Considering Richmond, British Columbia, may be North America’s foremost hotbed for Chinese cuisine, it’s inevitable that people find great versions of one of China’s most famous dishes: xiao long bao. Better yet, unlike in California, where restrictive health codes require stainless steel steamers, Richmond restaurants can steam dumplings in bamboo baskets.
Bamboo doesn’t conduct heat as well as metal, making the basket easier to handle, and meaning the dumplings are less likely to overcook or stick. Bonus: bamboo is clearly much more absorbent than steel, so evaporated water won’t pool on the roof of the steamer and drip back down on the dumplings. Nobody likes soggy dumplings.
The advantages to bamboo baskets are pretty clear, and every place I visited in Richmond that serves xiao long bao uses them, but who serves the best version? I’d vote for R&H Chinese Food, a family-run stall located in the Lansdowne Mall food court that operates alongside businesses like Taco Luis, A&W, and Subway. The R apparently stands for Richard, meaning his wife must be H. Apparently they’re from Beijing, as opposed to Shanghai.
The ratio separates R&H’s Xiao Long Bao ($6.39) from rivals, with thin skins that stand up to the torrent of pork juice. The filling starred rosy, juicy pork meat. I bit off the dumpling tops and spooned soy sauce and vinegar into each cavity, resulting in a rush of savory flavor.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.