Yesterday, after ordering xiao long bao at Shanghai Wonderful, I realized I’ve now had them so many times I’ve lost count. When I came home, I counted, and here’s where we’re at.
A grand total of eleven orders at eight restaurants, which simultaneously feels like a lot and a little. I feel like I eat them constantly, and yet I’m only averaging xiao long bao once every 22 days. That, by the way, is the only kind of math I do.
Either way, when we ordered them yesterday I was reminded of the fact that when I started this job in June, I’d never heard of the little soupy suckers. Now we’re practically best buds for forever, and I can’t imagine my life without them. I love you xiao long bao, it is true. For the most part, anyways.
At Shanghai Wonderful ($5.95) I only liked you. The filling was juicy and flavourful, but the wrappers were far too thick on the upper portion of the dumpling. It was almost hard to chew, nothing like the delicate folds of the xiao long bao at Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen, for example. I’m happy to say the rest of the meal was great.
We had more pea tips ($7.95), which we ordered because they were listed as ‘bean leaves’ on the menu and we thought we’d try something new. I wasn’t disappointed when the pea tips came out, however, because I could willingly eat them every day for the rest of my life.
Our onion cake ($4.50/2) looked like a green onion pancake, but was much crispier (ie, more deep-fried), and had an onion filling. Loved it.
I really wanted another sticky rice roll like the ones I had at Osaka Market and Chen’s, but it was a little tricky to figure out the name for them on the menu. At Shanghai Wonderful, they call it a salty stick roll, and they also have a sweet option.
We chose the salty version ($3.95), filled with a Chinese donut and rousong. While I loved the texture and flavours of it (especially the sweetness of the rousong), I wished they’d also added chopped, preserved vegetables like at Osaka Market. I would have liked it that much more with an added pickle-y kick.
The sautéed thick Shanghai noodles ($12.95) were excellent – the best I’ve had since Dinesty.
For a vegetarian option, we tried the tofu and eggplant in black bean sauce hotpot ($14.95), which was still aggressively boiling when it arrived at the table. I loved the eggplant, but found the tofu was too greasy; I think it had been deep-fried, and soaked up the oil like a sponge.
Finally, we had the juicy pork buns ($5.95), which in my opinion are more worth ordering at Shanghai Wonderful than the xiao long bao. The dough was fresh, tender, and wrapped around a very juicy filling of pork and broth. The one kicker is they’re tough to eat elegantly, so don’t wear your best shirt!
For dessert, we had fried dough puffs with red bean paste ($10.50). They kind of looked like big timbits covered in powdered sugar. The dough was incredibly eggy, and thicker than their appearance would suggest.
They were filled with a tablespoon of sweet red bean paste, and while I liked this dessert, I certainly wouldn’t have needed more than one.
I would certainly recommend Shanghai Wonderful, though like I said, stick with the juicy pork buns. As for xiao long bao, are there any ‘big hitters’ in Richmond I haven’t tried?
Cash and debit accepted
Vegetarian options available