Updated 18th Nov 2014; The restaurant had changed it’s name from Sha Lin to Shaolin according to Urbanspoon.com.
It was another one of those days when we had to send the boys to their Olympic Ceremony practices. We had given up trying to get any info from them. Our fear is that we will NOT be able to watch it on TV on the day of because we could end up having to wait to pick them up after the Olympic closes. We’ll see.
Oh talking about the Olympic Ceremony, the response to the Olympic Opening Ceremony Dress Rehearsal give away had been overwhelming. So far we have over 230 responses after 2 days. Just a reminder that we will cut off all entries at 12:01AM this Thursday.
This time we went to Sha Lin Noodle House for a late lunch after the boys practices. Sha Lin is on Broadway near the intersection with Cambie. If you want to come here the next few weeks, you should know that Broadway is designated as an Olympic lane — and that means no more street parking. The best way is to take the SkyTrain and get off at the Broadway/City Hall station.
Sha Lin Noodle House had always been a very popular eatery. The main draw is the good authentic Chinese food and the prices. They had been operating here for a long time already — at least 10 years old.
Many customers will stand and gawk at the poster at the entrance of their popular dishes before going in. We did. All of them looked delicious. Makes us want to get all of them.
Don’t expect much from Sha Lin. The place is rather spartan and does shows its age. The place was full even when we were there after lunch hours at 2PM.
Service here is bad — really bad. Most of the waiters and waitresses have really bad attitude and walk/talk so listlessly. Youngsters! It is like they hate their job, their life or something. If not for the great service of that lone tall slim waiter who tried his best to placate us, we would have left.
This is the kind of place that had success gone to their heads. They have so many customers that they can’t handle, they seem to think that they don’t mind losing customers. This is sad because their food is pretty good. I hate to say this but we like the food for the most part.
For starters we ordered the Sliced Rolls (fried). This is just $2.95. I recommend you order this.
The fried rolls is served with condensed milk as a dip. So it is a very sweet dish. The deep fried bread dough was just perfect — crispy outside, soft inside.
We know that our boys will like it but they will always instinctively reject anything we order for them. Especially Nanzaro, who will put up an act when we asked him to try other food. He will put both his hands over his mouth and make it look like he is going to throw up. He is very convincing in doing this but not to us. He had been doing this ever since he is a toddler and is now a habit.
We normally let them be but this time we were extra assertive that they must try a piece. Guess what? They loved it.
Arkensen said it tasted like donuts. I never thought of it that way before but he is right. And Nanzaro? He flashed me a thumbs up and said “You rock, Dad”.
See? Dad knows best when it comes to food. Nanzaro knows that but he just doesn’t want to give his dad the credit he deserved.
We also ordered 2 sticks of Kabob to share. They were cumin flavoured and were very spicy — we asked for the hottest they can make it.
The meat was a bit dry and tough but it was OK. It took a bit of chewing to down them but it was the whole point because you really can taste the full flavour of the kabob.
Sha Lin is well know for their hand made noodles. They classify them as dragging, cutting, rolling and pushing noodles.
Arkensen ordered the most common type, the dragging noodles. The one he had came with beef and bean sprout in soup which is $7.
Served on the side is a plate of … cilantro, bean sprout and pickled vegetables (Ja Choy). I like that they served this separately although they were not exactly fresh.
The broth is clear, light and flavourful.
These are hand pulled (dragged) noodles. They do not have consistent thickness as you can see. The noodles is springy and tasted great by itself.
I am quite sure they make it in house even though I could not see it from where we sat.
Our favourite has got to be this one. This is the Zhajiang Pork with Cucumber with Cutting Noodles (also $7).
Cutting noodles are like shaved noodles. Instead of pulling and stretching the lump of dough into long thin noodles, these type of noodles are cut with a cleaver from the lump of dough.
We like this one better because it is more chewy due to the thicker noodles. If ever we were to come back again, we will definitely order this type of noodles.
This was what got me all worked up with that fat waiter who had such a bad attitude.
You see, I saw the sandwich board outside the restaurant that says that their special of the day is the Stewed Pancake. So I asked the waiter what it is. He stared at me, shook his head, let out a “tsk” and then looked at his order slip — and refused to say anything. Can you believe that? I was so mad that I gave him a piece of my mind and was about to storm off until this other guy intervened. Anyway … he was not too happy with me. I wonder if he spits into our food before it is served. I see that happening in movies. Yucks!
The soup was good. The pork is like one of those overnight roasted pork that they salted to make it last longer. The pork was salty — not good.
The “pancake” apparently is very much like the thin pancakes that they used to make beef wrap. That sort of thing, except that it is thinner. The texture is exactly like pancakes although it is cut into strips of flat noodles. The texture is rougher than rice noodles obviously.
Not too good.
Nanzaro ordered from Sha Lin Specialties section of the menu. It is called Dragging Noodles with Pork ($9).
For some reason, this one took an awfully long time to come. By the time it came, we were almost done with our noodles. I could see from Nanzaro’s face that he did not like the look of it. This is like chow mein with lots of sauce and nothing else. Well, there are broccoli but he pretends to throw up if we force him to eat it.
Look at that … all clumpy. He did not enjoy this and did not even finish it. This is a bad choice.
Hit and miss is what I would say about the food. Some of them we enjoyed tremendously but others were really bad. The service sucks big time. We will NOT come back again simply on account of the rude service.
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Wow that was really a bad service from that fat waiter. He shouldn’t be in the service industry with that attitude.
Actually, closer to home, you probably know of that pulled noodle place (Xi’An Cuisine) in Richmond public market food court. They serve a pretty decent pulled noodle dish as well.
