Yu Xiang Yuan [Restaurant]

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One night, Jax had a hankering (yes, hankering) for some Shanghai Xiao long bao (soup dumplings).  Using a famous search engine that starts with G and ends with oogle, we found one close by on Fraser Street.  Thinking it would suck, we decided to skip it, and head into Richmond for some tried-and-true ones that we knew we liked.

Fast forward to a week later, after we were pleasantly surprised by how good the Korean was at So Hyang, we decided to give this other non-indian-restaurant-on-Fraser a try.  Not finding much information about it online other than the name Yu Xiang Yuan, we went in without any expectations.  After eating a couple items for lunch, we knew we had to come back to try more dishes (and also come back for a proper review!)  Peaceful Restaurant would be a similar comparison for the style of food served here. — Hand made noodles, and lots of dumplings.

Taken from bcrestaurants.ca

We decided to come back with Jax’s family, as this is definitely their style of food.  Inside is pretty non-descript.  A few tables, not much décor — pretty standard old school Chinese restaurant feel.  There is a large window which lets you see the chef hand-craft the noodles, and buns.

A bit of a disclaimer — I don’t really care for this style of food, as my white flour allergy does not let me eat most of this stuff without much suffering.  My opinion of the food will be massively skewed.

Jax’s father saw they sold a Shan Dong Style Pancake, which he hadn’t had in quite some time.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what he remembered it as, and was different from what he had wanted.  I tried a small piece of both the outer ring and inner ring, and it seemed like a waste of a dish.  Completely filler, with no substance behind it.

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The Xiao Long Bao were great.  The wrapper wasn’t thick, but wasn’t so thin that it broke when you picked it up.  The meat inside was extremely hot — even hotter than the soup!  Jax and I usually order an entire dish each.  I would rank them at the same level as most of the Shanghainese places in Richmond.

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These Pan Fried Dumplings with Pork were very ordinary.  Jax really liked them, but I found them too doughy.  They are good value for what you pay though.  I also do like the upside-down presentation and you can’t beat watching your food being made before you eat it.

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I don’t know why, but every time we go out, we always order Wonton in Chili Oil, even though we make it at home frequently.  Do we like paying more $$$ for something that we can make cheaply at home?  Apparently so.  Still, this was decent, simply for the chili the wonton were soaking in.  The pepper had a great numbing feel (mala) and fantastic flavour that we don’t replicate at home.  We actually used the leftover oil in all of the other dishes.

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Green Onion Pancakes also seem like a waste of a dish to me.  Especially when you can order …

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Beef Rolls instead!  This dish is the reason to come here.  Every restaurant that offers beef rolls, I always have to try.  This is definitely one of the best I’ve had.  While not pretty, nor exciting, the flavour and texture really shine.  It has an old-time homemade feel to it, which makes it that much better.  If you are looking for healthy, this is not the dish to order.

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The real specialties of this restaurant though, are their noodles.  Offering numerous cuts of noodles — Fried Cutting, Dragging, Pushing, and Round — each are hand made to order and you can truly taste and feel the difference.  Watching the chef work the dough is always amazing, as well as seeing how each variety comes out.  From him twirling the large mound of dough, to him slicing pieces off of it directly into the wok, you know that you will get a good meal.

This time, we ordered the Fried Noodles with Cumin Lamb, and they were exactly what we expected it would be.

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Overall, this is a great mom and pops homestyle restaurant.  We’ve been back quite a few times, and we haven’t had an inconsistent meal yet.  Do yourself a favour, and skip Peaceful, and come here instead!

Food: 4/5

Service: Uhm, it’s a mom and pops Chinese restaurant … enough said

Overall: 8/10

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