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.