April 16, 2010 | | Comments 36

Crystal Mall Food Court in Burnaby

When I am in an adventurous mood for authentic Chinese food, there are two places I would go to often — the Crystal Mall Food Court in Burnaby and the Richmond Public Market. Here are two places where you will find food as it is prepared in China. These are also the places I used to call “MSG city” because I usually go away feeling thirsty after eating there.


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Crystal Mall is just a short walk from my place of work. So, I go to the food court when I eat alone and can’t think of anything specific to eat. There are also other very good restaurants in Crystal Mall. For one, there is Abdul’s BBQ. A friend at work swears that is where you can get the best shawarma in Vancouver. My favourite Sichuan restaurant is also located there which serves the most amazing cumin lamb on rice. There is also the Top Gun Hot Pot which is one of the more well known hot pot places in Vancouver.

It was just a couple of weeks ago. Actually it was just a couple of days before the 8GTCC Hunan dinner. That was when the 8GTCC team members had a final meeting with Alvin Garden. After a very fruitful meeting, we decided to go to the Crystal Mall Food Court for dinner and continue with our discussion.

At the Crystal Mall Food Court, it was hard to decide what to get. There are so many choices to choose from. Dylan suggested that we try the noodles from the Huaxi Noodles Specialist.

I got the one with beef tendon to share between Suanne and I. I love beef tendon. I just love the texture and this is just perfect.

When I was young my mom told me that beef tendon is the penis of the cow. I don’t know why she told me that but it really scared me off eating it until I found out it was not true. Hmmm … maybe I’ll try telling this to Arkensen and Nanzaro and see if they believe me.

To me this noodles is perfectly done in every sense … from the tendon to the broth to the noodles. But I do think this is not the type of noodles for everybody. It does not have that appetizing look and for some the film of oil floating on top will put them off.

Today I want to tell you about a blogger unlike all that you know. Dylan is a member of the 8GTCC team and he is the only one in the team that reads and writes Chinese. The amazing thing is this — he is Caucasian!

He loves Chinese food and is very knowledgeable about the cuisine and culture. So he is a great resource when we want access to Chinese materials for our research. He has a blog where he translates Chinese literature to English. Of late, he had started another blog and this time on food!!!

That blog is called … Chinese Food, The Suburbs Vancouver. It is also known as JiaoQu which is Mandarin for suburbs. I like his site because it is unique and bridges the vast Chinese food blog readers with the new generation English readers.

The moment we were in the Crystal Mall Food Court, Dylan made a beeline for the Want Want Hot and Spicy House. He placed an order of his favourite …

… the Lamb with Cumin, stuffed in bread. I wouldn’t have picked this myself and it is indeed very good. The whole bread is bursting with flavour. They sprinkle cumin powder and salt on the outside and grilled. So the bread itself without the lamb is just as good.

The lamb is grilled only on order and so it takes a bit of a wait. It is simply moist and best eaten warm. McDonalds could learn a bit from this but I know … logistically, it will not work for a fast food chain.

You just gotta eat with your hands. Just hold the bun with your hands, sans the wrapper. Don’t wipe your fingers with a napkin … lick it clean.

Oh yum.

There were a lot of other food that we had that day. I was rather taken aback that Keev and fmed got so much food. So it was like a feast. And, no, we did not finish the food.

There is a lot to discover in the Crystal Mall Food Court with a lot of authentic Chinese regional favourite food. That place is really busy. If you have never been to a Chinese food court before, you could get somewhat overwhelmed.

Huaxi Noodle Stall (Crystal Mall) on UrbanspoonWant Want Hot & Spicy House (Crystal Mall) on Urbanspoon

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  1. fmed says:

    I’m only really a glutton when Keev is around. LOL.

    Huaxi, Want Want, Wang’s, Beijing, Northern Meixi are probably my favourite places there…along the BBT stall at the left of the escalators.

  2. LotusRapper says:

    Directories of the market vendors, restaurants and food court vendors:

    http://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/stores.php?catid=8

    http://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/stores.php?catid=9

    http://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/stores.php?catid=18

    http://www.thecrystalmall.ca/en/stores.php?catid=19

    I sometimes buy a “take-out” lunch from Top King BBQ in the public market next to the escalators.

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for the links, LotusRapper. So … what do you get normally from Top King BBQ? For me, I always go buy 1-2 lbs of siu yook (roast pork) as lunch, sans rice, and take rest home for dinner. The BBQ is the best around the area but I still love Parker Place’s roast pork better.

