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 … Continue reading

YY Village on Anderson Road, Richmond

Shhh …

Don’t tell anyone I told you this. Let this be just between you and I, OK?

🙂

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Does this store front look kind of familiar to some of you? Well, YY Village is the incarnation on an old-time Richmond favourite.

A few months ago we were quite shocked to find Tai Yau Yick closed. At first we thought that they might have just closed for a family vacation or something. After all, it was a small family restaurant and such restaurants are known close for a few weeks in a year for vacation. But it later dawned on us that they were closed for good when we saw a sign outside the restaurant saying so. It was sad to see them go because we like Tai Yau Yick.

While around that area a week ago, I came across a new signboard. Where it once said “Tai Yau Yick Shanghai Food”, the new sign outside says “YY Village Shanghai and Taiwan Food”. Strangely the Chinese name of YY remains exactly the same as the old one. What does the Chinese name mean? Suanne thinks that it means “Spring Once More” … something like that.

We did not know what to expect but Suanne and I went ahead anyway to check out the restaurant.

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YY Village looked exactly the same as it was when it was Tai Yai Yick.  The chairs are the same. The tables are the same. The wallpaper is also the same.

Why even it is manned by a single elderly man. It really felt like the same Tai Yau Yick.

It is a really small restaurant. It can seat 20 people max. The biggest table seats only four people, five is you squeeze. So in essence, this is a mom-and-pop restaurant.

It was full when we were there at noon on Saturday last week. There are no one waiting for a table but every table was taken nonetheless. So, we are thinking that once we write about this place, there might be even more people in the coming weeks. They do take reservations though so perhaps that would be a smart move to make a reservation or go at a time when they are not so busy.

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Their menu looks very much the same as when it was Tai Yau Yick. Well, the system of ordering from a 1-page ordering sheet is the same. We were told that the change of ownership of the restaurant happened four months ago. The previous owner sold this and went back to Hong Kong.

The elderly man also told us that the menu is the same. Somehow the dishes that jumps out at us is not quite the same this time. Our mind was focused on other things … especially the very “heong” dish that EVERY table was having.

Service was good. The elderly man was genuinely friendly and chatty. It seems like he gets along well with every customer, chatting with people at one table and the rest of the tables listens in and chuckles at his wisecracks. Yeah, it is that cozy small restaurant feeling where people feel connected.

You know the strange thing about this restaurant is the language they used. While the signboard outside says that it serves Taiwanese and Shanghainese food (both Mandarin speaking areas), the elderly gentleman speaks Cantonese very fluently. Everyone speaks Cantonese to him.

However, the food came very slow. I think they only have one person in the kitchen working.

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This is the dish EVERY table ordered. And I dare to say right now that YY Village makes the best of this dish I had ever tried.

Very “heong” (in Cantonese).

What is the English word for “heong” anyway? Whatever it is, it smells sooo good that each time they bring a plate out people look up. You can’t ignore it at all.

So we asked what that is and we wanted it too. On the menu, it is called … Continue reading

The One Chinese Restaurant on Granville and 41st, Vancouver

Updated: 24th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Let me get the confusing stuff out of the way first.

There are three Chinese restaurants called The One. None of them are related to one another. Thank goodness all three of The Ones are located in different cities or else you can just imagine the confusion it will cause.

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In Burnaby, The One (above left) is a Taiwanese restaurant which is actually an offshoot and more modern cousin of Lau Shan Dong.

In Richmond, The One (above right) is a Hong Kong Style Cafe which had opened just recently.

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Not to be outdone, Vancouver also have their own The One!  Like the other two restaurants, the Vancouver version of The One serves yet another type of Chinese cuisine — Shanghainese.

I mentioned it before earlier that there are actually a lot of restaurants with the word ONE in their name. The ones at the top of my head are:

  • Hot Pot ONE
  • No 1 Beef Noodle
  • No 1 Shanghai

This one is located on Granville and 41st. For those of you using Granville, I am sure you have notice this place.

Although the official English name of this restaurant is The One, their Chinese name sounded a lot better. It is simply called “Nong” which meant a thick sauce … something like that. I noticed that their calling cards, they have the alphabetized word “Nong” printed on it. I am just speculating that they are in the process of changing their name to Nong.

