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Wednesday 18 January 2012

Shanghai 456, Edmonton AB - back for a family dinner

With the holidays, it was no surprise we went to a couple of our favourite restaurants when relatives came into town (well, restaurants that remained open during the holidays). On a busy day after boxing week shopping, we headed to this unpretentious joint for some tasty Shanghainese fare. Being indecisive (and hungry), we went with a 6 person set meal and added on a couple extra dishes to round things out.  Of course, one of the extra dishes was their infamous xiao long baos.  We were looking forward to their special pan fried buns, but they only make them on Saturdays and holidays now, instead of the weekend and holidays.

Assortment of four cold appetizer platter
This cold appetizer platter had pieces of drunken chicken moist and flavorful sitting in a little pool of wine.  Beside the chicken were some savory braised vegetarian bean curd rolls stuffed full of slivered carrots, bean sprouts and bamboo shoots.  On the top is a pile of springy tangy pickled jelly fish with a hint of spiciness. Nom! 

Last but not least (I listed off only 3 of the four items), was a few pieces of traditional cold fried fish drenched in a slightly cloyingly sweet sauce.  The fish is off to the left, while the braised vegetarian rolls are off to the right in this pic.

Vegtable and tofu soup
Initially I thought this savoury soup was vegetarian until I noticed little bits of ground pork in it. There was lots of bits of kelp, carrots and chunks soft creamy tofu along with small pieces of tender pork rounding out this rich and savory soup.  I messed up the exposure on the pic, so hopefully, the tofu pieces don't glare like crazy on your screen!

Sauteed fish with veges "Chau lau yiu peen"
While the presentation is lacking, the flavor is not. Pieces of super silky tender white fish fillet are cooked to perfection and laced with a light savory glaze with mixed veges (carrots, snap peas, black fungus- a crisp textured Chinese mushroom and green onions) dotting the platter's landscape.

Green beans sauteed with dried shrimp and garlic
A favorite of ours, this rendition had green beans sauteed to a tender crisp, with oodles of flavor from lots of salty savory dried shrimp and lots and lots and lots of chopped garlic and a sprinkle of chili flakes. Nomnomnom!

Xiao long bao
The infamous xiao long bao.  A visiting uncle who never had them at Shanghai 456 started saying wowowow! after biting into the paper thin wrapper enclosing a burst of savory soup and a tasty little nugget of meat inside. Mmmmm.  Its a good thing we ordered a double order so there was enough to go around.

Double cooked duck "Hang sew gn-ap"
Stewed and then deep deep fried to a flaky crisp, this duck dish is not only unique, its quite tasty. As duck doesn't have much meat to it, if you are going in a larger group, get a full order rather than the half order (1/2 order shown). Its served with little plain white steamed buns in the shape of fortune cookies that are supposed to balance out the richness of the duck, but I think we're making it a tradition in our family... We always eat most of the duck before we remember to eat them with the buns!

Stewed beef and tendons
Small chunks of beef are stewed with chewy-soft pieces of beef tendon with a few chunks of sweet bell peppers and sauteed onions swimming in a rich, salty savory sauce.  Topped with green onions, this dish is best served with some white jasmine rice to soak up the salty savory gravy.

Sweet and sour jumbo shrimp with onions
Definitely not your run of the mill sweet and sour shrimp. For one, its not battered to a puffy doughball oblivion. Rather, these oversized shrimp (yes, I realize how silly that sounds lol!) are lightly dredged in seasoned flour, fried and finished with a tangy light sweet and sour sauce overloaded with sweet tangy and slightly spicy white onions. Nom!

Pan fried dumplings "wor teep"
These lovelies are pan fried to a golden brown (on one side) and are packed with a savory morsel of beef (pork is available as well), along with a mouthful of very very hot savoury soup (especially if you don't wait for it to cool down before you bite into it.)  Then again, its hard to wait when they're just sitting there, begging to be eaten! Nom!

Braised pork belly "woo wor yook"
Made with what is often called the "gold" part of the piggy, bacon lovers loved this dish made with pieces of pork belly braised in a sweet and mildly spicy sauce studded with sweet bell peppers, onions, suey choy and a few pieces of fried tofu to soak up the yumminess. Simple, rich and tasty!

Braised mushrooms on a bed of veges
Silky large pieces of scallop mushrooms, small Chinese black mushrooms and fried tofu pieces are nestled in amongst a bed of blanched Shanghai bok choy, all glazed in the braising sauce rich with the taste of earthy mushrooms. Simple and delicious.

Golden fried bun with condensed milk
This unassuming white bun with its exterior fried to a crisp golden brown is full of bread "threads" that you dunk into a small bowl of sweetened condensed milk... simple and yummy. Luckily, the waitress gave us two small bowls of condensed milk so we didn't have to squabble over it.. much :)

Black sesame dessert
Last but not least was a freshly ground black sesame dessert. A multitude of black sesame seeds are ground into a smooth rich sweetened slightly thickened dessert, with a medium sized rice dumpling in the centre. The rice dumpling has a silky soft exterior hiding a smooth and rich centre of ground sweetened black sesame paste. Mmmm.  Black sesame is believed to be great for hair health... so my male relatives wholeheartedly dug into this tasty dessert lol!

the Verdict
Though their presentation and decor needs a bit of work, Shanghai 456 remains a favourite go to place for homey and tasty Shanghainese food. To view more Shanghai 456 goodness, you can check out our first review, second review and third review we've done in the past.

Address: New Location! 14456 118 Ave Northwest, Edmonton, AB T5L2M5
Hours: Mon-Sunday for lunch and dinner, Closed Tuesdays

1 comment: said...

Update - the old location at the Airport cafeteria has closed but they're up and running in new digs at 14456 118 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB!

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