Cattle Cafe on Alexandra Road, Richmond

I was telling Suanne that Vanessa (who we had never met) is like our eating consultant. This time she brought to our attention of a new Hongkong Style Cafe in Richmond.

Come to think about it, we had not come across any new Hongkong Style Cafes for quite a long time. It is like Hongkong Style Cafes out of fashion these days along with Vietnamese Pho and Taiwanese Beef Noodle Houses. Instead there are more and more mainland Chinese restaurants, particularly Shanghainese and Szechuan. I think it is due to the shifting demographics of the Chinese immigrants to Richmond the past few years.


Cattle Cafe is located on the Alexandra Road in Richmond. Alexandra Road is the “wai sek kai” of Richmond. Concentrated on this block is some of the better restaurants ranging from cheap eats to high class restaurants with chandeliers. The parking on this street is impossible especially during dinner time on weekends.


Cattle Cafe is new alright. Everything is so sparkling clean and new. The decor is bright with clean lines … certainly a lot better looking than the oldies like Kam Do, Silver Tower, Lido, E-Canteen and such. The place is not too big, perhaps half the size of Kam Do.

It was quite busy when we were there and had to wait for a table. Talking about tables, BOTH our tables were unbalanced and shakey for the good part of the time we were there. For as long as I remember, I had not come across having an unbalanced table, let alone two. I blame it on their relative newness and oversight. No big deal but it was downright annoying when one is having noodle soup.


You gotta love these type of new places where everything is new. Even the cutleries are shiny.

Service too was very quick and eager — we like that and does feel our patronage was appreciated.


Their menu is where they are different from all the other Hongkong Style Cafes. Instead of huge menu itemizing every single combination possible, Cattle chooses to do it choose-and-mix style.

For instance, their Self-Pick Noodles Combo allows you to assemble your own noodle by selecting a soup base, choice of two toppings, the noodle type and a beverage. You may sort of upgrade for a price. It is not just combo for noodles but also for congee and toasts too. It’s a good way for their customer to have their food the way they need it.


Suanne is getting smarter these days. You see, there is an unwritten rule that we cannot order the same food … this is because we are bloggers and we want to try as many different ones as possible. She used to end up with the short end of the stick after the boys and I get all the better ones first. Suanne is fast these days … she will “chop” the signature dishes before we even get the chance to say what we wanted.

So Suanne ended up with the Self-Pick Noodle Combo … which is just $7. I think it is a good deal. She had the Szechuan Spice Soup Base. I tried to influence her to get the Laksa Soup Base because I see a lot of other people having that. No deal, she said. For toppings, she had pork intestines and fish puffs. For noodles, she had rice noodles (I thought egg noodles is a better combination). Hot Milk Tea was her choice of beverage.

The bowl was big. Certainly more than enough for one person. The soup base was spicy and flavourful but the best thing is …


… their dried prawn chili sauce. They were great and had a lot of kick to it. Suanne likes it so much she asked for more … and then complained that its so hot she sweated all over.


Poor Benny had to settle for second best. Well, I ended up with the Steamed Rice with Toppings Combo. This is also cheap at $6.25. I had the Spare Ribs in Black bean Sauce on rice.

It took a long while to come. From the looks of it, it seems like they took the trouble to steam the rice in the bowl before adding the topping. This makes the rice really nice, loose and drier … just perfect for pouring in the sweet soya sauce prior to eating. This actually reminded me of similar dishes in dim sum places but just that it came in larger lunch-size bowls.

The spare ribs were soft and tender. Very nice.


Like with all respectable Hongkong Style Cafes, beverage comes with the main dishes. Cold drinks is a dollar extra.


Arkensen had the Boneless Curry Chicken with Rice ($8.25). He got this simply because of the word “boneless”. Suanne and I tried to tell him that the better tasting meat is always those boned-in. He has a mind of his own these days … he just said OK, nodded his head and put on the earphones of his iPod. One day, he will know mum and dad is right … one day … just you watch.

