4291 Boul St Jean/ Roger Pilon
Dollard des Ormeaux, Quebec
Cost: $ 42.47 -FOR TWO
Chef Hats: 3.0
1930 Shanghai is one of three dumpling houses that has set up shop in West Island just in the last year. The other two, also also visited this year were, Mama Dumplings a few blocks over on St Jean Blvd. and Hinata Dumplings in Kirkland on St Charles Blvd. Dumpling Houses or Dim Sum restaurants are all the rage these days and are becoming very trendy. We are used to seeing them downtown, but to date, they were rare in the West Island. The landscape which is paved with mostly chain restaurants, does have some popular Szechuan restaurants that have been in business for a year’s Long gone are the typical Cantonese style all you can eat buffets like Fu Lam, they went out of business eons ago. West Islanders are a special breed, to date they love their local pubs, who have never had a shortage of business, especially on Friday nights. Pizza and Italian restaurants seem to remain the favorite among families and always do great business on weekends. Indian restos can be found in droves on Sources Blvd. and have their regular clientele. The rest is a mix of Greek, fast food and a handful of original restos that stand alone. These days there has been a slow shift towards more Korean, and Japanese restaurants serving sushi or a mix of all you can eat from every corner of Asia. Clearly the market has changed, we can loosely base this on the influx of Asian’s who are moving into areas of Suburbia. But mostly, we can credit the young millennials whose palates have lined up and are being influenced by their technologically savvy counterparts all over the world. Wherever we turn, we are reminded that this fad, if you want to call it that, is not going away for a while. Love it or leave it, dumplings are a sort of comfort food. Quick, easy and filling, but not inexpensive. Unless, you make them yourself by the dozens.
1930 Shanghai is a welcome change to the neighborhood, located in a small strip mall on St Jean Blvd. and Roger Pilon. You will need to bring your GPS and address in hand, if you are not from around these parts If you blink you will miss it while driving by. Nestled between a Dagwood Sandwich shop and a barber shop it may not sound like an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or an ideal place to bring your out of town guests. Once inside, the place although small, transports you to a little corner in Shanghai. Nicely decorated with eye catching murals and fine cherry-wood furniture, it is heartwarming, comfortable but cozy. The space can accommodate a little over a dozen people. Peak hours are busy and you are not guaranteed a spot, unless you mind waiting in line. We noticed when we were there that their take-out counter does well, and most customers, were picking up orders. This is fine, but dumplings are best when served hot, and when biting into them, tasting that pop of hot fluid filling your mouth. They get kind of cold on the ride home, plus they don’t taste the same served out of their bamboo shells.
1930 Shanghai serves other items aside from dumplings but their specialty has got to be the dumplings. They have delicious soups, filled with freshly made wonderful noodles, fried gyoza’s and of course a long list of steamed Xiao Long bao steamed buns. They also have appetizers, the classic seaweed salad, chicken, beef or pork skewers and hunan dumplings. They have teriyaki dishes, bubble tea and green tea ice cream for dessert. Most of their dumplings have the usual fillings such as pork, beef, chicken, and lamb with either coriander, leek or cabbage. Shanghai 1930 also has plenty of vegetarian options as well. Dumplings come in sets of 10 while fried ones come in sets of 12. The price range is reasonable, and it will cost anywhere from $10-$13. There is plenty of parking and they are open 6 days a week for lunch and dinner, except for Mondays, but they close at 9 pm daily, so get there really early.
During our visit, with sampled, two varieties of wonton soups, one was the usual wonton soup made with pork wontons, the broth light and delicious and the wonton noodles tasted perfect. The second soup contained wonton, ramen noodles and sausage, and coriander. It was just as good and my dining partner said it was comparable to many ramen places downtown, she had sampled.
We also sampled satay style skewers one with chicken, the other beef, they came served on a wooden butcher block, drizzled with a delicious sweet sauce, they were tender and very tasty. It hit the spot and gave us our daily dose of protein.
The dumplings we chose were made with pork and leeks, but also contained a touch of coriander. We loved everything, they seemed freshly made and they did not taste like the frozen variety. We actually saw them make them on the spot, now whether they use frozen dough or not, they seemed acceptable to us. Each morsel of dumplings was delicious and appetizing, service was accommodating and quick, even though the take out line was long.
We discovered while on our visit, that they also own Hinata Dumplings in Kirkland. We did find similarities between them, unknowing at the time. Like 1930 Shanghai it also has limited seating capacity and is busy during peak hours.
West Island will definitely see a boom in restaurants specializing in dumplings as the demand is high these days. But most of all, what I would like to see opening up in the West Island and what there is a lack of, are traditional dim sum place with trollies and all, like La Maison Kam Fung in Brossard and Chinatown. Is the West Island not special enough? That is the question, as the population of Asian increases, maybe over the next few years, we will see that wish come to fruition.