      • LotusRapper says:

        I would typically get two kinds of protein on rice. The “siu chong” (sausage) is a staple, accompanied by either soy chicken, white-cut chicken or BBQ duck. Cheaper than Delicious BBQ upstairs in the food court.

        Yeah, their crispy roast pork is pretty good. I specially went there for some of that last week after reading all the posts here on roast pork ……

        Parker Place is too far for me to go routinely. Unfortunately outside of Crystal in the S. Burnaby area there really isn’t a superior Chinese BBQ meat shop. If someone knows of one please let me know.

        • Eatery says:

          For Burnaby BBQ,
          For Good quality – it means you need to pay for it. Then will suggest Delicious BBQ take-away in the food court. Its roasted pork skin is unbelievable crispy and the best in Burnaby area.

          Cheap and bad quality – yeah… try the one on the market level, it does do the purpose – to fill your stomach. They bought pre-roasted pork and duck from china town since they don’t have their own if you notice.

  3. DylanK says:

    Thanks for mentioning me!

    I live in Richmond, so I only go to Crystal very occasionally. But the lamb in bread at Want Want and the Huaxi beef noodle are awesome, and there are lots of other places to explore there.

  4. So much food, so little time! It’s hard not to be a glutton sometimes. . .

  5. Casey says:

    Oh it’s so hard not to eat there. Just full of goodies. There’s a stall I can’t quite remember since I haven’t been there for a while, they sell really good fresh dumplings. You an also buy a bag home. Amazingly good.

  6. shu says:

    i bought a whole pig to serve at a Scandinavian wedding dinner once; Top king BBQ was kind enough to plate it for me in a cedar log, they even deboned it for me and still presented the whole thing looking like a whole pig!

  7. timetochow says:

    isn’t gluttony one of the deadly sins?

  8. frank@nanaimo says:

    hello all…thanks for all the great suggestions…I am only in Van every other weekend…so have to make the most of my eating time…

    Had the “Lamb Patty” on a bun and Beef Noodles suggested by Ben and Dylan…the lamb was unbelievably good…well worth the “6″ minutes…

    Tomorrow heading over to RPM to try some more the suggested dishes…I usually get the lamb noodle soup with lamb skewers,

    I hope I will be able to make it to the Jiangsu dinner I had such a great time at the Hunan dinner..

    cheers
    frank

    • Ben says:

      Hey Frank:
      I understand that fmed, Dylan and gang will be in RPM for lunch tomorrow. You just might bump into them!
      If you like the “6-minutes-wait Lamb Patty”, wait for my post on the “20-minute-wait thingy” post in Crystal Mall.
      Am gonna post it soon.
      Ben

  9. Ann says:

    do you know what the bottom-left food and the rolls above are called and where to get them? they look delicious :)

    • Ben says:

      Hi Ann:
      Oh … you mean the beef rolled in a pancake? I don’t know which stall this was brought from but if Keev is lurking on this post, he should be able to say. I think he bought them. Ben

  10. [...] of the roujiamou (spelling?) that Dylan recommended from the Want Want stall in the Crystal Mall (see post here) except that it is not as [...]

  11. 250food says:

    First time I ever been to Crystal Mall after reading your post. There was so much to choose from. thank you for your recommendations! I had the Hainese Chicken from “Triple One Malaysian Food”, a couple of stalls down from Wang’s. It was really good and fresh! The lady who works there is from Malaysia and is very nice.
    My friend who is vegetarian ordered from Lu Lu Veggie and surprisingly ( I am not vegetarian) it was sooooooo tasty.
    Thanks for introducing me to Crystal Mall. I will be trying more places there before I head back east.

    • Buddha Girl says:

      Agree! Lulu Veggie is so yummy! It’s my top choice when I’m on my veggie-only days!

      • LotusRapper says:

        I have um, very few of those “veggie-only” days at Xtal, but when I do, Lulu’s foods satisfy nicely, in fact refreshingly, esp. with the lack of MSG and much less salt in general.

        And their people are super-nice.

      • Ben says:

        Hi Buddha Girl: Say again … what do you recommend from the Meixi stall? I went there today and I could not decide what to get … and the pull from the curry chicken of Triple One stall is stronger. Ben

        • Buddha Girl says:

          Hey Ben! Not everything is good at Meixi. I usually only go for the pulled noodles, either in soup or pan-fried…soup is a hit and miss depending on what you order. Buddha Boy really likes their 皇宮肉餅 (some kind of thin meat pasty)…so don’t keep you hopes up too high! LOL! I just like it because it’s one of the only places where I can get thick thick thick pulled-noodles…

          Since it’s my veggie day tomorrow, I think most likely I will drop by and have some Lulu too!!!