There was lots of creamy sauce. I don’t like Hongkong Style curries … no kick at all. There were more potatoes than chicken from the looks of it. Suanne asked what Arkensen thinks of it. Without taking off his earphones, he just flashed a thumbs up. Yeah, he liked it.


We were surprised when we got the bill. Just under $25 for the three of us. They take cash only.

It is good to know of another Hongkong Style Cafe in Richmond.

Cattle Cafe 牛仔餐廳 on Urbanspoon

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  1. Anita

    Yum yum…I should check that out! :p

  2. Winnie

    We went there for lunch a few weeks ago. Four of us all ordered the fish soup noodle combo. I like their fish soup because it has no MSG and I have a mild allergy to MSG. I ordered tomato and pumpkin fish soup rice noodle with brisket and the house special deep fried chicken wings. The chicken wings were probabily marinated with ginger so they have a nice kick on top of being crispy. However, both me and my bf don’t like HK cafe food. So we will only come here for the fish soup noodle and may try the steam rice combo. And yes we got a shaky table too.

  3. RobynT

    what is a fish puff? the self-pick noodle looks good but i wouldn’t know what to choose!

  4. Vanessa

    lol thanks guys! but im not good enough to be ur eating consultant! lol
    but anyways, glad that you enjoyed the meal` AND i too had a shaky table! hahahaha i bet we sat at the same spots lol….

  5. Gerri

    Thanks for the write up. All 3 of us went for the noodles option and the price is $7.25 each.We were “belly” happy.

  6. Marike

    I had the self pick noodle with fish broth. It was very mild and cloudy….almost milky taste. Kinda unexpected, but I really enjoyed it!

    I agree, there doesn’t seem to be any MSG in it.

  7. Jimmy L

    Cattle Cafe, Burnaby,- across from Metrotown Shopping Centre
    So many people going to the Cattle Café and most of them wrote favorable reviews about them. I though I have to try it for myself.
    Most of this type of restaurant operate and own by Taiwanese, they should not group as HK style café. The Taiwanese are very good for these type of restaurant, so is the Pearl Tea store, they started by the Taiwanese. Most of the ingredient are precooked and put together whatever you order and add the soup based whatever you order which are also already cooked. It’s a very good taste and good variety to choice from the menu. For $7.25 per bowel is cheap and yet is not expense. It must taster then the Vietnam Noodle restaurant food which is tasteless and is also a precooked stuff. Service is in line with this type of eating place. The atmosphere is little bit better than eating in the street vendor, 5% tips are considered more than adequate. They should not expect any tip for the service they provided. All in all, its worth of our business, I will be back and recommended to others. Foods are fresh and price is reasonable.

    1. Ben

      Hi Jimmy:

      This is new to me … so is the concept of mix-and-match soup base, noodles, ingredients that we see in Cattle Cafe originated from Taiwan (and not HK)? We recently went to another place with the similar concept. It is called the Spicy Stage Cafe. I’ll blog about it sometime this week.

      What? You advise a 5% tip? Gosh, I had never tipped anything under 10% even though it is an Asian restaurant.


      1. Buddha Girl

        Ben: It’s Taiwanese owned cafe (though you don’t see this type of cafe in Taiwan too much) with many Cantonese cafe-style food. The mix & match…known as “cart noodles” (車仔麵) is from Hong Kong…started in the 1950s.

    2. Jimmy L

      Cattle Cafe, Burnaby – cross from Metrotown Shopping Centre
      follow-up to my first visit:

      On my second visit,2 days ago, I try their HOT POT , as mention earlier, this is Taiwanese style food restaurant, their HOT POT (beef brisket with lo bak) is nothing more then a BEEF BRISKET WITH LO BAK SOUP, nothing like the HK style, I was very disappointed. They charge $9.75 for this dish which should be cheaper than a bowl of noodle soup. The noodle soup has more ingredients and taster than the HOT POT. Be careful what you order here other than the NOODLE SOUP which they are good for.

