Sherman's Food Adventures: January 2023

Top Shanghai

Boy, I haven't been back to Top Shanghai since I was doing the "best XLB in Richmond" blog post.  Seeing that was 2016, yah, I would say it has been awhile.  Upon entering the restaurant, it was nice to see they got rid of the table for 2 right at the door.  That must've been one of the most awkward tables in any restaurant I've ever seen.  Other than that, the tables still are rather close to each other, but now they sport plexiglass dividers.  Thank you Covid-19...

So the thing to get here is the Sang Jeen Bao or Pan-Fried Pork Buns.  These featured an aggressively fried bottom that was crunchy and nutty.  The actual bun was rather thin, which meant it wasn't heavy nor doughy.  Inside, there was a considerable amount of soup that was fatty and hence porky in flavour.  The meat was tender and sweet.  I enjoyed them, but I think the ones at Dong Tai Xiang to be better as well as the ones at Victoria Seafood Restaurant too (the dinner is meh, but the pan-fried buns are one of the best in town).  Also I do realize that these are all different versions (especially, the Cantonese version at Victoria), but I will still compare them.

Of course we had to order the Xiao Long Bao, but we decided on the crab version for something different.  Due to the amount of pork fat, the filling tasted much like the previous dumplings - porky.  Hey, more fat is necessary to create a tender filling, but that also means that is the dominant flavour.  Hence, the crab was rather lost in this other than the intermittent texture.  Dumpling wrapper was medium-thick in parts but mostly thin which was good.

So to get some veggies into the meal, we got the Dry-Fried Green Beans with pork.  This was pretty good with oil-blanched beans that were cooked-through while still maintaining a crunch.  Despite being flash-fried, the dish wasn't overly greasy.  Wok heat was good as the seasoning was completely caramelized to each green bean.  Often, it is hard to keep green beans flavourful as the seasoning slides off of them.  This wasn't the case here.

My favourite dish was the Braised Tofu with Crab Roe and I really wish there was a bowl of rice to eat it with.  However, with the amount of dishes ordered, rice was the last thing we needed (for 2 people).  The silky smooth cubes of tofu were completely intact while the starch-thickened sauce was so flavourful and full of umami.  It was sweet, briny and had that seafood aroma - yummy.  I was literally just scooping it like soup in my bowl.

Next dish was a mistake on my part (or was it?  I remembered ordering "seun hoy chow neen goh"), as I ordered the Rice Cake in Soup Shanghai Style.  What I wanted was stir-fried rice cake, but whatever, we made do with this one.  It wasn't bad though as the soup was comforting and it was a huge portion of soft rice cake (can't help it, when it is sitting in liquid), shredded pork, Napa cabbage and spinach.  

Another tasty dish was the Sauteed Chicken with spicy garlic sauce.  This was full of flavour with definite saltiness accented by spice.  There was good wok heat where the outside of the chicken was dry and caramelized with some smokiness.  However, the chicken was still quite tender (not juicy though).  Again, this would've went well with rice, but we didn't get any.  I merely had it with my rice cake soup...

Last dish was the Spicy Salt Deep Fried Chicken Wings.  This was not on the regular menu and took forever to arrive.  We were more than halfway though our meal by the time it hit the table.  They were not bad with lightly crispy wings with somewhat rendered skin.  The meat was juicy and nicely brined.  I thought the salt could've been more impactful.  In the end, the meal was fine.  I've never thought Top Shanghai as my first choice for Shanghainese cuisine in the Lower Mainland, yet at the same time, the food is respectable.  For me at least, I'd hit up Shanghai Wonderful or Shanghai River first.

The Good:
- Huge menu (could be a negative too)
- Decent eats
- Well-portioned

The Bad:
- There are better places to go though
- Service wasn't bad, but definitely sparse  

Fanny Bay Oyster Bar & Shellfish Market

Although this is my first post ever on Fanny Bay Oyster Bar, I've actually visited the place on several occasions.  It's just that I've never ordered enough to write something substantial about it.  Personally, I feel it is unfair for a restaurant to be judged on one or two dishes.  Finally, I ordered enough to justify a post.  I guess it should be included in the blog anyways since it was awarded Michelin-recommended status recently.  Also, it was a convenient stop just before heading to the Canucks game.  Yes, they lost...

So we made it for happy hour and started with their selection of Oysters off that menu.  From bottom and clockwise, we had the Taylor Pacific, Sand Dune and Sun Seekers.  We found the Taylors to be big and really meaty.  They were a bit earthy and plenty sweet.  The flatter sand dunes were briny and clean-tasting.  We enjoyed the sun seekers the most as they reminded us of kushis being small and delicate with a light  and sweet briny liquor.

