Noodle Up! Exploring Noodles in Richmond, BC
My noodle tour in Richmond, BC continues and ends at the final destination – Northern Delicacy. Located in Richmond’s Asian shopping mall, Aberdeen Centre, Northern Delicacy specializes in Shanghainese noodles and cuisine. After Szechuan noodles at Spicy Stage Cafe, then Japanese ramen noodles at G-Men Ramen, it was only expected that Shanghainese noodles would also make the list. After all, Shanghai is famous for their hand pulled noodles and starchy cuisine. As if 8 bowls of soupy noodles wasn’t enough to fill me up, Northern Delicacy helped bring the Noodlemania evening to a grand total of 11 bowls… over 4 hours. Epic.
Yes, you can say that I somewhat touched upon “Chinese” noodles already with my first stop at Spicy Stage Cafe. But c’mon, you’ve seen how big China is, and “Chinese” is a very big category. Every region is incredibly different with their cooking styles, techniques and ingredients, so the noodles will even vary within the same region. There are lots of options for Shanghai cuisine in Vancouver as well as Vancouver’s lower mainland. However there are a significant amount of good ones in Richmond.
I have been to Northern Delicacy a few times before and it is known as one of the fancier and better ones to many Chinese locals. Each Shanghainese restaurant is different and the noodle dishes will vary as much as their famous xiao long bao famously known as “juicy pork buns/dumplings” (which was very hard not to order on this noodle excursion).
Other Shanghai options in Richmond are (but are not limited to): Shanghai Wonderful, Top Shanghai Cuisine, Suhang Restaurant, Shanghai River and Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen (one of my favs, but not great for seafood). Not all of them have great English menus though, Northern Delicacy is not bad with the translations, but not great. All of them do cater to the Cantonese market a bit, but authentic Shanghainese food is really salty and oily, so I’m actually glad it’s not really like that here.
Although my noodlemania event hosted by Tourism Richmond ends here, it was only a highlight of what the city has to offer. You can be sure that I will continue exploring the world of noodles on my own tasty adventures. So follow me foodie, or at least my blog, as the hunt continues.
Note: The restaurants selected this evening are members of Tourism Richmond, so the following shows only a limited selection of what is available in Richmond. Due to the nature of the event the dishes may not be a proper representation of a regular day, although in this case it was. I’ve eaten here before and it was just as I remembered.
Date attended: November 30, 2010
Noodlemania Part 1 – Spicy Stage Cafe
Noodlemania Part 2 – G-Men Ramen Noodle House
This is Part 3/3 – The Final Post
On the table:
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Shredded Chicken with Glass Noodles- 3.5/6
- I love this cold noodle appetizer dish. It’s excellent when made well and I highly recommend it. It was good here, but it could be much better.
- The glass noodles are a harder and brittle type of noodle and they could have been a bit more chewy, although they were not bad. It’s excellent served with the creamy and nutty sesame peanut sauce which sticks very well to it.
- The white meat chicken is tender and juicy and carries its own flavour adding a meatiness to the dish. However the crunchy fresh raw cucumbers helps break through the heavier sauce and lightens it up.
- Everything was great, but I just wish the sauce was sweeter and saltier. It was almost like an unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter mixed with pure sesame sauce. In its raw form, both sauces need a hand because they’re quite one dimensional and bland alone. It was almost like forgetting to add salt to any type of sauce so it fell a bit flat although still very good in theory.
- I liked it better than the one from Shanghai River – see here.
- The best glass noodle dish (here) I’ve had is probably at Sichuan Da Ping Huo Restaurant – an authentic Szechuan private kitchen famous in Hong Kong.
“Dan-Dan” Noodles in Black Sesame Soup – 2.5/6
- Also referred to as “Tan-Tan noodles”. This is perhaps the most popular Shanghainese noodle dish. But that’s a misconception because traditionally it’s actually a Szechuan noodle dish. The Shanghainese has revamped it though and made it their own by usually making it less spicy and adding sesame sauce or peanut sauce to it. Some say that this is an “Americanized” addition, whatever it is, I always like it better with the nutty sauce.
- The black sesame powder is definitely signature of Northern Delicacy because I’ve never seen that done before and I’ve had this noodle dish numerous times.
- This dan-dan noodle had the potential to be very good if it hadn’t been so incredibly salty. It was a bit smoky and nutty from all the black sesame and the soup too.
- Usually the soup is a bit thicker and way more spicy, but this one just had a very sharp salty flavour. The raw cucumbers helped cut through it a bit, but definitely not enough.
- There was some dried shrimp in it, which is uncommon, and it made it even a bit saltier and also slightly fishy in taste.
- The noodles were fresh and soft and quite chewy and filling and I did like the noodles alone. They seem to be overcooked, but they tend to naturally have that softer texture.
- I like the Tan Tan noodles at Shanghai River – see here.
Smoked Duck (Tea Leaf Infused) – 1/6
- Half $14.95
- This was severely overcooked and tough and it was the texture and flavour of smoky cured ham.
- The skin was crispy, but the meat was very chewy, smoky, salty and had a leafy and earthy aftertaste. Even if it wasn’t overcooked I don’t know if it would be that good.
- I did like the side servings of mini mantou buns, which are very light, soft, and fluffy Shanghainese style buns. Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie also serves Mantou with Hoisin beef short ribs stuffed inside.
- Although different, I prefer the Crispy Chicken with Soy Sauce Tea Leaves from Empire Chinese Cuisine also in Richmond.
Beijing Style Chop Suey with Egg – 3/6
- Served with Chinese pancakes $11.50
- The “Chinese pancakes” were actually those crepes Chinese restaurants will normally serve with Peking duck wraps. I found it unusual to serve with this dish, but it could be a Beijing tradition. I didn’t get pictures of them though.
