Long’s Noodle House is a tiny eatery located on Main Street with about ten tables. They specialize in Shanghainese cuisine. It is hugely popular and always packed during the peak times. The one good thing is that they take reservations so I always make reservations before attempting to go. Long’s was one of the first places I tried as a foodie visiting Vancouver a couple of years back. I had read about some of their signature dishes on the local Chowhound board, namely, the Wine Chicken, the Crispy Rice with Salty Egg Sauce, and the Steamed Mini Pork Buns (also known as soup dumplings, xiao long bao, or XLB) and was intrigued. After my initial visit, I was hooked on their delicious food and made it a point to go every time I was in town for a couple of years straight. It had been a while since I’d been back because on recent visits I keep on trying to make room on my eating schedule to check out new places instead. On this visit to Vancouver, I decided it was time to go back to revisit Long’s as it has almost been a year since my last visit.
We started off with an order of the Wine Chicken ($5.95). This has been my favourite place for Wine Chicken ever since I tasted it for the first time. I have not found another place that makes wine chicken as delicious as Long’s. There is something unique about the wine broth that the chicken is poached in. The wine broth is rich and complex in flavour. I’m most impressed at how flavourful and tender the chicken pieces are. I like that Long’s serves this dish slightly warm or lukewarm instead of ice-cold straight from the fridge like many other places do. The delicate flavours of the wine poached chicken aren’t as pronounced when it is served too cold.
We always order one of the fish soups, either the Fish Thick Soup or the Fish with Chinese Celery Soup. Personally, I think both are equally as delicious but my friend has a preference for the Fish Thick Soup ($6.95) so that’s what we ordered on this visit. I like how tender and soft the pieces of fish are in the soup. The soup is seasoned with some Chinese red vinegar and I could taste the subtle flavours of the vinegar in the soup.
Of course, a visit to Long’s would not be complete without an order of the Steamed Mini Pork Buns ($4.95), which are better known as xiao long bao or XLB. Personally, I think the xiao long bao at Long’s is one of the best versions I’ve had in the Vancouver area. Though I find the skin of the XLB to be not necessarily as thin as the ones from Lin Chinese Cuisine, I do like the flavour of the soup and the tenderness of the pork in the XLB at Long’s. The other thing is that I like many of the dishes at Long’s so we usually go and make a meal out of it whereas at Lin Chinese Cuisine I almost always order the XLB exclusively because I’ve not been a fan of the other dishes I’ve tried there.
Lastly, we decided to try an order of the Deep-Fried Pastry with Lo-Bok ($5.50). We had never tried this dish before at Long’s but I overheard a patron at another table raving about it so I decided it was worth a shot. If not made properly, the pastry can be heavy and doughy and sometimes the lo-bok filling can be bland and gummy. This was not the case with this version from Long’s. I was really impressed with the execution of these pastries. They were freshly made and served piping hot. The pastry was flaky and light. The shredded “lo-bok” (better known as Chinese radish or daikon) inside the pastry was tender, flavourful, juicy, and moist. I would say this is one of the best versions of Deep-Fried Pastry with Lo-Bok that I’ve had. I’m so glad that we tried it and I can’t wait to go back to have it again.
Overall, I’m really impressed with the consistency of the food at Long’s. I’ve been there probably at least a dozen times now over the last few years and the food has tasted the same each and every time. The food is always well executed and prepared with care even though they are so busy all the time. Long’s is still one of my favourite places for Shanghainese food in Vancouver. I just wish I got to go more often. There is no place in Calgary for Shanghainese food that even remotely compares in terms of flavour and execution.
Long’s Noodle House
4853 Main St