Staying with shellfish, we had the Clams & Mussels in a classic white wine sauce.  This was prepared properly where there was not one unopened shell.  Both the clam and mussel meat were buttery and plump.  They were completely seasoned by the aromatic and completely reduced white wine.  There was ample amount of minced garlic that had completely-flavoured the sauce.  There is also an option to add bread to this dish.

We got one dish that was not on the happy hour menu being the Seared Scallops & Soy-Glazed 5-Spice Pork Belly with cauliflower purée, roasted cauliflower, carrots and radicchio in sherry vinaigrette.  As much as fatty pork belly is delicious and sinful, I prefer more meat than fat.  The cubes in this dish were mostly meat with just the right amount of complimentary fat.  Not only were these a bit leaner, the fat itself was well-rendered.  Hence, the meat was tender and juicy while the fat wasn't flabby.  Good amount of caramelized glaze on the outside.  As for the scallops, they were nicely seared and a bit rare inside.  They were buttery and sweet.   The bit of acidity from the vinaigrette kept things bright and lessened the heaviness.

As a side, we also had the Atlantic Lobster Mac sporting lobster bisque sauce and panko gremolata.  Due to the use of large shell pasta, we found pockets of sauce that was full of lobster essence.  With that being said, we wished there was more of it as some shells were dry and a bit bland.  Even though not visible in the picture, there was a decent amount of lobster claw meat hidden within.  Pasta was al dente and the crumbs added an aromatic crunch.

Lastly, we had the Truffle Fries with a side of aioli.  These fresh-cut fries were quite good with a crispy exterior and a tender potatoey interior.  They were lightly truffled, which was good, but we would've liked to see more parm.  Overall, this was much like all of my previous visits where the food was solid and the oysters were fresh and shucked properly.  Also like previous times, this is a great place to drop by just before a game or event at the stadiums nearby.

The Good:
- Nice variety of oysters at all times
- Solid eats
- Great place for just before the game or event

The Bad:

- Seating can be a bit tight
- Can get pricey, but what is cheap these days anyways

Royal Palace (Dinner Service)

After a fairly good Dim Sum service at the newish Royal Palace, we decided to come back for a casual holiday meal.  We considered the set meals, but they were pretty pricey (for a casual meal that is, it is pretty standard for set menus at Chinese restaurants).  Hence, we decided to order off their regular menu.  However, we were presented with the holiday special menu and despite the limited selections, we were able to find things we liked.

Starting off with the Fish Maw & Crab Meat Soup, it arrive shockingly small.  Turns out that the person taking our order didn't alert us that the one on the special menu was not the really big bowl (we would've gladly paid more for a bigger bowl).  No matter, we just rolled with it (albeit with half-full bowls).  The soup was decent but the fish maw was lower quality hence being a bit crunchy despite soaked and cooked through.  The base was decently flavourful, but the seasoning was light.  There was a general lack of crab though.  Viscosity was bang on with just enough starch.

Interestingly, the Wok-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic arrived next.  This is not what we were expecting after the soup, but whatever, we dug in.  It was prepared properly where the wok heat was enough to ensure no excess moisture was at the bottom of the plate.  Furthermore, the shoots themselves were fairly fresh being tender with a crunch.  Seasoning was on point while the dish wasn't too greasy.

We ended up getting a fairly big Lobster with consomme on a wonton noodle base.  The noodles were a bit soft and the ample amount of sauce probably didn't help.  The sauce did taste good though with plenty of seasoning and a plethora of aromatics from the onions.  The lobster itself was fried just enough that the meat was cooked through without sacrificing the buttery snap texture.  Lots of natural lobster flavour in the dish.

Also unexpected, the Yeung Chow Fried Rice arrived right after.  Hey, I'm not complaining, as I want to eat the rice with the dishes, but usually it comes later.  Dry and nutty, the rice was subjected to enough wok heat so that it was caramelized.  The rice was plenty seasoned and as you can see, there was enough shrimp, BBQ pork, peas and egg nestled within.  To top it off, the dish wasn't greasy either.  One of the better versions we've had of late.

Before I could even dig into the Black Pepper Beef Tenderloin Cubes with mushrooms, cucumber, peppers and onions, my mother-in-law scooped up her portion with her own spoon.  Ew...  At least she was quiet.  Anyways, the dish was also the beneficiary of "wok hei" and it had little moisture on the plate.  It also helped they thicken any moisture with starch too.  The beef was tender while the veggies were crunchy.  I liked how they kept the seasoning mild.

