Mall food courts in Richmond, B.C. hide some amazing little places that go above and beyond greasy pizza slices and heat-lamp lemon chicken. While Shanghai soup dumplings (xiao long bao) are the jewel of many restaurants, you can also get a passable version at Lansdowne Mall’s R&H Chinese Food.

Food here is cooked to order, so it takes a bit longer than your usual mall food, but it’s still faster than waiting in a restaurant. The menu is a mixture of northern (Xinjiang) and Shanghai dishes.

You can watch staff make dumplings right in front of you. They are friendly and patient, especially as I hummed and hawed my way through an order. (“I’ll have the noodles. No, wait, the dumplings. Which dumplings? Uhhhh…”)

R & H Chinese Food, Richmond, B.C.

I’m a sucker for “beef sandwiches” but I was confused between the “braised beef sandwich” (commonly known as a roujiamo) and the “marinated beef in baked bun” ($6.79) on the menu. (Alas, my forced childhood weekend Chinese classes did not help me decipher the characters on the wall.) Turns out the sesame bun on the braised beef sandwich is fried for a crispy, brown finish, while the other bun is simply baked.

The filling appears to be the same in both: a delicious braised cumin beef. I chose the baked bun to be “healthy.” Then I ordered some xiao long bao ($5.39 for 8) for “research.”

R & H Chinese Food, Richmond, B.C.

Somehow I’ve lost the photo I took but the XLB were served piping hot in a steamer basket. The meat and soup inside the dumplings were tasty, but the dough was a bit thick. Still, for food court fare, this is pretty darn good.

R&H Chinese Food, Lansdowne Mall, 5300 No. 3 Rd., Richmond, B.C., (778) 297-5668. Mall hours Monday-Tuesday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Wednesday to Friday 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

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