Suhang Restaurant – Review 2

Restaurant: Suhang Restaurant
Cuisine: Shanghainese/Dim Sum/Chinese
Last visited: December 2, 2010
Location: Richmond, BC (Richmond Central)
Address: #100-8291 Ackroyd Rd
Price Range: $10-20 (dim sum), $20-30 (dinner)

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 4 (based on what I tried on 2 visits)
Service: 3.5
Ambiance: 3.5
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

**Recommendations: Marinated Bean Curd with Special Vegetables, Steamed Soup Buns with Pork Filling, Drunken Chicken, Shredded Beef with Chili & Brown Sauce

This was another dinner after dinner. I had just come from an event fully catered by One Planet Catering and I was already quite stuffed, but when it comes to Shanghai Juicy Pork Dumplings, I can somehow always manage to find room. Same thing goes with desserts I guess! I’ve only come to Suhang once for dim sum before – see here, so I was anticipating their dinner since it would offer an entirely different menu.

Suhang is considered a hidden gem in Richmond, and it’s not even known by too many locals. However for the ones that do know the secret, it does have a reputation for reasonably priced authentic Shanghainese cuisine. As I stated in my first post for them, the owners of Suhang are actually ex-employees from Shanghai River, which is known as one of the best Shanghainese restaurants in Metro Vancouver. It’s a great casual place, and the inside actually looks a bit “fancy” and there’s never really a line up, but I’d recommend reservations for larger parties.

I must say that my first experience didn’t help me to understand the hype and love for this restaurant, until coming for dinner and trying more of their items. I have bumped up the ratings because making a bigger dent in the menu and trying more dishes did give me a better idea of what they could do. This is a perfect example of giving second chances and that you can’t really tell what a restaurant can do by trying only a few dishes. That is especially true if their menus are extensive too. Being that this is Chinese, or Shanghainese cuisine to be specific, it is no doubt that they offer a huge menu… in English and Chinese, but the descriptions don’t give any detail as usual.

On this occasion I took some recommendations from the server and the food I had was definitely quite authentic. I’m not going to compare to Shanghainese food in Shanghai, but for Vancouver standards, the flavours and style are representable of true Shanghainese cuisine. Quite often the Shanghainese restaurants here will cater to Cantonese tastes because of the population, and at times even to Taiwanese tastes – see Dinesty Chinese Restaurant, but Suhang is actually quite traditional Shanghainese, although at times it seemed bordering Szechuan flavours. Some of the food on this occasion was quite spicy, typical of Szechuan and Shanghai, and some quite salty, typical of Shanghainese. I still don’t think I’ve tried enough to see what they can really do for dim sum and dinner, but I’m definitely not opposed to going back a few times to figure that out!

On the table:

Live Prawns Daily Special – 3.5/6

  • Market price
  • These were small to medium sized and they were brought in fresh as the daily special.
  • I like the Chinese style better, but these ones were still good although it reminded me of Szechuan food.
  • It was actually quite spicy and carried a lot of heat from freshly roasted chili peppers and oil.
  • There was an exotic aromatic spice to it that was almost like freshly ground Thai chili powder or even a combination of roasted chilies.
  • I can handle my heat, but I wasn’t particularly into this kind of spicy because it was slightly bitter, although still flavourful.
  • The fresh cucumber was a nice side to balance out the spice.

Drunken Chicken – 4.5/6

  • $6.95
  • This is a pretty traditional Shanghainese appetizer, and it can be pretty boozy, but delicious when well balanced with flavours.
  • It’s a chilled chicken and it’s free-range so naturally the meat is a bit drier and tougher although it wasn’t dry.
  • The sauce it marinades in is incredible, but very strong.
  • It marinades overnight so that the chicken meat is well absorbed and flavourful.
  • It’s a very savoury and strong wine sauce and it was actually quite salty. It’s made with a Chinese dry Sherry cooking wine called Shao Xing and the end notes were really strong with a liquor flavour.
  • This one was a bit too boozy and salty for me although the saltiness is sometimes a sign of it being more “authentic” Shanghainese.
  • It’s much stronger and boozier than the Drunken Chicken from Shanghai House (see here) so it’s personal preference on which you might enjoy more.
  • I’ve had it at Shanghai River before too – see here, but I wasn’t a fan of that one.

