Our next dining destination in Vancouver was going to be West. We thought one fancy dinner would be a nice highlight for the weekend. When it came down to it, we felt a bit foolish not eating more Chinese food while in Vancouver. I mean, it’s called “Hong-Couver” right??? So at the last minute we cancelled our reservations at West and opted for Shanghai River. Yelp directed me here during my search for “dumplings.” It’s outside of Vancouver in the nearby suburb of Richmond. Apparently, the suburbs of Vancouver are just teaming with the Ching Chong Chang-ers.
We were quite impressed at how new, modern, and clean the restaurant was. You have to give it to Asians and their love for all things new and shiny. I approve of such superficiality!
Like Din Tai Fung, they show you the dumplings being made. The big difference is that slanty eyed people are making your dumplings here and not some Hispanics. Not that I feel there is any difference, but maybe its harder to come by Hispanics this far north.
I think we did not plan on coming to a place like Shanghai River because there are only 4 of us and a place like this is best suited for large groups/families. Somehow though, after we saw the menu, we lost all self control. We wanted like 7 or 8 dishes, but forced ourselves to just one dish each, excluding the dumplings of course.
Smooth Obturator had to have his crab. Seriously this crab was pretty delicious. Far better than the crap served at PPQ Dungeness Island in SF. The crab was meaty, sweet, fresh, and moist. The seasoning was punchy and intensely garlicky. It wasn’t as good as the crab Smooth Obturator had in Hong Kong, but I don’t think he was complaining. Very few foods can get me to eat barehanded, but this did!
Shanghai Rice Cakes
A solid starchy accompaniment to our dinner.
I’m not sure if they called it pork pump here, but I’ve had this dish at other Shanghainese restaurants where it was called that. A tender delicious hunk of pork butt or shank or something, braised for hours, and served on a bed of spinach. Despite being braised under 2 inches of pork skin and fat, the meat had a tinge of stringiness to it, barely bordering on dryness. Still though, the flavor was delicious and not too sweet as other versions have been.
Xiao Long Bao pork and crab
These are the big draw for the restaurant. They are probably the best traditional version of XLB I’ve had. Now I say traditional, to specifically exclude Din Tai Fung in the comparison. The stuff DTF churns out is in a class of its own. Here the XLB taste like best version of your classic XLB. Super juicy, soupy, meaty, crabby, with a hint of ginger. If I had to choose, I’d like to have these again over DTF’s version. Blasphemy, I know! Dumpling Man would be turning over in his grave if he had one to turn over in.
Xiao Long Bao pork
These were as delicious as the crab versions but still very good in the same vein.
What’s a Chinese family style dinner without vegetables? It was either this or eggplant, but eggplant is almost like a meat dish and we already had a lot of that going on. This version was a bit on the saucier side than most other versions I’ve had which have more of a fried flavor going on. I didn’t mind it a bit. It was another solid dish.
I’m sad our meal ended here. There were SO many other dishes we wanted to try. If only Triple F and Running Man had come with us on this trip. We could have gone to town at Shanghai River. Still, with just those dishes, we were so stuffed by the end. We did a pretty good job at finish most of the food, even the crab! I would certainly recommend Shanghai River to any visitor to Vancouver’s Chinese dining scene. You’ll definitely want to stay away from the boba shops on the other hand. We wanted something sweet to round out the evening. Three words: disgustingly milky and sweet. Those Canadian-Chinese need a lesson or two from Tea Station!
7831 Westminster Hwy
Richmond, BC V6X 4J4