I finally made it out to try out Shanghai Wonderful on this recent trip to Vancouver. Shanghai Wonderful has been on my list of places to try since my friend M, who grew up in Richmond, told me this was her favourite restaurant. We decided to go for lunch on a Sunday afternoon. The one good thing about Shanghai Wonderful is that unlike many places, they actually accept reservations, even for lunch.
We started off with an order of the Stir Fried Bean Leaves with Garlic ($7.95) from their lunch menu. These are often known as pea tips. This version from Shanghai Wonderful was well-executed as to be expected. The pea tips were fresh and tender.
Next up was an order of their Shanghai Style Juicy Pork Buns ($7.95), which are often known as soup dumplings, or xiao long bao (xlb). These Juicy Pork Buns were just ok. I wouldn’t say that they were the best that I’ve ever had but they certainly weren’t the worse either. At least these ones didn’t burst when we picked them up.
Personally, I would have preferred if the wrapper/skin was a lot thinner. When it comes to juicy pork buns/xiao long bao, there are many restaurants in the Vancouver area that execute them well. My favourites are still the ones from Lin’s followed by the ones from Long’s Noodle House. The pork filling in these ones was tender and the soup flavourful.
My friends then wanted to try an order of their Beef with Honey Sauce ($12.95). We’ve had this dish before at other Shanghainese restaurants so we knew what to expect. The beef came accompanied with mantou (steamed buns). We found mantou to be a bit dry. As for the beef with honey sauce, I could really taste the honey in the sauce. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing though as I personally found it to be too sweet for my liking. My friends agreed that the honey sauce was too sweet for their liking as well and that we’ve had better versions elsewhere.
Last but not least was the Turnip Cake ($5.95). I had a hunch this item would be a signature item at Shanghai Wonderful as diners at almost every table were ordering this. It actually turned out to be the star of the show. For this style of turnip pastry, I can easily say this was the best version that I’ve had.
Even though the translated English name is the same (the actual Chinese name is different for each), this is the Shanghainese version of the dish and is very different from the Cantonese version. The Shanghainese version is actually a pastry filled with shredded radish whereas the Cantonese version is actually cooked twice. An example of the Cantonese version is the one that I had at Good Choice Restaurant for dim sum. I’ve had the Shanghainese version before at various places such as Ningbo Seafood Restaurant and Long’s Noodle House. But I thought this version from Shanghai Wonderful was better than all the previous versions that I’ve tried. The pastry was really flaky and just melted in my mouth. The shredded radish filling was perfectly toothsome. I would say this is a must order item at Shanghai Wonderful and this would be the place I would go back to for it if I were craving the turnip pastry.
Though not all the dishes were tried were outstanding, I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it out as it has been on my list for a while. For me, the standout dish by far was the Turnip Cake. Shanghai Wonderful has an extensive menu so I wouldn’t mind going back again to try out some of their other dishes.
8380 Lansdowne Rd