Even though it is a rather defaultish dish, we had to the the Sweet & Sour Pork.  This version was made with pork cheek, hence the texture was fatty and full of rebound.  Even though it was plenty sauced, there was still a bit of crispiness from the batter.  I liked how each piece was fairly large, hence it retained plenty of juiciness within.  As for the sauce, there was just a touch too much, but it was nicely balanced.

To get more meat into the meal, we ended up with a whole Crispy Fried Chicken.  As evidenced in the picture, the skin was fried to golden brown.  It was beautifully rendered and it appeared that they air-dried it enough for the skin to be thin and crispy.  The chicken itself was lightly-brined so that it was flavourful and mostly tender.  The breast meat was not juicy per se, but wasn't dry either.  I much prefer the dark meat anyways.

Our last dish was the Ling Cod Hot Pot.  It featured big pieces of flaky and buttery ling cod that was only lightly-battered in a starch coating.  There wasn't any "sauce" per se as all of the seasoning had absorbed into the batter.  hence, there was plenty of sweet, salty and umaminess going around.  This dish was mainly fish with not much filler.  Overall, we thought the food at Royal Palace to be decent and acceptable in portion size.  Definitely an option in the area for Cantonese eats.

The Good:
- Generally good dishes
- Decent portion size
- Service was okay, but like Dim Sum, they are lacking in staff

The Bad:
- A bit lacking in staff (understandable these days though)
- Person taking our order could've offered more advice (ie. about the size of the soup and possibly ordering more dishes as we had no leftovers)



I've been a fan of Chef Justin Lee (known as Justin Ell as well) since his days at Crowbar.  His eclectic and sometimes vegetable-forward food is heavily influenced by creating flavours by employing fermentation, aging and rendered animal fats.  He had a brief stint at Superflux and then moved into some fancy digs at Miantiao in the Shangri-La.  However, I've always found his food to be accessible with little fuss.  Hence, it was completely out-of-its-natural-element in Downtown.  I was truly pleased to see him head the compact restaurant, Elephant, steps away from another favourite of mine - Straight & Marrow.  It is almost like the prodigal son has returned home.  Now sporting a well-deserved status of being a Michelin-Recommended restaurant, it was a matter of time I had to visit the place.

Beyond the "must-have" Cabbage Bolognese, the Omakase menu is the thing to get here.  You can actually ensure you get the aforementioned dish if you add a supplement.  To start our meal we has some snacks including the roasted Seiglinde Potato with tofu aged in cannellini miso, preserved beans, pickled onion and peanuts.  Essentially a fancy potato salad, this was packed with umami.  Beyond the firm, yet tender potatoes, there was a thick creaminess that had a nice mouth feel.  The crunch from the tangy beans as well as the acidic onions added texture and brightness.

We went from subtle umaminess to absolute flavour bomb with the Rutabaga with dangerous crab seasoning and peanuts.   The first thing to hit was the spice, then I got the aroma of the peanuts and then at the tail end, there was sweet brininess from the crab. Again, umami strikes again where flavours were not reliant on the usual ingredients.  The crunch of the rutabaga was appealing and appetizing.  I could've eaten a whole bowl of this.

Our last snack was the Roasted Radish with Southern Thai curry with fermented spot prawns.  We loved the burst of sweet juices from the turnips upon our first bites.  The curry was full of body and depth.  Once again, fermentation struck again where the richness of the curry was thanks to the excellent balance between spice, sweetness and aromatics.  Similar to the last dish, the brininess from the fermented spot prawns made this curry.

Onto another genius creation by Chef Justin was the Cloudy 2 Kinds of Turnip Soup.  Although there was no dairy in this, it was so rich and creamy thanks to the aged pork fat.  The collagen from the pork fat created a nice silky viscosity as well as offering a meatiness to compliment the sweetness and earthiness of the turnips.  I found the aroma to be intoxicating with every sip as my nose was in direct line with the warm vapours.

On the topic of using animal fats to bring out textures and flavours, we had the Chicories & Daikon with tarragon, apple, walnut and roast beef dressing.  One bite and it was rather obvious we weren't not dealing with olive oil.  The creaminess and fattiness of the dressing was full of body and bite.  It was nicely balanced by the equal parts of acidity and sweetness.  Lots of crunch from the ingredients and hidden underneath, delicious juicy roast nuggets of daikon.

