HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >


Best shrimp with lobster sauce in GTA?

My favorite Cantonese dish is Shrimp with lobster sauce (with the black beans in the sauce). I've had trouble finding a good version of this dish and would like the advice of Chowhounders as to where to find a good one.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. That's not a dish that I typically order, but if it's a Canadian Chinese dish as suggested by Charles, then it's unlikely you will get much info from this board. Great Canadian Chinese restaurants have not been identified by this collective in the past to my knowledge. I enjoyed a visit to C'est Bon (did not order your dish), but you will find mix reviews here. PFChang's have the dish on their menu...might be worth a try. Do a search in yelp.ca and you will get some hits....the interesting one that comes up is Swatow. If you do identify a stand-out place, please share your findings.

    4 Replies
    1. re: T Long

      Thank you for responding. I'm not usually fond of Canadian Chinese dishes, but this is one dish that I like very much, no matter how "authentic" it is. I've tried take out once from C'est Bon (not SWLS) and was not impressed. The new P.F. Changs is not far from me, so that might be a good place to try this dish. Swatow serves this dish? I've noticed some mixed reviews for that restaurant on this board, but it appears to depend on what one orders (likely the same at most restaurants). Wah Singh on Baldwin has a pretty decent version of SWLS, and I've heard that this dish is a specialty of Xam Yu Seafood Restaurant and Taste of China Seafood Restaurant, both down on Spadina near Dundas. I haven't tried these places yet and was hoping that someone here may have tried them and could give me feedback.

      1. re: TOFoodie1

        Taste of China SWLS +1
        Sizzling chicken in blk bean
        also great

        1. re: Luvtooeat

          Thanks. I notice that Taste of China advertises that SWLS is one of their specialties.

          1. re: TOFoodie1

            If you get to Taste of China, I would be interested in your assessment of the SWLS. I got to try TofC just a week ago for a small lunch of wonton noodle soup with ChaSui. While that is only a small sample, I did get an impression that the restaurant has an "old school" style of cooking which is rare these days. I mean that in the most positive way in that the food was reflective of a time when Canadian Chinese was more mainstream. What I'm implying is that a dish like SWLS might just be prepared the way you like it.

    2. I rarely eat "Canadian" Chinese food anymore but one of my favourite dishes was always Shrimp with Lobster Sauce. I have not been able to find it anywhere where it tastes good anymore...not like it used to taste at the old Yonge Garden (Yonge between Sheppard and Finch) when Bill owned it or at a restaurant called Jade Garden that used to be around Jane and Finch...long gone, both of them. (sigh)

      1 Reply
      1. re: bobinken

        Thank you for responding. Yes, I rarely eat "Canadian" Chinese food anymore either, but I still love this dish as well.

      2. Have you tried the version at Federick's on Bellamy. I haven't been in years, but we always ordered it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sweetie

          Thanks for the suggestion. No, I haven't tried that restaurant, but now I will add it to my list.

        2. yueh tung serves it. i usually get the chili chicken there but the shrimp with lobster sauce was pretty good last time i had it (couple years ago). i find the quality of food dips at lunch when it's crazy busy. try ordering at off-peak hours.


          1 Reply
          1. re: blitz

            Thank you for that suggestion. Maybe, that's been the problem with a couple of places that I've tried for this dish - it's been during lunch and the restaurants have been very busy.

          2. Some are recommending Swatow for this dish.

            BTW I was curious and Googled the Chinese name of it 蝦龍糊. In China it refers to a version made with an egg sauce, no pork or black beans in sight.
            e.g. http://www.xa01.com/caipu/7877.html

            2 Replies
            1. re: Teep

              I've read the discussions about Swatow on this board, and the reviews appear to be mixed, largely depending on the dishes that one orders (which makes sense). I haven't tried this restaurant at all, but if they have a good SWLS, then I'll definitely put if on my list.

              It's interesting that you found a version of this dish in China, and I've definitely had that version at restaurants, which is perhaps the more "authentic" version. However, I prefer the "Canadianized" version with the minced pork and black bean sauce, but which does contain slurried eggs. I can see how the "Canadianized" version may have evolved from the Mainland China version.

