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Good Chinese in Richmond?

My wife and I will be staying near Vancouver Airport in Richmond for a Sunday night before flying out on Monday morning. Our hotel is on Cambie (sp?). We hear that there is a lot of good Chinese food to be had in Richmond. Where? Who? What?

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  1. What kind of Chinese, simple or high end. Cantonese, Shanghai, Food Court/Food Stall there is a wide selection. If I stay in Richmond for weeks I would not have to repeat my selection. But local hounds can help you out more. I normally stay for four days and in a rout in my selections.

    1. A good survey might look like:

      Gingeri, Kirin or Sun Sui Wah for classic dim sum
      Sea Harbour for modern Cantonese
      Golden Spring for Sichuan
      Shanghai River for High-end
      Chen's Shanghai Kitchen for hole-in-the-wall Shanghai

      Like yimster said...Richmond has an amazing and overwhelming selection of good Chinese food. yimster came up from the Bay Area and he joined us on a great dim sum feast at Fisherman's Terrace.... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6088...

      3 Replies
      1. re: fmed

        Just noticed that you were coming in the evening...so dim sum isn't an option.

        1. re: fmed

          fmed what are some must have dishes from your choices? Also are all these dim sum places made to order or push cart? If they're made to order (which I prefer) do they have english menus?

          1. re: peppermonkey

            They are all sheet-order. I would say that the must-orders are:
            XLB - Chen's and Shanghai River
            The Kabocha Squash and Crab hotpot - Sea Harbour (dinner item - not dim sum)

        2. Lucky you..
          As yimster and fmed gently insinuate there is no such thing as "chinese food" ( arguably there is no "italian food" either). At least for the purposes of this board. We can assume from the fact that you are posting to chowhound that you are looking for "authentic" dishes. . You could'nt have better guides than the likes of fmed and yimster, but the more they know about what you know, want, and plan to spend, the more they can help.

          1. I have a similar need for Monday and Tuesday. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. We are staying at the Radisson before we fly out. I know I want lunch or dinner at either Shanghai River or Sea Harbour Seafood. I would like for the restaurants to have a decent wine list.
            What can we do for breakfast that is unusual?
            Would you try and change my mind about either of the two I have picked?

            Also we must grocery shop before heading off to the wilds of BC in a seaplane. Is the T&T near the Radisson as good a place as any? What about a liquor store with wines? We can take a cab if necessary. I just don't want to walk a long way with lots of groceries.
            Thanks

            57 Replies
            1. re: Scargod

              Shanghai River or Sea Harbour are great choices. Expect a long line at up both - especially the latter. (I can't tell you about their winelists as I never drink wine with Chinese.) . I prefer to have dinner at Sea Harbour rather than dim sum.

              For breakfast (I'm not a huge breakfast eater) - You can have dim sum for breakfast at many places in Richmond. There are a number of HK Cafes that serve big Honk Kong style Western breakfasts.

              The Globe at YVR (at the Airport Fairmont) has a nice breakfast buffet and dinner offerings.

              There is a Guu at Aberbeen mall if you are into izakaya cuisine.

              T&T is great for Asian food and does have a smattering of Western food. The Superstore on Number Three Road would be a better bet for camping/cabin fare. There is a liquor store at Landsdowne Mall (which BTW has a good dim sum restuarant called Gingeri).

              1. re: fmed

                So neither Shanghai River or Sea Harbour Seafood accept reservations?

                I found only HK BBQ Master and HK Fast Foods in Richmond. Am I looking with the wrong name?
                What can I expect from a dim sum breakfast? What kind of offerings? Anything beyond egg-scallion pancakes?
                Thanks for all the help!

                1. re: Scargod

                  Actually they do both take reservations....I often have to wait anyway.

                  I should be more specific about HK Cafes (" cha chaan teng"). If you aren't familiar with them - It is a type of restaurant that serves Hong Kong style Western cuisine. e.g., http://www.straight.com/node/156509

                  The Lido is a great example of an HK Cafe. There are dozens of others in Richmond).

                  -----
                  Lido Restaurant
                  4231 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X3L7, CA

                  1. re: Scargod

                    Oops...I forgot to answer you question about dim sum breakfast. It is the same food as you would get for lunch...dim sum is more like a breakfast/brunch in Asia, but we have associated it with lunch here in this continent. I usually go for the baked buns (rather than the steamed) to make the meal more "breakfast-like".

