It is not a surprise that over 50% of the award winning restaurants of the Chinese Restaurant Award Critic’s Choice are in Richmond. Despite that, it is good to know that the CRA awards covers a wide geographical area. To me, this is one aspect that lends credence to the award.
There are two restaurants in Coquitlam that won the CRA Critic’s Choice Award. The first was Lucky Gate which won Silver in the Northern Noodles category with their hand sliced noodles. The other one is the Lu Lu Cafe.
The Lu Lu Cafe is located on North Road on the intersection with Austin Avenue. This restaurant is located on a small strip mall, away from the cluster of popular restaurants further south. When I first saw the restaurant at this location, I was kind of surprised that the CRA even took notice of this restaurant.
The signboard outside is orange-y … quite eye catching. I thought this might be one of the more progressive Chinese restaurants because they have their own website URL printed on the signboard. The URL is www.lulucafegroup.com. Go on, click on it and see where that takes you. LOL!
Like the outside, the inside is also orange-y. It was quite pleasant and is neat and definitely clean.
We were there at about 4PM. I know, who eats at this hour of the day. It’s a long story and I’ll spare you the details. So, the restaurant was empty. The only customers they had the whole time was just us and another table.
The sign outside the restaurant says that they serve Shanghai and Sichuan food and also bubble tea too. So I wouldn’t classify this as a HK Style Cafe despite the cafe name.
First thing we did when we were handed their menu was to point to the award right above our head and said we wanted that. Our waitress laughed. And then I can see her eyebrows raised when we started fishing out the camera and notebook.
After she took our order, the first thing she did was to talk to the gentleman in the picture above and pointing to us. I think that gentleman must be the owner or something. He shyly came over and tried to talk to us.
“Gai toong ngap gong”.
In English, that means a chicken having a conversation with a duck. We couldn’t quite know how to respond to him when he asked us if we are reporters. How do we say “bloggger” or “blog” in Mandarin? I don’t think he understands what we were saying and so we just say, “yes, we are reporters”. He left us alone after that because obviously we can’t understand each other.
The dish above won the Gold award in the Beef category and costs $10.95. However, their take out menu says that this is $9.50. I am not sure why the difference.
The Beef with Ginger and Onion Hot Pot was served … steaming and sizzling hot. We can smell the pleasing fragrance of this dish although we saw that it was rather oily at the same time.
The fragrance came from the green onion and onion. I appreciate that they did not over cook the onions until it is caramelized.
It was also distinctively ginger-y. We can taste it easily but can’t find any slices of it. It was later that we found the ginger were chopped up. Suanne and I thought that if they had julienned ginger, it would have been better.
The sauce was really nice — it is smooth. It goes very well with steamed rice.
Although this is a very common Chinese dish, I must say that Lu Lu Cafe cooks this very well. The only thing is that the oiliness will turn off some people to this dish.
Not us. LOL!
See what I mean? We then ordered their Braised Pork Hock ($16).
OMG, this is the prettiest looking pork hock I had ever seen … don’t you agree?
And look at the size of it too.
And it even wobbles with the slightest shake of the table.
The sauce is sweet and sticky.
That is how good it is.
I was actually more excited over this than the “Gold” dish.
What do you think? Is this something you will eat?
The best thing is that the fatty part which totally melts in the mouth.
Hey, the western thinking is that this will clog your arteries but the eastern thinking is that the collagen from the fatty skin is good for your complexion.
As much as I tried to get Suanne to eat the fatty part, she was only willing to eat a small piece — just enough to get me off her back. She said she doesn’t like texture of the fat. She just doesn’t know how to appreciate good food like I do.
The leaner meat is absolutely heavenly — look at it. Cooked to perfection and it just falls apart with the slightest pull.
I have this thing with dishes like this. It is that you must slowly pull the meat and fat apart in a clean manner. If you simply pull them apart, it will be an awful, messy, unappetizing blob of meat. I told Suanne to leave it to me to properly take this apart.
The pork hock was simply too much for us to finish. The above was what we had left to take home.
See? It was still looking quite OK isn’t it?
Not bad. We like both dishes. Their prices is bit high but it does make up for it for the quality.