Sunday, 5 January 2014

Vancouver Eats: Long's Noodle House

The prized xiaolongbao at Long's Noodle House
The other day my family and I went for lunch at Long's Noodle House on Main Street at 32nd Avenue.

The delicious beef rolls aren't soggy
It's a very popular Shanghainese restaurant that we have eaten at many times before. The place is not very big and always has lineups which is why you either have to arrive early or eat late -- and make a reservation!

By chance we managed to get a table at 1pm in the crammed space that Chinese -- both Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking diners, as well as the odd Caucasians keen for a cheap meal.

Long's Noodle House was started by a Shanghainese couple, with the husband in the kitchen as he used to work in a hotel kitchen and his wife is out front serving customers and during off hours she's busy wrapping dumplings.

Hearty beef noodles with spinach
She used to have a Bluetooth attached to her ear so that she could answer phone calls for reservations and take out while carrying dishes and cleaning tables. As well as being efficient she remembers regular customers and is quick to make comments and suggestions about the food.

One of the restaurant's signature dishes is the drunken chicken that is presented in a small pot where the chicken has been marinating for a while and then taken out of the refrigerator for quick serving. The tender meat has the Shaoxing wine delicate flavour and taste.

We also had the beef rolls, with shredded beef, cilantro and hoisin sauce wrapped in a soft pastry that did not go limp from the sauce.

Another winner was the braised beef noodle in soup with thick slices of tender beef with some spinach leaves mixed with thick noodles in a flavourful broth. The same goes for the zhajiangmian, cooked noodles in a large bowl with minced pork sauce on top with cucumber julienne. It's more of a summer dish, but still had a hearty feeling in the stomach afterwards.

Zhajiangmian is another noodle option
The main event was the xiaolongbao. These are wrapped by the wife and these little packages are worth waiting for. While the skin is on the thick side, it holds a lot of the soup inside which is amazing! It's piping hot so you have to be careful when eating it. The only downside is that the restaurant is stingy with its vinegar and we had to ask for refills twice but they still gave very little vinegar.

A fun dish is the spicy wontons that sit in some chilli oil for a bit of a kick, but nothing incendiary, and not that impressive in retrospect compared to the xiaolongbao. The same goes for the panfried dumplings that were solid and straightforward.

We were pretty much full by the end of the meal -- that we wolfed down in about half an hour. It's not a place to linger so we quickly made our exit so that they next group of hungry diners could have their share.

Spicy wontons with a subtle chilli taste
Long's Noodle House
4853 Main Street
604 879 7879

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