This is another great find.
After all, this simple looking nondescript restaurant with an equally unimaginative name actually won the 2009 Most Innovative Dish title awarded by The Chinese Restaurant Awards in Metro Vancouver. We just got to try it.
So, we decided to get hold of Whitney and Ken to join us since this is the kind of place where the more people you have the better.
They should change the name Long’s Noodle House. I think they have grown up … no longer a noodle house but a full fledged restaurant. Really, if you just drive past this restaurant you will definitely give this place a miss. The signboard is totally devoid of any design. Even the bars on the windows tends to tell you that this location is not too good part of the neighborhood.
Long’s Noodle House is located on Main and 33rd. It is actually just next door to Au Petit, one of the most popular Vietnamese restaurant on Metro Vancouver. I think Long’s is a Shanghainese restaurant.
The place is awfully small. You know, I think it’s good that they stay that way. I hope they never expand and keep doing what they do best.
They are opened at 5:30PM for dinner. We were there about 10 minutes early and the waitress (Sandy was her name, I think) was very gracious to open up to let us in. I read that she is a super waitress who does everything in the front … take orders, deliver dishes, give you your bill, the whole shebang … all alone. And she does it so cheerfully too … we like her immediately.
Well, except for one thing. She was so hell bent on making sure she maximize her table turns. When we told her we are a party of seven and that we did NOT have a reservation, she hesitated a while. You see, apparently ALL the tables were already reserved for 5:30PM except for this one table that fits seven just nicely … but Whitney and Ken was no where in sight yet. She wanted to only give us the table only if our entire party is present.
So, I lied and told her they are just a couple of blocks away and pretend to call Whitney and Ken to confirm. Once she set our tables, we’re safe. Except that she came around every 5 minutes asking where they are!
Sharp at 5:30PM, all the tables were filled up! Wow, I had never seen a place ran like this!
It was a relief when Ken and Whitney turned up … at least I don’t feel so embarrassed for telling a lie. Mind you, Sandy is very gracious about it but I understand seeing how disciplined the other tables were. LOL! I knew we were in a right place that afternoon.
I knew what I MUST have … the Most Innovative Dish in Metro Vancouver. The printed menu they gave us was not very extensive but quite respectable in terms of number of items. There were quite a few delicious sounding name. I know the best dishes are what is written on the board. Too bad they are all in Chinese and so we had to settle for what is on the menu.
We rattled off our orders to Sandy — nine items in all. She did not even write it down and I was afraid if she will mess up our order seeing how busy she is. I asked her to write it down but she said it’s OK she got it. I was amazed here because she got everything correct when she brought a printout of the order to show us.
For starters, we had Steamed Mini Pork Buns (Xiao Long Bao). We like the brothiness in the bun but I would say it was quite OK, not great like the ones we had in Popular. No complain price wise though … it was just $4.95 for six.
Whitney loves pig ears. She can talk and talk about where to find the best pig ears in Vancouver. So, I decided that we order this for her. This is $5.50 and we all liked it. The texture was what we expect of a good pig ear … crunchy.
We eagerly waited for Whitney’s verdict. She gave the thumbs up.
I wanted to be adventurous and went ahead to order the Salted Soya Bean Milk from their Dim Sum section of the menu. To me, the words salted and soya bean milk does not jive — just like sushi and curries, for instance. Sandy explained that they have two types of soya bean milk — salted (which is served hot) and sweet (served cold).
The Salted Soya Bean Milk ($2.50) was served in a bowl and had thin slices of youtiao (Chinese donut) in it. Despite the name, it was actually not salty at all. I would describe it as savory. You should try it and see if you like it.
This is IT … the Most Innovative Dish … Crispy Rice with Salty Egg Yolk. It is a dry’ish dish with the rice puffed making it airy and light. The salted egg yolk lends a unique flavour to it with the texture a little unique. Hmmm … I came with too high an expectation perhaps. While it is unique and really good I was not overwhelmed.
I was thinking that if perhaps they have serve this with some kind of a dip, it might lend a more tantalizing flavour to it. This is $10.95.
What we like most is this one … the Wine Chicken which is only $5.95. It came in a small pot which smells absolutely good when it came to the table.
For that price, I was thinking that it’s just a few pieces of chicken layered on the top. Instead, it is chicken all the way down to the bottom. The soup is absolutely marvelous and is great with rice.
So, of course, I made sure that every drop of the wine soup is not wasted. For that price, we should have ordered a couple … or maybe even three!
We ordered a hot pot. Seems like it’s also a specialty of their. We got the Salted and Fresh Pork in Hotpot which is $12.95.
It is a simple dish with clear but flavourful soup. The pork was salty alright which I hoped it was not. They also had a lot of bamboo shoots. I did not like their bamboo shoots a lot because for one they are “old” and hard and second they absorbed a lot of the saltiness from the soup which made it extra salty.
This next one is called the Salted vegetable with Sliced Bean Curd. The bean curd sheet is sliced like noodles. If you did not take a closer look, you would have thought it is egg noodles. Texture wise, they are more chewy than noodles. It is salty but had a good level of saltiness. We like this and goes great on rice.
The kicker is the price. For the seven of us (4 adults, 2 teenagers and 1 kid), the bill came to only $67.20. All of us agree that this is a good and satisfying meal in all respect. OK, all respect except one. Again, the place is small and it is highly popular. So, forget about staying around because Sandy will clear your plates quickly when you’re done and hand you the bill in quick time. Also, with all the people waiting for a table, the last thing you want to do is to hog the table. Good things are meant to be shared.
You MUST check out Long’s Noodle House — there are no excuses for not having tried them for yourself. Make sure you make a reservation.