Shanghai 456 is one of Edmonton’s few restaurants offering xiao long bao (XLB), a soup filled dumpling and specialty of Shanghai cuisine. Previously located on Airport Road, it closed last November with a promise of a return in the new year. The new year has come and their new location was next on my long list of eats. Skip the review and jump to their full menu.
You’ll find Shanghai 456 at 14456 – 118 Ave, just further north of Telus World of Science. Whether or not they intentionally looked for an address that included “456”, I found it pretty amusing. Don’t bother trying to find a sign that actually says “144 St” though because there isn’t if you’re heading westbound on 118 Ave. It’s right on the southwest corner, intersection of 145 St and 118 Ave. It didn’t help at all that the sign was a measly unlit square overshadowed by the banner. Perhaps too soon to say, but if that’s all the signs that are going up, I suggest you just spot the blank red store front banner to locate it. Parking available on the west side of the building, as well as in front of the restaurant alongside the smaller road.
Compared to their location before, the number of seating seems to be the same, with the only improvement being that it actually looks like a restaurant now instead of an old cafeteria of Edmonton’s city airport! Fair warning: something is up with their floors. Just that particular tile, or perhaps just a coincidence that both Sharon’s and my boots were sliding along with no grip. Slick! Be careful, especially if you have wet shoes or heels!
Of course, we ordered the xiao long bao. Glad to say that the quality have remained as they were! Nicely wrapped by a thin dough and lots of soup! Prices have increased though to $7.50 per basket of 6, from their $6.95 fare. A small cost when you consider their new location must have higher rent.
A new dish that I haven’t tried before at Shanghai 456: the house special hot and sour soup, as per Sharon’s request. Normally I’m not a fan as most that I’ve tried are too sour for my liking, but this version was a good balance of spicy and sour. A really good portion if you ask me, with lots of tofu, chicken, and vegetables. I would definitely order it again!
Not wanting to order just regular xiao long bao, we ordered the ones with crab meat to change it up. I prefer the traditional dumplings, but these would be a great option for any seafood or crab lovers. Packed with real crab, the flavor definitely overpowers the pork, which could be a good thing if that’s what you were looking for.
Complimentary dessert is standard at Shanghai 456, or at least it’s always been every time I’ve been there. This time it was freshly made black sesame pastry. The pastry was crisp and flaky, with the black sesame filling being not too sweet. Absolutely loved it! You can order it if they’re offering a different dessert for the meal as well, Lotus Blossom, $3.50.
Verdict: It’s the same place as it was at its previous location. So for those who have sat in the old cafeteria and experienced the original Shanghai 456, expect the same but with slippery floors, and a more restaurant-like feel. For those who have never tried, you’re missing out on some great Asian comfort foods. My only qualm about this place is the service. When it gets busy, it literally becomes a standstill. I understand that the dumplings need to be freshly made and steamed, which could take a while especially if each table is ordering most likely more than one basket, but there must be a better way to get those bad boys out! We arrived for lunch on a Monday at 12:30pm. Our first order of xiao long bao didn’t come to our table until 1:20pm (that’s almost an hour folks!), as did our hot and sour soup. Last to come was the crab version and by the time we finished, it was already 2pm. My apologies to Sharon for such an extended lunch hour although we both knew what we were in for. It was a consolation that the owner did come out to apologize to each and every table and thanked them for waiting, but dining experience would drastically improve if they could find a way to bang those little dumplings out. Great visit and highly recommended, just bring your delicate chopstick skills and patience.
14456 – 118 Ave