Hi Jonnek: I did not know that Xian is the home of the pulled noodles. As for the waiter, I do think that he’s related to the owner or is the even the son of the owner. I can’t believe any employee can get away doing what he does. I could be wrong but the way he was going about doing it, he would have been fired long ago. Anyway, that was not my problem … that is for Sha Lin to deal with if they chooses or not.
Hi Ben, Wendy (Eat n About) posted a review of Xian. Here’s the link.
I usually order their beef noodle soup and haven’t really tried the lamb. I might do that in my next visit.
I went to Sha-lin Noodle House a few years back when I used to volunteer for the Lung Association. One thing I would say that is consistent is the bad service that they have. The noodles and the soups were inconsistent and the ingredients were stingy. And when a server brought our noodle soups out they held the bowl in a way that the thumb was inside the bowl and touching the food. Bleh…that is NASTY! I have never felt so repulsed in my life! I barely ate my food. When I left, I left no tip and how dare they chase me down the block for a freaking tip.
People only go there once and want to see the noodle making person there. I bet they go there once and then complain about the food/service. The only people that have at least some kind of service/food are the non-Asian people. How sad.
I’ve always been curious what the other types of noodles were. Can someone define and describe the rolling and pushing varietys?
I’ve eaten at Shalin a few times over the past 10 yrs or so. First time on my own initiative, the other times were decided by other people.
To be perfectly blunt, I am completely baffled as to how this place has stayed in business for so long. There were not one single dish I’ve eaten there that made me say: “Wow, I gotta come back here for more !!”. The noodles and broths are mediocre, portions stingy and ingredients stingy. I don’t remember (how bad) about the service, but even if they waited on me on hand and knees, the food is simply not good enough for me to have gone back to.
Ok sorry for the rant. But I had to be perfectly honest about my feelings and experience of Shalin Noodle House. Thanks.
Well Ben, seems bad service is pretty consistent here:
i like the poster, i would stare at it too. i wish more places had pictures of the food. bad service? i kind of want to go just to experience that… lol.
For a truly abusive (by wait staff) experience, you must go to The Elbow Room Cafe !! They are (in-)famous for it, but it’s part of their schtick and charm:
BTW Trisha, read all the posts on Dinehere so you know what’s going on at TERC. It’s not necessarily for everyone. LOL.
I came here years ago and decided that I would never come back. The service I had was so so, not particularly good or bad as far as I can remember; but what I remember most was how bland the food was.
We ordered different types of noodles that day and some other smaller plates to share. None was good. Not even a single item.
I still dont understand how they got so famous!
On the service front, I’ve never experienced anything completely offputting. The opposite, really. Service was way better than the food.
But the food is pretty rubbish, isn’t it? I remember going in the first time and ordering a bowl of pulled noodles and getting that bowl of soup that looked like packet French Onion soup mix and a mound of frozen vegetables on top and– well, the noodles were okay: decent texture, good flavor. The only reason I went back was for the noodles.
They’ve got a dope menu and it always suckers me when they offer a dish like stewed flatbread 烩饼, which is, like, total northern Chinese long winter comfort food to me. But it’s always executed really, really badly and kinda depresses me.
I actually dig the food down the street at Peaceful Restaurant, but, depressingly, I’ve sworn off eating there due to a personal beef. I’ve given up on the only good Chinese food on Broadway out of spite!
If you want to try good central Chinese food elsewhere, check out Xi’an Xiaochi in the Richmond Public market, where I’ve eaten approximately 2000 dozen bowls of pulled noodles, pulled noodles in a rich, glossy broth, pulled noodles with a perfect combination of muscle and giiive, pulled noodles served by a man who actually cares about food and would never throw frozen broccoli on my darn lamian.
Love reading your comments, Dylan. So expressive. LOL!
dragging noodle? why didn’t they just use the much more known terminology of la mian/la mein?
I was wondering if chowtimes would ever have a interactive map feature to locate restaurant within a certain area. Do you know what I’m talking about. It’s similar to something that realtors use on their MLS site. You zoom into an area you are interested in, and it pops up houses for sale, but in your situation, it would be restaurants you’ve blogged about.
The story behind this is I’m going to watch curling today, and wanted a place to eat by a Canada Line station. I ran into this post of Sha Lin and notice it was by Broadway and Cambie. So say another user wanted to find restaurants you’ve been into in the area, they could.
Awesome suggestion, Ryan. I had been tinkering with this idea and I think we know what needs to be done. The good thing is it might not be onerous as I feared. We’ll probably put something up this weekend.
Check this out: http://chowtimes.com/restaurant-explorer/
Still under development but this will be how it will look.
What do you think? LOL!
Have you tried Peaceful Noodle, just a few stores down? How does Sha Lin compare with Peaceful?
Yes we did try Peaceful at around the same time we tried Sha Lin. See this blog entry: http://chowtimes.com/2010/01/21/peaceful-restaurant-on-west-broadway-at-cambie-vancouver/
Hi, love your blog! Can you do some reviews of vegetarian asian resturants? Or add more vegetarian dishes to your tastings?
I love asian food, of all kinds, but don’t eat pork, chicken, or beef. It’s hard to know what to order. I’m tired of plain things, I want spicy slurpy totally yummy asian veggie food.
Hi Michele: I don’t know much about vegetarian food but I do know of someone who could introduce me to some [am looking at you Buddha Girl]. Anyway, there is an explanation for my lack of vegetarian posts. You see, I am a meatatarian and my religion forbid me to shun meat. Just joking. I’ll see if I can write a couple of vegetarian ones. Ben