Shanghai-Style Dim Sum at Asian Legend (Markham) by Steph Chiu

Shanghai-Style Dim Sum at Asian Legend (Markham)
April 15, 2014

Dim sum is a common Chinese tradition that is often enjoyed with many friends, as dim sum food is typically served in small portions meant for sharing. I’m sure many readers here may have tried traditional Cantonese-style dim sum (think “har gau” shrimp dumplings and “cha siu bau” BBQ pork buns), especially those that frequent Markham and Richmond Hill. However, what about Shanghai-style dim sum (think “xiaolongbao” soup dumplings)?

Asian Legend is one such restaurant chain, with locations in Toronto and around the GTA, for enjoying this style of dim sum. I visited the Markham location in Metro Square Mall (near the intersection of Warden and Steeles Ave.) It is quite a small restaurant, so we called ahead and made reservations to ensure that we wouldn’t have to wait.


I have a few staples when I go for Shanghai-style dim sum. If you are new to it, you must try the “xiaolongbao”, also known as steamed soup dumplings. There are many different varieties, but I like to get the traditional ones that are filled with ground pork ($5.95 for 6 dumplings). Picking them up requires a certain skill to avoid breaking the delicate dumpling wrapper, because you don’t want to miss out on enjoying the soup. Be careful though, they are piping hot!


Two other dim sum dishes I like to order are the pan-fried green onion pancake ($2.95 for 8 pieces) and the glutinous rice roll with pork floss ($3.95 per roll, cut into 4). The pancake is thin, crisp, and flaky, but not too oily. The rice roll is filled with pork floss (i.e. shredded pork) and deep fried Chinese dough sticks (often eaten with congee), and surrounded by a layer of sticky rice to balance out the salty filling.


If you are looking for other dim sum dishes to try, some of my other favourites are: pan fried pork dumplings and rolled onion pancake with sliced beef. The menu also has lots of pictures in case you have difficulty deciding as many of the dim sum dishes sound very similar. Another option is to visit their website, where there are pictures of everything.

Besides dim sum, there are a variety of meat, vegetable, and seafood plates, as well as rice and noodle dishes. We complemented our dim sum dishes with the slow-cooked shredded chicken noodle soup ($7.95). I like this noodle soup in particular because of the flavourful chicken broth, tender chicken pieces, and the soft noodles.


In summary, I hope you give this style of dim sum a try. I recommend going with a group of friends so that you can try more dishes, for sharing is part of what makes going to eat dim sum so fun. Dim sum prices are also very reasonable, especially when split amongst a table, so gather up your closest friends to go on this food adventure with you!