Golden Great Wall Szechuan on West Broadway and Heather, Vancouver


Updated 13th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Note: I would like you to read down to the very bottom of this post.

Up until two weeks ago, the 8GTCC team had been trying to work together through emails. While it had allowed us to brainstorm ideas and such, I find that the discussions quickly became unfocused. So, I thought the best way is to bring everyone together and meet up. After all, not everyone had met everyone in real life.

I wanted to have a dinner meeting. I also wanted to be at a place where not only the food is good, the restaurant will be supportive that we stay and hog a table as we stay on for discussion.

Golden-Great-Wall-18-600x400

We went to the Golden Great Wall Szechuan Restaurant on Broadway. That is a perfect place because the Golden Great Wall had once invited us to their restaurant but for some reason, we did not. I knew they would be supportive and happy to host this dinner-meeting. Moreover, it would be a convenient location as it is just a short walk from the Broadway station on Canada Line.

When I made the reservation, I told the restaurant that this is not a review visit and that we expect to pay for the dinner. We just needed a place for dinner and then to meet without being shoo’d away.

Golden-Great-Wall-30-400x600

The Golden Great Wall has a large dinning hall which is big enough to host a respectable wedding dinner even. The restaurant is run by a father and two sons team. The restaurant was opened by Benny Liu about 8 years ago. Today, he is assisted by his two sons, Douglas and Tony.

I can see that Benny is an experienced restaurateur in the way he speaks to his customers and us.

I observed that for a Chinese restaurant, the Golden Great Wall has a lot of Caucasian customers and they mostly came in as a family. I think this is because the restaurant is located just next door to the Holiday Inn.

Golden-Great-Wall-1-600x400

The entire team trickled in right on the dot at 6PM. Not everyone had met everyone before but everyone felt like they know each other already.

The moment we were seated, we were served flower tea … or what fmed referred to as “performance tea”. It’s pretty fancy. The tea pot is clear that you could see the tea starting off as a ball and slowly unfurling into flowers. Good to look at. Taste wise, it is no way superior than other more common Chinese tea.

I had met everyone before except for Dylan and I kind of like the composition of the team. There are seven of us … fmed, LotusRapper, Dylan, Joe, Keev, Suanne and myself. We have food experts, professional menu architect, food writer and Chinese literature expert. We even have a lawyer who can write rock solid indemnity forms in case we need to protect ourselves from food poisoning. LOL! Seriously, the most important thing of all, it is a cohesive and committed team.

Golden-Great-Wall-32-400x600

I was quite impressed with Golden Great Wall. Apparently they were prepared for our visit when we did not even expect them to. While they gave us the menu for our ala carte selection, they have also prepared a menu specially for our table.

We were so busy talking to each other, we did not really have the time to look over the ala carte menu. So, I just decided we will go with what the restaurant had prepared. There were no price and so I asked Benny Liu. He said “$10 per person”.

That’s too cheap! But am not complaining. I think Benny just arbitrarily gave me that round number just because I said I want to pay for it. [Thanks a lot Benny!]

Golden-Great-Wall-31-400x600

Almost all of us went to have the same beer. I never had Chinese beer before. This is Tsingtao and is the top selling beer in China. In terms of volume sold, they are #1 in the world. No surprising isn’t it?

It has 4.5% alcohol content. Too much for me … made my head woozy for a while.

Golden-Great-Wall-3-600x400

Since Douglas once told me they have excellent Xiao Long Bao, I asked for a basket to try. Apparently they did not bill us for this and just added this to the set dinner.

Benny was great. With every dish served, he was there explaining and have us insight on the food served. I actually wished this is standard in every restaurant … I mean beside just giving a 1-2 sentence description.

Benny said that the chef who made this XLB is from Beijing and has 40 years of experience.

Golden-Great-Wall-4-600x400

I missed quite a lot of what he said. He said he uses local flour to make this and that the broth inside came from pork skin after cooking for 2 hours.

The XLB is respectable. I do find that the dough skin is a bit too thick.

Golden-Great-Wall-33-400x600

The first dish is called Appetizer Two Kinds.

This is a well presented dish. I am not sure about you but I find this sort of presentation really brings delight to most people. It does to me. LOL!

One of the appy is Szechuan beef and beef tripe. Benny called this Fuqi Feipien which is literally translated as Husband and Wife Slices of Lungs. Funny name isn’t it? This dish came about from a husband and wife food vendor in Chengdu who made this popular. It has a tingling spiciness from the Sichuan pepper corn and is chewy and tasted peanuty too.

This is balanced by cold cucumber which is lightly salty.

Golden-Great-Wall-34-400x600

In the middle of the appy is a pagoda. No one touched it. We are all grown ups. But I so wanted to take a bite of it just to see what it is made of.

Golden-Great-Wall-5-600x400

Ringing the Appetizer Two Kinds are cute little birds made with … prawn with egg white. It is a nice decorative and edible piece. Benny said his chef can make hundreds of this very fast.