Other than the rutabaga, our favourite dish was the Kohlrabi with smoked pig's head and egg.  This featured tender slices of kohlrabi that still maintained a bite.  The smokiness from the meat was definitely there as well as the creamy fattiness that had been rendered.  Again, full of umami and further amped by the ample amount of clothbound aged cheddar.  With just enough fresh cracked pepper, there was a little bit of cacio e pepe vibes in this dish.

Moving onto the Risotto, it was made with cabbage and potato as well as super aged 5-year toma.  This was expertly prepared where the rice was cooked through while still being chewy.  Furthermore, the risotto spread on the plate evenly.  It was plenty cheesy and rich, but the cabbage did provide interludes of juicy vegetableness.  Now with the aged toma, it was nutty, a bit salty and plenty sharp.  Loved this dish.

For dessert, we were served Preserved and Fermented Peaches with milk and topped with olive oil.  This was whipped and served much like a Melona bar.  Hence it was creamy, sweet and tang with the a "semi-freddo" form of texture.  This was a nice little bite to end a very Chef Justin meal.  His methods of creating flavour are thoughtful and creative.  The food is where it belongs - in a small restaurant on the East Side where it is both accessible and delicious.  Bravo.

The Good:
- One word: Umami
- Well-priced
- No fuss

The Bad:
- Limited space, so make a reso or you will be out-of-luck
- Be patient, it is a one man show in the kitchen, however, Chef Justin Lee is very efficient

Ramen Bella

Sigh, another year, another birthday...  I am indeed getting old...  Well, the positive part of it is all of the birthday dinners!  One of them is with Jacqueline, because her birthday is literally 2 days after mine.  We originally, planned to hit up Matsuzushi for their good value Omakase, but I had no luck calling to make a reservation as they do not answer their phone nor clear their mailbox.  I gave up after 5 days and resorted to heading there when they opened to see if I could score a table.  Well nope and really, they had no really good excuses for the frustrating way to make a reservation there.  So we decided to drive a bit further and just do something simple in Ramen Bella in Poco.

Gosh, the place is so hidden in a corner next to Michael's, we initially thought we were in the wrong parking lot.  We eventually found it and sat down in one of their 5 available tables.  We started with the Chicken Karaage and it was quite good.  We found 5 large pieces of fried chicken thigh that were juicy and tender.  There was enough seasoning with the chicken and the batter than we really did not need to dip it into the sauce.

Jacqueline went for the Double Pork Ramen with spicy miso chicken broth, pork chashu, ground pork, green onion, garlic flakes, nori flakes and half ajitama egg.  We found the broth quite creamy, but not overly thick.  There was the definite fermented flavour of miso and a decent amount of spice.  This was satisfying due to the amount of pork involved.  Although the egg was perfectly custardy in the middle, it was not marinated enough and had no flavour.

For myself, I had the Shoyu Black Ramen with firm noodle, soy sauce based chicken broth, chopped pork, 3 slices of pork chashu, black garlic oil, mushroom, green onions, garlic flakes, sushi nori, spinach, ajitama egg and corn.  Again, the broth was creamy and full of depth.  I liked how it wasn't too salty.  The chashu was fatty and melted in my mouth.  Loved the amount of black garlic oil as some places don't give you enough.  I found the noodles not as firm as I would've personally liked, but they weren't soft either.  Again, the egg was a disappointment as it has no flavour whatsoever.  

For good measure, I added the Tonkatsu Set that included rice, miso soup, sesame dressing, cabbage salad and tonkatsu sauce.  This was a pretty good value at $17.50 as it included 2 pretty decently-sized pork cutlets.  I found the panko coating to be crispy without being greasy.  The pork was a bit over-marinated as it lost some of the natural pork texture.  With that being said, it was still good.  Overall, we thought the food at Ramen Bella to be good especially since the Tri-Cities isn't known for great ramen spots.

The Good:
- Chicken broth is silky and full of umami
- Fair portions
- Nice people

The Bad:
- Ajitama egg prepared well, but not marinated enough

Kumo Sukiyaki

Remember Posh?   It was the only AYCE sukiyaki spot (with several locations) in the Lower Mainland.  I didn't mind the place and in fact, was a very good value.  Was it truly authentic?  Well, let's not dwell on that because Vancouver is not exactly teeming with authentic Japanese food in general.  Now there is a new spot in Richmond where Toyotomi used to be (and a rice noodle place more recently).  It is rumoured this new restaurant, Kumo Sukiyaki, is run by the same people behind Shin Ka Gyuu.  Yes, there is some controversy over their business practices, but without actual experience on my part, I'm going to stay out of that and concentrate on the food and service.

