One place you wouldn’t think to find Mack in Edmonton? The City Centre Airport. But that’s where we were recently, in the canteen of the Edmonton Flying Club, also known as Shanghai 456.
You’ve come to the right place
Though the restaurant exists mostly to feed those who use and pass through the airport, it seems Jane’s parents had stumbled upon an ad for the establishment in a local Chinese newspaper. So they introduced Jane to the place, which actually turned out to serve some pretty good food. We congregated there two weeks ago so Mack could learn more about his MC duties at Jane and Yi-Li’s upcoming wedding.
The happy couple!
I’m glad Jane and her other friends, all fluent in Chinese, took care of the ordering (it also amuses me that there are often two versions of the menu at Chinese restaurants – a shorter one in English for people like me, and another in Chinese for those able to order more authentic cuisine).
The xiao long bao (soup dumplings), were among the best I’ve had in the city. The soup was hot and savoury, and it was difficult to keep to decorum and not scarf down the entire basket in front of me. Best of all, they’re fun to eat in a group – one member in particular failed spectacularly several times, piercing the skin and releasing the prized soup before the dumpling reached his bowl.
Xiao long bao
Also very good were the potstickers. The skin on the dumplings were particularly good – thin and light – unlike those typically found at Chinese restaurants.
Mack was a bit hesitant about trying the red bean cakes, but he was easily swayed once he took his first bite. Of course, it’s hard not to love anything deep-fried, but in this case, the sweet and salty combination of the red bean filling and crispy exterior won him over. I know my Mum (a huge fan of red bean cakes) would love this version.
Red bean cakes
Other dishes we sampled included a hot and sour soup (not for the faint of heart – it definitely was more hot than sour) and sherry-braised chicken . The only disappointing dish we ordered was the fish – it had been deep-fried to an unfortunately chewy and hard crisp, then coated with a sickly-sweet sauce.
Chicken and fish
Service was good – we didn’t have to wait long for food or hot water refills on our tea – and though the interior wasn’t visually appealing, it was clean and functional.
If the airport is closed once and for all, I do hope the owners of Shanghai 456 find another home – their food would otherwise be missed.
49 Airport Road (Municipal Airport Building 18)