It is a fact commonly known that the best Chinese food in America is in New York, L.A and the San Francisco Bay Area. But being in Seattle has its own advantage. One of the closest metropolitan cities has the second largest Chinese population in Canada, and it is only two hours drive away.
We love day tripping to Vancouver. There is no hassle in booking a hotel, checking in/checking out. We get up, drive for two hours, have fantastic Chinese food; plan some afternoon activity such as a leisurely walk in Stanley Park, braving the Grind, shopping or a restorative foot massage; And before long, it is time for dinner again.
Of all the places in Richmond, B.C, Top Shanghai Restaurant is one of our old-time favorites. We find the environment bustling, the food authentic and the price tag very reasonable.
For four people, we ordered the following (in no particular order):
Sauteed shrimps (清炒蝦仁)
Seems simple, this dish actually requires a good grasp of a Chinese cooking technique called velveting – a process where the meat is coated with egg white, cornstarch and Chinese cooking wine. The end result is that the shrimp is soft, tender and juicy inside, without any trace of corn starch. A masterful dish on its own!
Tossed herb with dried bean curd (马兰头拌香乾）
Another well-known dish from Shanghai. The herb here is Indian Aster.
Five spice bran dough (上海烤麸）
Also known as braised wheat gluten. These spongy cakes are traditionally handmade by washing the wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules removed leaving the sticky insoluble gluten, which does a fine job soaking up the braising liquid.
Crab meat soup dumpling (蟹粉小笼包）& Pan-fried dumping (生煎包）
Pig’s knuckle in brown sauce (上海酱冻蹄）
Carp and shredded radish soup (萝卜丝鲫鱼汤）
This is actually a dish from the Hunan province. The carp is deep-fried first then covered with radish and ginger slowly cooking into soup. The deep-frying process is necessary to produce the milky color of the soup.
Overall we enjoyed each and every dish we ordered. The bill for the 4 of us comes down to $83.09, tax and tip included. And plenty of leftovers to take home. This restaurant is a little on the noisy side. Service is brisk and basic.