I don’t often blog about Chinese food because my mom makes great Canton-style dishes (think stir-frys). However we do appreciate other Chinese cuisines and sometimes go out and about for great finds. Shanghainese is one of our favourites, and here’s one that we always go for our Shanghainese food fix – Long’s Noodle House. The restaurant doesn’t look all that fancy on the outside, but don’t let that fool you. It serves some really great food.
I’ve been to Long’s many many times, and of course, when you go to a restaurant very often you start to forget to take pictures. However I do have some images of my favourite dishes here.
Beef Rolls is a must-order for me. I’m not a huge fan of strong, fragrant herbs but for some reason I just really enjoy this dish. It’s basically sliced beef, cilantro and hoi-sin sauce wrapped in a Chinese tortilla. It’s crispy outside and the beef was tender, flavourful with just the right amount of hoi-sin sauce. A great appetizer to start the meal.
Wine Chicken is also a popular dish at the restaurant. Despite the fact that we order it every time I actually don’t have a picture of it. It’s a chicken drumstick with thigh marinated and cooked in Chinese wine, and is served in a cute little jar. It uses Hua Diao wine which is super fragrant, so even though the alcohol content has evaporated during the cooking process, you can still taste the wine. This dish is meant to serve lukewarm.
How can you not order Xiao Long Bao at a Shanghainese restaurant? I’ve had XLBs at many restaurants and these are one of the best. Thin dumping skin with lots of juice inside. I found the size a bit too big so it takes a few bite to finish. By the way, do you know the proper way of eating XLBs? You are supposed to hold it upside down so the flat side faces up. Then you bite off a bit of the skin, drink the juice, then eat the dumpling with the dipping sauce. It works every time – no XLB juice splashes all over me.
OK, this next dish is really unhealthy for you but it’s so addicting!! The Crispy Rice with Salted Egg Sauce uses preserved duck egg yolks, which are pretty high in cholesterol, but they work so well with the deep-fried crispy rice. Preserved duck eggs have a distinctive flavour and they are often served with rice., so you can imagine how good this dish is when everything is elevated (deep-fried). The sauce is quite velvety and surprisingly light. I wouldn’t recommend ordering this dish unless you have at least 3-4 people. And you will keep going back to it after you take the first bite!
You need to pre-order the next dish. The Chicken Hot Pot with Wontons is so massive even the owner doesn’t recommend getting it unless it’s a table of 4+. There were 5 of us when I had it and it got quite filling when you tried to finish the wontons, eat the chicken, drink the soup, while eating all other dishes on the table. But it’s really good. The broth captured all the good stuff from the chicken, it’s light, sweet and hearty. The wontons thankfully weren’t soggy or overdone. The chicken meat was tender, right off the bone.
The next one is our favourite dessert – Fried Red Bean Paste Pancake. The menu calls it cookie but I think pancake is more appropriate, or even crepe. You need to whip up the batter, pan fried the pancake/crepe, then wrap it with red bean paste and deep fry it. It’s sweet and crispy, but be careful when you take your first bite. The red bean paste would ooze right out and you could burn your tongue. It’s actually not a difficult dish to replicate, but it may not be as crispy if you don’t have a deep-fryer of some sort at home.
Another dessert item is Sticky Rice Ball in Rice Wine Soup, a common dessert item in Shanghai. The soup is made of fermented rice, hence the rice wine reference. Don’t be alarmed if you taste sourness in the soup. It’s normal to be that way.
There are many other dishes on the menu – check out the rest of the gallery for other photos.
The restaurant sits approximately 40-45 people, and it’s run by 3-4 people in total. The owner is there all the time and she basically runs the front of the house. She makes such an awesome host because she has very good memory. She takes order by heart, without a pen and notepad. And she remembers faces so well that after a few visits she will remember you. Well, I’m not 100% sure about the last point because my dad has distinctive features that are rather easy to spot.
They make their dumplings in-house, right in front of you. If you are lucky, you will see a live demonstration by the owner or one of the staff.
Because they make a lot of things from scratch, the dishes don’t always look the same but then you’d get that cozy, homey feeling that reminds you of a home-cooked meal. It may seem under-staffed at times but you won’t be disappointed. You will experience good service with some really delicious food. You would definitely want to go back again, soon.
Long’s Noodle House 小龍記麵家
4853 Main Street, Vancouver