              1. re: Teep

                Hi Teep,

                Further to your "research" on 蝦龍糊 (SWLS in China), I spoke with a woman last week whose family owned a "Canadian Chinese" restaurant for many years (her parents are originally from PRC). She was telling me that at home, it was a family tradition for her parents to serve lobster with an egg sauce, which sounded very similar to the one that you posted. I asked her about the SWLS with the sauce with minced pork, black beans and egg and she had never heard of it! lol She said that she would ask her parents. I'm hoping to get more information on the "evolution" of this dish from her soon.

              2. I would love a lobster sauce with no pork in it!

                10 Replies
                1. re: Pincus

                  I would too, but in this case, the "lobster sauce" is a misnomer, and there isn't any lobster in the sauce in this dish.

                  1. re: TOFoodie1

                    I always wondered why it's called "Lobster Sauce"...

                    I miss the old Sai Woo's (Dundas& Bay 1970's-80's) version,it was the best..

                    1. re: petek

                      I remember Sai Woo! That was where I first had SWLS and loved it!

                      1. re: petek

                        It's supposedly a sauce *for* lobster, (a little like "chicken-fried steak") but I've never had lobster served with it either.

                        1. re: Teep

                          That's what I figured.
                          mmmmm lobster with lobster sauce....I'd eat that! :)

                          1. re: petek

                            Regardless of the amusing word play on my desire for a porkless lobster sauce, I would still love a dish of shrimp with lobster sauce that didn't have pork in it.

                            1. re: Pincus

                              You could always just ask......or go to Swatow and have the Shrimp with Eggplant,that might satisfy your craving.

                              1. re: petek

                                Shrimp and Eggplant is my favourite Swatow dish! Now to think of Chinese restos where I can make the request for no pork in my lobster sauce and have it executed deliciously...

                                1. re: Pincus

                                  I find Swatow to be very accommodating when it comes to + or - this or that to dishes,so maybe they'll do it for you.
                                  The thing is,without the pork,the dish loses texture,body and that "porky' flavour which makes the dish(for me anyway).
                                  Essentially what your getting is shrimp w/ black bean sauce and egg slurry,which could be delicious.

                                  Good luck on your quest!

                                  1. re: petek

                                    The thing is, due to genetics or reality, most ground pork to me has a sort of ammonia smell and a harsh taste, so I avoid it wherever possible. The only ground pork I've enjoyed was at Zucca, possibly because it was from a Berkeshire pig.

                                    Thanks for the tip about Swatow.

                  2. The Goof in the Beach has this on their menu. Haven't tried it but they do old school canadian chinese pretty well.

                    1. Hey TO,
                      Being a guy who doesn't love the saltiness of black beans I've never tried that dish, but I do hear that Sea-Hi makes an excellent old-school version, and I'd bet that Cynthia's in Thornhill does too, since they are my go-to place for really exceptional versions of the Canadianized Chinese food of my youth. :-)
                      (best bets: chicken chow mein, crispy OK chicken, beef & broccoli, cantonese chow mein, lemon chicken, s&s chicken balls, singapore noodles, spicy eggplant, etc.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: TorontoTips

                        Thanks for the tip, TT! I haven't been to Sea-Hi in literally decades, and never had SWLS there. That was always the "go to" place for my family for yaka mein and dim sum when I was a child. I've never been to Cynthia's, and will add it to my list.

                      2. I was at a group dinner over the weekend at a restaurant named "Hanson's" on the SW corner of Aurora Road and Kennedy Road. It's an odd restaurant, a combination of both Canadian Chinese food and Italian, specializing in pizza. I was pleasantly surprised to have had a pretty good version of SWLS at this restaurant - lots of large, fresh shrimp with a very tasty sauce of minced pork, black beans and egg. It could have used more garlic, egg and some green onions, but all in all a tasty dish - at a very reasonable price. I was there a bit early, and from observing all of the take out and how full the restaurant was, it appears that they are doing well (they are kind of in a remote area).

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: TOFoodie1

                          yeah, sea hi is like retro chinese food. i'll order the swls but i'm not a big shrimp fan so i'll just get the lobster sauce (it's cheaper too of course). i'll also get their steamed minced pork with chinese sausage. just keep in mind it's what i consider std takeout chinese food and i'm up for that once in a while.