 PM

                                                        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
                                                          Charles Yu Sep 9, 2008 07:30 PM

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

                                                          1. re: Charles Yu
                                                            skylineR33 Sep 9, 2008 07:39 PM

                                                            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
                                                              koknia Sep 9, 2008 07:56 PM

                                                              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
                                                                red dragon Sep 11, 2008 02:55 PM

                                                                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?

                                                                TIA

                                                                1. re: red dragon
                                                                  h
                                                                  homebaker Sep 12, 2008 07:38 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                red dragon Sep 11, 2008 02:53 PM

                                                                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
                                                                  skylineR33 Sep 11, 2008 03:43 PM

                                                                  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
                                                                    Charles Yu Sep 11, 2008 04:12 PM

                                                                    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
                                                                    coconut lime Jan 28, 2009 09:54 AM

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

                                                          2. t
                                                            tksh Jul 13, 2008 07:59 AM

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

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

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: tksh
                                                              Charles Yu Jul 13, 2008 02:43 PM

                                                              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. Royaljelly Jul 11, 2008 06:36 PM

                                                              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
                                                                Charles Yu Jul 11, 2008 07:04 PM

                                                                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
                                                                  Royaljelly Jul 11, 2008 08:07 PM

                                                                  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. :(

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