Shanghai House Restaurant in Richmond


You know there are restaurants that intimidates us that we don’t consider going to unless it’s for a special occasion. Although we do spend quite a bit eating out, we feel uncomfortable going to expensive looking restaurants.

Sometimes we don’t even know if they are expensive or not. If it looks too posh, it has got to be expensive. If the captains wear suits, it is not cheap. If they have a chandelier, it might not be affordable.

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If they have a large vase outside the restaurant … gosh, I don’t want to think how much that cost. Yeah, frankly, it was this vase outside the restaurant that intimidates me. I had peered inside the restaurant before too. It was fancy.

I was taken by total surprise when JoyLuckClub blogged about this place. The food here is cheap … unbelievably cheap. I think you will too if you see the prices of the food we had.

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The Shanghai House Restaurant is located at the Brighouse strip mall. This is about as central Richmond as you can get. Located across the No 3 Road from this restaurant is the Richmond Center. It is also next to the Brighouse terminus station of the Canada Line. So for those of you from outside Richmond, getting here would be an easy train ride.

In such a centrally located area, parking here is sometimes a challenge. It is not as bad as in Yaohan Center but sometimes you will need to circle round to get a spot. So they are serious about parking here. I think 2 hour is the limit.

They enforce parking limits here by chalking the tires of the car. So, you know … next time you are here and you need to park more than two hours, you need to “top up”. To top up, you need a … wet cloth. They don’t remember the cars and will just blindly chalk the tires. Just don’t be caught doing it. LOL!

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Look at it. Doesn’t a place like this looks like they will charge $12.00 for noodles and $20.00 for main dishes?

The setting is nice and serene. The lighting with the pink table cloth and red covered seats gives this place a warm color tone. This is certainly one of the more well designed Chinese restaurant.

Most of the customers here are Mandarin speakers.

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We can smell the vinegar the moment we were seated. On every table, there is already a saucer of vinegar with julienne ginger … every table. This is a reminder that we need to order Xiao Long Bao.

I did not get the permission to take pictures of the menu this time but I can tell you that it is a menu that I wish I have a bottomless stomach. There are so many dishes Suanne and I wanted to order.

The best thing is that the prices were unbelievably cheap. At a place like this, I would not have batted an eye lid even if it was a dollar or two more expensive per dish.

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We wanted to eat light. We had been trying to not eat too much these days. It is just too easy to put on weight and so difficult to lose it. So this time, we just got small dishes and we wanted to also try their beef noodles as seen in JoyLuckClub’s blog post.

Being adventurous, I wanted to get this dish called the Marinated Chicken Feet, Duck Kidney, Edamame with Chinese Wine. This is just $5.00. Suanne said if I order this, I gotta eat it all by myself because she said she doesn’t like cold and white chicken feet. She only likes the brown type you see in dim sums. I said fine. I want it.

When I ordered this, the server strongly discouraged me from ordering this. He said several times that I won’t like it. He said this is a dish that only a Shanghainese would like. I asked and he explained why I will not like it (“you know what kind of wine we use?!?”).

The more he tried to discourage me, the more determined I am to order this. He was very reluctant to give me the dish. I can see it in his face. He should also read my face too … I want it!

Maybe he saw my camera, I don’t know. Maybe it was because I spoke to him in English. But I gotta give it to him that he is doing it because I think he wants us to enjoy our meal here.

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This is a cold dish with a very strong winery taste. Besides the chicken feet, duck kidney and edamame, they also had duck wings in this too.

What is the waiter talking about. I like it. He came by after a while and asked how it was. I told him it was not as bad as he made me fear. He didn’t looked convinced nor pleased that I liked it. I thought it was strange of him.

The chicken feet was hard to chew and it is firm but then it is how it is. The whole idea is to gnaw at the meat … gnaw, gnaw, gnaw, spit, spit. spit. That’s how to do it.

I like the duck kidney particularly.

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Yeah … for 90% of you, you know about edamame and how to eat this. Don’t be surprised that there are chowtimes readers all over the world and some people does not know this food.

If you eat the whole thing above, don’t complain that this is not nice OK? You will chew and chew and chew until the cows come home and you will never break it down enough to swallow it.

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This is the dish we wanted to come here for. In their menu, this is the Spicy Beef Noodle in Soup.

Look at the size of the bowl … compare that to the ladle in the bowl. Guess how much this is. If you tell me it is $8.00, I would say it is pretty well priced. If you tell me it is $7.00, I would say “really?”.

It is $6.00 … with change too. Two cents change as a matter of fact. Well, ALL of their noodle dishes are just $6.00. How about that?

