Posted by Degan on August 17th, 2010
Note: this post was imported from EthnicEats.ca
A couple of days after the Richmond dinearound adventure, a friend invited me out to try Chen’s. Four Chinese restaurants in three days may seem excessive, but I’m not one to turn down xiaolongbao ever, so off we went.
Standing in line waiting for a table, the guy in front of me felt compelled to turn around and tell me how good the soup dumplings were. I grinned and said I had heard similar rumours until I realized that he was the same dude that had passed us in the parking lot with the Colorado plates. Colorado! That’s dedication. Tucked away in a strip mall in Richmond, I have no idea how he even found it, but he seemed pretty pleased to be there.
The first dish was the malantou, a bok choy type of dish, marinated and mixed with bean curd. It has a strange taste to it that I can’t quite put my finger on, but this being only the second time I’ve had it (the first at Suhang, only a couple of days prior), I clearly need a bigger sample set.
Next up was a noodle dish, in bean sauce, that was tangy and near perfect and then the beloved xiao long bao arrived. Soft and fragrant, they were a little too hot to eat at first so we balanced them on spoons, waiting for them to cool down. Until I have a row of XLB lined up in front of me, one from every shop in town (oh happy day!) it’s going to be pretty hard to rate them accurately. That said, I thought Chen’s dumplings were pretty top notch.
And then the pan-fried pork dumplings arrived at the table. Delectable goodness, they were thicker-skinned xiao long bao, steamed and then fried so that the outside crisped. Of course this made them even trickier to eat and we almost all made a mess, but it was worth it. I will be having these again and again.
The last dish, beef noodle with bean curd slices, was the only one that didn’t satisfy. Oily and spicy (with no complexity of flavours behind the heat), I worried as much about my sweater as I did about my tongue and finally abandoned the effort. It sure looks pretty tho:
What a great dining experience. I can’t wait to go back.
Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen
8095 Park Road, Richmond