So the AYCE is available in 3 levels (weekday/weekend) - Silver ($30.99/$32.99), Gold ($54.99/$56.99) and Black ($76.99/$78.99).  Silver gives you 3 meat options, Gold adds 2 Wagyu choices while Black adds 2 more Wagyu items as well as one slice of A5.  Unlike Chinese hot pot, Sukiyaki involves very little liquid in the hot cast iron pan/pot.  There is a mix of soy, sugar, sake and water.  There is a "setup service fee" of $17.99 (good if you have a big group, but not so much with 2 people), so consider this like paying for your broth at Chinese hot pot places.  It really should only be $5.00pp in my opinion.  Traditionally, we only see beef and pork options, but I've seen other meats included sometimes.  After quickly cooking the meat, dipping it into raw egg is the way to finish the sukiyaki experience.

We ended up with the Gold series menu that included the 3 meats in the Silver series menu (Pork Belly, Angus Beef Short Plate, AAA Boneless Chuck Flap) and 2 Wagyu choices (Wagyu Beef Striploin, Wagyu Beef Short Plate).  I thought the 2 extra Wagyu meats were well-worth it in my opinion.  We thought the Wagyu Beef Striploin was fantastic being meaty yet super tender.  With that being said, I can see most people being happy with the 3 Silver series menu choices as well.  They were also fatty enough and tender. 

There was also a small selection of Veggies that included cabbage, winter melon, crown daisy, tofu, shiitake, enoki, oyster mushroom, shimeji, radish, carrot and yam noodles.  They also have fish tofu, beef balls and sprouts on the menu, but they didn't include it in our bowl even though we asked for everything.  Furthermore, rice, udon and glass noodles are also included, but we didn't order any but the glass noodles (which we also didn't receive).

There was also some appies including Ebi Mayo, Takoyaki, Kimchi, Tako Wasabi and Seaweed Salad.  On the menu, 2 items were blanked out and I really thought a few more options would've been nice.  As for the things we did have, the tempura shrimp were decent but a bit greasy.  Takoyaki was a little shriveled but still decent.  Even though the tako wasabi was cooked, it was tasty and nicely textured.  The seaweed salad was standard while the kimchi was on the tangier side.

Onto dessert, we were surprised to find Chocolate Mini-Ice Cream bars (from Costco) that were quite good.  There was also Mochi Ice Cream (not sure where the mochi was though) and Fresh Pineapple.  Also, they offer unlimited drinks for $5.00pp (pop, juices and yakult).  With all things considered, I thought the pricing was fair for what we got.  Meat quality was good and the service was friendly despite the place being super busy.  If you do the Silver series menu, I consider it a good value especially if you eat a lot.  The free parking in the lot above is also a bonus as the area is not known to have a lot of street parking. I do feel the setup fee for $17.99 is unnecessary though.

The Good:
- Good meat quality
- Good service despite being busy
- Reasonable pricing

The Bad:
- They really need checklist ordering system to reduce the errors and for better efficiency
- Set up fee of $17.99 is a bit steep
- Need better exhaust system, the place was getting rather humid


Bin 4 (Burnaby)

Ever since my first visit to Bin 4 in Victoria, I've become quite fond of their burgers.  Are they best I've had?  Well no, but they are still good and since they include sides and also a choice of dip, I believe they are a decent value.  Even more so after 9:00pm as they have their 50% off special as long as you order a drink of some sort.  Therefore, we've made it a regular spot on Monday nights after softball during Spring/Summer.  However, I've never gone with my family as the closest one is on Granville Street.  Now they have a new location in the former ABC/Ricky's in the Accent Inn on Boundary.  Well, I guess we just had to go right?

So other than some appies (that seem to reuse many of the ingredients in their burgers, which is smart), their menu is focused on burgers.  My son went for the Big Spenny with Brant Lake Wagyu, aged orange cheddar, smoked bacon, Bin 4 burger sauce and lettuce (he omitted the tomatoes and pickles).  He found the patty to be a bit well-done but still moist and very beefy tasting.  That thick-cut and lean bacon was impactful texturally as well as being smoky and salty.  For his dip, he went for the roasted garlic aioli which was aromatic and garlicky.

