No more TBNs (Taiwanese Beef Noodles) and Hongkong Style Cafe (HKSC) for the next little while. I am tired of the topic. Let’s switch subjects … Shanghainese Cuisine this time. Heck, lets make an acronym for them. Let’s call them SHC, shall we? LOL!
Question … between Vancouver and Richmond, which city has the best Shanghainese restaurant?
It is not because I live in Richmond, but I seriously think that Richmond has the greater concentration of top notch SHC restaurants in Metro Vancouver.
I had learned that the best yardstick to determine a good SHC restaurant is how well they make the Xiao Long Bao (XLB).
While Richmond has the greater concentration of SHC restaurants, Vancouver lay claim to having the best XLB. To those who are not familiar with XLB, it is known as Soup Dumplings in English. That’s right. There are scalding hot soup in that innocent looking dumpling.
There is a way to eat it too. Never EVER pop one into your mouth and bite into it. The best way is to first bite off a hole on the side and slowly slurp the delicious soup. Suanne insists that it is the wrong way. She argued that one must bit off the top first. I think she had been watching too much Chinese cuisine TV shows.
This plaque says it all. Lin Chinese Cuisine won last year’s award from the more coveted Critic’s Choice award.
Lin Chinese Cuisine is located on Broadway with Granville. Lin is not like the SHC restaurants you find in Richmond. Not only it serves really good Shanghainese food, they seem to offer items like spring rolls, hot and sour soup, lemon chicken and even bubble tea. They also have $7 lunch specials. They even have roti canai! I won’t be surprised if Chinese food connoisseurs do not pay much attention to Lin.
Lin is located right in front of a busy bus stand. I reckon that is why they have varied menus to cater to all customers. Lin’s location used to be Galing-Galing, a popular Filipino restaurant. That was 2 years ago.
The insides is nice and bright. We like the orangey theme. However, the layout is more like a cafe than it is a high end SHC restaurant.
Service is really good. Our waitress was especially chatty and was the one who insisted we get their XLB. She even proudly point out their XLB plaque to me and egged me to walk over to have a closer look when I feigned skepticism.
Their customer base is definitely not like those you find in Richmond’s SHC restaurants where you have almost exclusively Asian customers in big parties. In Lin, they have customers coming in from all walks of life and ethnic background. And their customer parties are smaller … usually 2-3 people.
I had always heard that the chef/owner of Lins is the same people behind The Place on south Granville. That does not seem to be the case. Our waitress was puzzled when I asked for her confirmation. Instead she said that the chef/owners are from Burnaby and Richmond. She rattled off some names in Chinese which I was not familiar with.
While the XLB is really good, I would not say it is the best. To me, the best XLB also has to have the thinness of skin that is almost translucent. I had seen some XLBs that are so thin that they sit almost flat in the basket.
It is a little smaller than I am used to but very juicy and tasty. The bamboo basket they are served in is noticeably seasoned like it had been used for years.
But I won’t take anything else from them. Their award winning XLB is excellent and is worth the try. The best thing is it is just $5.
The other appetizer we got was their Radish Cake which also costs $5. Oh man, Lin made this … really good … really really good.
… the inside radish filing is crunchy … and the outside is unbelievably flaky and crispy. Topped with sesame seed, it is some of the best we had tried.
We like Shanghainese soup. We almost always order this comfort food. It is called Happy Family Pot on their menu but I like the Chinese name better. It is translated to something like blessings for the entire family.
This is $16 and is a very large serving. Definitely more than enough for the four of us.
In the soup are a mix of meat and vegetables. You know, I could have just this one pot with rice and call it a big meal.
In this soup are meat balls, egg wrap dumplings, salted pork belly, bean curd roll with pork filings, cellophane noodle, and suey choy.
We also order the Lamb with Cumin. This is $13.
We like the fact that they did not slice the lamb too thinly and so it was substantial meat with eat bite. The curled meat captures the cumin sauce really well. It is dryish with strong flavours. You really need to eat this with rice.
Instead of eating this with rice, we invented a new way of eating this. And it was great!
