Shanghai River

August 31st, 2008 · 1 Comment

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Target 6: Shanghai River

Address: 110-7831 Westminster Highway, Richmond
Phone: (604) 233-8885
Menu photos: Page 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11
Price: $6.50 for eight baos

Visit date: May 30th, 2008
Visit time: 2 PM


Jason’s ratings

Soup: 7.5/10
Pastry: 7.5/10
Meat: 7/10
Other items & condiments: 3.5/5
Service & atmosphere: 4.5/5

Jason’s total: 7.5/10

Des’ ratings –

Soup: 8/10
Pastry: 7/10
Meat: 7.5/10
Other items & condiments: 3.5/5
Service & atmosphere: 4.25/5

Des’ total: 7.5625/10

Total Score (averaged across both raters, all variables) = 7.53125
Quality per dollar (based on an order of six) = 1.02

Des’ notes –

For our sixth and – alas! – final venture in this series of bao-downs, we soup dumpling detectives returned to Richmond, destination: Shanghai River. In search of superlatives, this restaurant was certainly the spiffiest of establishments. Its comprehensive and professionally designed menu, bright and elegant interior, and smart open kitchen packed in diners on a Friday afternoon.

Shanghai River serves perhaps the widest range of soup dumplings in town, including crab meat dumplings – very popular in Shanghai itself, where their soup is often slurped through a straw. Because there were just the two of us, we stuck to the classic pork soup dumplings. These were well formed, if not the best we’d sampled in the city. Still, the slightly too starchy pastry enveloped quality morsels of meat and a burst of tasty soup.

In addition to the baos, we aimed for a wide-ranging taster of the ample menu’s range without tipping over into gluttony. As a frequent favourite, we went for the beef rolls. The thin slices of brisket were delicately marinated, but I couldn’t help feel that it had edged past its prime and neither was the bread as flakily fresh as at other restaurants. We also went for the Hot and Sour Noodles in Soup. This came with nice, thick noodles and crunchy vegetables, but the soup itself was neither hot nor sour enough for me.

From the specials menu, we ordered an unusual dish for a Chinese restaurant: Braised Foie Gras with Wine Sauce. We swiftly learned that novel experimentation, especially in ‘fusion’ cuisine, often misses the mark. The foie gras was certainly not of the highest quality. Its pungent coarseness was hardly improved by the wine-soaked batter. So I washed it down with some sweet soya milk, although that was not as memorable as the steaming breakfast bowls I enjoy in China.

Our adventurous streak also struck for a couple of cold dishes. The Mash Bean Cake can only be described as a bland, mushy mass of beans and vegetables, whose uncertain identity did little to improve the dish. The Braised Duck in House Sauce, however, was a hit. The best duck dishes take full advantage of the meat’s tasty fat, layered under the skin. In a cold dish, it risks congealing to a less attractive paste. Yet this duck managed to be relatively lean yet still tasty, its tangy sweetness retaining the inherent rich flavours.

Perhaps we should have ordered a fuller flavoured hot dish – actually our original intention but the lamb we had our eyes on was sold out. Still, while there were disappointments, it was a fair meal and I plan to return at some future date to try more of the many dishes on offer.

Tags: Chinese · Xiaolongbao

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Steve // Jan 26, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    I am a caterer from Denver and will be coming through YVR and have a few hours to kill. Problem is that I can be at a restaurant from 3-4:00 pm and many are closed. Looking for suggestion for preferably Cantonese restaurant open at that time that is worth a taxi ride from the airport. Time will be tight. thx

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