Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine is a fairly new Shanghainese restaurant in Richmond. Located on Browngate road behind Aberdeen, it’s convenient to get to if you take public transit. They also have a parking lot beside the restaurant too or you can park at Aberdeen and sneak over like us.
We didn’t have a reservation so we walked in around 7pm and the manager spent several long minutes debating how to fit us in but he did give us a table! I was also glad that he spoke Cantonese as well because I tried to ask for a table in my terrible broken Mandarin so I was relieved I didn’t have to continue that.
The restaurant looks very classy and high-end inside! I love how all their chairs are blue. It’s very eye-catching and also my favourite colour. They really put a lot of effort into the decor. Price-wise, it wasn’t as steep as we thought too. Their entire menu (which is extensive) is available on Zomato and it includes photos of each item.
The first dish that came was the Beef Offal in Chili Sauce. This is a cold appetizer and it was a mix of beef stomach and tendon etc. with peanuts. It had the perfect amount of seasoning and spicy flavour.
The Beef Pancake Wrap was another snack/appetizer that we ordered. It seemed slightly larger than normal too.
I really liked their version here! The pancake was not too oily and a nice chewy texture. There was more cucumber than beef but it was still good.
You can’t have Shanghainese food without some XLB’s! These were a good size (bigger than at Dinesty), and we found that the soup and meat inside had a really natural flavour to it.
The Ribs Braised with Rice Vinaigrette came next and even though the portion looks small here, it was actually a pretty good size because the middle of the plate dips down a bit. It had a nice sweet and sour glaze on it and surprisingly wasn’t too bony! There were actually lots of succulent juicy pieces of meat in here.
The Tea Smoked Duck was one of the best I’ve had! It wasn’t too salty and had a really fragrant flavour to the meat. It was perfectly cooked with a nice crispy skin. No complaints here!
This was Chicken Braised in Soy Sauce. I can’t find the name on the menu but it had a tangy sauce, slightly acidic but mostly tasted like soy sauce with some spice. I’ve never had anything like this before either. There were some pieces that might be on the drier side but it was mostly good and nothing that lots of soy sauce can’t fix.
Of course we needed some rice to go with all the food so when we asked for rice, they told us that they only serve Red Grain Rice. I’ve never had red grain rice before and it was sort of similar in texture to white rice but not as soft. We didn’t mind it though.
We didn’t expect them to give us dessert here or if they did, it would be the usual red bean soup. We were quite surprised when it turned out to be Red Bean Pancake! It costs $8.95 on their menu. So far all the food had exceeded our standards so I was really psyched for this.
I don’t order this at restaurants much so I can’t really compare but this had a pillowy mochi like texture to it and lots of warm red bean filling inside. We were way too stuffed so we had to talk half of it to go along with the rest of the food that we didn’t finish.
This is also the first time that I’ve seen a nice paper take out bag with paper boxes for the food instead of the usual plastic bag with styrofoam boxes!
If you couldn’t tell already, I was impressed with Yuan’s Shanghai Serendipity Cuisine and I’ll add it to my rotation of Shanghainese restaurants. I didn’t have any expectations for this place except that maybe it would be expensive but it wasn’t too bad price-wise and also we did order a lot of snacks/appetizer dishes. In addition, service was also really quick and attentive. There were two previous restaurants in the same space that didn’t last long so hopefully this place will stay.