As this was served to us, the server told us that this is their most popular dish.

The soup has this strange red, blood-like color. It looked thick. It also looked very spicy but we did not find this particularly spicy. Just nice.

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The noodles is not chewy. It is one of those longish soft noodles that compels you to want to lower your head to the bowl and slurp the noodles up … at the same time feeling so worried about the splatter on your clothes.

Yeah, I made a bit of a splatter on my shirt. It was OK though. I had been wearing that shirt for weeks already (not everyday mind you!) and it is time to wash it.

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Loooook at THAT! Isn’t it the perfect-est piece of beef flank you had ever seen?

The beef flank is tender and not too fibrous. Really nice. I can’t stand fibrous-y beef flank that gets stuck between my teeth. Drive me crazy. This one is soft and tender. So yeah, with this, I don’t have to fish out the dental floss in the middle of the meal.

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Suanne wants the Salty Soy Milk. As a revenge for not wanting the the marinated chicken feet, I told Suanne I don’t want this. If she wants it, she gotta eat it all by herself. Sweet revenge.

This is just $2.00 … with a two cents change. I thought it was also awfully cheap and that it has a lot of “lieu” (Cantonese). This soy milk has some preserved vegetable, green onions and cut up Chinese donut.

Despite the name, this soy milk is not salty but instead it is savoury.

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The Crisp Chinese Donut is extra and it is also $1.98.

This is not your normal Cantonese-y yu tiao. This version is the Shanghai Big Yu Tiao … very big yu tiao.

They served this very very hot. It seems like it just got out from the fryer. It was lovely crisp on the outside and soft inside. That was what Suanne said. She was not happy because she had to finish it all by herself and it is big and a lot. This type of food you cannot ta-pau (pack to go).

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Of course we had to have XLB. We chose their Rolls-Royce version which is the Steamed Shanghai Dumpling with Crab Meat. This is the most expensive dish of all we had. It is $8.98 and came in six pieces only.

BTW, I guess almost all of you know about Chinese superstition with numbers, right? Eight (8) is a lucky number and (3) is a living number. So most of the dishes end with a 8, as in $1.98 and $8.98.

The number four (4) is to be avoided because it rhymes with the word for death.

That is Chinese. People are so superstitious in Asia that some buildings do not have floors with the number 4 in it. Have you heard of this before? There are some buildings in Malaysia (Chinese owned no doubt) that doesn’t have fourth floor, fourteenth floor and so on. I guess the equivalent in the western world is the absence of the 13th floor.

Oh … I want to talk more about numbers, like how stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart prices their items and what the numbers mean. Next time …

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The XLB is not bad. It somewhat passes the ”bag-test”. I had seen much better ones but at least this one sags into a bag lifting it up.

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The soup in it was golden in color. It was tasty and pretty good. The color looked so unreal that I wonder if they added coloring to it otherwise we can’t think how they could get to this bright yellow.

Anyway, this is certainly one restaurant I would want to come back again. The prices are pleasantly cheap. I don’t know if the dinners are just as cheap but for sure the lunches is a great deal.

This restaurant even accepts credit cards (Visa and Mastercard). Our bill came to $26.00 before tips.

Shanghai House Restaurant on UrbanspoonBUSINESS HOUR

7 days a week

10:30 AM to 10:00 PM

39 thoughts on “Shanghai House Restaurant in Richmond

  1. Hey LR
    you will have to go back and have the deep fried fish with seaweed strips……so good!
    too bad about the XLB, they are usually pretty decent and the meat filling is normally quite nicely flavored and gingery.
    Let’s just hope the XLB maker was off enjoying some Easter Egg hunting!

    • OK, I will be going there regularly, me thinks. I like restos where parking is easy (and free …. since I’m Chinese).

      Last time I had the deep-fried fish in seaweed was at Shanghai Wonderful, and theirs were good. How would you compare the two (if you’ve been to SW) ?

      • I have had hit and miss with the fried fish at SW…a couple of times it has been very overcooked, so the fish was quite dried out, like the oil was way too hot when they put it in but other times it was very good.

        At Shanghai House, it has been consistently well executed. The fish filet is lovely and soft and just cooked and the batter is nicely fried to a perfect crispy golden (greenish!) color.

        ohh now I want this for lunch 🙂

      • We had this sweet & sour fish fillets dish and I was pleased that the fish (fried first) was not at all dry. In fact, that dish was fully consumed, the jhup went well with the rice.

