I think we’re getting the hang of it.
Suanne and I are getting more comfortable going to a Chinese restaurant. I am not talking to just any restaurant but ones that has ghastly bright yellow and red signs with an equally unimaginative name to match. These are the type of restaurants that are almost always a mainland Chinese restaurant serving authentic Chinese food.
Suanne and I chanced upon this lonely Chinese Restaurant while driving along Kingsway. The Traditional Chinese BBQ House is located on the Vancouver section of Kingsway, between Joyce and Rupert. Although we did not know anything about this place, we decided to just chance it.
We were pleasantly surprised.
This is a really small place but was quite busy for a restaurant located at such a quiet stretch. As we suspected, their customers are basically of mainland Chinese origin from the unmistakable sing-song Mandarin accent.
When we got seated, we were handed their Chinese menu. We told them we don’t read Chinese and he snickered at us … well, in a friendly way but still a snicker. So he brought out the English menu which he told us (TWICE!) that it is just delivered and he is not familiar with it. We did not trust the menu with their odd description.
We thought we order by pointing to the neighboring tables. Know what he did next? He actually walked to the neighboring tables and point directly into their dishes (which the customers were still eating) and explain the dishes for us loudly across the restaurant. We were so embarrassed with his blatant intrusion into his customer’s meal. He’s a nice and extremely helpful guy but it’s just that he doesn’t realize it is rude to others.
For starters, we had Steamed Bun Slice. It costs 75 cents each. It is basically man tao, just that it is sliced and grilled with some kind of sauce or spread which we could not identify. I recommend you try it … it is unique.
For those who does not speak chinese, “man tao” is translated as “ten thousand heads”. This is the staple food to the Chinese and is the kind of food that is used to feed the masses.
The owner also recommended us their most popular BBQ item, the House Grilled Lamb. The restaurant actually smells of this item from the heavy use of cumin. It costs 75 cents each. It came served in metal skewers. The taste is rather strong … it is both very spicy and salty. The meat is tender and not gamey. But really, we prefer the Malaysian satay better than this.
We also had the Chef Special Escargot ($8.95). The sauce is awesomely tasty and lightly sweet. The sauce went very well with steamed rice.
The sauce was equally good with the Steamed Bun Slice too.
But it was a lot of work eating the escargot. It is so small and often difficult to pry them out of the shell.
Remember the heating unit that you see in the picture way up at the top of this review? Well, that is for their No 1 specialty. It is called “Ba-Shu” Style Grilled Fish and costs $21.95. This is Szechuan style which means it is also numbingly hot and spicy with lots of dried chili and peppercorn. The fish, though, was a disappointment … it is fresh but there is so little meat and so much bones.
Discounting the fish, the rest of this dish is great. It has bean curd sheets which is cut up like flat noodles, lots of beansprouts, onion and cilantro.
Suanne and I enjoyed this the best. We had bowls after bowls of the broth it was served with.
The total came up to $45 including tips. This place takes only cash as you expect from restaurants like this.
If you’re looking for something different to try, this place is one you might find dishes you have not come across. They make really authentic old fashion Chinese food. You might like it. Suanne and I did.
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I love snails! I just made them last night actually. The asian supermarket near me has them for 3.69 a pound. yum yum.
That steamed bun slice looks intriguing. I will have to try and track that down somewhere.
Just to clear something up, Mantou does not mean ten thousand heads. The lamb skewer thing originates from the Uyghers in Xinjiang, who are a Turkic people. Remember the doner kebab? “Ba Shu” is just a traditional way to say Sichuan.
This style of lamb skewer is the special Chinese style, with Chinese spices.
this is actually a great late nite hangout. some other skewers… chicken heart, chicken… WIN!!!! buy 5 get 1 free beer? how can u say no?
Cash only means “tax evader.” Why do these restaurant owner think they do not need to fully report their income like every other business in Canada? And while the goodness of the food can be debated, the behavior of the owners and patrons as members of the community is devastatingly un-Canadian. To save money, the owners of the Traditional Chinese BBQ House have the smallest possible garbage bin, and their garbage can be found spilled down McHardy St nearly every day of the month. There are no other restaurants nearby, and there is no other source of garbage aside from the Traditional Chinese BBQ House. Their patrons stand directly in front of the entrance and smoke (a violation of Vancouver’s smoking laws) and the cheap alcohol means that at least once a night, there is a large amount of noise that comes from drunk patrons leaving the restaurant. I’ve lived in Collingwood for nearly a decade and I moved here from China in 1989. There are 20-30 restaurants on Kingsway in Collingwood, and this is the only restaurant I would tell you to avoid.
Sun Jin is completely correct.