When I wrote about Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant last month, I noted that while there are no great dining options in the Metropolis at Metrotown shopping mall itself, you do have quite a few options in the neighborhood. Heading just a little west along Kingsway, you’ll find Shanghai Elan Restaurant tucked away inside Crystal Mall.
You might say that this is Burnaby’s only “Asian” mall with a variety of computer stores and an Asian-infused food court, as well as one really bad Chinese restaurant. Shanghai Elan is accessible both from the street on Kingsway itself as well from inside the shopping mall. As you can likely surmise, they specialize in Shanghainese cuisine and, from what I can gather, dim sum is served all day long. However, this is not the “typical” dim sum that you’d find in more of a Cantonese style Chinese restaurant.
I know. This isn’t exactly a “dim sum” kind of dish, but we had a hankering for some soup noodles. The broth was extra thick and came loaded with a decent amount of goodies. I did find that it leaned much more toward the “sour” end of the spectrum than the “hot” side. If you plan on eating other dishes, this is easily large enough to share among a few people.
These wontons pack a little more heat. Although they’re effectively swimming in the hot chili sauce, the “kick” doesn’t linger around too long if you keep eating other things. I thought the wontons themselves were just okay, but I believe they are made in-house.
There is definitely something magical about these little soup dumplings. I still prefer the XLB from the place in the Crystal Mall food court upstairs; I forget if it’s called Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine or Xu’s Wonton House, but it’s the last stall at the far end with the yellow signage.
What you get here is some of the marinated beef that you might find in an appetizer platter, wrapped in some green onion pancake (sometimes called scallion pancake). This particular version was a little too doughy for my tastes and I like it better when I can dip it in some hoisin sauce rather than having the sauce already inside the roll.
We weren’t exactly sure what we were getting when we ordered this, but since several other tables got it, we thought it was worth a shot. You get three rather large, egg-shaped flaky pastries.
Inside, you get some soft white turnip mixed with little bits of marinated meat. I believe this is the same kind of turnip that we find in Super Mario Bros. 2. and not the much larger daikon white radish.
I grew up eating a lot of dim sum, but it was always the same kind of “Cantonese” dim sum. In more recent years, we’ve had the wonderful opportunity to sample the greater diversity of Chinese cuisine, looking to places like Shanghai, Chongqing and Taiwan. While Shanghai Elan is hardly perfect, it is a solid choice for some decent Shanghainese food at a decent price.
The total bill for the three of us, including tax and gratuity, came to around $37. And yes, you can watch the ladies making the xiaolongbao in the kitchen window by the main entrance too.