  2. We went to Shanghai House for dinner this past long weekend, after reading many mostly good reviews of them. We arrived fairly early (5:45) and the place was near empty, allowing us to pick any table we wanted. For the 5 of us, we ordered:

    – 5-spice stewed beef noodles
    – sweet & sour fish fillets
    – shredded daikon/turnip pastry
    – XLB (one steamer)
    – roast duck eaten two ways (crispy skin with thin pancake wrappers; diced duck meat with diced veggies served with iceberg lettuce wraps)
    – vegetarian assorted platter (bok choy, glutens, mushrooms, wood fungus)

    The highlights were the beef noodles (just as good as Ben’s description above …. for $6 !) and the duck dish ($30). The noodles broth was dark and full of body with definite 5-spice overtones, without veering towards saltiness, yet a good hint of sweetness (perhaps yellow onions and carrots/lo-bak were used in the soup making, hence lending their sweetness ?).

    The duck skins came like how Peking duck would be, thinly carved and placed on top of a pile of crunchy “shrimp-flavoured” chips. With the typical side servings of julienned green onion and cool cucumber to complement the duck skin in each wrapper (topped with a small dollop of hoisin sauce), there were no complaints there. The stir-fried diced meat and veggies came on top a mound of deep fried vermicelli noodles. Again, with hoisin sauce to round out each lettuce wrap, there were no complaints with this dish (in fact the table was rather quiet during all the intense eating).

    The shredded daikon/turnip pastry (3 servings) were huge, each almost the size of a tennis ball. But they could have been a bit more toasted to achieve a browner, crispier pastry crust. Also some of the shredded daikon inside tasted on the raw & crunchy side, in contrast to all the ones I’ve ever eaten where they are fairly well cooked and soft. But the savoury bits of ham and green onion help enhance what would be an otherwise relatively bland daikon filling.

    The disappointment of the evening was the XLB. The skin was of modest thinness, and the soup quantity was less than I expected (no squirters there), and was a bit too watery and bland for my palate. The pork filling was also bland, and “lumpy” with no discernable ginger. Given the accolades from many local diners/bloggers of SH’s XLB, I suspect they may have simply had a bad XLB night. A recent XLB encounter at The Place in Marpole was a notch or two better than here at SH.

    Overall I rate SH 6.5-7.0 out of 10. I would definitely come back for the – 5-spice stewed beef noodles. For 6 bucks it was a total steal of a bowl, with a v. generous amount of al dente noodles and spinach. And the beef …… huge chunks of chuck of bottom round beef stewed to fork-tender perfection.

    • Nice write-up LotusRapper. Enjoyed reading it. BTW IIRC it was Joy Luck Club who discovered the beef noodles that led us to checking this place out. On our own, we would not have dared to walk in because this place looks expensive (when in fact it was not). Ben

    • Hi Elaine: Glad to see a spurt of comments from you. Don’t see you around the blog much these days. Hehehe … glad to see that “LMAO” … you used to start every comment with LMAO. Now you hardly LMAO but at least you LMAO at the end. 🙂 Oh … your recommendation of Fried Shanghai Thick Noodles came too late. We left the ordering to Andrea who is a Shanghai native and certainly knows the authentic dishes. We had a great time at the dinner last night with 16 people. Lots of laughs. Lots of food. Ben

      • thanks Ben and Suanne for organizing. It was an awesome time. Great food and great company. BR and I enjoyed meeting the other Chowtimers. I loved that I could just roll up my sleeves, eat with my hands and laugh so much with a table of 14 people I have never met before.
        Only thing missing was Uncle Ben’s lemon soup. I could have used some of that last night with my crab.
        Andrea!… you did a fabulous job of ordering for us.

      • Hi Joyluckclub: Wow, you sure are fast posting something of the dinner. [everyone, it is here …. http://goo.gl/LS17q …. check it out!] Now I know why you want to leave early. Admit it, you want to write the post before everyone else, right? LOL! I am just kidding. 🙂 Thanks for coming out and great to meet BR and you again. Ben

      • Hehehe the LMAO is just like a habbit now even if I don’t LMAO…

        I get kind of lazy during holidays =P I am getting back on track with my updates XD

    • Hi Pinoy Gourmet and Kenny: Yup … please come. Am assuming you are coming alone but pls confirm. I’ll confirm the time via email. Am gonna cap this dinner right now. The FINAL attendees as follows:
      >> Ben and Suanne
      >> JoyLC and BR
      >> CrispyL
      >> NancyL and R
      >> Oliver and M.
      >> Mo and Patch — to be confirmed
      >> Pinoy Gourmet
      >> Kenny
      11 confirmed, 2 to be confirmed
      Ben

  3. Haha, looks are quite decieving huh? Nowadays it looks like cheap restaurants also want to look fancy and pretty too…mind you, the vase outside might not just be as expensive as you might think, if they got a good deal for it and bargained. The public library in my area also does the same thing with parking! LOL.