                    1. re: Scargod

                      I have made reservations at Shanghai River in the past and the store I would go to would be Yahan around the corner from T&T. They are both in same chain but I have like the selection at Yahoo better.

                      I will confirm what fmed said dim sum is the same for breakfast as lunch with the most part. Only a few BBQ items and cook to order dishes may not be available under 10:30 AM since the cooking kitchen staff arrive a little later in the day than the dim sum kitchen and freshly made BBQ items may not be ready until later in the morning.

                      Your selection looks good to me.

                      1. re: Scargod

                        Scar, here's a list of the common dim sum dishes:

                        http://chinesefood.about.com/library/...

                        I loved finding this because I don't know the names of alot of the dishes we like to eat. Now I know. Bob and I go for dim sum around 8-9 in the a.m. and generally have about four dishes with tea. Our absolute faves are har gow (shrimp in a dumpling steamed), spare ribs in black bean sauce (we don't get it with rice cause we don't want to fill up), fung jeow (chicken feet), lo mai gai (chicken and/or Chinese sausage in sticky rice in a lotus leaf), shrimp in rice flour noodle (it's a long roll that's filled with shrimp steamed). When in NYC we had beef balls that were great but we'd had them before and they were extremely dense and didn't like those. Thanks to the CH (who shall remain nameless) for that great dish along with the XLB and everything else.

                        The above will probably hold you in good stead. If I remember correctly, you're not a big afficionado of Chinese cuisines. You're gonna love Vancouver. Y'all have a great trip.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          That's a great reference for dim sum c oliver.

                          Here is an 8:00am breakfast I had sometime last year at Imperial Court Beijing Cuisine at a run of the mill (but well above avegrage) dim sum place in Richmond:

                          http://picasaweb.google.ca/gustibus.m...

                          Tea, rice rolls, pork puff pastry, and congee. Very satisfying yet not too filling.

                          1. re: fmed

                            I replied earlier to this but the system got hung up and then it went away. Try again.)

                            The pork puff pastry looks amazing; I've never seen anything like it. Next time we're in Vancouver we'll check it out. What's in the rice rolls? We've only ever had shrimp; we tend to overdo shrimp dishes when we do dim sum. And the congee. I've NEVER seen such a nice, small bowl. I keep meaning to make it. It's such a soothing thing, isn't it?

                            What is the name of the restaurant that's in a three or more story shopping mall? It's on the top floor, very pretty and we really liked their dim sum. It was a fancier and more expensive place than our usual haunts but liked it nonetheless. The mall has basically all Chinese working in the shops and most of the customers. We always enjoy being the only Caucasians someplace :)

                            1. re: c oliver

                              I don't know what was in fmed's rice rolls but personally I love chow fun wrapped around "Chinese donuts" for dimsum. I think it is my favourite dish. I find it's best to special order it to ensure it is fresh made though. It comes with a thin soy-ish sauce on top and a dollop of sesame paste and hoisin on the side. Yum!

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Chinese donuts? Now what is that, pray tell??? Savory, I assume? I'm definitely not into sweets, even Chinese sweets.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  I like the savoury ones, though I recall getting them rolled in sugar at a couple of places in Chinatown. They look like fat churros and in the prep I'm talking about (if done well) their crunchy deep-fried goodness plays off most temptingly against the creaminess of the rice noodle enrobing them. I am a bit of a fanatic for them -- they are not everyone's cup of tea, and obviously can be seriously impacted by sitting around on a trolley or tray.

                                  1. re: grayelf

                                    If I've ever seen these, I'm not recognizing it. You don't have a picture, do you? It sounds SO interesting.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      It's this (chinese donut wrapped in rice noodle - or "Zhaliang" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zh%C3%A1...

                                      This specimen is from Congee Noodle House in East Vancouver.

                                       
                                      1. re: fmed

                                        Holey moley! That also looks great. I couldn't imagine it. We don't have Vancouver on the near horizon but when next there I want to twist some arms to go for dim sum. Thanks for taking the time to find and share all this info.

                                        BTW, what I'm seeing here is frequently not what we get in SF. Do you think that's because of the recent influx of Chinese into YVR? More modern? It really sings to me.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          It could be from more modern influences (new HK immigrants, etc), but I'm pretty sure I've had those items above in SF (don't remember where, unfortunately - it's been ages). Both items are quite common here for sure and are part of the "classic dim sum" repertoire.