**Steamed Soup Buns with Pork Filling – 6/6

  • 6 pcs $6.50
  • I swear these tasted different from the first time I had them – see here. This time they seemed way larger than normal sized xiao long bao (XLB).
  • These ones were bigger, better and the filling even look and tasted different. New chef, or new recipe, or maybe it was just a better batch this time?
  • This is a staple item to order when dining Shanghainese and served piping hot as they should be.

  • The skins were nice and thin and chewy and the “soup” was creamy, rich and full of pork flavour and juice.
  • The “soup” part is actually from the pork fat used in the meatball and then all of that flavour just releases into a liquid as it steams.
  • These ones had a slight gingery flavour in the background, like they sometimes do, and then there was also no chives unlike the ones from last time – see here.
  • The meatball was tender, super soft and just melted in your mouth with little chewing.
  • Dipped in the ginger vinegar it gives a nice tang to contrast the savoury soup and cut through the grease, although it doesn’t taste greasy at all.
  • It’s such an indulgent treat and it’s so deceiving since it’s “steamed” and holds only “soup”.Β  These were fantastic here though, so I hope they can stay consistent.

Shredded Beef with Chili & Brown Sauce – 4/6

  • $14.50
  • The description told me nothing, but this was very good and came highly recommended as well. Great with a bowl of rice.
  • This tasted very Szechuan in style to me again, except it wasn’t as spicy with whole roasted chilies or anything. The spice was different and well rounded compared to the one from the prawns.
  • It’s basically a shredded beef stir fry with tons of sweet bell peppers, some chilies and chili oil.
  • It was a sweet in the initial notes, savoury, and then spicy after.
  • The beef was tender and well marinated and there was some julienne Chinese celery in there as well to help break up the heat.
  • It was crunchy and tender veggies and lots of beef swimming in a honey like chili sauce with a spicy kick that follows and lingers.
  • It was a bit oily though, as authentic Shanghainese food can be sometimes.
  • It wasn’t anything particularly special but it was very good and well executed.

Fried Duck with Shanghai Sauce – 3.5/6

  • $16
  • I hate blogging about DUCK because the “D” is so close to the “F” and the “U” is so close the the “I” πŸ™
  • I was aiming for the “stuffed duck”, which is the specialty here, but too bad you had to preorder it.
  • Anyways this was the alternative the server recommended and it was a Shanghainese version of “Peking Duck”, although they do offer Peking Duck here as well.
  • It didn’t have a “Shanghai Sauce” though so the description is misleading and I was lost in translation.
  • It’s well made and it’s really a 4/6, but as much as I love a fried duck, this one wasn’t personally my favourite.
  • This is Chinese style duck confit pretty much. It’s very savoury and I’m actually not sure the execution for it, but it tastes cured before it’s deep fried in it’s own fat, aka “duck confit”.
  • It was salty enough on its own, but I did miss a sauce.
  • A bit too salty for me and I have a high tolerance for salt, but then again authentic Shanghainese food tends to be pretty salty.

  • The duck was actually a very well chosen duck. The crispy skin, to fat, to meat ratio was pretty perfect.
  • It reminded me of he Chinese roasted suckling pig in flavour and the skin was super delicious and crispy and the fat was creamy and not gelatinous or chewy. I HATE when it is.
  • The meat was decently moist and juicy and it wasn’t that greasy for being deep fried.
  • It came with these steamed mantou green onion buns that were soft, fluffy and moist. They don’t have much flavour though. Although a traditional side to the duck I find the combination too dry for me without any sauce.
  • I had a variation of this at another good Shanghainese restaurant, Northern Delicacy, see Tea Infused Smoked Duck, but I prefer this version more.

Complimentary Coconut Jello

  • They serve complimentary dessert for lunch and dinner! It’s one I like too!
  • It was a home made layered coconut jello and the top layer was creamy and almost like foamy coconut cream bubbles.
  • I loved the soft texture with the gelatin like layers underneath.
  • It could have been more sweet though, it was really light and barely sweet at all which is ideal for most Asian taste buds – just not mine, although I still enjoyed it.