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JS wrote to us about The One almost two months ago. She was raving of the food she had that she went back twice. And it was such a long email too where she went into the details of eleven dishes she had. I was so impressed that I just had to try it … well, at least I wanted to do the trilogy of THE ONEs in Metro Vancouver. LOL!

It took almost two months to organize but JS eventually managed to get a group of the regular chowhounds together.

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The One on Granville looked a lot better than I expected. It is clean in a modern and bright setting. While it is not a high end restaurant, they managed to tastefully decorated the place — complete with small, nice chandeliers. The dining hall is quite big and spacious.

The waiters and waitresses are smartly dressed in suits and tie.

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Service is prompt. You know service is good when you are not aware of it and yet you had everything you needed at the right time. That was how I remembered that night in terms of service.

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Their Chef’s Special wasn’t what we are here for. But the interesting thing is that their Xiao Long Bao is just $1 for three. This has to be the cheapest XLBs in this side of the world. For all I care, it could even be cheaper than the frozen ones in T&T.

You know, I think people get a kick out of paying $1 for 3 XLBs than getting them free as part of a free-XLB-if-you-spend-above-$30 kind of deal.

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The above is in the front of their menu. It’s their signature dishes. That was easy to decide. We all immediately agreed to order all four of the dishes.

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As you can see above, their prices are not on the cheap side. Not that I expect it to be cheap here but the prices does jump out at me. With menus like this, I always have to keep tabs of what I order.

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Actually I left all the ordering to the experts at the table. With so much to choose from and at the end of a long week, I am just contended to just sit back and enjoy the food and the company.

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We got a few appetizers to start off with.

Jelly Pork. This is quite common in northern Chinese restaurants. I was not much of a fan of this but this one is different.

It is nicely presented and made to look exactly like meat with a layer of fatty skin on top. Most of the ones I had tried before are more jello than they are meat. So this is quite a nice change.

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The plate is $8. Just look at it … isn’t it a beauty?

You know what the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this is? Molecular Gastronomy! This is … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Tofu Skin & Bamboo Shoot Soup 醃篤鮮 from Long’s Noodle House with Friends of Chowtimes

I am glad it turned out alright. Not only it turned out alright, the number of attendees was just perfect. If we had just one more person, I would have a problem at hand.

A few weeks ago, I made a call out to Friends of Chowtimes if anyone would like to join Suanne and I to check out yet another CRA (Chinese Restaurant Awards) award dishes in Long’s Noodle House. Thinking we might just muster 6-8 people, I went to Long’s a couple of days before the dinner to scout out the restaurant as I recall it was quite small. I also wanted to take a closer look at the menu because I also remembered that they have a few dishes that requires pre-ordering. Not only that I wanted to try their latest CRA award winning dishes, I wanted to also try the dishes that required pre-ordering.

Long’s told me that I can have the only big table in the restaurant and that it seats 9 people. Out of curiosity, I asked how many maximum can that table seat and she told me that they had managed to squeeze in13 people before on that table. It turned out that we have 13 people attending. Just perfect. I only want a single table because it would have been quite meaningless to have people split up to two tables.

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I had written about Long’s Noodle House twice before (here and here). It is one of the most interesting restaurants in Vancouver and is one I often recommended Shanghainese restaurants.

Located on Main Street and the 33rd Ave, it is perhaps the smallest and nondescript Shanghainese restaurants in Metro Vancouver. The name Long’s Noodle House belies what the restaurant offers. I had never had noodles here before. But within this small restaurant, they had managed to snag CRA awards two years on a row.

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That is Sandy above. Anyone who had dined in Long’s before would remember her. She is somewhat pushy but yet at the same time you don’t fault her because she handles people pretty well. This is especially considering how busy the whole place is all the time. Hmmm … Erica was saying that Sandy looks like a Korean movie star. She does have the features of a Korean movie star doesn’t she? LOL! Anyone know who she looks like?

The picture above is her serving the very item that I mentioned above that requires pre-ordering. It is simply called the Chicken Hot Pot Wonton … and expensive too at $25.

I solicited the comments from all who attended and gotten back some really good input. So, for this post, I am gonna sit back and let you read the reviews from Darlene, Paul, Grayelf and Michelle.

