Sherman's Food Adventures: Suhang


Oh boy, we haven't officially been back to Suhang since 2010.  Now I say "officially" because I have been back in 2016 in my quest to find the best Xiao Long Bao in Richmond.  In reality, Suhang has been one of the best places in the Lower Mainland for XLBs for quite some time.  Hence, with my cousin (Cable Car Guy) was visiting from the Bay Area, I felt this was the place we would go since he was craving XLBs (he went to Shanghai River with us last time he was in town).

Not sure why we ordered the Peking Duck (because we normally want to eat more of the Dim Sum items), but my mom wanted it.  It turned out to be a bit hit and miss though.  We asked for more meat attached to the skin and they did that perfectly.  However, the skin wasn't uniformly crispy and there was quite a bit of fat.  The accompanying crepes were excellent being thin, soft and a bit chewy.

We chose the Lettuce Wrap as our second course for the Peking duck.  There is no way around saying this, but it was terrible.  The pieces of duck were stir-fried far too long, hence became dry and chewy.  Furthermore, the amount of dark soy not only meant the dish was not particularly appealing to look it, the caramelization made the dish rather salty.  At the very least, the veggies were still crunchy and the lettuce was prepared properly.

So here we are with 2 versions of their Xiao Long Bao.  We had the regular version first and noticed right away that the dumpling skin was rather thick and somewhat chewy.  For some reason, half of them were deflated where the soup had leaked out.  The other half did have soup and it was good with a meaty sweetness as well as gingery and shaoxing wine notes.  The pork filling was tender, yet a touch gritty.  As for the Crab Xiao Long Bao, we also found that half were also devoid of soup.   They were pretty much the same as the regular version except for the addition of crab meat.  It did add some sweet brininess, but I would've liked a bit more impact.

Continuing on with pork-stuffed things, we had the Pan-Fried Pork Buns as well.  These were pretty solid with perfectly seared bottom where it was brown (bordering on becoming burnt, but that is a good thing) and crispy.  Due to that, it was nutty and aromatic.  The bun itself was somewhere between fluffy and dense.  Inside, the pork filling was similar to the XLBs being a touch gritty.  The soup inside was sweet and a touch porky.

Cable Car Guy and I noticed the Spareribs with Wuxi-Style Sauce on the menu (the picture was quite delicious-looking).  However, the actual dish did not resemble the menu photo in any way.  With that being said, it still was quite tasty and the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender.  The whole dish ate quite sweet and it could've used a bit more vinegar for balance.

Of course we had to order the kid's favourite dish in the Shanghai Stir-Fried Rice Cakes.  Despite its pale appearance (this needed some more dark soy), the dish did have enough caramelization via sufficient wok hei (with a very hot wok!).  Therefore, the flavours were caramelized.  Texturally, the rice cakes were a bit soft, but still had chew.  We really wished to added more shredded pork and veggies to it though.

Staying on the carb train, I decided to try their Dan Dan Mein (noodles).  As you can see, this was rather brothy.  This resulted in the watered-down flavours.  That was really too bad as the peanut sauce, chili sauce and peanuts were really tasty together.  The peanut flavour still came through and the spice level was muted (due to the amount of broth).  Noodles were nicely al dente though.

Staying with the classics, we ordered the Szechuan Beef Noodle.  This was pretty good with a broth that was on the milder side in terms of seasoning, but it did have enough spiciness.  Again, the noodles were al dente and the spinach was not overcooked.  The best part was the ample amount of sliced beef shank.  These were fall-apart tender and took on all the flavours of the stewing liquid with some spice and liquorice notes.

To get some more veggies into the meal, we opted for a pretty standard choice in the Stir-Fried Pea Shoots with Garlic.  We found the portion size to be quite generous (as pea shoots cook down quite a bit).  In terms of preparation, the dish as wok-fried with enough heat that there was not residual moisture on the place.  It was seasoned well and it was not greasy.

Our last dish was the Salted Salmon Fried Rice and for me at least, I really enjoyed it.  The big chunks of moist salted salmon were plentiful and hence impactful.  Chewy and nutty, the rice was texturally on point with enough seasoning.  Plenty of high wok heat caramelizing the flavours.  So this dish was good, but the whole meal itself was inconsistent.  Maybe our expectations were too high?  I felt our recent Shanghainese meal at Yuan's Garden to be superior all across the board.  Maybe this was an off night?  Hope not, because it lags behind many of their competitors in Richmond.

The Good:
- Surprisingly attentive service
- Decent portion sizes
- Seating is fairly spacious

The Bad:

- Food is hit and miss


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