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Suhang Restaurant on Urbanspoon

19 Comments

  • Bow says:

    I love the Suhang’s food. I agree that if the drunken chicken is too “drunk”, it interferes with it’s taste, the wine is overpowering. I always thought their xi lan bao was the juiciest and best. Mijune, have you tried Shanghai smoked fish ? The fried duck looks pretty good, Suhang also has a Nainjing salted duck on it’s menu, as well as a spice duck; I hope you ate rice with your food. Shanghai cuisine makes excellent fried rice: moist, not salty, very white(no soy), not greasy and incredibly tasty. The Shanghai Wonderful and Shanghai House come to mind(also the new Beijing makes excellent fried rice). Probably a better palate cleanser than mantou. Although mantou works well sopping up twice-cooked pork belly w. preserved cabbage or fish flavoured pork w. spinach.

  • Linda says:

    mm i love shanghainese food – especially the XLB – the ones you got look super juicy! i still remember watching a documentary once on how they make them – apparently they freeze the entire pork mixture to ensure that they get tons of pork broth mixed into it so it’s extra juicy! yummers, these look good πŸ™‚

    haha i like how you called the drunken chicken boozy lol i’m actually not really a fan of eating any type of chicken at restaurants – especially this style of it being cooked – i don’t like eating it cold i guess haha.. as for the duck – the skin looks delish but i think i might’ve scrapped off some of that fat in between – the oilyness of it makes my mouth feel funny lol

    mmm the free coconut dessert looks good and the portion size is pretty good too!

  • fmed says:

    My nine-year old XLB fanatic daughter has pronounced Suhang’s XLB as the best. Who am I to argue?

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – god.. even your comments are drool worthy… I really wanted to try the stuffed duck.. but not that smoked fish sounds really really good. I actually LOVE seafood, but it’s hard to order with few ppl… but then again I did order duck and this was for 2 people lol. I didn’t pay attention to the rice, but now I will! Thank you for your always informative comments and tips Bow!

    @Linda – These were pretty delicious and filled with tons of juice! Ahh yes, I know what you mean about the duck… it was really fatty and heavy so I wouldn’t blame you for scraping some off… although duck is supposed to be “meant” to be eaten with the fat on… oh well! Taste is so personal πŸ™‚

    @fmed – Who am I to argue? She probably has them more often than me πŸ™‚

  • WS says:

    When you say, for the live prawns you like Chinese-style better. You mean specifically Cantonese-style? Cantonese-style is usually just steamed(with a dipping sauce)? Or is it live prawns salt & pepper? Are their any other ways to make live prawns ‘Chinese style?’ BTW, do you speak fluent Cantonese & Mandarin? I’m guessing you speak at least Cantonese(of the Chinese languages). Do you deduct for service at Chinese restaurants in your reviews, if the server can’t communicate in English to customers?

  • Mijune says:

    WS – ohhh thank you so much for pointing that out! Yes! I did mean the Cantonese style steamed with dipping sauce πŸ™‚ Silly on my part! Yes I can speak Cantonese and butcher my way through some basic Mandarin… no I don’t “deduct” if the server doesn’t speak English.. that would be mean and unfair. I’d only “deduct” if the server was rude or needlessly slow etc. Thanks for commenting!

  • WS says:

    Thanks for responding. What’s was the market price for their live shrimps when you went there(it goes by weight I guess)? I’m guessing about $2-3 per shrimp. Can you read Cantonese? It frustrates me I can’t read Cantonese myself whenever I go to Chinese restaurants, where their interesting daily specials & their full menu is only in Chinese.

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – No, thank YOU for raising your questions. I think it was about $1.99/pound? Nope, can’t read or write it unfortunately. I know what you mean, so I just look at other tables and point… or go in a whirlwind of translations until I can get the staff to read the specials out to me… or I ask a random diner that looks like they can help πŸ™‚

  • WS says:

    You mean about $2 per prawn? If it’s $1.99/pound, that Live Prawns Daily Special dish you ordered would be around $2(those prawns look to be around U-15 size).

  • Mijune says:

    @WS – lol ok sorry I’m going crazy here… no i think it ended up being about $10-15? They weren’t that big though, but U-15 sounds and looks about right cause that was only 1 pound.

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