Paul: Grreat meeting u and Suanne for the first time. The choice of dinner was great. I certainly had passed it a couple time since passing thro Au Petite Cafe but since its a Hole in the Wall type diner, l tend to skip it until now.
Grayelf: It was super fun and a great opportunity to try a lot of dishes at Long’s — J and I always seem to end up going alone and can’t do the menu justice :-). Also awesome to meet some other loyal Chowtimes readers and talk food. I didn’t feel too rushed during the meal, but it would have been fun to have time to do a post-mortem together afterward.
Michelle: Thanks so much for organizing the dinner.   Arvind and I really enjoyed meeting everyone and trying the restaurant for the first time.   We also didn’t feel rushed with the dinner.   Small restaurants such as this do rely on high turnover to survive so I don’t mind at all making room for the next party.   It was clear there were a lot of people outside waiting to come in. As for the food, I was sufficiently impressed to make this a regular go-to place for me.   While the preordered hotpot dish was good,  I’m not sure if I would go to the effort of pre-ordering it again.   I did like the other soup better also.

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Chicken in Wine – $7

Darlene: I enjoyed the texture of the chicken and the slightly stronger wine taste, altthough the pieces were very bony with some sharp shards.  Is it supposed to be this way or do other places use meatier pieces?
Grayelf: I thought the wine chicken had a nice flavour and the texture was less squidgy than others I’ve had, but I’m not a fan of steamed or boiled chicken (totally don’t get Hainanese chicken, for example) so I’m not a good judge. I like the presentation in the little urn very much.

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Xiao Long Bao – $5.40 for a basket of 7

Darlene: was good with nice thin skin and lots of broth.  Liked this, but am getting XLB’d out.
Grayelf: Long’s XLB (called steamed mini pork buns here) are high on the list of places I’ve tried. I like that the broth isn’t super gingery or greasy, but I could also see that some might feel it isn’t robust enough. So much a matter of personal taste, what? I thought the skin was nice and thin and the meat was the right texture for me, not too firm and not grainy.
Michelle: The xlb were also very good.   I like that the skin was very thin and the broth wasn’t heavy.

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The Chicken and Wonton Soup. The very dish that require pre-ordering. This is a very big pot and was enough for a big table of diners. This pot is $25.

Darlene: The broth was delicious and the wt’s were nice and tender with a nice filling.
Grayelf: I had read that the wontons could be overdone in the chicken and wonton hotpot so I greedily grabbed …  Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Daikon Pastry 羅白絲酥餅 from Shanghai Wonderful, Richmond

Just earlier this week, a friend asked me what my favourite Shanghainese restaurants are. What popped in my mind instantly are four, all in Richmond — Shanghai River, Chen’s, Top Shanghai and Shanghai Wonderful.

What about you? What if you are asked the same question? What would be YOUR answer?

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This is a return visit to Shanghai Wonderful. Our first visit was almost two years ago. We had always been impressed with Shanghai Wonderful but what put me off is the lack of parking. It is almost impossible to find parking in the strip mall where it is located on Lansdowne and Cooney.

Some people do risk it parking across the street in the vast parking lots of the Lansdowne Mall. I don’t do that because I had seen people hiding in cars taking note of anyone who parks at the mall but not go into the mall. For me this time, I had to park all the way on Ackroyd.

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It is best to make a reservation before you turn up. Shanghai Wonderful is always busy … and it is very noisy too. The acoustics is terrible and it is not a place to have a nice chat.

Which reminds me to ask this question: Are Chinese noisy diners? I mean, they do talk very loud at the table, don’t they?

Anyway, service is prompt although you could see the wait staff scurrying around non-stop. It was easy to get their attention to get what you need. Seems like the restaurant trains the staff well in efficiency. They even use wireless handheld devices to take your orders.

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Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the NORTHERN DIM SUM Category ♦ Daikon Pastry 羅白絲酥餅

Shanghai Wonderful won the silver award under the Northern Dim Sum category with the Daikon Pastry. In Shanghai Wonderful’s menu, this is called Turnip Cake and costs $5.25.

I am confused with the name of this dish. Daikon and turnip are a world of difference but the waiter insisted that we are talking about the same thing. This name confusion is probably confined to the English name and is my pet peeve of the CRA award.

But despite the name confusion, … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Chicken Fenpi Salad 雞絲粉皮 and Eight Treasure Sweet Rice 八寶飯 from Lin Chinese Cuisine

There is something about Lin Chinese Cuisine that the CRA folks like about.

