Photo Credit: Tara Lee
Photo Credit: Tara Lee

‘Twas a few weeks before Christmas when I hopped on the Canada Line and was rapidly whisked away to Richmond. I disembarked at Lansdowne Station, intending to do some Christmas shopping at nearby Lansdowne Centre. In the midst of deliberating over toys for my cousins’ children (if only they had Hatchimals in stock!), I began to feel hunger pangs. Fortunately, I was in Richmond where good food is never more than a short walk away.

I headed to “Food Street,” also better known as Alexandra Road, and five minutes later, I arrived at Alexandra Plaza (8291 Alexandra Road). There, I found comfort food galore – dumplings, noodles, and soups – a variety of different restaurants. They’re all delicious ways to fuel up before and after shopping during this holiday season. Organize a festive lunch or dinner with family and friends this December at one of these delicious establishments:

Shanghai Morning Restaurant

Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

When you hear the siren call of xiao long bao, you have to succumb to this craving. One of the best versions in town can be ordered at Shanghai Morning, a cheerful, modern space with helpful staff. While the top nub of the dumpling is on the thicker side, the skin itself is delicately thin and the abundant soup inside is intense in flavour. Better yet, if you spend more than $25, the XLB are free, which makes them taste that much better.

Photo Credit: Sherman Chan
Photo Credit: Sherman Chan

Once you’ve moved past XLB ecstasy, make sure to try the many other items on the menu, such as Shanghai-style braised free run chicken, deep fried crispy duck, sautéed Wuxi style pork ribs, and stir-fried green beans with garlic and minced pork.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

There is also a wide array of other dim sum items besides the XLB, including beef rolls, green onion pancakes and steamed vegetable dumplings. Oh, and don’t forget the many noodle soup options available, like chicken noodle soup, and noodle soup with shredded pork and pickled cabbage.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
The beef roll; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

Note: The restaurant will be closed until December 15 due to their annual staff vacation. They’ll be reopening December 16, just in time for all your holiday feasting.

Max Noodle House

During the colder months, I probably have wonton noodle soup once a week, either at home or at a restaurant (apparently, I’m a fan of the dish). There’s something about the combo of hot broth, chewy noodles, and ingredient packed dumplings that is the equivalent of an enveloping food hug. Max Noodle House certainly lives up their name, with a menu full of noodle options. The line-up of customers attests to both the popularity and the quality of their food. The crowds mainly come for the noodle soup, specifically the wonton noodle soup, which showcases flavourful broth, springy noodles, and wontons that are filled entirely with shrimp.

Photo Credit: Tara Lee
Photo Credit: Tara Lee

It’s a truly satisfying version. That being said, Max Noodle House is not a one noodle pony. You can also order noodle soups that come with braised beef brisket, beef tendon, stewed pork hock, and sui gow (shrimp and pork dumplings). Lo mein options can be had with similar ingredients, as well as beef brisket sauce, oyster sauce, shrimp roe, and shredded pork in spicy brown sauce.

Congee selections are also extensive, with versions featuring pork liver, mixed seafood, mushrooms, preserved egg and shredded pork, and sweet corn and white fungus. Basically, Max Noodle House is the place to go when you need warming and filling up.

Amigo Restaurant

Photo Credit: Michael Kwan
Photo Credit: Michael Kwan

There’s something soothing and nostalgic about Hong Kong-style cafés, with their satisfying melding of Western food classics with Asian comfort dishes. Who says you can’t have the best of both worlds? Amigo Restaurant takes the concept slightly more upscale, with its décor and slightly more refined menu items. On the Western side of the menu, you can order everything from baked escargots with puff pastry, to lobster paella, to charbroiled filet mignon, to beef stroganoff with rice. A variety of sandwiches (e.g. grilled ham and cheese), soups (eg Russian borscht), salads (e.g. smoked salmon Caesar salad), and appetizers (e.g. deep fried chicken wings) round out the Western offerings.

Cajun chicken thighs; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
Cajun chicken thighs; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

“Asian favourites” primarily include noodle and rice dishes, such as seafood pineapple fried rice, Singapore style stir-fried rice noodles, and beef brisket noodle soup.

Photo Credit: Michael Kwan
Seafood pineapple fried rice; Photo Credit: Michael Kwan

Various hot and cold beverages and a few wine selections can also be found on the menu. All in all, there’s something for everyone at Amigo Restaurant, making it a good pick for a group with a range of different palates.

Claypot Hot Pot & BBQ

Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

With the winter season upon us, you’re definitely well justified in gorging on all-you-can-eat hot pot. Claypot Hot Pot & BBQ is a sleek space where you can have a meal with loved ones over steaming hot broth and rapidly cooked ingredients. There are tons of different soups to choose from, such as winter melon and chicken feet, satay, and Thai Tom Yam Kung. Indecisive eaters can opt for two soups in a split pot.

The 2 soup option; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
The two soup option; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

If you’re feeling particularly hungry from all that holiday shopping, go for the three-tiered option, which has hot pot on the bottom, then a second tier for grilling, and a third tier for steaming. Talk about multi-tasking!

The add-ins to choose from are seemingly endless. Tick away the ingredients on your order sheet like mussels, minced fish dumplings, pork jowl, cuttlefish balls, glutinous rice cakes, quail eggs, watercress, and lotus root.

Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson
A selection of items from a hot pot order; Photo Credit: Lindsay Anderson

Satay and soy sauce are on the table for mixing and dipping, but you can also pay extra for other sauce options, like chopped garlic, cilantro, and sesame oil. They most definitely elevate the flavour experience.

After your visit to Alexandra Plaza, you can waddle to the next nearby shopping centre and continue crossing those items off your holiday list!