                                          Maybe yimster can help out if he's lurking about.

                                          1. re: c oliver

                                            Drat, now all I want is a plate of zhaliang! That is indeed the dish in question, thanks fmed. I've found them at pretty much every dim sum place I've tried here. They do a very nice rendition at Szechuan Chonqing on Broadway and I particularly like the ones at Golden Ocean in Kerrisdale. I wasn't so crazy about the ones I had at Fisherman's Terrace with yimster but I'll eat 'em anywhere anytime :-).

                                            I don't remember seeing them on the menu in the limited number of dimsum excursions I've made in SF but that is hardly a decent survey.

                                          2. re: fmed

                                            For Cantonese it is more like Jar Liang, yes we have them in SF. My favorite is served in San Mateo's Joy Luck, Law Bak See Jar Liang, which is cooked saute Chinese turnip strips stuffed in the hollowed out fried bread wipe in plain rice noodles rolls. Soft wrapped around crispy fried bread stuff with turnip.

                                            The serve them most every dim sum is served petty common.

                                  2. re: c oliver

                                    That place (Imperial Court) is known for their shiny (from some sort of sugar syrup) puffs and baked buns. The filling was char siu -based - well balanced sweet and savoury.

                                    The rice rolls had a variety of mushrooms - enoki in the center stage. The pork and century egg congee is in a well sized (for breakfast) bowl. The toppings included shredded wonton skin and IIRC sesame seeds.

                                    >>What is the name of the restaurant that's in a three or more story shopping mall?

                                    The restaurant you may be referring to is Northern Delicacy on the 3rtd floor of Aberdeen Mall.

                                2. re: c oliver

                                  No, that's not correct. I am asking about Chinese because I will be in the area of the best Chinese restaurants in Vancouver.
                                  I perhaps like Thai a little better, but I like it all and do cook Chinese.
                                  I can't wait to get there!

                                3. re: Scargod

                                  OK, here's my take on Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant:
                                  Located in Richmond, Vancouver area's "Asian restaurant heaven", this is one of the best Chinese restaurants we've ever been to. Perhaps the best!
                                  We had an incredible meal here starting with a seafood hot and sour soup. SO could not get enough of it! Then we had a of pan of about a dozen plump, fried, "hot and salty" oysters and a dish of scallops with eggplant, ground pork, and heavenly tofu in a brown sauce (hot pot style?) that was heavenly. The tofu style I would call pan-fried custard. Just amazing!!
                                  Very loud and festive, in a good way. 95% Asian customers having a great time. Mostly groups at large tables, sharing food. They do not have a bar. It's just one big, crazy diningroom!
                                  Smallish, but good wine list. Only one chardonnay and one shiraz by the glass, but they were acceptable.
                                  Since SO is a somewhat light eater, it was difficult for the two of us to get through the three items. I did my best. The menu and serving sizes seems more appropriate for groups of four or more.
                                  Very good, professional service. Felt just a little like we were being treated as ignorant Anglos, by asking quite often, "do you really want it (spicy), hot?" Was full while we were there, but no real line formed. This was Monday night, if that means anything... Reservations accepted, I'm told (here), but we just walked in and were seated within five minutes.
                                  We forgot our camera. Sorry.
                                  Next is Shanghai River for dinner, and hopefully some dim sum for lunch on August 9 on our way back to Connecticut!

                                  1. re: Scargod

                                    Great report Scargod. Glad you had a good meal there. Looking forward to the report on SR.

                                    1. re: fmed

                                      Nice one, Scargod! We really enjoyed the seafood H&S soup too... you can read about our experience as a two-top in a multiple diner world here if you are interested http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/562188 (I'm posting this link because it DID NOT come up when I searched on Sea Harbour, only when I used the word "charger" -- this search function is bizarre!). No photos as I hadn't got to that level of Chowhoundiness back in October...

                                      1. re: grayelf

                                        Isn't it wonderful to introduce East Coast-ers to the wonderful array of Left Coast Chinese food? And I DO think that the influx of HK people into YVR has brought a more vibrant and innovative food than we get in San Francisco.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      No... we had "free" buffet at the Radisson. It was Asian leaning with kimche and something else pickled.Also kiwi and salmon and cheese omelet.
                                      May do dim sum on the return trip.