  8. Jimmy L

    The concept is from Taiwan but the entire ingredient is local but precooked. The amount of tips is based on the service they give to the customers; it should be ranging from 20% to nothing. In my opinion this type of eating place, 5% to nothing should be the guideline for tipping.
    Try their LO-BAK GO, they are entirely difference from the HK style, its 100% Taiwan style. Its look and taste are difference

  9. Jimmy L

    It should be kept in mind that tips are a way of expressing satisfaction. Larger tips should be left for those who provide extraordinarily good service; smaller tips or no tip at all should be left when service is poor. If you ask for an extra bowl, it takes 2-5 get it, you call that a service? Regardless it’s a western or Chinese or Asian, it should be based on their service. For example, you tip FORTUNE SEAFOOD RESTAURANT on Metrotown for 15-20% because they always provided good to extraordinarily service. For comparison to the service to Cattle Cafe, 5% or nothing should be adequate. Tell me what extra service do they provided other than take your order and take the food to your table which is part of their job.
    A lot of this type of eating places are own and operate by the owner and their family member. They should not be tipped.
    When you cater the EARLS, CACTUS CLUB and THE KEGS, the FORTUNE SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS and few more similar type restaurants, because the service the waitresses and the entire staff provide, you feel bad and cheap if you don’t tip 15-20%

  10. LotusRapper

    “A lot of this type of eating places are own and operate by the owner and their family member. They should not be tipped. When you cater the EARLS, CACTUS CLUB and THE KEGS, the FORTUNE SEAFOOD RESTAURANTS and few more similar type restaurants, because the service the waitresses and the entire staff provide, you feel bad and cheap if you don’t tip 15-20%”

    Are you suggesting that restaurants owned and operated by families and who employ family members ought to be tipped less (or not at all) than restaurants that employ employees per se ? What is your criteria ?

    1. Ben

      Hi Jimmy and LotusRapper:

      One of the most heavily commented posts on chowtimes is “How Much Do You Tip?” See

      It is a good reading different opinions on the practice of tipping. It was this post that a radio station in Toronto called me for my opinions — live radio show. LOL! That was my “fifteen minutes of fame”.


    2. Jimmy L

      Most of (almost all) the small (around 10 tables) to mid-size (around 20-25 tables) are owner-operate with family. Their attitude is terrible; they think they are doing you a flavor by opening an eating place for you. They usually don’t provide any service to you. When you walk in to a restaurant like that, you feel unwelcome and uncomfortable. If you ask them about anything, they don’t feel like answering you and just want you to eat, pay them and get the hell out. If you ask for extra bowl, oh! They are really doing you a big flavor. You wonder why they are in business.

      1. LotusRapper

        You seem frustrated, and even angry, at many eating establishments, and have chosen to vent here on Chowtimes, often in posts unrelated to the threads at hand.

        Why ?

        1. Jimmy L

          I am either angry or frustrated. I am only answering your question and point out the facts exists. It’s up to you to judge and where to spend your money for eating. I enjoy good food and good service when I eating out, you may have difference taste…

  11. Jimmy L

    I was aware of all the columns about tips in your site before I express my view; except your fame hour with the Radio station. We take it for granted that we must tip when eating out at restaurants, regardless what service they provided. So is the server in the restaurant business, they assume that they will receive tips anyway, even with bad service and service wrong food.
    Assuming we all know what the tips stand for, it means – To ensure prompt service. We should not tip just because we eat in the restaurant. Server make around $100 – $200 tips a shift. A lot of restaurant owner don’t pay that much to the Server because they said they make enough money on tips. The custom of tipping in the restaurant should be reviewed. Why don’t we tip the people working for McDonald and Burger King as well as Starbucks…?
    Having said all of the above, and having worked in the restaurant business during my early school days, I know only too well how much catering staff depend on their tip to top up their often low income. But they should never expect it, they must earn it, and where they do, the host should always reward it.

    I respect hard-working restaurant staff that deserves to be well rewarded for providing good service

    1. Ben

      He he he … totally with you, Jimmy. About the only countries in the world that practices tipping as a standard are the US, Canada, Israel and some South American countries. See

      The country that expects the most in tips for meals is the US at 15%-20%. Canada, being so culturally close to the US, is next at 10%-15%. No other countries expects tips as high as US and Canada. I am totally with you about what tipping is meant for but the practice is so ingrained that this is not going to change. There is no way that “the custom of tipping could be reviewed” as you and I know. The only way is for the govt to ban the practice of tipping. No siree, it is not going to happen in our lifetime.

