Xu’s Wonton House (Crystal Mall – Previously Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine)

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)
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 3.5
Additional comments:

  • 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
  • Lunch/dinner
  • 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:

**Steamed Shanghainese Juicy Pork Dumplings 3.5/6

  • 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.

Tan Tan Noodles – 3.5/6

  • $5.13
  • 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.

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Xu's Wonton House on Urbanspoon

12 Comments

  • Linda says:

    mmmmm i haven’t had good tan tan noodles in a while so this place gives me hope 🙂 i had pretty horrible ones before for sure 🙂 the juicy dumplings look promising and i think that the skins are thin! i love crystal mall food – my fave being the shaved ice there, very yummy for sure!

  • Buddha Girl says:

    Actually, although many Shanghainese restaurants serve dan-dan noodles (擔擔麵), it’s actually a Szechuan dish. Kind of like Cantonese restaurants serving Peking Duck or Malaysian/Singaporean restaurants serving Hainanese chicken.

    We have to agree with Sherman, Wang’s XLBs were better than Xu’s. The owner of current Xu was the original Chen’s that started at Crystal Mall years ago before she made her move to Richmond locations.

  • Sandi says:

    You really should try Peaceful Noodle on Broadway. We hadn’t been for a while – their food was a bit inconsistent – but we gave it a try last week and thought it was great. The XLB’s were very good – slightly thicker skin, but great soup flavour. They also have the best beef pancake rolls, and hand-pulled noodles – especially the Sizzled-hot chili noodles (those weren’t hand-pulled, but still absolutely delicious and unique).

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – Oh then this will be a good choice for you if you already love the food court… for the price it’s acceptable for sure.

    @Bbuddha Girl – You’re right and I totally knew that.. every time I write about Tan Tan noodles I usually write that it is Szechuan.. but I think I was in the moment here and slipped. I fixed it. thanks!

    Ohhh thanks for the Chen’s update! I haven’t been to Chen’s in ages! I need to go back. I’m sad, I heard their quality went down because they switched owners.

    @Sandi – Sizzle-hot chili noodles sound delicious! Peaceful Noodle… got it! I’ll make sure to check it out! I don’t explore XLB in Vancouver as much as I should! thanks!

  • Sandi says:

    Sorry Mijune – I’ll have to take back my recommendation for XLB’s at Peaceful. When we went last Friday they were awesome. Last night- not so much – two were broken, and the other 6 had very little soup….thin skins on the bottom and too thick on top. The noodle dishes are where Peaceful really shines.

    They certainly have a problem with consistency, which is my #1 complain with restaurants these days. Too bad- because when they’re good they’re really really good….and when they’re bad….well, you know the rest..

  • Connie says:

    Hey Mijune, I agree that wang’s XLB were better than Xu’s, the pork was very very tender, and of course soup was flavourful. I wounder what happened to them…:( honestly, it was my fave XLB place and I’ve been around town to many other places! :(, if they’ve reopen elsewhere or reincarnated into a restaurant, pls let me know!

  • Mijune says:

    @Sandi – Oh no!! Bad day do you think? I’ve had to “take back recommendations” too.. I hate when that happens!! I give the benefit of the doubt it was an off day perhaps? Aww that sucks!

    @Connie – I will! I heard they did reopen in Richmond somewhere, but I’ll follow up when I have details!

  • LotusRapper says:

    Haha, I’m the only um, guy, in this thread so far. Therefore I’d like to hear what you ladies think of the XLBs at The Place in Marpole, if you’ve been. May not be quite as good as Wang’s, but IMHO fairly close.

    BTW, Shanghai House’s XLBs were quite good too, as are Chen’s.

  • Mijune says:

    @LotusRapper – lol you are! Didn’t notice! The Place I have yet to check out, but I will now! Thank you! Yup! Those XLB you listed I like as well!

  • Ling says:

    I recently tried Xu’s and I have to say that I loved Wang’s much better. It might have been an off day for Xu’s, but I swear I could taste Maggi Sauce in my XLB which really threw me off. The XLB soup should not taste like Maggi Sauce. I remember Chen’s being quite good, but they recently during the last year switched owners and I haven’t tried their XLB since. Please so share if Wang’s opens up again. I loved having their XLB.

  • Mijune says:

    @Ling – lol really? Maggi sauce is quite distinct too. That would throw me off too. I’ll definitely keep you all posted if Wang’s reopens! Word has it that it reopened in Richmond, but I don’t know where!! I’ll have to find out!

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