For myself, I had the Black & Blue featuring 63 Acres premium beef (I went for a 1/2lb patty), Bin 4 blackening spice, Emrite blue cheese, crispy onions, chipotle aioli, lettuce and tomato.  I found the patty a touch dry since it was cooked a bit too much.  The exterior was a bit crispy and there was good meat flavour though.  Since there was so much blue cheese, the whole burger was quite sharp.  For my dip, I went for the curry aioli, which is my personal favourite.

My dad went for something a bit more healthy in Off The Hook with seared rare sesame-crusted ahi tuna, crispy wonton strips, sriracha cilantro sauce, fresh cilantro, tapenade, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato and red onion.  As you can see, the tuna was prepared perfectly.  It was soft and delicate while the crispy wonton strips added crunch.  Not sure if the burger needed all those condiments though as the tapenade was a bit too salty.  He chose a side salad rather than fries.

Viv ordered the Italian Job with Fraser Valley free-run chicken breast, smoked bacon, bruschetta, fresh basil, balsamic reduction, roasted garlic aioli and lettuce.  This was quite good with all of the flavours making an impact.  The chicken itself was a bit thin, but not dry though.  The bacon was quite pronounced.  Would've liked even more balsamic.  She had the red onion rings and they were good.  Loved the crispy breading.  For her dip, she chose the chipotle aioli that did have a kick.

My daughter ended up with The Bistro with the same chicken breast, smoked bacon, double cream brie, balsamic onion jam, roasted garlic aioli, lettuce and tomato.  This was all about the bacon and onion jam where it was both salty and quite sweet.  Nice soft brioche keeping things light and airy.  I haven't mentioned the kennebec fries yet and well, they were okay.  Not as crispy as I've had before.  Chalk it up to a new location with new everything?  She went for the truffle aioli for her dip.  My mom ended up with the same thing, so nothing more to talk about here.  All-in-all, the meal was good and considering how expensive everything is these days, it was reasonably-priced.

The Good:
- Specializes in one thing and generally gets it right
- Side and dip included, so decent value
- Easy to get to and easy to park

The Bad:
- Fries were not as crispy as I would've liked

Max Noodle House

Boy, I haven't been back to Max Noodle in Richmond for over 10 years!  Good news is that they are still around and I had the chance to visit it again.  It used to be Mak's Noodle (at least the English name) which was related to the Hong Kong store in Central.  However, it is just Max Noodle now and at the very least, brings Mak's Noodle vibes to the Lower Mainland.  Portions are not large here, rather, they concentrate on quality and execution.  

Naturally, the thing to get is their Wonton Noodles, but I decided to add Siu Gau as well.  Siu Gau are bigger than wontons and have the addition of wood ear mushrooms.  I would like to point out that, although the bowl is smaller than most other wonton noodles in town, the amount of dumplings and noodles seem to be the same.  There is just less soup.  About that soup, it was flavourful with a nice briny saltiness and aroma.  The noodles were chewy with a snap, just perfect.  I found the wontons to be excellent with bouncy shrimp that were sweet with a bit of white pepper.  Siu Gau were equally good with the crunch of the wood ear.

We also got the Lo Mein with Shredded Pork in spicy brown sauce.  This is another classic and although I love the flavour, the amount of pork fat was a bit much.  Back to the taste, it was meaty and packed full of salty sweetness with a kick.  Noodles were chewy and dry where there was just enough moisture (and fat) with the meat to coat each strand.  For the strips of pork that wasn't fat, they were tender with the sauce completely soaking into it.

Something a bit more mild was the Sampan Congee (called seafood on the menu) with fresh squid, dried squid and pork skin.  I found the congee itself to be rather mild, but still adequately seasoned.  The viscosity was thick enough to coat a spoon without being clumpy.  It was smooth and silky where it benefitted for the slow cooking process.  There wasn't enough ingredients in my opinion so it lacked the usual body.  We got a side of Salty Donut and it was hot and crispy.  Inside, it was airy and light while the amount of salt was enough to flavour the dough.

We ordered the Deep Fried Bean Curd (Tofu) and it was also very good.  These silky tofu triangles were super crispy on the outside while still buttery smooth inside.  They were coated in spiced salt and although it was good, we wished there was more of it.  Served on the side was raw garlic vinegar dip, which added a sharp tanginess.  Overall, the food at Max Noodle was as good as I had remembered.  I think it is one of the best places for Wonton Noodles even though some people consider it too small of a portion.  I think it is enough and the quality is top-notch.

The Good:
- Excellent wonton noodles
- Focused menu
- That fried tofu is stealthily good

The Bad:
- Small portions for those who care
- Parking is typical Richmond small parking lot and tight spots

Search this Site