In Vancouver, there are Chinese restaurants and there are Chinese restaurants.
There are Chinese restaurants where you will only see Chinese customers. The sight of a Caucasian customer is rare. The real menu of these restaurants are in Chinese. They will have a token English menu which is a small subset of their real menu. Their waitresses can hardly speak English but they can really speak Mandarin in very heavy accent. They serve traditional and authentic Chinese food.
Then there are the other Chinese Restaurant which are more user-friendly to the western customers. You see quite a number of Caucasian customers. They have items like sweet and sour pork and chow mein on their menu. They give out fortune cookies with the check. The Chinese foodie crowd does not pay attention to these type of restaurants. They say these restaurants is not real Chinese restaurants.
You know what I am saying?
But there is one restaurant that has managed to serve authentic Chinese food and yet draw customers who are non-Chinese.
We went to the Peaceful Restaurant before we drop the boys off for one of their many top secret rehearsals. So we went to a restaurant nearby. Peaceful Restaurant is located on Broadway.
The Peaceful Restaurant is a small restaurant. It is long and narrow with a row of tables lining one side of the wall and a glass enclosed open kitchen on the other side. There is a couple of larger round tables for larger parties.
Round tables … hmmm. I am thinking hard here as I type. In all good Chinese restaurants, the dining tables are round and will seat 10 people a table. This is because Chinese food are meant to be shared and are served communal style. Also, round tables allows everyone to be able to talk to each other better.
I can’t think of any other cultures that predominantly uses round tables. Can you help me think of one that does?
Anyway, the Peaceful Restaurant is a Northern Chinese restaurant. The speaks Mandarin with a heavy northern Chinese accent.
We ordered the Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles (hmmm … Sichuan is western, not northern China!) because we heard that they pull the noodles in house.
It came in a bowl nicely arranged with the ingredients and before I could lift my camera to take a picture of it, the waitress dug in a pair of scissors and went ahead to cut it up. She then mixes it up front of us.
Aw too bad. I wanted to see how long these noodles are. Seeing how these noodles are made I am not surprise if this entire bowl is made up a single strand of noodles, all hand made.
So, with my usual itchy mouth, I asked the waitress how long it is. She brushed me aside and said “very long” like she was quite annoyed with my question. Ah … very authentic Chinese restaurant service. LOL!
The main thing about Dan Dan Noodle is only the noodles and the sauce. Very simple dish but yet complex to make it perfect.
The peanut based creamy sauce is spicy and tangy and had a little minced meat and spinach. I tasted a bowl of that. It was good and had a lot of flavour. The noodles tasted great too. Personally I find that the sauce is too thick for my liking.
This is $7. Dan Dan Noodles are cheap to make and so $7 is a little bit on the high side.
Suanne was on a mission for one of our readers. Michelle was asking where she could find Shaobing. Suanne remembered reading about there is Shaobing in this restaurant and it was the primary reason why we chose to eat here. So Michelle, here you go.
The word “bing” on Shaobing refers to biscuits or cookie in Chinese. I am sort of making this up but I think it is rather accurate. I need readers to help me confirm if I am correct or wrong. You see … this is the closest to a cookie in Chinese. The Chinese do not use ovens for their cooking and as such you end up with biscuits pan fried like this. There is no oven baked cookies like the ones you know of in Chinese cuisine. Correct? Yes? No? Yes?
There are actually several variations of Shaobing but the main distinctly is there is a version that is sweet and another that is savory. The sweet ones are usually made round while the savory ones are made in oblong shape like the picture above.
The Peaceful Restaurant calls this the Sesame Flat Bread on their menu. This is $6.
Shaobing is a partially leavened bread and covered with sesame seed which is toasted (pan fried?) to a crunch. The sesame seed gave it the fragrance that you could “taste” even before you bite into it.
Since this is a Northern Chinese restaurant, we ordered the Xiao Long Bao. This is $6.50. We were surprised it came with 8 pieces, normally it is 6-7.
Don’t get this. No good.
See how wet the bottom is? And how flat the edges of the buns lies? Well, … (more…)