      There is pros and cons to the practice of tipping. Let’s face it, in general, service in North America is better than other countries, especially Asia. I am not saying you are wrong or anything like that. I can understand that every tourists who visits North America find the practice strange. In Asia for example, if you try to leave a tip on the table, you will have the waiters running after you to hand you the money.

      My two cents.


  12. Jimmy L

    Ben, if nobody wants to, I will, I will only tip for good food and good service. Tipping is voluntary; it’s not against the law not to tip. Why not!
    Case is closed.

  13. etranger

    In order for the practice to be changed, the wage structure would have to change. In the US, servers get just three dollars or so per hour, and depend on tips as their wage.

    So if you leave a teeny tip (under 10%?) don’t eat there again. They will remember you. Your food is rather vulnerable, you know.

    You should also tip on the full value of what you ordered, not the price after you use a coupon. The server doesn’t get anything for the coupon.

    I would rather leave a bigger tip — what is a dollar or two to me? Then I will get the best service next time.

    What is expected in a small family run establishment I do not know. It does seem odd to tip the owner, who is not being paid an hourly wage at all. I always wonder if the servers in those places actually get the tip, so I try to leave the tip in cash even if I pay by card.

    1. Jimmy L

      If restaurant customers continue to tip server regardless of the food and the services. It in fact is encourage restaurant owner not to pay to server properly. No body work for $ in this country, but if they do, they must make over $ per shift. Its rumor that some restaurants in Las Vegas and New York that the server make so much tips, they have to pay the restaurant owner in order to work there.
      Why you have to tip them first time in order to have good service the next time? If the food and service is very poor, its justify not to tip them and I will never cater that restaurant again, there will be no next time. If we are to tip servers in the restaurant regardless, we should start tipping server working in McDonald, Burger King and Starbucks etc. why not?
      I strongly believe tips are for good food and good service. When they do, make sure tip them generously to express your appreciation. (10-20% or more)

    2. Ben

      Just a couple of additional points to add regarding tippings, etranger. It is not only the wage structure that will have to change but the effect of removing the tipping practice will also mean higher menu prices, with even lesser control over the service level. We can argue this over this ad naseum but it is what it is in North America.

      When dining in North America I can always count of restaurants trying to help me beyond just the table service. When I was in London and I needed a cab after a dinner in an out of the way place, the restaurant ignored me when I ask that they call a cab for me. I was totally taken aback because it took so little to do that for me. I remember that night when I was stranded and can’t get over it even today. Mind you, the restaurant is a pretty nice established restaurant too.


      1. Jimmy L

        I am not happy about remarks and views of all of you expressed in this site about tipping, vise visa, properly none of you happy and agree about the remarks I make about tipping either or if you do agree but affright to speak out. That’s why it’s such an interesting subject. Here’s the points: 1. It looks like you tip because the culture of tipping in the restaurant regardless the food and service; 2. You don’t appears to tip the fast food outlets like McDonald, Burger King, Starbucks; outlets in the food court – Chinese or others. Why not? They service good food and most of them work very hard and highly deserve our appreciation. 3. Why do we have to tip take out order from restaurant but not to all the other food outlets.
        Automatic tipping is fundamentally wrong. YOU ALL HAVE TREMENDOUS POWER TO CHANGE THE CULTURE OF TIPPING. Express your appreciation for good food and good service. Tip those who deserved.

  14. TimeToChow

    ben, I believe there is a cattle cafe in metrotown besides lao shan dong(sp?). is it the same owners etc etc?

    1. Ben

      Hi Time ToChow: Yeah … the Cattle Cafe near Metrotown is the same owner as the Cattle Cafe on Alexandra, Richmond. They are definitely not the same owners as LSD. That restaurant is really busy everyday and I see people waiting outside for table. Ben

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