Strength: Authentic Shanghai Cuisine, Good Service
Weakness: Small Portion, Same Taste For Everything Gets Boring
Other Similar Restaurants
- Shanghai Dimsum House (3.5 Stars)
Chinese cuisine can be roughly divided between North and South. Northern cuisine is usually more rough, and Southern cuisine is more delicate. Shanghai falls under the Southern cuisine category, so authentic Shanghai cuisine are more delicate and served in smaller portion. ColorSeeSee Shanghainese Cuisine is one of the most authentic Shanghai cuisine you can find within the 604 area. ColorSeeSee is conveniently located on Kingsway, right across from Metrotown, Burnaby.
Right Next To An Adult Toy Store
ColorSeeSee has a modest frontage with a small leaf sign. Fortunately or not, it is situated right next to an adult toy store. It took me some adjusting to avoid the flashy adult toy store sign in the background of this photo.
Narrow Store With Good Layout
The interior of the store is quite narrow, approximately 12 to 15 feet. Rather than keeping the kitchen at the back they had the kitchen extruded. There is 1 row of seating on one side. The kitchen is made of clear glass so they can be showcased. This takes the dining experience to a higher level. Dispite the size, ColorSeeSee is a medium operation with approximately 28 seats.
Xiao Long Bao Are Made To Order
Starting from Din Tai Fung (Massive Shanghai cuisine chain in Asia), to our local Shanghai River, or Dynasty, making the Xiao Long Bao in a open kitchen has become part the tradition. Customers can see them making it right in front of your eyes. We know it’s never been frozen. Xiao Long Bao is served in its freshest state.
Ordering Sheet Is All In Chinese
If you are Asian, the server is going to give you an order sheet that’s all in Chinese. Make sure you ask for the English version if you cannot read them. You order by putting numbers in the box next to the items you want. We have been here many times to know the portion is small, and ordered accordingly. Make sure to take picture of your ordering sheet and cross check the printed sheet taped to your table after. The order sheet’s layout makes it hard to see. Our server missed 2 items, but she was apologetic and very nice about it.
Xiao Long Bao Are Delicate
Now on to the important part. How do we know these Xiao Long Bao are authentic. Here are some key points:
- Xiao Long Bao was brought to you with a lid, to reduce heat loss.
- Lid was removed and Xiao Long Bao was presented to Patrons. We see Xiao Long Bao in the foggy steam and go “There’s my food”.
- Then you see the Xiao Long Bao stood up strong and tall. Pleasant to look at, with out being floppy at the bottom.
- The location and spacing of Xiao Long Bao is also important. They should be uniformly scattered, not touching each other or the steamer.
- An authentic Xiao Long Bao should have exactly 18 folds at its crown.
These visual aspect is very important to Southern cuisine. But of course, there’s always people who only cares about portion. If you are one of those, then Shanghai Dimsum House is for you.
The Skin Is Also Very Important
Continue onto the next phase. After visual, we need to see how the Xiao Long Bao handles
- Squeeze the top of Xiao Long Bao with your chopstick lightly. There should be minimal feedback. The less dough on the top, the better.
- Lift your Xiao Long Bao slowly and carefully. Witness the shape elongate and make sure no part of the skin are starting to tear.
- By this time you can start to gauge how much filling to anticipate in your Xiao Long Bao.
The Xiao Long Bao at ColorSeeSee is delicate but sturdy enough to be picked up by chopstick. They are not touching each other so I could easily pick them up without accidentally breaking the skin.
Perfect Balance Between The Amount Of Skin And Filling
This picture is the inside of this mouth watering Xiao Long Bao. The skin is about 1mm thick. Interior is filled with juice. You have to be really careful when eating it right after it came out from the steamer. The juice is thicker and meatier than the Xiao Long Bao from Shanghai Dimsum House of Crystal Mall.
The most important aspect of the Xiao Long Bao is the taste. By now, you should have successfully picked up your unharmed Xiao Long Bao with all the juice contained. How to consume them is a big question. Here are some of the ways I eat them
- Xiao Long Bao are extremely hot when served. If you cannot wait, put the Xiao Long Bao in your spoon and bite a hole to sip the juice first.
- If you enjoy eating everything together, you can bit a hole to let it cool, then eat the Xiao Long Bao together with the juice.
- Around the 3rd one, it is safe to put it directly in your mouth. Try to burst the Xiao Long Bao without your teeth. A well made Xiao Long Bao should be small enough for you to do this. The skin will offer some resistance. It’s such as satisfying feeling.
Pan-Fried Buns & Dumplings
Pan-Fried Buns and Pan-Fried Dumplings are served in one plate. I saw some pictures online and it seems like this is the way to usually do this. I’ve got to say the variation of shapes and the placement provide very good presentation. There are lots of sesame on them, black for pan-fried buns and white sesame for pan-fried dumplings
Pan-Fried Buns Are Fried Upside Down
Pan-Fried Buns are fried upside down to make the top look puffy.
It uses a different type of dough for the skin. This type of skin are thicker and more puffy. The internal filling is the same as the Xiao Long Bao. This is the authentic way of doing it. I think it’s a little boring. The pan-fried buns taste good nevertheless. They are also juicy as the Xiao Long Bao, but the thick dough makes the juice less noticeable.
Shrimp Pan-Fried Dumpling
Shrimp Pan-Fried dumpling has a whole shrimp in it. The skin is the same as the ones on Xiao Long Bao. The filling is also the same as the ones in Xiao Long Bao. Other than the shape, the shrimp and being fried, the shrimp pan-fried dumpling is exactly the same as Xiao Long Bao. Like I said, the taste is getting pretty boring. I double checked with a friend. This is the authentic way. So be prepared before coming here. This is pan-fried. The Chinese menu calls this the “pot sticker”, but they do not have open ends. Believe it or not, this closed version is the authentic Shanghainese way.
Veggie Spring Roll Are Crunchy And Flavorful
Each order of veggie spring roll comes in 4. They are presented in black plate for visual appeal.
The spring rolls are round, unlike some of the flat spring rolls I have seen. They are crunchy. The interior is quite hollow, but the veggie are in thick soup. Which makes the spring roll very juicy.
Shrimp Xiao Long Bao
The shrimp Xiao Long Bao impressed me a little. From the above picture, you can kind of make out the shape of a whole shrimp in there. I don’t know how they fit a shrimp in there. I’m just impressed with their skills.
This picture showcase the interior of the shrimp Xiao Long Bao. It also has a lot of soup in there. The shrimp makes it look quite crowded. I don’t feel that there are less meat. The shrimp is fresh and has good texture. It gives this shrimp Xiao Long Bao more interesting to eat. Unfortunately, the shrimp Xiao Long Bao is once again using the same filling as the normal Xiao Long Bao.
604 Food Critic Assessment
We are very impressed with the authenticity of ColorSeeSee Shanghainese Cuisine. The food here are very well crafted in every level. For $20/person, we think this place is totally worth it. It is unfortunately that the flavour profile is always the same for every dish. On a restaurant perspective, this is pretty bad. However, for preserving the authenticity of Shanghainese cuisine in Vancouver, ColorSeeSee has my complete respect. Note that this place has already been spread among the Shanghanese, so try to avoid peak hours.