Restaurant: Long’s Noodle House 小龍記麵家
Last visited: March 21, 2014
Location: Vancouver, BC (Riley Park/Little Mountain)
Address: 4853 Main St
Phone: (604) 879-7879
Price Range: $10-20+
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: FMF Must Try!
- Shanghainese/Chinese food
- Very casual
- Award winning
- Local favourite
- Chinese/English menus
- Extensive menu
- Vegetarian options
- Family friendly
- Wed-Mon Lunch 11am-2:30pm
- Wed-Mon Dinner 5:30pm-9pm
- Closed Tuesday
- Cash only
- Reservations recommended
**Recommendations: Chicken and wonton clay pot (must order 1 day in advance), Wine Chicken, Steamed Mini Pork Buns (xiao long bao/XLB), Yellow Fish with Seaweed, Crispy Rice with Salty Egg Sauce, and Fish with Chinese celery soup is popular.
I know. Embarrassing that I’ve never written about this. It’s a long time local favourite and it’s no secret, but I just haven’t gone until recently. I’ve said it before, but I usually satisfy my Asian food cravings in Richmond, BC – the home of excellent Chinese food in Metro Vancouver, as to why I don’t normally explore it in Vancouver. So what was the incentive to suddenly try it out?
I was having dinner at Farmer’s Apprentice and I was talking to chef and co-owner David Gunawan. I don’t even know how it came up, but he mentioned Long’s Noodle House. I said I was embarrassed I hadn’t gone yet, but after hearing his staff praise it, I was encouraged to try it the next day. I also had an out-of-town guest and I was originally going to take him to Shanghainese food in Richmond, but Vancouver was more convenient. It looked like a win for all parties, so I made it happen.
It’s a small and very casual restaurant – basically a hole-in-the-wall. Don’t be surprised if you have to share a big table with random strangers. It’s quite common at casual Asian restaurants with limited seating. Even better is if you make friends with non-picky eaters so you can share more items. As you know, Asian food is generally served family style in big portions, and there are a few dishes you don’t want to miss here. I already knew the “must tries” which are written all over the internet, so ordering was easy.
It’s an award winning restaurant in Vancouver and well-known to the Asian and non-Asian community. The food is relatively authentic and traditional, but not necessarily “authentic” to Shanghainese tastes and/or standards. It is Chinese owned and operated and Shanghainese food in Vancouver tends to cater to palates of Cantonese-Chinese, since they are the majority market. With that being said, the food is still excellent and they have an extensive menu with Shanghainese and Beijing staples. There are even some Chinese-Cantonese dishes, although Shanghainese-style, so it kind of works both ways depending on whose palate it’s testing.
Although “noodle” is in the name, they are not necessarily known for their noodles, so don’t be fooled. Some of their dishes I could find just as good if not better at other Shanghainese restaurants in Metro Vancouver, but some dishes were unique to Long’s. Long’s definitely has signature dishes and ones they have perfected, and I would not hesitate to recommend them.
Since it was my first time trying Long’s Noodle House, I’m not familiar with their entire menu, but I hit all the “must tries” and I would go back for almost all of them. It’s likely reliable and consistent as to why it has a loyal following. It does not depend on the few dishes to keep them busy, so even venturing away from the favourites should not lead to much disappointment. It’s a solid and safe bet and one of the original restaurants on Main Street that is there to stay.
See my article: Vancouver – Main Street’s Top Asian Eateries & “Must Try” Dishes
On the table:
- Wine Chicken or “Drunken Chicken” is a traditional Shanghainese dish Long’s has perfected.
- You can find it at almost all Shanghainese restaurants, but this is definitely one of “the best” versions of it in the city. I hate saying “the best”, but it’s top 3.
- If you don’t like chicken on the bone (many North American palates don’t, unless it’s chicken wings or drumsticks), then you won’t appreciate this. Chickens have bones, try and get over it.
- It is a chilled appetizer, but can be enjoyed with the main courses.
- It is an easy dish to prepare, but quality of ingredients is essential because there are so few ingredients.
- I loved the presentation of it, which is unique to Long’s.
- The chicken is poached in chicken stock and then marinated in the stock it was cooked in and Shaoxing wine.
- Shaoxing wine is a traditional Chinese wine from China made from fermented rice.
- It can be enjoyed alone or as a cooking wine.
- The flavour is similar to dry sherry, but a bit fruitier although not sweet like sake. It’s quite rich and flavourful.
- There are many brands and qualities of Shaoxing wine, but for this recipe, a higher quality one is better since you can really taste it.
- The chilled chicken marinates for 4+ hours or even better overnight before it is enjoyed.
- Some places pour a shot of the Shaoxing wine on the chicken upon serving, but I don’t like this method because it’s overpowering.
- The chicken soaks in the marinade and absorbs the flavour of the wine so it is well infused with chicken-wine flavour.
- The chicken here was well cleaned and the meat was silky and juicy.
- It didn’t have too much fat and the quality was good.
- The meat not rough or dry and it was tender, savoury and sweet with good umami.
- I could taste the wine, but it wasn’t overpowering and well balanced.
- I could drink the wine-chicken-juice alone and it was savoury with the hint of wine.
- I’m not keen on overly boozy marinades with my savoury food, but this was just right.
- It was better here because of the method they used for poaching the chicken as well as their special marinade.
- Sometimes people add cloves, 5-spice, peppercorns, or sugar to the marinade, but the recipe varies according to the individual.