Judging from looks and the customers they have, it is not surprising that many would not consider Lin for a prestigious award like that from the CRA.

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We had been to Lin before. That was just 6 months ago when we went to check out their award winning Xiao Long Bao.

I guess one of the thing that works out well for Lin is the location. It is situated by the busy intersection of Broadway and Granville.

Last year (2009), Lin won the award for the best Northern Dim Sum for their Xiao Long Bao.

This year they snagged three awards. They came in second place for the best Northern Chinese restaurant category. They also won two gold awards in the Signature Dishes category. Quite a feat, huh?

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I remembered that meal (the above is the food we ordered back then). Not only was the dishes we order very well executed, the prices were quite cheap too.

Lin is undoubtedly a very Shanghainese restaurant as you can see from some of the dishes.

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This is how Lin’s inside looked like at 11AM before the lunch time crowd started to come in. This place is packed with customers everyday during lunch and dinner sittings. Often there is a wait for a table.

So one can expect that service could be a challenge in such situations. When we were there early, service was excellent. The same lady attended to us this time. Some of you who had been to Lin would know who I mean when I say she is thin. An awesome person and very friendly. She entertains all sorts of questions from us and I can see that she is a people person … that is until when the place starts to fill that you will find it hard to catch her attention.

For a restaurant that had won so many awards from the CRA, you might be surprised to learn that many (even most) of their customers are non-Chinese … at least during that day we were there, the non-Chinese customers outnumbered the Chinese customers.

That is something that many restaurant can learn from Lin … how a Chinese restaurant can remain authentic and yet at the same time able to draw such a diverse customer base.

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Maybe the reason is that they made their menu so simple. I can’t read Chinese but the English names are just very simple description of the dish (eg. curry beef, honey beef, sizzling beef, etc).

Their prices all ends in .99 if you notice that (click on the above to display a larger image). They are rather cheap too don’t you think?

We were here to only try two dishes … the two award winning dishes.

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Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ WINNER in the NORTHERN DIM SUM Category ♦ Chicken Fenpi Salad 雞絲粉皮

This is another CRA dish that we could not find in the menu. It is again a translation issue.

It is a good thing our waitress was not too busy that we could nail down the right dish. On the CRA award list, this is called the Chicken Fenpi Salad but in Lin’s simplified English menu, this is called … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Rice Cake Crab 年糕蟹 from Ningtu Restaurant

We had never paid any serious attention to this particular restaurant. With an English name like Ningtu we actually thought this is just of the many HK Style Cafe around. Moreover, I remember reading somewhere too that the service was bad in this restaurant. Sometimes these sort of things will unfairly make one form a negative impression and prevent me from wanting to check this place out.

Given our long list of to-try restaurants, Ningtu was just not on our radar. That is until now when Ningtu landed on the CRA award list.

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The Ningtu Restaurant is located on a quiet side of Kingsway. This is just slightly east of the intersection with Victoria Drive.

Well, Ningtu is not a HK Style Cafe as I assumed it was. It was the lack of X and Z in the Ningtu name or else I would know it is a Mainland Chinese restaurant. LOL! Ningtu is a very Shanghainese restaurant and a pretty authentic one too.

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The dining hall was of average size but definitely not small. I am guessing it can seat about 50-60 people, at least. Most of the table sizes are big round tables indicating that a lot of their customers are families.

Suanne and I arrived at Ningtu just 15 minutes past their opening time at 11AM. We thought we are early but oh wow, the whole place was already quite full. We had to wait 20 minutes for a table for two.

I had earlier read some reviews of Ningtu before I came. Many of the reviews said that the service was poor. So we were expecting the worse and went ahead nevertheless. I guess this is what Keev meant when he once thanked us for TOFTT. Keev comes up with some of the daftest acronyms that makes me scratch my head wondering what he meant.

It took a while for me to learn that TOFTT means Take One For The Team. That seems like the current chowhound-speak for being a guinea pig to scout out a new restaurant. Well, except that Ningtu is not a new restaurant. I was just saying that we went to check out this restaurant expecting the worst service.

It was nothing of that sort. Not for us. The service was courteous and very fast. It is without a doubt a very busy restaurant. The swivel door to the kitchen swings open every few seconds with people going in and out. We were seated facing that door and it was noticeable … and annoying.

