Restaurant: Xu’s Wonton House
Cuisine: Chinese/Shanghainese/Dim Sum
Last visited: May 30, 2011
Location: Brunaby, BC (Burnaby South) – Inside Crystal Mall Food Court
Address: 4500 Kingsway
Price Range: $10 or less
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
Food: 3.5 (based on the 2 items I tried)
Service: n/a (food court)
- Popular for Shanghai Juicy Pork Dumplings
- Inside Crystal Mall food court
- Handmade dumplings
- Made upon order
- Chinese & English menu
- Very casual/quick
- Budget friendly/cheap eats
- Cash only
**Recommendations: Shanghai Juicy Pork Dumplings (XLB)
I recently blogged about Lin’s Chinese Cuisine and their ever so famous Juicy Pork Dumplings which are supposedly the “best in Vancouver”. Although I did find them excellent, I didn’t find them “the best” and that sparked a debate on Twitter for which was “the best”.
To be honest, I don’t know and I don’t think anyone does unless they’ve tried every single one in Vancouver. Anyways I have my selected Shangainese xiao long bao (XLB) go-to’s, but I haven’t tried them all yet either. Personally, the ones I enjoy the most are from Shanghai House, Suhang Restaurant, Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen, Shanghai River and I guess Lin’s Chinese Cuisine could go in there now too.
Before Xu’s Wonton House opened, it was another Shanghai restaurant called Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine. Wang’s was notorious for having “the best XLB” in Metro Vancouver, but I actually hadn’t tried them yet, which was almost considered a “foodie” crime. I guess I won’t ever get the chance to try them either because Wang’s has now closed and it is now called Xu’s Wonton House. Nobody really even knew it had closed, and when I discovered that it was, I was quite disappointed that I missed out.
Xu’s Wonton House is located inside the Crystal Mall food court in Burnaby, BC right next to Metrotown Mall. A food court isn’t the first place I’d consider visiting for amazing XLB so it does fly under the radar. Although the owners are different, the menu has more or less stayed the same. They’re still specializing in handmade Shanghainese Juicy Pork Dumplings and this time I wasn’t going to miss out. Since I can’t compare it to Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine I can’t say if they were better or worse than before, but luckily I was with Sherman who had tried them both.
The whole “best XLB” topic is what inspired it, but I suggested that we do a back to back comparison with the only other food stand in the food court serving them. So we decided to compare the XLB from Xu’s Wonton House with the ones from Northern Meixi Fast Food – see here.
On the table:
- 5 pieces $3.57
- This is probably one of the cheapest places for XLB and if I consider the price they’re probably a 4/6.
- According to Sherman, they weren’t as good as the ones from the previous Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine. I never tried them, but I trust his opinion.
- I loved that it was in a food court and they still made the effort to serve them in bamboo steamers.
- The skins were actually very thin and I was scared it was going to break because they were almost too thin.
- They were also folded in a way that left a hole at the top for the steam to escape, which I don’t see being done too often.
- The dumplings held lots of soup and I could taste the pork flavour and a hint of ginger and sesame oil.
- The meat was tender, but not as tender or melt in your mouth as say the ones from Shanghai House, Suhang Restaurant, Lin’s Chinese Cuisine or Shanghai River.
- Considering it’s a food court and the price, there’s not much to complain about and I would still order them if I was there, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for them either.
- This is one of my favourite Shanghainese (actually Szechuan) noodles and it was quite good here.
- It was moderately spicy and very creamy, rich, indulgent and very peanutty.
- Make sure you mix in though because a lot of the sesame sauce is at the bottom, which is weird because oil floats so I thought it would be at the top.
- It’s topped with lots of toasted black and white sesame seeds, green onions, sesame and chili oil, but it’s not too oily if you mix it well.
- The noodles were not hand made, which didn’t bother me, but it was the standard choice of noodle, and I found them too soft and a bit overcooked.
- The broth had some chili oil and crushed peanuts and it was more sesame sauce heavy than I’m used to, but I prefer it extra nutty so I didn’t mind at all.
- It was a bit sweet, savoury, aromatic and then spicy, but the spice didn’t linger too much.
- The broth was quite thick and pretty red and it definitely looks spicier than it actually was.
- I’d order this again, but I wouldn’t want an entire bowl of it for lunch since it’s quite heavy.