                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        Just an fyi. I've never seen scallion pancakes at dim sum but I am FAR from an expert on dim sum. But if you don't see them, that's probably why.

                                        1. re: c oliver

                                          Sorry to say it available in many dim sum/teahouses. Not all carry them but the last two time I had dim sum they were available both in Richmond and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

                                          In the Bay Area there a few dim sum/teahouses that serve a combination of Cantonese and non-Cantonese dim sums.

                                          1. re: yimster

                                            Must be off a menu then? Wouldn't want them to go around the room on a cart, would you? Thanks for the correction.

                                            Re your last sentence, is that why I occasionally see XLB in dim sum places?

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              (not speaking for yimster)

                                              You often have to order certain items from the kitchen or the BBQ guy at cart places.

                                              1. re: fmed

                                                We always have to order shrimp in rice flour rolls.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  That's one of the items commonly ordered from the kitchen (especially if the rice rolls are made to order in-house and not pre-fab).

                                                  1. re: fmed

                                                    I had a couple of Caucasion friends visit in SF (We're Causian also) and they didn't care for them. Too slippery or something. One of my faves, but then I have so many faves in dim sum. Hands down it's my favorite meal. I think I better be planning a trip at least to Sacramento to have dim sum with alanbarnes.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Well to answer many items are best when ordered from the kitchen. Many places have xlb's and scallion pancakes and do not have the other Northern style offerings.

                                                      Well when you go to Sacramento to you post and maybe one of the local hounds can recommend the best the area has to offer. Chefs move around so much so I can not recommend anything until you come out.

                                                      Good hunting.

                                                      Of the rice noodles rolls I one I favor the most is a fresh fish roll but that is the one that suffers the most if not fresh.

                                                      I make my own rice rolls, but I buy the rice noodles but with a little steamer I can refresh them for home use. Too much work making my own rice noodles sheets.

                                                      1. re: yimster

                                                        Many years ago I made my dumplings for dim sum. It was a combo of rice flour and another flour. It was not a fun process :) After that, I just bought gyoza or wonton wrappers. When in NYC, however, I have bought the rice noodles. What I wouldn't give to have access to that all the time. Sigh.

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          They are only available in a few place in San Francisco. I pick them up once in while to make rice rolls when it is too hot to cook. I refused to learn to make dim sum dumplings as a kid. Too much work and too sticky. Same today I have had offers to learn to make dumplings but have turned them down. Do not want to know how. Otherwise I would be talked into making them. Better to go out for them.

                                                          The dough is a mixture of long grain rice flour, sticky rice flour and maybe some others too depending on what you are making. Arrowroot, cornstarch, mung bean as well as other.

                                                          I have in the past been the food processor in cutting up the fillings but those days are long gone now. Dim sum in not on my diet now, only eat it when I pulled in a dim sum lunch.

                                                          1. re: yimster

                                                            I make dumplings as I was taught by my mother-in-law who was born and raised in Anhwei province. We call them jao-tze in Mandarin.The dough is just white all-purpose wheat flour and hot water. It takes an hour to make a meal of these pork and cabbage filled dumplings for my family of 4 so I don't consider them particularly time-consuming. A roast takes longer.

                                                            There are so many types of dumplings that I'm often confused about which dumplings are being discussed. I've never made the rice flour based dumplings like har gow (shrimp dumplings) which are white and translucent, usually steamed or those based on a more wonton type wrapper like shui mai which are opague and yellowish.