          • LotusRapper says:

            What reply level are we at now ? ;-)

            I second BG’s (or is that BB) recommendation of 皇宮肉餅 (like a meat-filled calzone but wrapped by a very thin pancake). Although I should say that Wang’s down the end of the corridor has a pretty darn good one too.

        • LotusRapper says:

          Hmmm, Curry King has the best curries at Xtal FC, IMHO :-)

          • Ben says:

            You know, Curry King’s Char Koay Teow is the tops in Vancouver to us. We don’t order anything else except CKT at that stall. The only missing thing that will make it perfect is cockles. Sigh … still looking for raw cockles. Ben

    • Ben says:

      Hi 250food: I went to Triple One Malaysian Food today for lunch too. Actually for the first time. I had the curry chicken on rice. It was good … not top notch but really decent. The chicken, lots of it. Can’t complain because it is just $6. I’ll go try the Hainanese Chicken next time. Ben

  12. angie says:

    We went to Crystal mall earlier today. The food court ventilation was awful! The dumpling at Wang’s was not good at all. The dumpling skin is too thick and too big for my liking. The best dish we had was from Triple One Malaysia; their Ipoh Kway Teow is the best. Sadly, this will be their last month in biz. Btw, the lady owner is from Johor Baru, Malaysia.

    • Ben says:

      He he he … I think it’s because you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth. :-) It never occurred to me that the ventilation in the Crystal Mall Food Court is awful and I go there very often. Yeah, maybe it is but I had never noticed it. I’ll pay attention to this next time. Oh no, Triple One Malaysia is closing? That’s sad, I was trying each and every of their dishes one at a time. The Bah Kut Teh, the Curry Chicken Rice and the Laksa was what I had so far. They are just so-so but they sure are cheap. I’ll go check them out before they close. Ben

    • LotusRapper says:

      The west wing of the Xtal food court is worst for good ventilation. That’s why I always sit in the southeast wing (with windows at very end) as close to Wang’s area as possible.

      Triple One Malaysia is closing eh ? I hope the next vendor is not another Chinese stall. Xtal could use a bit more variety in terms of nationalities represented.

  13. Ann says:

    I went to crystal food court today and there’s a new stand. its two or 3 stands from the yunnan food stand (the one that serves with fancy mats). this new stand is tibetan food I think, cuz theres a tibetan name beside the chinese name. the chicken and lamb skewers are really good =)

    • Ben says:

      Hi Ann: I think I know which new stall you are talking about. I was in Crystal Mall a few weeks ago and saw a new stall with new lighted signs — much fancier than the other stalls by far. But they were not opened at that time. Will check it out for sure. Tibetan huh? Great! is the Tibetan name in Tibetan script? Just curious what you meant by “Tibetan name beside the Chinese name” Ben

      • Ann says:

        well on the sign there were 2 names: on the right was a name in chinese characters and on the left is another script, i’m guessing its tibetan(it looks kinda like thai, but not quite). i’m not too sure its tibetan actually. I asked the vendor, and we had quite a problem with communication, since he couldn’t speak english at all and my mandarin isn’t too good. But he said something about the cuisine being from western china.

      • Buddha Girl says:

        I have to drop by Crystal Mall tomorrow to pick up veggie for Wednesday…hehehehe…gonna check the new stall out.

  14. Lissa says:

    I went to the library on Monday and decided to hop over to Crystal Mall to grab some lunch to go. Usually, I just hit Han Ju with my friends but since I read this posting recently, I decided to try some of Ben’s recommendations. Firstly, I ordered the CKT from Curry King. One man stall that afternoon and the CKT wasn’t up to my Penang-lang standard, ahem.. LOL! My kids love it though. I also ordered Lamb with Cumin. It was greasy. The spiciness is quite nice but the cumin was a bit overboard. It’s not too bad but it’s not something I would order again. I will try the Huaxi Noodles the next time.

  15. LotusRapper says:

    The space formerly occupied by Triple One Malaysia is now call Chao Shou Wang (炒手王). The 炒手/Chao Shou part is the same as the Sichuan dish Wontons in Spicy Red Chili Oil (炒手餛飩), and “王” means king.

    Didn’t look long enough at the short menu to remember anything. Will TOFTT soon !

  16. agingteen says:

    Oh too bad Triple One Malaysia is not there anymore. I like their chicken and the lady who works there is so nice.

  17. Anonymous says:

    [...] great tip was from Ben at Chowtimes.  He wrote about Want Want Hot & Spicy House and another Asian-style [...]

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