Shanghai Morning Surprise

Dumplings with Chives

Dumplings with Chives

There are so many restaurants in Richmond and so little time to try them all. Today we tried a new Shanghai restaurant on Alexander Road in Richmond for breakfast and dim sum called Shanghai Morning. Like all Shanghai restaurants, they serve the famous Shanghai dumplings. When it was served, it was a steaming tower of not one but two containers of dumplings. The trick in eating it is to delicately pick it up with your chopsticks without puncturing the dumpling. If you do, the soup inside the dumpling will leak out and destroy the eating experience. If you have master the chopstick control, you can pick up the dumpling with the soup intact.

Now to eat it, you place it on a spoon and nibble at it. You bite a bit of the skin off and you sip the soup through the opening. If it is made right, the soup will be delicious. Once the soup is sipped out, put the whole dumpling into your mouth and chew. The dumpling has pork in it and the skin is a little thicker than the won ton wrapper.

Next came a steamer with green dumplings in it. These were made with chives and hence, gave the dumplings a nice green colour (pictured). These dumplings could be my next favourite because they were light and scrumptious. I have never had these but I will definitely order them again.

Lastly came the deep fried slice buns that are served with condensed milk. These are nice dessert items to round off the meal.

Top Disappointment Shanghai Restaurant

Chicken Balls in Spicy Sauce

Chicken Balls in Spicy Sauce

After an enjoyable round at Green Acres Golf Course in Richmond, BC, we asked our playing partners for their restaurant picks. The first restaurant they recommended to us was the Top Shanghai Restaurant on No. 3 Road in Richmond. I couldn’t help but to ask Sylvia Wong for her favourite dishes. I told her we have tried many Shanghai restaurants in Vancouver but we always order the same old thing. The dumplings of course, is standard Shanghai but they are almost the same wherever we go. Sylvia insisted that we order that if we were to go to that restaurant. Along with that, she recommended us to order a roasted duck or whatever duck was on the menu. I asked about a fish dish and she didn’t advise anything special.

When we arrived at the restaurant, it was jam packed. Everyone in Richmond was there. I found the atmosphere almost deafening. There was laughing and loud conversations going on several tables by the wall. When the menu landed on our table, I was impressed. Did I tell you that I love restaurants with huge menus? The menu was like a large coffee table book with pictures. Oh, I love menus with pictures, especially when I don’t read Chinese.

We went through the menu and decided to find the duck that Sylvia had recommended. Instead of a crispy chicken dish, we found a crispy duck dish. We ordered it. Then came the chicken. The name intrigued me. It was something like Chicken balls in spicy sauce.

Out of tradition, we ordered the Shanghai dumplings, even though they were dim sum items. When the food came, no rice was served so we ordered two bowls of it. The chicken balls was a disappointment. First of all, they weren’t ball shaped. I don’t know where we went wrong. The crispy duck was a disappointment too. It was salty, very salty and it reminded me of wax duck that I had when I was a kid. FYI, wax duck is preserved in salt and smoked.

Overall, the dinner was ok. And for the menu, we found out most of the dishes are obsolete and they don’t serve it anymore.

Lemon Garden, next to OK

Cantonese Chow Mein

Cantonese Chow Mein

When the leaves begin to turn and the winds start to blow, it is time to bring your vehicle in for a winter changeover. I have been bringing my tires to OK Tires on Richmond Road for a few years and continue to like their service. They are honest and upfront with you which is very important in my opinion.

On this occasion, I was getting my rear brakes done so it was going to take a few hours.  I decided to walk out and have an early lunch. To my right and across the street was an interesting place called Teaspoon. I yelped it and found that it served Persian food. That would had been my first choice but unfortunately, they weren’t open yet. Something told me to come back and try again.

To my left and down the block slightly is Lemon Garden, a Chinese and Western restaurant. Their menu was extensive with both Chinese dishes and Western dishes. They open at 10:00am for breakfast or early lunch. I wanted to try their Chow Mein to see if it was any good. Scanning the menu, I noticed they have Singapore Fried Noodles and Shanghai style thick noodles which is a good sign for a noodle house. They also have won ton and wor won ton which is something to try next time I visit.

I ordered the Cantonese Chow Mein because it has tidbits of everything ranging from BBQ Pork to shrimp. It’s usually the safe bet when it comes to ordering chow mein. After a short wait, the waitress brought it over along with hot sauce and chili oil. The dish was quite large (for one) and I think it was meant to be shared.

