Eat the Strip

Bite & Bite Shanghai Fried Bun

1465 Merivale Rd unit 002, Nepean, ON K2E 5N9

March 18, 2024 10:52 AM

By: Neha Charnalia


I don’t know about you, but there are times I just crave true comfort food—wontons, buns and noodle soup.

So, when my brother Ameya and his partner Danielle—co-creators of Eat the Strip—Invited us to come along to Bite & Bite Shanghai Fried Bun, it was a no-brainer.

Side note: as a big sister, I’m so proud of them.

OK more importantly, let’s get into the food. Let me set this up for you. It is hard to find really good Chinese food, specifically Shanghai cuisine. You know it, I know it.

So we came with tempered expectations.

We got there at 4:30 p.m. on a Sunday and got a spot right away. It’s a relatively small restaurant, so if you want a guaranteed spot, earlier the better.

We got excited when we saw our tables had instructions on how to eat the buns
We got excited when we saw our tables had instructions on how to eat the buns

We started with the signatures: pan fried wontons (10 pieces for $12.99) and pan-fried buns (four pieces for $7.99).

I knew we had a winner with the first bite into a wonton. I mean, the four of us made those foodgasm noises. The wontons were juicy, soft and crunchy all at once. They even had toasted sesame seeds on them. And that’s when I knew we had a winner.

Then came the signature dish, the pan fried buns. There are actual instructions on the restaurant table on how to eat the them. You took a bite of the bun, let it cool, sip on the soup inside, and dip it back in the best chili oil and vinegar combo and then proceed to gobble it all up. I will warn you—the hardest thing about the buns is waiting for them to cool, because you just want to dive in. They were delicious—Ameya’s favourite. Succulent, soupy and full of flavour, and easy to see why they’re a part of the restaurant’s name.

With an average rating of 4.7 out of five on Google at the time of publishing, with many raving about the pan fried buns, it was a no-brainer for us to order the doughy delights
With an average rating of 4.7 out of five on Google at the time of publishing, with many raving about the pan fried buns, it was a no-brainer for us to order the doughy delights

After a few bites of his bun, Ameya told our waiter: “My life has changed.” The waiter responded saying he had heard that before. He also told us the previous night—Saturday night—at one point there was a line-up of eight groups outside the door.

It’s probably a good time as any to share that I’m diabetic. My personal philosophy is I do my best most of the time and indulge some of the time. This was the best indulgence. There wasn’t any use of excess sugar and the food tasted so fresh.

We knew we had to order more and chose two house specials and one staple from the menu.

We got the spicy beef brisket noodle soup ($18.99), the shrimp and pork wonton soup (12 pieces for $11.99) and the pickled vegetables and shredded pork noodle soup ($14.99).

The spicy beef brisket noodle soup resulted in the same foodgasm noises from all of us. This is by far one of the best dishes I’ve ever had in recent years. It was full of flavour, specifically that umami flavour. Danielle said it perfectly: “Seven layers of heaven in flavour.” The brisket was tender and cooked to perfection. If you are craving comfort, you found it, go on and order it.

The noodles were perfectly cooked, the broth delectable
The noodles were perfectly cooked, the broth delectable

I loved the shrimp and pork wonton soup and I thought 12 pieces was very generous. The house vinegar and chili oil just added so much flavour and I was surprised at just how fresh the soup and wontons tasted.

My four-year-old enjoyed the pickled vegetables and shredded pork noodle soup. I appreciated that they separated the pickled vegetables and shredded pork from the noodles, so he could just enjoy clear soup and noodles. The noodles were al dente and he loved it. Us adults enjoyed the pickled veggies and shredded pork separately.

We ended our meal by ordering another round of pan-fried wontons, because why not?

Ameya chatted with the owner, who told him he is originally from Shanghai and moved to Ottawa from New York 10 years ago. He worked in construction and would bring his wife’s cooking to his colleagues. They kept wanting to do more projects with him and he figured out it was because they loved his wife’s food.

This inspired the restaurant, which just opened in December. Maybe it’s another reason why the menu wasn’t expansive or overwhelming—they are staying focused on the best recipes. Food can fast foster a connection between people and you can see how it happened with the owner and his co-workers—and now with customers.

Bite & Bite Shanghai Fried Bun, I’ll be back.

It’s been an honour writing this entry for Eat the Strip. I hope you’ll indulge a big sister, who spent the weekend witnessing the passion and hard work behind this project. And, of course, enjoying the food.

I am so proud of Ameya, Danielle and of the Ottawa Morning team for bringing Ottawans these food stories. And of people like Tracy who write in their recommendations of restaurants at strip malls. And of people who go visit these restaurants and try their food.

You are all the ultimate supporters and champions of small business owners who have big dreams, big hearts and big skills. They have all of you behind them.

You represent the best of Ottawa.