When people talk about xiao long bao (XLB), the famous Din Tai Fung is on the list. Unfortunately, they are only available in the United States. Vancouver has some good alternatives however people drive hours to Seattle for Din Tai Fung. The Shanghainese restaurant secretly took over the space next to London Drugs on Kingsway two years ago. Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine worked miracles for the past few years at a location where restaurants do not survive long. There are lineups every day in front of this small restaurant. When people are willing to wait a long time for XLB, the place must be exceptional and comparable to Din Tai Fung.
There are two types of buns that are the soul of Shanghai cuisine – steamed pork buns (also known as xiao long bao and pan-fried pork buns (also known as sheng jian bao). In order to know how authentic Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine, one should order these two type of buns on the menu.
Mouthwatering homestyle xiao long bao
The dumplings may look delicate but the thin skin wrap around the juicy pork filling and aromatic soup is not as fragile as it looks. To appreciate the beauty of the dumpling one must bite a small hole on the side to allow the steaming, hot soup to flow out into the spoon.
Patrons can then enjoy the rich and porky flavour of the soup. They can then pop the entire dumpling into their mouth and bite into the tender and moist pork filling. Wang’s also provides black vinegar, chilli oil, and soy sauce as tableside condiments, to satisfy customers’ diverse taste buds.
Homestyle sheng jian bao
Similar to xiao long bao, homestyle sheng jian bao’s (SJB) are steamed buns with a crunchy and crispy fried bottom. SJB’s are also filled with juicy pork fillings with pork flavoured broth. SJB’s are difficult to make because it is harder to balance because of their crunchy and fluffy texture. Wang’s succeeded again in creating a pleasing dish.
Compared to other restaurants the SJB’s at Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine are less greasy but remained crispy. You will notice the steaming hot broth bursts on your first bite.
What really stands out about the food at Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine is how the delicate flavours are not accompanied by an abundance of grease. Despite the long lineup, the service is fairly fast, so the waiting time is shorter than you would expect. With a small space like this, it is preferable to come with a smaller group.