    Maybe you could translate “lieu” into ingredients or lots of “stuff.” So ambiguous.

    • Hi akowk: Someone responded to this post via Twitter as follows regarding dinner at Shanghai House:
      @ugonnaeatthat: @chowtimes … Claypot pork belly and a huge plate of crab w/ noodles & cream sauce. 16 ppl=$200.
      Looks like their dinner is quite a deal too.

      • Hmmmmm looks like a good place for a Chowtimes chowdown. 🙂 ** Crispy hides **

        Anyway, I used to follow ugonnaeatthat food blog till the author moved to Calgary after her marriage. Too bad, I missed reading her posts.

      • Every time we’ve stopped by the place has been packed. We have never gotten the chance to go and eat. Maybe if we have a group this Friday, then I’m in and I’ll bring R.

      • Nice! OK we have 7 up to this point:
        >> Ben and Suanne
        >> JoyLC and BR
        >> CrispyL
        >> NancyL and R
        Anyone else? The more people the more food we can order!

      • Very good, Mo. Let us know.
        The latest count is 9 confirmed and 2 to be confirmed:
        >> Ben and Suanne
        >> JoyLC and BR
        >> CrispyL
        >> NancyL and R
        >> Oliver and M.
        >> Mo and Patch — to be confirmed
        Will confirm timing and other details via email.
        Ben

    • Hi Joy (copying Crispy’s way of shortening your name): I was thinking earlier on today. Their $6 noodles are even cheaper than the noodles you get in the Richmond Public Market! 🙂 Ben

  4. “They enforce parking limits here by chalking the tires of the car. So, you know … next time you are here and you need to park more than two hours, you need to “top up”. To top up, you need a … wet cloth.”

    Thanks for the laugh, Ben. That made my morning ! It’s my daily practice for free (ie: un-towed) all-day parking at Metrotown :-/ but fortunately Metrotown has vast parking lots, and there are only so many enforcers 😉

    • Hi Lotus: I thought I had seen people walking around entering car license plate numbers on a hand held computer before. Is this what is being done these days? I thought that if they enter the numbers into a database, it will not work moving your car around the vast car park in Metrotown. I used to park in Metrotown (outside open air parking lot where Sears is) but I had a warning ticket once left on my windshield. I don’t know how they knew I was parking there the whole day. Now I park near Nelson, it’s free. Ben

      • I’ve not seen the enforcers recording plates (paper or electronic) for a long time now, but that’s because they usually do that around mid-morning and I’m at my desk.

        They used to issue 3 warnings before they tow you, but I’ve heard recently the limit is down to 2 warnings(?).

        The wiping-off of chalk mark works for me. I alternate between street-level parking lot and underground between the AM and PM, that seems to work.

      • Hi Lotus: Oh, it works huh? I mean alternating between different areas of the car park. Maybe I’ll start trying that again. Ben

      • I don’t think taking down license plates number works for the parking enforcers because technically, if you move your car to another spot in the parking lot, you can argue that you drove out of the parkade and back in. The assumption is that the parking restriction is for the taken spot, not the parkade.

        The wet cloth sounds like a good idea. I used to park by the Metro towers during work hours and I got my tires marked before too. But I was too lazy to find another spot or use a wet cloth, I just roll my car a few inches until the chalk is under the tire. lol

  5. BTW, they inherited their restaurant decor from a previous Shanghai restaurant that occupied it including that big vase in front. So thats why they are not expensive even with their expensive decor. Mind you some of their dinner dishes are also a bit pricey. But just like Suhang you just need to know what to order.

  6. I went there for dinner after reading Joy’s post. I believe the ir dinner menu is the same as their lunch menu. We ordered the standard XLB, seafood noodles (5.98) and the deep fried battered fish with seaweed. I cant compared it to Long’s coz I havent been there but I thought their fish dish is pretty good. Oh yeah they are very strict with parking there specially when Canada Line opened up. They dont want to turn it to a park and ride.

  7. I wonder if it’s some sort of restaurant trend nowadays to have a deceiving appearance/exterior but actually be like the opposite… Because you’re right! This place certainly looks expensive, but the prices are supposedly cheap, hm?!

    I think the absence of a fourth, fourteenth, etc. floor is becoming more popular! Even in the Philippines, some buildings are missing floor number 4, 13, 14, 24… I didn’t know the number 3 was a ‘good’ number though! Interesting~

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