- 6 for $4.95
- It’s the staple at any Shanghainese restaurant.
- The xiao long bao (XLB) or Shanghainese soup dumplings are a must try. It’s almost the “tell all” dish.
- The skins were very thin and delicate, which is the point, but I had to carefully peel them off the wrapper or they would break.
- You don’t want them so thin that they break easily. The folds were a bit inconsistent, but I won’t be picky about that here.
- Fancy places sometimes place a paper thin slice of radish underneath to make picking them up easier, but I didn’t expect it here.
- The broth was hot and the dumplings were made fresh to order.
- They were filled with a rich pork broth, which is key. The more soup the merrier and these didn’t disappoint.
- The broth was well seasoned and almost creamy from the fatty pork drippings.
- The ground pork stuffing was tender, juicy and required little chewing.
- It was comparable to some of my favourite xiao long baos in Richmond, like the ones from Top Shanghai, Suhang and Chen’s Shanghai Kitchen.
- Shanghai River has gotten a bit inconsistent, but any of the mentioned are some of my favourites in the city.
- This is another house favourite, but I didn’t feel as much love for it. I liked it and it was good, but I wouldn’t have to re-order it.
- I’ve had many soups similar to this before, so it wasn’t particularly different from what I’m used to.
- Chinese celery is a bit stronger than regular celery, so there is a distinct celery flavour to this.
- The texture of the soup might be a bit gelatinous for some, but it’s the style of the soup and it’s expected.
- It’s a bit thick and it has boneless white fish (I think cod) and egg whites.
- It’s very natural, clear, and simple tasting. It’s not bland, but the flavours are mild and delicate.
- This is an award-winning signature dish and my favourite of the things I ordered. I loved this.
- It could be acquired, but if you grew up with this seasoning and flavouring, then you’ll likely appreciate this.
- Think savoury rice cakes, but way better. I call it “Shanghainese crack” because it’s so addicting and a great snack.
- Although it is lightly sauced in a salty cured duck egg yolk sauce, it has a somewhat dry texture.
- The clumps of “rice crispy patties” are light and airy and of course crispy.
- They are not greasy and the sauce has an egg yolk texture which is a bit gritty or mealy.
- It’s not chewy, sticky or dense like a rice crispy square, and I could eat a plate to myself.
- It wasn’t as salty as I expected and I wouldn’t even mind a touch saltier, but I have a high tolerance for salt.
- It’s very fragrant with an effortless umami from the cured egg yolk.
- I haven’t come across this at other Shanghainese restaurants, so I highly recommend trying it here.
- The cured duck egg yolk sauce is common in Chinese cuisine and often a sauce for seafood.
- See: Deep Fried Alaskan King Crab Knuckles with Salted Duck Egg Yolk (worth the drive).
- See Delicious Cuisine’s Deep Fried Shrimp with Salted Egg Yolk (worth the drive).
- See Jade Restaurant’s Sauteed Pumpkin & Prawn with Salted Egg (worth the drive).
- This was standard for what it was and comparable to other Shanghainese places serving the same thing.
- It’s their most popular noodle dish, but not necessarily because it’s “their best”, but because it’s familiar and a well-liked Shanghainese menu item.
- I love Tan Tan noodles or “Dan Dan” noodles, but this wasn’t my favourite version.
- It’s traditionally a Sichuan/Szechuan dish, but has been Americanized.
- The American version has sesame sauce and sometimes peanuts on top which I like even more, but it’s apples and oranges to compare.
- This one had no peanuts, but it did have sesame sauce and sesame oil, as well as chili oil to finish.
- It was nutty and slightly spicy, but too mild for me. Traditionally it is much spicier.
- The noodles were soft and good, but not something I’d particularly remember.
- The chicken soup based broth was flavourful (savoury, bit spicy, bit sweet), but the meat topping was sparse.
- The meat topping is ground pork and fermented chili bean paste, so it’s very flavourful, potent and savoury on its own.
- This didn’t have the bite and fragrant flavour that Sichuan peppercorns bring, but it’s not a Sichuan restaurant so I didn’t really expect it.
- This is basically Shanghainese-style fish n’ chips – another favourite here.
- It comes with malted vinegar for dipping although sometimes it can be served with a side of finishing salt.
- Yellow fish is a type of fish that is very popular in Shanghai. The flavour and texture is similar to sea bass.
- Deep fried Yellow Fish is commonly served with sweet and sour sauce, but this is a different version.
- This is a traditional Shanghainese dish, but I haven’t seen many places offer it.
- This is not the only restaurant serving it in Metro Vancouver as I’ve seen it on the Top Shanghai menu as well.
- It’s deep fried boneless pieces of Yellow Fish fillet dipped in a dried seaweed tempura-like batter.
- The batter is puffy from perhaps some added club soda.
- The batter stays attached to the dish, but the fish skin is still on, so it’s a bit thick at some parts.
- It could be too much batter for some, but I didn’t mind.
- I couldn’t taste much of the fish, but the batter was crispy and it wasn’t too greasy.
- The seaweed is subtle and it adds a bit of a briny saltiness.
- The fish itself could have been seasoned more.
- It comes out piping hot and it takes about 15-20 minutes to prepare so it’s made upon order.
- I don’t have much to compare to, but just like British fish n’ chips, the recipe will vary with amount of batter, ratio of fish etc.
- The basket of fish is a generous portion and a good share plate and I would order it again, but it’s not something I would crave.