Updated: 7 June 2009 – this restaurant had been replaced with a new restaurant.
We met up with a Christina and Ed for the first time over lunch a few weeks ago. We got to know them because, like us, they are also food bloggers from Richmond. We decided to meet up and picked the new Famous Hakka Restaurant.
It turned out that Christina and Ed are real foodies and very knowledgeable about Chinese cuisine. Christina, in particular, takes food seriously. She told us that meal times were formal events in her home when she was young. The family meal is very important and must have at least a meat, a veggie and a soup. I thought it was quite funny when she told us that she had never had Chinese takeout until she was 12 — and how it was an event for her. Christina and Ed had a knack for properly describing the food … Suanne and I only describe food we eat with words like yummy, good, delicious … LOL!!
You guys should check out Christina and Ed’s food blog. It is called Doesn’t TaZte Like Chicken. Remember the word “taste” is spelt as “TaZte” — you ask them why. OK, back to food …
The Famous Hakka Restaurant is located along No 3 Road in the strip mall near the intersection with Cambie. It had just opened for just a couple of months or so. Actually, this is our first trip to a Hakka cuisine restaurant and looked forward to learn more about it.
It still being new, the entire place is neat and clean. With wrap around floor to ceiling windows, it is bright making it perfect for taking pictures.
I really know very little about Hakka cuisine even though I grew up with lots of Hakka friends. My impression is that Hakka food is simple, has little garnishing and emphasizes on the main ingredient. If it is chicken, all you see and taste is chicken … they normally don’t add stuff like cucumbers, leafy veggies and such. Is my perception correct?
We left the ordering to Christina and Ed. For tea, they ordered the Gook Far Char (Chrysanthemum Tea). Gosh … for all my life I did not know that Gook Far Char and Gook Bow Char are different. I thought they are the same. I learned something new today. I had been playing around the idea of doing some research on Chinese tea and making a series out of it. He he he … that will certainly make you all cry foul worse than my tedious travel series! But seriously, I think that would be great for the Google Search Engine and will bring even more traffic to this site.
So, since this is supposed to be a formal meal and according to Christina a formal meal MUST have soup, we ordered soup. We had the Pork Stomach with Salted Veggie and Peppercorn Soup. They have a large ($13.95) or regular ($8.95) servings. We ordered the large one. I like pig stomach … and love the chewy texture especially.
We also had the ($11.95) Hakka Style Stuffed Tofu Hotpot. This reminded me so much of the popular Yong Tau Foo in Malaysia. I think they are the same. The stuffing should be made of fish and pork but am not absolutely sure.
The Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables ($11.95) would turn a lot of people off because of the fatty pork meat. But we love it. It is simply delicious especially with steamed rice. This dish must be made only with pork belly … if anyone try to make it with lean meat, it is not Mui Choy Kow Yook anymore. The most important thing here is the texture. Suanne makes this at home … see her recipe here.
We ordered half of a Baked Chicken with Spiced Salt. The half chicken costs $11.95, while the whole chicken is $22.95. See how they serve the chicken? All chicken had heads right? And so, they must also serve the head. I did not notice if anyone ate the chicken head but am pretty sure Suanne would not. So … Christina and Ed, did you guys eat the head?
The chicken is a bit boney but otherwise … well … delicious. Christina and Ed would be able to describe this dish better.
The total bill came to just under $60. For four adults and two growing teenagers, it was not bad. We enjoyed the meal, learned quite a bit but most of all, we enjoyed the company.
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The chicken may be ‘loong gong’ type of chicken or free range, i’m probably thinking it’s the former, these chickens are suppose to be more tastier, i don’t like it though, i’m used to my steroid style chicken.
Hey, I like your travel series! =)
“Gok Bow” = gok fa & pu’er cha mixed together
At home we also had soup with formal dinners. Always start a meal with a “leng torng”.
I remember when I was little kid, I ate alot of the canned “Mui choy khaw yuk”.. Untill I got older and realised that I was eating alot of fat >_<
Ah! We walked past this restaurant 2 weeks ago and I was thinking that it’s unusual to see a Hakka restaurant and I should try it. Thanks for the review. Yong tau foo is a traditional Hakka dish and the best versions are made with fish paste, minced pork and the addition of some salted fish in the mix. I’ll put this restaurant on my list of places to try.
Thanks for the plug Ben! I think everybody’s favourite was the “mui choi kau yeok” – the boys liked it and it wasn’t even fried rice. 😉
Christina and I didn’t eat the head of the chicken, we’re not really into that… yet. 🙂 The chicken is of the free-range variety, which has a slightly firmer texture and a more intense flavour. To be honest, I used to prefer “regular” chicken more, but I’m finally coming around to these free-range ones. Have you guys tried the chicken dish @ Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant yet?
It was a fun meal; we enjoyed the food and moreso the company – let’s do it again shall we?
He he he … I saw quite a lot of exit links to your site from here. Guess your traffic must have spiked quite a bit since yesterday. We had not gone to Top Shanghai yet but have the hand written menu all ready in our camera bag. One of these days. And for sure … we love to do lunch or dinner again. This time your choice and let us known when (not this coming weekend though but all other times are OK).
Hey Ben: We sure did see a nice spike! I hope the folks who went liked what they read. Christina and I will put on our thinking caps to come up with something interesting for the next lunch/dinner… Watch your inbox!
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Ben, my mum was full blood Hakka lady ie loud & boisterous!! Kakaka! My dad is full blood Hainanese. Yet I grew up without knowing much about the cuisines of these 2 dialect group. Sad 🙁
I can remember vaguely about the stuffed tofu with the mixture of minced pork and fish, and I only learnt that mooi choy kao yook is a Hakka cuisine much later in my adulthood.
BTW, I am thoroughly enjoy your food and travel blogs for 2 reasons: you and Suanne makes the effort to have your blog constantly updated (and this is sorely lacking in many many blogs) and your blog is focused in it’s features ie food and travel (and not mixed and mashed with some other stuffs). Keep up the good work, Ben & Suanne!