Wow, it seems like a "long" time ago since I last time we had a meal at Long's (sorry for the bad attempt at humour...). In all honestly, I'm not even sure why I haven't been back in 5+ years. Well, the fact that I was in search of the best Beef Pancake Roll forced the issue. Greeting us upon arrival was a lineup out the door into the pouring rain... Oh yeah, that might be one of the reasons for not rushing back. Then once seated, we had to share a table in the small dining space. Right, another reason... Maybe the food could override these negatives?
One cannot and I stress, cannot make a visit to Long's without ordering their Wine Chicken. So we decided to order pizza instead. Not. Miss Y was nowhere to be found, so we wouldn't make such a mistake. Served in a small urn of sorts, the chicken benefited from being immersed an impactful sauce with plenty of Shaoxing wine balanced with the right amount of sugar and salt. As for the chicken, it was moist with nicely gelatinized skin. Next, we had the Xiao Long Bao, which completely caught me off guard. We've had them before, but for some reason or another, it was never on my radar for being one of the best in town. Well, they were exactly that with thin and tender skin which held in the considerable amount of soup. The soup itself was sweet and gingery with a background hit of Shaoxing wine. We found the meat to be moist and not overly gritty.
Off to some noodles (since it is in the name of the restaurant...), we got the Chicken Soup Noodles for the kiddies. Mild and sweet with a moderate impact, the soup offered enough flavour for the noodles. The noodles were toothsome while the ample amount of tender chicken and vibrant greens made this a decent bowl despite being ordinary on paper. For the adults, we chose sometime that had more oomph in the Dan Dan Mein. Although it was rather saucy, the noodles were not too soft (still not toothsome). A bit smoky and bordering on a burnt flavour, the meat sauce exhibited minor elements of spiciness (from the bean paste) and the aromatic from the sesame paste/oil.
To complete our dumpling quota, we had the Potstickers as well. These were pan-fried until golden brown on the bottom. Not particularly ground-breaking, except the dumplings were not greasy. Normally, we find restaurant potstickers to be almost fried since they use so much oil. These featured a medium thick dumpling skin which was tender with a bit of chew. Inside, the meat was juicy, tender and full-flavoured. As part of my mission to find the best Beef Pancake Roll for the CRA, we were obliged to get an order. Unlike the past winning entry from Peaceful, the pancake was less greasy and definitely more naan-like in texture. Different, but good in its own right. Inside, the sliced beef shank was nicely gelatinized and seasoned. There was just enough sweet hoisin.
If you think we forgot about their other signature dish, don't worry, we got the Crispy Rice with Salted Egg Yolk Sauce. These little clusters of airy and crispy rice would've been a good snack on their own. However, the chef had the creativity to toss them in salted duck egg yolk. The result? A crispy base coated with the unique aromatic salty oiliness of salted duck egg yolk. A bit gritty, the small clumps of egg yolk nestled in the nooks and crannies of the crispy rice end up being little explosions of flavour with every bite. They should really package this and sell it at T&T. For dessert, we tried the Sweet Pastries which featured a light and flaky exterior while sporting a semi-sweet centre. These were similar to "Lo Poh Beng" or old wives cake (no, I didn't make a joke about it to Viv...). Alright, I'll admit it. I was wrong to avoid Long's for so long (sorry for the sad joke again). The food does outweigh the negatives.
- Food is solid
- Best wine chicken in town
- Rushed, but still okay service
- Uncomfortable dining space
- Long waits with nowhere to wait