- I was wrapping my crepe with the noodle mixture and it didn’t really do anything, so I preferred mine without the crepe.
- The omelette shell on top of it was a bit small and it’s supposed to cover the entire noodle dish. However some would argue that it’s done intentionally so that it looks like there’s so much noodle that it’s bursting out of the omelet shell. Regardless, the omelet was dry and overcooked.
- This dish was made with vermicelli noodles and it was very Cantonese in style more than Shanghainese or Beijing.
- Nonetheless, I did love the texture and savoury flavours. It was loaded with ingredients like firm tofu, cabbage, celery, carrots, and various mushrooms such as wood ear and Enoki.
- The noodles were thin vermicelli noodles and they were cut a bit short and bitty. They were quite soft and mushy without that extra bounce, but it came somewhat unnoticed with all the other crunchy veggies involved.
- It wasn’t too salty or greasy and I did enjoy it, minus the overcooked egg.
Fried Handmade Noodles with Shredded Pork in Fish Flavoured Sau – 3/6
- I think they meant sauce, not “sau”, but who knows… ? $11.50
- This was a stir fried noodle dish and the noodles are hand pulled at the restaurant. The noodles are soft and chewy and well textured and not dry. It is a rather indulgent noodle though and they’re very similar to E-fu noodles or “egg noodles”. Those are the ones that are usually served at the end of a Chinese banquet menu and called “Lucky Noodles” or “Happiness Noodles”.
- This one was savoury and spicy with lots of salty fatty pork pieces that were a bit chewy for me, but typical with this type of cuisine.
- There was an added sweetness from the veggies and a crunch from the wood ear mushrooms followed by the heat of dried chili flakes and a faint taste of sesame oil. The fish sauce isn’t obvious and it just adds a savoury flavour rather than a fishy one.
- Overall it’s not too greasy, but also quite standard and expected.
Lai Chee & Kei Chi Jelly – 3/6
- 3 pcs $4.25
- If I translate it to lychee and gogi berry jello that might help.
- It’s really light and fruity and not too sweet at all. It’s very refreshing but the jello is stiff and heavier on the gelatin, which is a common characteristic of all Asian jellies.
- I actually liked the version from Vivacity Seafood Restaurant better which they call Longan & Wolfberry Pudding (slightly different, but basically the same deal).
- Red Star Seafood also does a Water Chestnut & Almond jelly Roll which is almost a contemporary twist to Asian desserts. It’s a bit inspired by this lychee gogi berry one so you may want to try that if you like these.
- Golden Ocean Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver does an excellent lychee and gogi berry jelly as well – see here.
Sweet Red Bean Paste Pancakes – 1.5/6
- 1 pcs $6
- I’m not a fan of red bean paste, so naturally I was not a fan of this. I’ve had it before though and I still tried this one.
- It’s soft creamy sweetened thick red bean paste stuffed into a crepe and then pan fried, but it seems like deep fried.
- I did find it a bit greasy and the skin wasn’t crispy enough and more doughy and chewy, but overall not overly sweet so that’s good.
I love great tea smoked duck and sometimes it can be salty…the Bejing chop suey is ridculous(chop suey, invented during the San Francisco Gold Rush, is a slang Cantonese term for leftovers which does not mean noodles); mantou is best served with dishes like twiced cooked pork belly and preserved veggies(snow cabbage) because it’s there to sop up the sauce. Perhaps the best compliment would be rice ? You gotta go to Shanhai Wonderful or the Robson Chongqin for the best Tan Tan mein. The Chinese palate is not used to “sweet” like the North American palate or European and certainly not “rich”(due to heavy cream, eggs, butter)…therefore they love T & T’s version of European pasteries(less rich and less heavy, less sweet…dunno if they would like Van Den Bosch or Bon Ton cakes. So red bean soup, red bean paste pancakes, jello squares(mango, etc., etc.) are fine, they like it… even if compared to great desserts that are wonderful(like a Sacher Torte using 24 eggs). Our desserts are mediocre.
New inspiration: In pyrex pan place a pound loaf, pour over 1/2 cup Amaretto or Frangelica or orange brandy, leave in fridge for 4 days(covered). Cut into thick slices, put on a plate, add a small scoop of mascarpone or ice cream or yoghurt; puree some berries, cook over med./low heat for a couple of minutes and pour over everything. Serve(mebbe with a mint leaf to garnish, on the side).
There’s another good Shanghaiese restaurant in Richmond. It’s called Shanghai Family located in the same plaza as Staples on No3 rd. They have a really good dim sum item called radish cake but is only served during lunch time. I hope you can make it for lunch in Richmond again! 😉
@Bow – Thanks for the comments, recommendations, facts and recipe as always!! That had everything in there! I have tried the Shanhai Wonderful Tan Tan noodles, but it’s been too long I need to try it again. Chonquing seems like such a “Western” choice so I always avoided it. You’ve convinced me otherwise Bow! Thanks!
@Miss Jane – Thanks Jane!! I trust you my Shanghainese friend 🙂 We should go together!
@Miss Jane — Funny you should mention that. Northern Dynasty changed owners and is now called “The New Place”, and its owner is one of the two previous owners at Shanghai Family (formally its English name is Shanghai House).
Shanghai Family/House is, imo, the best Shanghainese restaurant in Richmond. The New Place isn’t bad either, but it’s more fine dining (and $$$)
@akwok – ok I HAVE to go check out Shanghai Family now. thanks!!
The only thing I don’t like about Shanghai Family is that they hired Cantonese speaking servers who don’t even know how to speak Mandarin. ugh!