We had this with the South Asian Pancakes … which is basically roti canai.
The South Asia pan cakes is $5. It is extremely flaky if not a bit more thicker than real Malaysian roti canai.
It is best eaten when hot. When it is cold, it loses the flakiness and ends up half as nice.
You should try the lamb cumin with this. I think you will like the change of having it with rice.
What else can I say? The boys NEED fried rice and so we got fried rice.
Their House Special Fried Rice is $9 and has chicken, prawns and vege.
Considering the amount of food we had, I must say that it is quite cheap. We certainly enjoyed the meal.
Stay with the good Shanghainese food when you order. They will not disappoint you.
We really over ordered and had LOTS to take home.
Below is their take out menu if you so want to check it out.
This Post Has 0 Comments
FWIW, the dim sum Chef at Lin’s – Yu Miao – used to operate The Place and before that Ba Guo Bu Yi in Richmond (close to Chen’s on Park Road). I believe Ru Lin Zhang (“Lin”) the Chef used to cook in a restuarant in Burnaby. I don’t know which one.
*gasp* I am always amazed you know of these things. Thanks for the confirmation, FMED.
Concur with FMED. The chef used to work at The Place, one of my previous favorites which Ben also went to. After the chef left, The Place declined rapidly.
I’ll tell you guys a secret (soon no longer). The Happy Family Soup Pot is fantastic and superb deal …. but if you order take-out, you can bring your own pot and they’ll fill it for you. My Mom does this every time she orders take-out from Lin. My Dad would haul a 6-quart(!) empty pot to Lin and they happily fill it up to the rim for the same price as eat-in. That 6-quart pot could easily feed 6 adults with only a few side dishes. Fantastic meal at home on the dark, cold wet nights of Vancouver.
BTW, the XLB is very decent over at The Peaceful Restaurant on Broadway just west of Cambie:
So, LotusRapper … where is the cheapest place to buy a 6-quart pot? Where did you get yours? LOL!
Well, if you want the *cheapest* then it’d be Chinatown, LOL. I’m sure Suanne has something suitable for the task, tho’ it’d be quite the long way home.
My Mom uses a Corning Visionware pot.
Glad you enjoyed Lin’s radish pastry. I’m a big fan of this particular dim sum myself, and I’ve got a pic on my Lung King Heen post that shows how flaky and refined this dish can be made. 🙂
I’ve never seen the Radish Cakes made into lil’ balls like that …. cute. They’re usually flat and oblong-shaped, in Mandarin is approx. “Luo Bu Shi Bin” (julienned radish cake)
What a coincidence,Henry & I have been planning to go eat at this place next week, thanks for the review.
Told him about the pot and guess what he did?
He measured all our pots and the best he could find is a 4-quart soup pot,so he’s getting the soup tomorrow.
thanks for the tip ,Ken:P
Not at all, Cissy 🙂
I seem to recall you’re on the other side of the bridge, which makes for a bit of a precarious drive home w/o spilling the soup.
I’ve learned that if you can find two of those wide (~ 0.25″) but short elastic bands, you can fairly easily secure the pot lid when the pot is filled with soup. Criss-cross each band (ie: one end around handle, other end around pot lid roundel) so their opposing tensions keep the lid centered and secured. Sometimes a large sheet of plastic wrap between the pot and lid helps prevent spillage too.
Good luck ! Bon appetit.
yup, elastic bands, that’s what i use too to secure the lid:)
For some reason, I have a feeling that we will see lots of people with pots at Lin’s over the next few days. It is all LotusRapper’s fault. LOL!
Maybe there’ll be a LOOONG line of people outside (like at Chef Hung’s TBN) holding empty pots !
Hey Ben, so glad you guys got great food and service there. We used to go for lunch but things got so bad we gave up which is a drag since it is only 1 blk from my work :-(.
I did have the best XLB I’ve ever had there, with the dumpling lady making them in front of us, but I was never able to recreate that experience again.