Everything is about speed and efficiency here. The table cloths were plastic — quite practical because all they need to do to clear the table is just to wrap everything up (cups, plates, bowls and all) and wallah … a new clean table is ready.

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Click on the menu above if you can’t read it clearly.

Being a Shanghainese restaurant, the dim sum menu is full of the northern variety. You would not expect to find siu mai or har gow or phoenix claws here.

We like the prices of their dim sum. It is mostly within the $4 and $5 price range.

Talking about dim sum, I saw that they serve some of the dim sums in metal steamers unlike the bamboo type that we usually see in (southern) dim sum places. Is that right that traditionally northern dim sums are served in metal steamers?

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They also have various kinds of rice cake dishes. Rice cakes is called Nian Gao in Chinese. It has a soft-chewy texture. Rice cake is apparently Ningtu’s specialty. You will see what it is later on down this blog post.

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For starters, we opted to get You Tiao ($2) which is also known as Chinese Donut.

Our eyes were wide opened when we saw it. It was … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Sizhi Tofu Dumpling 西施豆腐餃 and Nanhua Tofu 蘭花豆腐 from Northern Delicacy

Updated 5th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed.

It is always great to meet up with friends who I had never met for a long time.

It must have been at least 15 years since Dennis and I last met. It is good to know that despite not keeping in touch for so long that I am still remembered. Dennis and I were active members of the Mensa Society, the so-called 98% percentile high-IQ group. I enjoyed those days volunteering in the Mensa Society where I had a small role as the National Assistant Secretary. I remember spending nights at the society office mailing hundreds of newsletters and lugging all of them to the Post Office. That was my “night job” — just like chowtimes is now my “night job”.

Dennis was visiting Vancouver together with his wife and father in law who was here f0r a symposium.

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I suggested that we meet up in an easy to find location seeing that Dennis and family is not too familiar with the city. Moreover, I wanted to bring him to a place where the food is good and what better place than a place where they won a CRA award. So, we met for dinner at the Northern Delicacy in the Aberdeen Mall in Richmond.

It was a long time since Suanne and I last dined in Northern Delicacy. It was three years ago. Wow, how time flies. Looking at that post three years ago, I can see the difference in how I wrote then compared to now. Back then, the meals were simpler and the blog posts were much shorter. I guess I have gotten more long winded as I get older.

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Service is exceptional in the Northern Delicacy. It is certainly a class above others for a Chinese restaurant.

Although Northern Delicacy is a Shanghainese restaurant, it is owned and operated by a Malaysian group. Not many people know that it is owned by the same people behind the Tropika Malaysian cuisine restaurants.

The interior decor is pleasant and tastefully done. They have a private room (see picture above) that has a heavy traditional wooden door mounted on glass walls. That room sure is classy. I wonder what it takes to have dinner in that room.

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They have one of the best menus that I had ever seen with quite a number of signature dishes. So it is no wonder this restaurant won two awards in the CRA’s Critics Choice.

It is certainly a work of art and they are very protective of it.

I normally would take pictures of the menu but I dared not even dare to ask this time — lest I be billed $150 for it.

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There were a lot of catching up to do. We had the whole night and I decided that we should just go slow and not order everything at one time.

We started off the appetizers with Marinated Wine Chicken ($6). The chicken was plum and the juice (wine) delicious. The only thing is that it is too small a serving for the five adults and one child. We all basically have two pieces each.

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We had to get Xiao Long Bao ($5) in a Shanghai restaurant. The dumplings at least looked nice but that’s basically was it. There were hardly any soup in it and the skin is not thin. I had tasted much better ones.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the MOST INNOVATIVE Category ♦ Sizhi Tofu Dumpling 西施豆腐餃

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the MOST INNOVATIVE Category ♦ Sizhi Tofu Dumpling 西施豆腐餃

This time we were better planned. We knew now that some of the restaurants do not know the name of the dishes in English. So this time we were armed with the Chinese version of the CRA Critic’s Choice list. And it was a good thing we did.

This is because … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Ginger, Onion and Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲 from Lu Lu Cafe

Updated 5th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

It is not a surprise that over 50% of the award winning restaurants of the Chinese Restaurant Award Critic’s Choice are in Richmond. Despite that, it is good to know that the CRA awards covers a wide geographical area. To me, this is one aspect that lends credence to the award.

