The truth is, you don’t have to break the bank to eat well in the city. If you do your research right, you’d be surprised to find how many great budget-friendly options we have in the Lower Mainland. Whenever I’m in the search for an inexpensive meal, I tend to gravitate towards Chinese food. And the first restaurant that popped into my mind? Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine next to London Drugs in the Joyce-Collingwood neighbourhood (East Vancouver). I’m sure many of you have seen and heard about the the notoriously high rate of closures occupying this space before their opening in 2015. They seem to be doing well so I do help they stick it out!
Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine is best known for their cheap, delicious, fast-casual Chinese food. The service here is efficient and surprisingly… friendly! The boyfriend and I wanted something super quick and easy since we both had to go our separate ways after dinner. Parking can be a hassle at the plaza due to many other restaurants that are located in its vicinity. Walking in at 6:30pm, the place was relatively busy with many solo diners and small parties. We sat right by the kitchen area which was not the greatest in terms of seating as their tables are quite small. We ended up having to put some of our food items on the table next to us because it was so cramped!
Chili garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce
Steamed Pork Buns ($5.25)Their mini pork dumplings (xiao long bao) are hand-made on site. Every order comes with six pieces served on a bamboo steamer. The skin is definitely thicker and doughier than other competitors. Size-wise, it’s comparable to Long’s Noodle House, big and plump! I wasn’t a huge fan of the filling as it is rather bland. Not the greatest in my opinion but price is a steal here!
We had to ask for some ginger slices to go with the vinegar for our mini pork dumplings.
Pan Fried Pork Buns (5 pcs $5.75) There are many different culinary techniques used to make this dish. The traditional method is to have the buns pan-fried first while the filling is still raw. The exterior had a nice, crisp golden brown bottom but the top was a bit soggy. Compared to the pork dumplings, the dough is intentionally thicker allowing the meat juice to retain inside the filling. As you bite into it, a bit of soup should be spilling out! Best to eat them fresh otherwise they will turn soggy from all the moisture.
Shanghai Style Pan Fried Thick Noodles ($8.75) Well executed dish with great ‘wok heat’. It’s rare to come across restaurants that execute this dish well as most restaurants either skimp out on ingredients or the noodles end up basking in oil. Noodles were nice and chewy with plenty of meat and vegetable every bite. Definitely a stand out item worth getting here. Almost every table had this order.
All in all, Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine was a worthwhile experience and both the boyfriend and I have agreed to make a mental note to come back for more!