On taste, I would give it a rating of 3.5 out of 5. I was expecting the noodles to be crispy rather than soggy but it was reasonably cooked well. Would I return? Probably in the spring when I change over my tires.

Lemon Garden on Urbanspoon

Where’s Bobby?

Beef Chunks

Beef Chunks

The best dish in the house is clearly, Beef Chunks with Bobby Chao’s Special Sauce. The restaurant is Bobby Chao Pho House and it is located on 53rd Street in Edgemont. The food is tasty and the prices are reasonable but their service sucks!

This was our second visit in two weeks and we were disappointed with the service or lack of. On our first visit, we ordered bubble tea and dinner for four. After a half an hour, half of our bubble tea order came but no food. After 45 minutes, the first dish arrived and it was the BBQ Pork. Not knowing when the other dishes were going to arrive, we asked for some white rice. After another 15 minutes, the other bubble teas came but we told them we were still waiting for the rice. Another 10 minutes passed and finally, the waitress almost threw the rice container at us. She was in a hurry to get to another table. When every table around us were fully into their meal, the second dish we ordered was served. It would take over two hours to have our dinner.

Our second visit wasn’t much better. We decided to go for an early supper and sat down at 4:30pm. The restaurant was empty at the time as we put in an order for bubble tea and about three dishes including the Beef Chunks with the special sauce. Again, the bubble teas took about half an hour. Another couple sat down behind us and ordered. Twenty minutes later, their order was served as we sat disgusted. We inquired about our order and they said it was coming. After another twenty minutes, the couple who came in after us had finished their meal and left the restaurant. We flagged the waitress down and inquired about our dishes. She kept saying it was coming but there was sign of any food coming out of the kitchen. “Where’s Bobby?”, we asked. She just shrugged her shoulders.
Bobby Chao's on Urbanspoon

Crab Envy

Ginger and Green Onion Crab

Ginger and Green Onion Crab

When in Vancouver, you have to eat Asian food and ordering crab is a must-do. But be forewarned – it is one messy meal and you can’t eat it on the sidelines neither, meaning that you have to get in with both hands.

You can ask for a finger bowl but good luck on someone understanding what you want. Instead, make yourself one by taking your rice bowl and pouring some hot tea in it. If you can get yourself a slice of lemon, squeeze some juice into the tea and you have yourself a ‘finger bowl’.

Now get your fingers dirty by grabbing a piece of crab and tasting the sauce by sucking the juices off it. Let me recommend the Ginger and Green Onion sauce because it’s the tastiest and most popular.

Where to go? In Burnaby, you have to go to Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant on Kingsway, just east of Joyce Street. Order the special meal for 4 or 6 or 8 people and you’ll get the crab dish for free.

There will be plenty of food because their servings are very generous. And everything is so delicious there.
Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant 嘉好海鮮美食之家 on Urbanspoon

Best Bakery in Bowness

Apple Ring

Apple Ring

We are coming to an end of era, 22 years to be exact. The owners of Dell’s Cafe in Bowness are selling their cafe and retiring. Their friends say “Finally, it is well deserved.”, but their customers disagree because they have served the community with great food for so long. It will be hard to say good bye and so long. People who know them personally have been dropping by at Dell’s Cafe to have their last favourite meal before they close shop on May 11th. Some of their favourites include the dry ribs, the chicken chow mein or the burgers and fries. Everything is good!

Next to Dell’s is the Sweet Home Bakery that I enjoy very much. I think I have written a post before but here it goes again. The one and only bakery I know in YYC that bakes an apple ring is here. If you haven’t had one then I urge you to go down early and get one. It’s in very limited supply because they go as fast as they can make it.

The apple ring sells for $9.95 and is large enough to share. When we have it, we eat it for breakfast and dessert and it lasts over a week for the two of us. With ice cream, it’s decadent. But on its own, it’s delicious with coffee or tea. It is like an apple pie but without the pastry shell. It is like an apple streudel but without the sprinkled sugar on it. It’s almost a sweet roll with apple pieces.

Take Sarcee Trail north, pass the turn-off to Banff then at the three-way stop, turn left. Follow the road until you’re in Bowness. Take a left turn at the gas station and a quick right into the parking lot. The bakery is right next to Dell Cafe.

