Gong hay fat choy! Happy Chinese new year everyone! I hope it will be a healthy, happy and prosperous one for you all.
If you remember from my last post, I had finished eating a dim sum brunch and was off to the malls to burn off some calories before lunch. I didn't do a particularly good job of accomplishing that goal. After walking through an Asian supermarket (the quality and variety of ingredients available up there is astounding), a Chinese herbal medicine shop and a two looney store, I found myself in the middle of the malls food court. My God, it had been less than two hours! I really have no self control when it comes to food.
Dragon fruit (above) and rose apples (below). I've never tried either and don't recall having seen them in markets in the US. I will definitely be on the lookout next time. I believe I should be able to find the dragon fruit as it's actually grown in South America and is a type of cactus fruit. Don't know about the rose apples though.
Once I was there in the midst of all the food stalls and their wonderful aromas there was no way I could leave without getting a quick bite and I knew just the place. If there's one thing that I look forward to on each Canada trip, aside from the maple syrup, it's the xiao lung bao. Literally these delicacies translate to "little dragon buns". Man do I love me some dragon meat. For about 5 looneys you get 6 of these delicious soup dumplings at Shanghai Shanghai restaurant in Aberdeen mall.
Filled with pork and a super-tasty, rich, porky broth, these dumplings are steamed dynamite that I could go on eating all day, and I have. According to my parents, on one visit to a restaurant in Vancouver that was famous for their soup dumplings I managed to polish off 4+ steamers of 10 dragon buns. I was 7 at the time.
I washed the six dumplings above down with a glass of fresh blended strawberry mango juice. That's something I feel we here in the states are lacking as well. Aside from Jamba Juice, where most of the fruit is frozen, we don't have juice shops. I think someone needs to start opening a good chain of fresh squeezed and blended juice stores. I have a strong intuition that they would thrive in the Berkeley area and elsewhere as well.
Since we are on the topic I thought I would include some other picks for chowing down on soup dumplings. The ones above hail from Northern Dynasty, another restaurant in Richmond, B.C. These ones might be a slight bit better than the ones of Shanghai Shanghai but they also cost a wee bit extra. Honestly, it's a real close call. I haven't had the opportunity to eat them back to back since I'm usually too stuffed from one place's dumplings or the others. Perhaps if I can manage some restraint next time I can provide further analysis. As for now, if you want a sit down meal with a solid Northern Chinese menu go for Northern Dynasty. For a bite on the go try out Shanghai Shanghai.
Though I don't have pictures for them, the xiao lung bao at Top Shanhai restaurant were quite good as well. I prefer Northern Dynasty as a sit down restaurant to Top Shanghai but there's no denying that they both boast delicious bao.
Finally the buns above were from a popular spot in New York called Joe's Shanghai. Overall I was disappointed. After seeing this post I had been really excited to try them out on my brief trip to NYC before Europe last summer. While they were good, I thought they simply paled in comparison to the ones of Richmond. The wrappers weren't as thin and the broth not as rich. The consistency of the pork filling also differed, with Joe's being a bit coarser ground. Don't get me wrong, they were good. I just didn't think they were of the same standard as Shanghai Shanghai or Northern Dynasty. I guess I should also mention that from the looks of EDBM's post I don't think I dined at the same Joe's location. I'm not sure whether they are owned by the some proprietor or whether it's the Chinese version of Ray's pizza. I'll have to wait till the next time I'm in NYC to find out I suppose.
Again, happy Chinese new year to all and join me again soon for the final installment of the Richmond B.C. series!
Inside Aberdeen Centre
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC, Canada
(SW Corner of Hazelbridge Way & Cambie Rd.)
Northern Dynasty Restaurant
1180-8391 Alexandra Road,
120-8100 Ackroyd Road
Richmond, BC V6X 3K2, Canada
9 Pell Street
New York, New York 10013
PS - Anyone have any good recommendations for xiao lung bao in the bay area?