S&W Pepper House in Richmond

Updated: 6th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed.

Suanne and I are beginning to brave the “chow-choy” type of Chinese restaurant. Some of you might already know that both of us are almost illiterate when it comes to the Chinese language. Well, I said “almost” because at least I know how to read and write 13 Chinese characters in all — the numbers 1 to 10 and my name!

The thing about these “chow choy” restaurants is that they are so Chinese that at times they don’t even have an English menu. And even if they have it, the translation is so bad that it’s of no use at all. Moreover, it is sometimes useless to ask for recommendations because they would speak so fast that we can hardly make out what they are saying.

For us, “chow choy” refers to the type of restaurants that serves dishes in a communal style … i.e. we order vegetable, meat or soup dishes for sharing.

So, a few weeks ago we went to this new restaurant called the S&W Pepper House. That name was familiar to us as there is a small outlet with the same name in Crystal Mall in Burnaby. We had blogged about it more than 1.5 years ago (see here).


Unlike the S&W Pepper House in Burnaby, this is a full service typical family Chinese restaurant. I would say that this is more China Chinese and the customers are typically mandarin speakers.


In such a restaurant, they have more exotic dishes. For the Chinese, the most common meat is pork and chicken. Some don’t even serve beef for religious purposes. Lamb is certainly not a common meat used in Chinese cooking.

This is because most Chinese finds the meat very “sow”. I don’t know the English word that best describes “sow” but I think it has to do with the strong smell and taste which is something like it’s two days from being rotten — know what I mean?

Anyway, we got Lamb for the first dish. It’s simply called the Lamb with Green Onion. The lamb meat is sliced ever so thinly and the meat was tender. I like it … Suanne still thinks it’s “sow”. This dish costs $12.95.


For the next dish, well, we ordered what our neighboring table ordered. It looked interesting because it is served with a portable burner.


It is called Hot Pot with Sliced Fish, Pickled Vegetables and Vermicelli. It certainly looked very delicious from where we sat. There were a lot of meat in quite a large mini-wok. The problem with such a portable burner is that you got to always keep an eye on them … you don’t want it to over boil the soup, neither do you want the flame to go out. Too much work for me!


The good thing about this dish is that the fish is very tender, and that’s about it. We find that the sauce is way too salty. It was also spicy — and so spicy that Arkensen did not touch it. $14.95 is what this costs.


We also ordered the House Special Tofu with Pork and Bean Sauce. We like tofu. This one is crusty on the outside but do think that it’s too oily. They should have drained the oil after deep frying the tofu. This one costs only $8.95.


Rice comes separate at $1 a bowl. The total bill was $47 inclusive of tax and tips. Well, judging from the large number of customers they have, I am sure the food is pretty good. But I guess it’s just not the type of food that we enjoy most.

It was a good meal and the portions were big. We had some leftovers and had them packed to go. If you want to go, this restaurant is located just across the street from the Richmond City Hall on No 3 Road.

S&W Pepper House (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

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  1. Irene

    Love this site. I’ve tried a few of the places you’ve suggested already. I may venture out for this too.

    Hmmm… “sow” my uncle callls it “game”y? Hunting term I think — the moose tastes gamey.

    Can’t wait for the next food review.

  2. LotusRapper

    “Sow” is equivalent to “gamey” in English.

    Northern and northwestern Chinese cuisines see more lamb, or actually, mutton, in their cooking, exemplified by the cuisines of provinces of Xinjiang and Shaanxi

  3. Chubbypanda

    Yeah. I have that problem too. Restaurant Chinese characters weren’t in the lesson plans when I was at university.

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