There are two restaurants in Coquitlam that won the CRA Critic’s Choice Award. The first was Lucky Gate which won Silver in the Northern Noodles category with their hand sliced noodles. The other one is the Lu Lu Cafe.

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The Lu Lu Cafe is located on North Road on the intersection with Austin Avenue. This restaurant is located on a small strip mall, away from the cluster of popular restaurants further south. When I first saw the restaurant at this location, I was kind of surprised that the CRA even took notice of this restaurant.

The signboard outside is orange-y … quite eye catching. I thought this might be one of the more progressive Chinese restaurants because they have their own website URL printed on the signboard. The URL is www.lulucafegroup.com. Go on, click on it and see where that takes you. LOL!

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Like the outside, the inside is also orange-y. It was quite pleasant and is neat and definitely clean.

We were there at about 4PM. I know, who eats at this hour of the day. It’s a long story and I’ll spare you the details. So, the restaurant was empty. The only customers they had the whole time was just us and another table.

The sign outside the restaurant says that they serve Shanghai and Sichuan food and also bubble tea too. So I wouldn’t classify this as a HK Style Cafe despite the cafe name.

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First thing we did when we were handed their menu was to point to the award right above our head and said we wanted that. Our waitress laughed. And then I can see her eyebrows raised when we started fishing out the camera and notebook.

After she took our order, the first thing she did was to talk to the gentleman in the picture above and pointing to us. I think that gentleman must be the owner or something. He shyly came over and tried to talk to us.

“Gai toong ngap gong”.

In English, that means a chicken having a conversation with a duck. We couldn’t quite know how to respond to him when he asked us if we are reporters. How do we say “bloggger” or “blog” in Mandarin? I don’t think he understands what we were saying and so we just say, “yes, we are reporters”.  He left us alone after that because obviously we can’t understand each other.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ GOLD in the BEEF Category ♦ Ginger and Onion Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ GOLD in the BEEF Category ♦ Ginger and Onion Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲

The dish above won the Gold award in the Beef category and costs $10.95. However, their take out menu says that this is $9.50. I am not sure why the difference.

The Beef with Ginger and Onion Hot Pot was served … Continue reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽 from Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine

Updated: 15th March 2011: This restaurant is closed and it has been replaced by Xu’s Wonton House.

I sometimes go to the food court in the Crystal Mall for lunch during the week days — particularly on days that I really don’t know what to eat. With quite a few restaurants and a well represented food court, it is no wonder that this Asian mall is always packed at all hours of the day.

Tell me, what is the one commonality of a successful Asian mall? It is always the food. Any self respecting Asian mall must have great food outlets. All other businesses are just the supporting cast.

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The food court in Crystal Mall serves almost exclusively Asian fare, mostly Chinese.

I believe the biggest draw factor to this food court is the price. It is here that you could get a good and filling lunch for just $5. I can’t think of another place which offers so much variety at these low ball prices.

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The food court is located on the second floor. Underneath it is an open market where you could get fresh fruits at really cheap prices. See the stall on the right? That is a popular Chinese BBQ stall which I sometimes get roast pork to go.

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There must be almost 30 stalls here in the food court. It is often chaotic. Despite the masses of humanity here, it is surprisingly not too difficult to get a table. It is because the tables gets opened up quite fast. It could get testy if you are not used to the crowds here.

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The stall that I headed to was the one located at the furthest end of the food court. It is called Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine.

I was there for their Xiao Long Bao which had just won Silver in the Food Court Category of the 2010 Chinese Restaurant Award.

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This stall has got to be the one which has the most number of staff in the entire food court. I counted at least eight people working non-stop.

This is because making xiao long bao is a manual, time-consuming affair. It has to be made fresh because it has a very short shelf life.

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You can see them pleating the xiao long baos with such consistency and speed. Despite all the labour involved in making this, it is interesting that it is still so cheap.

There is a 15 minutes wait time in this stall. You actually see your xiao long bao being made in front and then passed to the kitchen for steaming.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the FOOD COURT Category ♦ Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ SILVER in the FOOD COURT Category ♦ Xiao Long Bao 小籠飽

Here it is — the Xiao Long Bao from Wang’s.

You know, I was kind of surprised that the XLB from Wang’s are mentioned in the CRA 2010 because I had better ones before. I think it is because … Continue reading