                                  2. re: fmed

                                    The two of us ate dinner, our first meal at Shanghai River, on Sunday, 8-9. I think the name implies that the food is in the tradition of Shanghai food. Earlier, mid-afternoon, we made reservations, but already the earliest opening they had was 7:45PM. We arrived five minutes early and we had to wait about thirty minutes to be seated. Once seated, it took another 10 minutes to even be acknowledged. You can see from one picture that the small lobby area was crowded.
                                    This is reminiscent of a large cafeteria to me. There are three distinct dining areas, at least. I would not want to be seated at the smaller one shown since most traffic funnels through one end of it and it leads to a back diningroom. It is the most public, with hungry people milling about (us included), waiting for a table and watching these people eat!
                                    The thing I noticed from an earlier meal at Sea Harbour Seafood, and a Chinese meal in Seattle, is that these places are unlike most Americanized Chinese restaurants in that they are geared for large parties or families. The tables and the menus are not conducive for two people dining alone. The tables are large and the portions are large. It is hard to get a variety of dishes and not waste it if it is not four or more people! We were in no position to take food home with us, either. As we were in an unfamiliar, almost all Chinese restaurant, we did not know about, or ask about, smaller portions. Do they do this?
                                    We ordered bean curd rolls with fresh vegetables. This was similar to having raw, chopped spinach inside. A sweet/sour brown herbed liquid was put on the table, yet no soy was on the table. Nobody seemed to use it.... The rolls were somewhat bland because of no other seasoning being available, but they were fresh. There were probably ten of the pieces; too much for us to eat by ourselves.
                                    Next we ordered Hangchow duck soup with savory ham. This had very large chunks of bamboo shoot and wood ear. There was a whole duck leg in the pt, including skin and fat! There was a large chunk of ham. Our waitress only served us bowls of soup with bamboo shoot and wood ear and laid the leg on a small plate and left the ham in the pot. I only found this big piece later as I served ourselves more soup. We tore into the thigh and added that to our soup. It was exquisite soup! Again, enough for at least four to six people.
                                    Lastly we had a whole fish with green onions. The picture in the menu was beautiful and ours came out with green onions that were almost unidentifiable, they were cooked so much. The broiled fish was talapia, which really surprised me. Should I have been? For the money ($28) I think I should have received something more exotic, like red snapper, sea bass or a more traditional bottom feeder.
                                    The sauce was quite plain and sweet, with perhaps some tamarind flavor to it. I ate a lot as you can see in the "after" picture, but I was left wanting. I am very fond of Pla Rad Prik, the Thai dish of spicy, whole fish and this was bland, yet sweet, in comparison. I think that summarizes our feeling of the meal, in general: bland and sweet. What did I miss or is this just how they generally cook/eat in Shanghai?
                                    We had a bottle of Mouton Cadet. Their wine list is pretty limited and most did not seem to be drinking anything alcoholic.
                                    Service during the meal was OK, once it got rolling. Paying and getting out was not too easy or speedy.
                                    We spent almost $97 for an OK meal in a VERY loud, impersonal, cafeteria setting restaurant. I would not want to do this again without help, and even then I think I would choose Sezchauan.

                                    Are there any good, but more intimate settings in Richmond for Asian food? It could be Thai, Vietnamese or Chinese. Now that the air train (SP?) will now run from Richmond to downtown Vancouver and beyond we will be trying that the next time as well and add another day or two to staying in the Vancouver area. In general I love the food and there seems to be lots of choices.
                                    Pictures showing lobby-waiting are, diningroom, bar and glassed-in area where you can watch them make dumplings and other pastry related items.

                                     
                                     
                                     
                                     
                                    1. re: fmed

                                      Pictures of our dishes from Shanghai River Restaurant: bean curd vegetable roll (note orchid on plate), duck-ham soup, with duck leg on plate and whole fish, deconstructed!

                                       
                                       
                                       
                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        Scargod, I feel your pain re dining with two people (we ALWAYS overorder but are able of course to take the leftovers home). I guess it's the price we pay for the non-Americanization of the food as you note. It sounds as though you either had bad luck ordering apart from the soup or that Shanghai River is not the place for me :-). We haven't eaten a ton of Shanghai style food but our last meal at Chen's beat yours here six ways to Sunday and for about a third the price (no wine though -- still haven't wrapped my head around wine with Chinese food).

                                        Intimate is not an adjective I associate with Chinese dining -- even the more upscale places tend to have really bright lighting (maybe Kirin downtown for Mandarin?) but fmed might have some ideas. Vancouver is not known for Thai, and the most intimate place I can think of is Montri's in Kits but I haven't been in ages due to a falling off of quality. The other Thai place to consider (also in Kits) is Maenam. It is cosier though I'd say still not really intimate and has an interesting take on Thai cuisine. As for Vietnamese, though we have it in spades, it has often been lamented here that we lack any good higher end Vietnamese restos here. Chau (sp?) on Robson is trying but I understand not hitting it out of the park.

                                        Anyway, thanks so much for your detailed report, and please consider joining our little Chowdown group for future trips at http://vanchow.ning.com/ Maybe we could arrange a meal that would take fuller advantage of the large-party bent of the places you wish to try via Skytrain!