Ben & Suanne,
We went to Lin’s about three weeks ago to try the XLB. It was good but sure doesn’t hold a candle to Shanghai River or Bai Yu Lan (Cheng’s Kitchen). The daikon (lo bok, radish) pastry looked very appetizing on the outside, flaky with sesame but once we bit into it, the radish was sour. It had spoiled. The green onion cake was a let down for my father and aunt who grew up in Shanghai and are SHC critics. Overall it was a disappointment, especially after the 2009 Award and the raves on their website.
WoW, your photos are so much nicer than mine. I kinda miss Lin again and will definitely going to give it a second visit.
Thanks for the review of what appears to be a very good value meal. I concur with Suanne’s version of eating XLB is traditionally more correct.
I’ve had bad experience with radish pastry at Shanghai Wonderful that put me off from trying them in any restaurant in the LML again. TNT has variety of XLB on sale; frankly the difference in taste is not that far from the local restaurant version.
I’m going there just to try the daikon pastry. My fav… looks sooo flaky!
One of the Chef’s/part owner came from Golden Great Wall restaurant. They basically copy all our idea’s from our lunch special to the Shanghai dumplings which they have epically failed at copying! because they can’t steal our pastry chef’s. I wish them future success and they seem to be doing all right but having too many co-owners of that restaurant will surely fail. I think the best Shanghai Steam Dumplings is the Golden Great Wall restaurant. I’ve traveled to China/Shanghai and all over Richmond/Vancouver to try there Shanghai dumplings, and Golden Great Wall serve them 95% the best. The 5% part is because the Shanghai Steam dumpling not the super thin wrapper kind but still the best in my opinion.
I’m not a fan of the Sichuan food at Golden Great Wall (the Sichuan food there is much too Westernized for my liking – sweet sticky sauces, no hua jiao to speak of), but maybe it is time to update my perceptions. I haven’t tried the XLB there. Maybe I’ll pop in soon just for than.
I checked DineHere and there are lots of positive reviews on Golden Great Wall, specially on their XLB. This must be a good place to try. It’s a good thing its just across from Canada line City Hall/West Broadway station.
I checked again, that was their old location on 525 West Broadway. They are now a couple of farther at 705 West Broadway but its still walking distance from the Canada line station.
My only “concern” about Golden Great Wall is that they call themselves a Sichuan restaurant but the reviews said they are good for XLB. That sends kind of confusing message out there.
I’ve had good food at the Golden Great Wall. The flat radish cakes (luo bo si bing) were very tasty, but this was over 6 months ago. We stuck to Shanghai style, didn’t explore Sichuan.
I have only had ho hum experiences at Lin’s; good XLB skin but watery/small filling, undercooked pastries, and a truly ghastly ma po dofu (I still don’t know why I ordered this) … would like to go back and try the shizi tou, hot pot, and other dishes mentioned.
Oh, i really love Lin’s Cuisine and Tea House. Yes, you are right, their Xiao Long Bao is just fantastic! Sometimes, even though it is not the right way to do so and i always always scald my tongue by doing it, i will pop the Xiao Long Bao whole into my mouth just to taste the entirety of its deliciousness. And then cry in pain and joy from my scalded tongue 🙂
By the way, do oyu know of any good Teochew style restaurant around? I am Teochew and i kind of miss that cuisine and the famous Teochew dessert, the Taro (yam) paste with pumpkin (“Onee” in Teochew).
Stayed tuned. If you love Xiao Long Bau, we have a special event for friends of chowtimes that you will like. Also, Lin’s they won two more awards from the Chinese Restaurant Award and we tried their award winning dishes too. Will blog about it soon. As for Teochew restaurant, I am afraid I don’t know of any in Vancouver.
Pingback: Chow Times » [CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Chicken Fenpi Salad 雞絲粉皮 and Eight Treasure Sweet Rice 八寶飯 from Lin Chinese Cuisine
Pingback: Chow Times » Frozen Xiao Long Bao — It is OK But Not Quite Like Wang’s or Lin’s
Pingback: Lin Chinese Restaurant–Broadway Surprise! - OurFoodAdventure