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YVR - Shi Art Chinese Cuisine, No 1 Shanghai & Blue Water Cafe & Raw Bar

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The visit to the hometown has been going along swimmingly with the family doing all the picks for food. Nice to try a couple of places I've never been before so here goes.

Shi Art Chinese Cuisine
Dim sum, this little place is quite busy. We had a reservation for 11am and still ended up waiting about 10 minutes (mind you, we were 13 people). We got split into 2 tables (funny how I ended up at the kiddies table after all these years). It's order off the sheet dim sum with not a huge variety but does cover off all the basics. They also do noodle dishes (not the soup variety) and congees as well. The specialty seemed to be a vermicelli dish that is served in a clay pot with egg, dried shrimp, scallions. It was really good, the vermicelli still had some tooth to it which was quite nice and there was plenty of other stuff in the pot as well. Good balance of flavours. Note that the pot comes in one size and it's big! The siu mais were very nice as well, good balance of chinese mushrooms, pork and shrimp. There was a little chewy bit of pork in the one I bit into but the size and flavours compensated for it. Another excellent dish was the steamed buns with custard. These little steamed goodies were excellent with a nice runny custard in the middle (very like soft poached eggs or chocolate lava cake). An excellent ratio of bun to filling. The chinese doughnut wrapped in rice roll was excellent as well. They include some pork fluff in the roll as well but the doughnut was crisp and tender meaning it was pretty fresh as compared to other places with stale doughnuts.
Disappointments were the thousand layer cake, am used to a lighter white batter and a little bit of salted duck egg in it but there was no egg and they used the yellow steamed cake batter instead so it seemed a little too sweet.
There were tons of other dishes ordered as well which were all decent to good. Overall, well worth a trip to this place, a little on the pricier side though but for the freshness, I think well worth a visit.

Sorry, there's no link to this place but it's in Richmond Mall by the Tim Horton's (last stop of the new Canada Line Skytrain).

No. 1 Shanghai Cuisine
120-4200 No. 3 Road
Lunch again and a new place to try XLB. Am always game. We ordered the crab version. The results...meh, not super great but not super horrible either. The skin was very nice and thin, unfortunately we were greedy and grabbed them while steaming hot so the chopsticks did pull through the skin at the top. The bottoms managed to stay intact to retain the soup. Soup was light and delicate and very tasty but the pork filling was only ok. I thought it was a little bland but this seemed to be compensated by the topping of crab roe on the top of the dumpling which gave it a really nice flavour. I'd say other dishes were disappointing there. Ordered the spicy beef tendon, tendon was too flabby in texture and it wasn't very spicy and the tendon hadn't managed to absorb the spicy flavour well. Hot and sour soup, a little too runny, loads of stuff in it, wood ear fungus, egg drop, shrimp, tofu but it was lacking in flavour. A little sour but not enough balance in the hot even after adding a little chili oil. Pan fried dumplings (jiao xie) were nicely fried. The dough was very nice and light and thin. The filling for me was only ok. Pork and bok choy but I found the bok choy flavour was too overwhelming and quite strong. Chinese doughnut with sweetened soy milk was only ok. The Chinese doughnut was quite good according to the family who'd been there previously but on this occasion was nothing special, crisp on the outside but incredibly flabby in the middle. Overall, it was ok. We had 10% off so for 4 people, the bill came to about 50 total.

Blue Water Cafe
We were aiming to try Lime but alas, closed for the holiday on Monday and Tuesday. Rats! So settled into Blue Water instead. Sat at the sushi bar for dinner and of course, was not disappointed. Half a dozen oysters and sushi. This is definitely an excellent spot for sushi and oysters. Everything is amazingly fresh, the oysters were shucked with care (no shell bits were spit out) and watching the master slicing the fish is absolutely spell binding. Pricey yes but still cheaper than Nobu or Morimoto's in NYC and the quality is just as amazing. Ordered the tsunami which was really good. Even my DP, who's more fussy than me, really loved the balance of the citrus with the mild hit of heat from the jalapeno and the julienned ginger root. The spot prawn sashimi was absolutely amazing. So sweet and juicy with none of that slightly slimy squadgy texture that I hate so much. And if you ask, they'll deep fry the head for you after you're done which is the absolute best part. Scallops were also amazing, same thing with the prawn, no squadgy texture there, just sweetness and plump goodness although I still couldn't convince the DP to have more of it.

Whew...that's a lot of food so far...still more to come!

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Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4, CA

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  1. Hey I was at Blue Water and sat at the raw bar just 24 hrs. before you! Yeah, we had a great meal there too. What oysters did you enjoy most? I gotta try the botan ebi sashimi or sushi next time I'm there. I agree about the hotate being amazing - I had 3 orders of the hotate nigiri!

    1. Thanks for the review bdachow...I have always wondered about Shi Art and No 1 Shanghai. Too bad about not being able to make it to Lime, but honestly, you did not settle for second best with Blue Water.

      1. I love Blue Water for that reason, the raw stuff is always just so amazing. Oysters, man, I can't even remember which order he presented them in, was just too busy slurping them down. There were 2 I didn't like too much compared to the others but heavens, have no idea.

        No 1 Shanghai, I just had a girlfriend go there for lunch today. I will have to get the scoop from her as well. She says the pan fried buns there are supposed to be good, which I didn't try, not for lack of wanting.

        1. I've gone to Shi Art a couple of times and really enjoyed it. Both times we were there early and were given a discount.