                                        1. re: grayelf

                                          Hard to order for just two there...I would say a minimum of 4-6 people. Shanghai River can be hit or miss depending on what you order (which is why you might need a more experienced orderer to make sure the dishes balance each other). They also seem to be known for inconsistency (as is most of the Chinese restos in the GVA). For one thing it is actually Cantonese run with a few Shanghai cooks in the back....so it is not "pure" Shanghai, but an HK re-interpretation of the food. So what you get is "watered down".

                                          Their xiao long bao (both pork and crab) is quite good (these are two "must-order" items there - some of the best examples of this dish - they may not have had it in the evening). The duck dishes (esp the smoked duck) and the stews are good. Seafood (unless it is Spotprawn of King Crab season) isn't their strong point...Sea Harbour and even Sun Sui Wah are far better at seafood.

                                          For a more intimate setting with more reasonably portioned dishes - Chen's Shanghai (a very, very good hole-in-the-wall - and my top rec for two diners), Shanghai Wonderful, Top Shanghai, and some other of the smaller second-tier Shanghai restaurants would be better for two. (There are quite a few now in Richmond - hard to keep track and I can't possibly try them all, unfortunately, as much as I love this cuisine.)

                                          For some really rustic and "deep" Shanghai food - the venerable Ningtu (in East Van) is another place to go. The food may not to be everyone's tastes, but a good place to eat if you want Shanghai food (eg dried fish noodle soup, beef rolls, etc). It is sort of an acquired taste.

                                          If you want something a little more modern but still traditionalist, then Long's Noodle House is another great place for Shanghai Food.

                                          1. re: fmed

                                            As usual, I learn from your posts, fmed :-). I never clued in that Long's is Shanghai (duh) even though I've eaten there multiple times. Absolutely agree it is much better for two diners, though we've had a heckuva time getting in there lately -- it is really small and pretty slammed during regular dining hours.

                                            A note to Scargod: may need to calibrate the concept of "intimate" -- to me that means not only smaller but with better lighting, comfier chairs etc. Chen's does not fit my idea of intimate at all though I would return in a flash for the food. It's not horrid or anything, just very utilitarian with bright lights and not much in the way of decor/cozy factor. We definitely found the portions sizes to be more manageable as fmed says.

                                            1. re: grayelf

                                              Oops...yes...by "intimate" I actually meant "small"....not "romantic" intimate.

                                              1. re: fmed

                                                The only Northern (by that I mean Shanghainese) place I might consider "intimate" is Northern Delicacy.

                                                Another intimate Chinese restaurant (though not Northern) would be Hakkasan. It would be extremely easy to order for 2 there.

                                                I think that with Shanghainese food, the main thing to order is the xiao long bao and Shanghai River has some of my favourite examples in the city. I also really enjoy their braised pork hock on a bed of greens (spinach?). I think the atmosphere is pretty typical of most upscale Chinese restaurants.

                                                1. re: twinkienic

                                                  I honestly think it would be great for some of you knowledgeable people to start a thread that's a primer for Chinese food (as you say, there's really no such thing, just like Eye-talian). Cantonese, Shanghainese, Hunan, Sichuan, etc. How the ingredients vary, what's spicier than something else, some examples of each so that those of us who aren't as knowledgeable can go "oh, so, THAT'S Cantonese. What condiments are typical - although I just ask for what I want and am always accommodated. And why is XLB served at dim sum places when I thought it is Shanghainese and dim sum is Cantonese? But I'm not complaining as XLB is one of my favorite dishes regardless. And as others have mentioned upthread, I've never had wine with Chinese food, always Tsingtao beer (and I don't even like beer) or tea.

                                                  Again, I think if you "guys" would start it under General CH I'm sure others around the country and the world will weigh in. I know that many of use aren't as knowledgeable as we'd like to be.

                                                  And, also, thanks for all the info you've shared on this thread.
                                                  PS: Is Northern Delicacy the one in that upscale, multi-story mall? If so, yes, it has that more "uppity" vibe - just kidding - it's got "atmosphere" not intimate but, yeah, I know what you mean.

                                                  Edit: If someone DOES start such a thread, would you mention it here please so I'll know it's up. Thanks.

                                            2. re: fmed

                                              First I have never been to Shanghai River with less then four people. I too would find it very hard to order for two. I have been told they had set dinner for two years ago but I did not try them

                                              The only fish dish I order at Shanghai River is fish two ways. Or at least order two dish made from a fresh Rock Cod or Ling Cod. In the past I have had to request the Fish Cod Pot Soup the day before (and I have not always been able to get it) and a stir fish fillet dish.

