I needed to take my gma and dad out for dinner and it will automatically be Chinese food. Since gma loves Xiao Long Bao (XLB) 小籠包, it was recommended by the Yelp Community to try Shanghai Morning Restaurant (小南國上海小吃).
It is located on Alexander Road in Richmond and in the same mall as Amigo. As soon as we know that, we were aware parking might be an issue due to the limited parking spaces. (C: Parking was sure tough, be we managed to find a spot without too much fuss).
It is a small family style restaurant. There were only 2 waitresses on the floor but man they were like speedy Gonzales!
We managed to snap pictures of the menu this time. Pls click on the image for enlargement.
My father loves deep fried food as well. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree! As a starter, we got the Green Onion Pancake (葱油餅) since it is one of dad’s favourite items.
It came 5 min within ordering time. No joke. It was fresh from the fryer and delicious! I love that it wasn’t like eating a piece of dough. It was light, thin, flakey and full of green onion. Dad and everybody else gave it a thumb ups! I would highly recommend this dish again.
Going with the trend that we liked fried and salty food, we were going to order half of the Smoked duck with peppercorn and salt (香酥鴨). The waitress immediately said they are more known for Smoked duck with Chinese tea (樟茶鴨), so we got that instead.
I’ve had the smoked duck with tea before and this dish was absolutely delightful! It came within 2 minute of the green onion pancake. The exterior of the duck is crispy and the meat is moist with a strong hint of tea within the meat. There is no gaminess of the duck at all! It is just a very well done dish! (C: I’m a fan of this one!! I never had duck marinated with tea before, and it is quite different from the typical BBQ duck that I normally get. Very tender and tasty!)
Before we know it, our XLB arrived! You can see in the background that my gma was still working on the green onion pancake and have no had the time to try the duck even! That’s how fast the food came out!
The XLBs were very good! Piping hot with abundant meat juice on the inside. The skin of each XLB was quite thin. We had 2 mishaps and leaked the juice in the process of picking it up! :( This dish is comparable to Long’s XLBs! It is so good that my gma wanted another order so she could eat more! That’s a rarity…and it is saying something about the goodness of the XLB. Every table in the restaurant has at least one order of this dish.
(C: The Xiao Long Bao here were indeed quite good. Very juicy and meaty! I would put them close to the deliciousness of the XLB from Long’s).
Going with the theme of pan fried crispiness, my dad also wanted the pan fried pork buns (上海生煎包). I never liked the pan fried pork buns much because I find that the bun is very thick in dough and it becomes very dry in the process of being pan fried.
BUT WAS I EVER WRONG! I bite into it thinking it will just be crispy but thick exterior with a bit of a meat filling. OUT COME A HUGE SQUIRT OF JUICE across the table and onto myself…how embarrassing…
These buns, they were like crispy version of the XLBs! Thin skin and lots of juice! Another highly recommended dish to try!
(C: These pan fried xiao long bao’s were just epic! I don’t know how anyone can pan fry pork buns without destroying the skin and exploding the juice everywhere, but somehow these guys can do it. These pork buns are both crispy AND juicy. Q wasn’t kidding when she said huge squirt of juice! Wait a bit before biting into one of these suckers, otherwise you’ll burn your tongue!)
I groaned when the House Special Noodle in Soup (小南國招牌湯麵) as we were getting quite full. I don’t remember much of it as I only tried very little of it. The clear broth was very good with lots of vegetable flavour, very 清甜. There was shrimp and Chinese ham for the protein. C drank a lot of the soup, I will let him comment on this dish.
(C: I quite liked the house special noodle. The noodles were good and the broth was very flavourful. The broth didn’t taste like it had MSG or anything – really clean and refreshing. This dish was quite loaded with toppings, making it well worth the $7.50. It wasn’t easy to split this one, so I would recommend ordering this dish if you’re ordering individual dishes rather than sharing).
At this point we wished we didn’t order so much food. The last dish that came was the Beef roll (大餅牛肉捲). This is the least memorable dish. The roll was thick, doughy and oily. It is a normal, decent beef roll. Not something I would order again. (C: The beef roll here was pretty mediocre. It lacked density and crispiness compared to the beef roll we had at Peaceful Restaurant).
Despite being stuffed to the brim from clearing all the plates, I still crave dessert! They have an interesting and good variety of Chinese desserts! My sister’s absolute favourite Chinese dessert is the fried pancake filled with red bean paste. Since she was not there, I can finally try something else! I picked Sesame Filled Rice Balls in Wine Sauce (桂花酒釀芝蔴湯圓). Unlike all the other dishes, this dish took a long time to arrive to our table.
桂花 is Osmanthus fragrans. It is often used to make chinese desserts. The soup base is a slightly fermented rice wine with flower. It reminded me of the Sake Kasu used in Granville Island Sake with the distinctive sour taste/flavor of rice fermentation. This dish isn’t overly sweet but it warms you up on a cold, wet Vancouver day.
C’s favourite part of the dish was the sesame filled rice balls. The sesame was grounded thoroughly giving it a super smooth texture instead of the sandy/gritty consistence of the usual sesame paste.
(C: I’ve had sesame filled mochi balls before, but it’s my first time having them in a wine sauce. It may not be for everyone, but I found the flavour to be really mild. The texture is super silky, making it quite a unique dessert. The sesame was REALLY good, and I love mochi so you can’t really go wrong with that).
Overall, super fast service with amazing food. Must try XLB, panfried pork buns, and green onion pancake!