Yesterday I ate my 83rd meal, and did so in front of an OMNI camera. I’ve done this a couple of times now, and finally turned my camera on them. During the experience, I started thinking about just how much I’ve learned over the past 3 months. For instance:
– I now know far more about the interview process than I ever expected. There are various styles, and I’ve come to (sort of) understand how it all works when a camera is involved.
– During these interviews, I’ve become keenly aware of just how much of a hand-talker I am. You could strap them to my lap and I’d still find a way to gesticulate wildly.
– I use the word “definitely” far too often. I definitely do.
– I’m cool as a Taiwanese pickled cucumber when speaking to the media, which is a pleasant surprise. However, please note that “cool” and “smart-sounding” are not necessarily synonymous.
– Food-wise, I now consider tan tan noodles to be one of my all-time favourite foods, though until several weeks ago, I didn’t even know they existed.
– I hold chopsticks loosely in my hands now, whereas prior to June 5th I gripped them like hockey sticks.
– Finally, my skin is now much thicker than when I started. Thank goodness.
The list could go on, but those are the points that struck me yesterday. And you know what? All of these realizations felt good, and I’m proud of myself. While 83 might not sound like a particularly extraordinary number, yesterday was significant for me.
Now, to lunch! We filmed and ate at Northern Delicacy in Aberdeen Centre (owned by the same group as Tropika), mainly because they were so accommodating with our camera. Actually, they were more than accommodating – they were WONDERFUL, seating us at an ideal table, and indulging the OMNI team as they asked servers to bring dishes to me ‘for the first time,’ several times.
Their Shanghaiese menu is extensive, so I asked our server for some recommendations. We ended up with fried string beans ($12.95), xiao long bao (5 pieces for $5.95), deep-fried shredded duck pancakes (3 pieces for $6.25), sweet and sour boneless king fish, tan tan noodles in black sesame broth ($7.50), and a sweet red bean paste pancake ($6.95).
The fried string beans are a favourite on urbanspoon, and I can see why. They were plump, crunchy, and addictingly-spicy. $12.95 seems a little hefty for a plate of green beans, but I’d still order them again. They were my favourite thing on the table.
The xiao long bao were juicy, but the wrappers were a little tough, especially where they’ll gathered near the top.
The flavour and texture of the pork filling was excellent, however, and look – now they’re famous!
The deep-fried shredded duck pancakes surprised me, because I expected to receive a plate of small, crepe-like wrappers, with a shredded duck filling on the side. Instead, we received three balls of deep-fried pastry that was so flaky, filled with a savoury mixture.
They were like bite-sized duck pot pies, so YES, I LIKED THEM A LOT.
We ordered the sweet and sour boneless king fish because our server recommended it, but it was a disappointment. The king fish had been so heavily battered and fried, it could have pork and I wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference.
It was covered in a really sweet sauce mixed with canned fruit cocktail, and sprinkled with pine nuts. To me, it just tasted like mediocre western-style Chinese food, the kind you don’t need to come to Richmond for.
But it’s ok, because I got to have tan tan noodles again! Of the soups, our server said this was one of the most popular. It came beautifully presented, with a line of crushed black sesame seeds on top.
I liked the noodles, though while photographing/filming everything we accidentally let them sit too long, they absorbed a lot of broth, and kind of went soggy. I would have preferred the broth to be spicier, but it was still so tasty. Like I said, tan tan noodles are now one of the great loves of my life.
Finally, we had the sweet red bean pancake. This was also popular on urbanspoon, but it was too sweet for me.
I liked the texture of the red bean paste, but I wouldn’t order it again.
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Northern Delicacy as destination if you’re trying Shanghaiese food for the first time, but if you’re shopping in Aberdeen Centre and have a hankering for some xiao long bao, then definitely drop in. I’d happily eat (an entire) plate of their string beans for lunch.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go prepare for my interview with Barbara Walters. They bumped Obama ’cause this was the only day that worked for me.
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available