                                              Of course Shanghai sit on water and this style of Chinese should have good seafood dishes. On the whole Chinese Regional food from area with lakes, river and/or on seacoast should have good seafood dishes while land lock area of Chinese will do other types of dishes.

                                              1. re: yimster

                                                Oh, wow, I just googled Shanghai River and *I* will definitely go there - for the shao long bao! Too bad Scargod and SO didn't get those. Boy, they sound good. I think our kids in Seattle are going to get a visit sooner than they'd anticipated :) Ummmm.

                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                  Yes, the xlb's are very good there. My Uncle who was born and raised in Shanghai before moving to Hong Kong and then to Victoria always goes there. They have two types of pork and pork and crab meat. I was told by my Father (who was also born in Shanghai, but we are Cantonese) only a blend of crab meat, crab roe and pork is better.

                                                  Also at Shanghai River is a pan fried pork and vegetable bun, which is the only place I have had in both Canada and the Bay Area that had soup in it.

                                                  I guess it is best to do your own research before you try new food styles.

                                                  1. re: yimster

                                                    >>"Also at Shanghai River is a pan fried pork and vegetable bun, which is the only place I have had in both Canada and the Bay Area that had soup in it."

                                                    yimster...you'll be glad to know that Chen's Shanghai Kitchen also has this bun. I have also had it elsewhere....I'm trying to remember where now.

                                                    1. re: fmed

                                                      Stupid question? Is the pork pan-fried or the bun?

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        It is large bun which normally does not have soup in it. About the size a small pork bun. Filling of pork and chopped/shredded vegetable normally a cabbage. Steamed in a pan and with paper on the bottom and fried a pan with a little oil to get a blacken bottom.

                                                      2. re: fmed

                                                        fmed, does it have soup in the bun? I have had many but only had soup in all the in a serving at Shanghai River. Normally one or two is a set of four or six has a little soup.

                                                        Chen's is now my list on my next trip. Hope to hook with all then.

                                                        1. re: yimster

                                                          It definitely has soup in the bun. I was surprised by how much the first time I had it...my daughter had to duck to avoid a hot jet of liquid when I bit into one!

                                                          1. re: fmed

                                                            Just so we are on the same page....I found some really old cellphone photos of the bun (sorry about the blurry images):

                                                            Is this what you are talking about yimster?

                                                             
                                                             
                                                            1. re: fmed

                                                              Those pix are great. Seems like the best of several worlds. A different dumpling than XLB, but with the "soup" and then pan-fried. Oh yeah.

                                                              1. re: fmed

                                                                Yes, that is it. The ones at Shanghai River were about four inches in size with four buns to an order. I remember we had to get two orders to one for each of us. Then we had to eat fast so that we could get an extra one.

                                                2. re: grayelf

                                                  Grayelf, fmed, et al, thank you all so much for the info. I have eaten at several downtown Vancouver restaurants and I really am sincere about my enjoyment of the varied food in the area and especially when it involves seafood; cooked or raw.
                                                  I will check out the vanchow link and will take a rain-check for my next visit, which may be in early-mid October. I'd love to get together with some of you and have you give me the tour of restaurants!
                                                  We are building a new cabin on the Sunshine Coast and I usually fly in to GVA and take a seaplane up the coast. I may drive again (like I did last year with my son). The advice then was also very helpful. If I drive, I may want to stay close to a hub of culinary delight in the Vancouver area! Of course, now the Skytrain will open up more opportunities for me/us.
                                                  Still don't understand the lack of soy sauce or anything like chili sauce... at Shanghai River. Would it be like asking for ketchup?

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    >>"Still don't understand the lack of soy sauce or anything like chili sauce... at Shanghai River. Would it be like asking for ketchup?"

                                                    My take on this: These banquet-style dishes are meant to be part of a whole "narrative" (for a lack of a better word) - and it would come in a sequence that complements (or pairs with) the dish before and the dish after. For example...I would order that beancurd vegetable roll either as a starter that pairs with a more savoury, salty dish (eg smoked duck) or a follower for a rich and fatty dish (to clean the palette for the next dish, etc). Taken in that context you would not need an additional sauce. It's not unlike wine-pairing.

                                                    (If a banquet dish needs a sauce, it will come with one....but feel free to order soya or chili paste....no-one will be offended.)