Sweet Home Bakery on Urbanspoon

Great Taste awaits you in Chinatown

Duck

Roast Duck

Is anyone else disappointed in our Chinatown? I’ve been here for over 25 years and I swear there were more Chinese vendors before than now. Please show your support by ‘liking’ my post if you agree. It used to be the central place to go for Chinese food and to buy Chinese ingredients for my cooking. Now it’s hard to find anyone who speaks Chinese in Chinatown. The energy is just not there anymore.

When Chinese New Year came about, I went down to celebrate it at the Cultural Centre. I hope you did too. Gung Yee Fat Choy to you too! Before getting into the crowded centre, we went for lunch on 2nd Ave. at a place called Great Taste Chinese Restaurant. My sister-in-law read the name to me in Chinese but it didn’t sound like anything close to Great Taste.

Was it great tasting food? You can say it was. We ordered what adjacent tables ordered and were pleased. We had two rice cake dishes, one in soup and one fried. I like the fried one better because I heard the one in soup was mushy. The duck was delicious. It came served with bread dumplings, the kind that you order at Shanghai restaurants. The duck was crispy and was nicely marinated. Skip the dipping salt if you’re on a low-sodium diet because it is quite salty. The duck is good with the dumplings or with rice.
Great Taste Chinese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Shanghai Wonderful

Taro Buns

Taro Buns

When in Vancouver, one of the most popular restaurants in Richmond is Shanghai Wonderful located across the street from the Lansdowne mall.

It’s an adventure having dim sum at Shanghai Wonderful when no one from your group grew up in Shanghai. There’s no chicken feet, shrimp dumplings or duck tongue but a whole new array of dishes like taro buns, deep fried sliced buns with condensed milk, green onion pancakes and famous Shanghai dumplings. Also, try fried rice cakes with pork and without pork. Both are delicious and are must try’s.

Rice Cakes

Rice Cakes

Best Wonton House

Wonton Noodle

Wonton Noodle

If there’s one thing Calgary needs more of and that is, more wonton houses in the neighbourhoods. The difference between a good wonton house from a great wonton house is the soup base. A great wonton house will serve a bowl of wonton with noodle in a nice tasting soup. It’s rich with flavour and without the use of msg.

My favourite wonton house in Vancouver used to be Hon’s Wonton House but I heard that Mr. Hon held a bad poker hand and lost his restaurant in a bet. I don’t know if that’s purely urban legend or not , so don’t quote me. I personally think he expanded too quickly. From his little restaurant on Main Street in Chinatown, he went to opening another one up the block on Keefer then one in Richmond and so on and so forth.

Kwong Chow Congee & Noodle House 廣州粥面小厨 on Urbanspoon

My loyalty then had to move up to Main Street and King Edward where Kwong Chow is located. The soup base is delicious and the wonton are huge. I do wish the Chinese would go back to making wonton with pork instead of shrimp. Now, it’s all competition and every wonton house is trying to go up on each other with the size of their wonton. At Kwong Chow, the wonton is a good golf ball size and it contains two or more shrimps.

Egg noodle usually accompanies the wonton along with a few strands of Gai Lan, a Chinese vegetable. I like having tendon with my wonton but others enjoy it with sliced fish or barbeque pork. To me, it’s the best wonton house in Vancouver.

Chinese Festival

Lion Dance

Lion Dance

After attending the Chinese Festival on Saturday in Chinatown, I have to admit that it was better organized than the first year. My day started at the James Short parking structure with a nice surprise – free parking. That was very nice of the City to provide that to alleviate parking woes in Chinatown.

We were greeted by the dragon or at least the kung fu master who was holding the dragon’s head. He said we had some time before they started the dragon dance so we decided to wonder and browse the kiosks selling knick knacks.

There were the usual stalls that were selling iPod cases for $5, $10 and $15 for the premium cases. One stall sold Angry Birds slippers, Angry Birds pillows and Angry Birds keychains. There was even t-shirts that read Save the Birds – not sure if that was a play on the Angry Birds franchise.

Our friends from Asia Snacks were setup, but not selling our favourite egg puffs. They were too busy with taking orders for their Vietnamese sandwiches, to fire up the waffle-like maker so they kept telling us to come back later. We ran out of patience and ended up at the Dessert House for the egg puffs which were excellent. The mini doughnuts van was out and so was the Noodle Truck, both were very popular. TD Canada Trust were giving out personalized zodiac pins, ZipCar was promoting their new hourly car rental service in downtown Calgary and GlobalFest was selling tickets at their booth. There was something for everyone that attended the festival. Too bad it was only for one day, August 11th but I’m glad they ran it from 10am to 8pm.