Golden-Great-Wall-6-600x400

Next up is the Hot and Spicy Soup. Someone on the table said this is a Cantonese dish but I am not very sure about that. Anyway, the soup was very good. I liked it. It has tofu, wood ear, pork, bamboo shoot, carrot and green onions. So it is quite a filling soup.

Golden-Great-Wall-7-600x400

Shrimp lovers will love this Ying Yang Musical Shrimps. I think it is called Musical Shrimp is because it is presented like a piano keyboard. You reckon?

The orangey shrimp on the left tasted sweet and sour but it is the one on the right that is a lot more interesting.

Golden-Great-Wall-8-600x400

The top of the shrimp is made with Basa fish paste and capped with a piece of cut mushroom. Lovely presentation and lovely prawns.

Golden-Great-Wall-10-600x400

Next up is Boiled Fish Szechuan Style. This is a classic Sichuan dish. The huge layer of chili based oil will put a lot of people off this dish more than the spiciness. But it is delicious. I like to pour the oil and have this and the chili with rice … errr … does people normally eat it that way? Or do people normally just go for the fish fillets and ignore the rest of the bowl?

Golden-Great-Wall-9-600x400

The following dish is the Szechuan Peppering Chicken. Benny said he uses Thai chili because it tastes fresher and not moldy. The chicken is deep fried to complete dryness. Despite the dryness, this is a deceptively spicy dish … it tasted more spicy than it looked and creates a tingling numbness in the mouth. Which is awesome. I like this.

Golden-Great-Wall-11-600x400

Benny and Douglas knows that we are a group of people working on authentic Chinese food and yet we were served Ginger Beef. I just learned during the dinner that Ginger Beef is a Canadian invention.

Oh yeah, Ginger Beef originated from Calgary’s Silver Inn restaurant. Can you dig that? So now we can go around saying that Canadian Cuisine is not just poutine but we can also add Ginger Beef to it!

Benny served us this because this is their top selling dish in Golden Great Wall. He told us that the beef were soaked overnight to get rid of the blood before it is coated with two types of flour. It is then deep fried twice and lastly frying again to coat with honey garlic and ginger sauce.

The Ginger Beef has a very crispy texture and tasted sweet. It was well made.

Golden-Great-Wall-12-600x400

The second to last dish is called Northern Eggplant Vegetable Stirfry. We were told that this is popular in Beijing. The main ingredients are potato, eggplant and green pepper. This is a simple dish but it is a tad too oily.

Golden-Great-Wall-13-600x400

The last dish is just called “desserts” but boy, did I have a lot of fun with this one. Frankly, I felt honoured, embarassed and excited at the same time.

Douglas came firstly with a dish of carved out dragon fruit and some hand made egg pastry which is filled with red bean paste coated with sugar.

He asked me to pour some hot water slowly into the dragon fruit. The way he asked me to do it slowly that made me worried that this will explode or something if I pour it too fast.

Golden-Great-Wall-14-600x400

Oh fancy. While I was distracted by the dense cloud of fog …

Golden-Great-Wall-15-600x400

… they brought out another platter of dessert.

Golden-Great-Wall-16-600x400

Tada!

LOL! This is a first. As much as I enjoyed this, I was so embarrassed in front of the rest of the 8GTCC team. It was totally unexpected and led to me realize more that perhaps chowtimes will change. With such a large reader base and recognition on the blogosphere today, this sort of things will happen.

Suanne and I talked a lot about what all these means. We know our readers like the site for what we had always been and the last thing we want to do is change. We struggle a lot with this to tell the truth. We make every effort to make sure we keep to the same formula but changes will be pushed upon chowtimes more than we want it to. Please let us know what your thoughts are because we value your input a lot.

Golden-Great-Wall-17-600x400

But that night, I really felt honored especially in the presence of revered foodies. I do not and will not ask for these sort of things but for that night, I made an exception and privately basked in it.

To many, it is a simple gesture on the part of Golden Great Wall but Suanne and I appreciate it a lot. Thanks a lot Benny, Douglas and Tony! Thanks for being supportive in allowing us to meet in your restaurant and just charging us $10 per person for the dinner. The food was great and the service was absolutely perfect.

Golden Great Wall Szechuan on Urbanspoon

36 thoughts on “Golden Great Wall Szechuan on West Broadway and Heather, Vancouver

  1. This restaurant has changed to Shanghai Lu Restaurant just recently basically serving the same Cantonese/Northern Chinese cuisine as before. Not sure if they just changed name but not the owner.

  2. Great restaurant, been enjoying dining there for years until recently
    One of the servers made an error in my order and I mentioned it to a staff member of whom was passing by. It turned out it was the owner by the name of Benny. He handled the situation poorly as he immediately started yelling at the server in front of all the clients so loud that he was spitting out his mouth. NOT IMPRESSED with the owner, based on poor treatment of his staff I do not recommend anyone support Benny and his restaurant due to such barbaric behavior
    To bad because the food was good!!!

  3. I love this blog and I know some of you might be angry for me posting this. However, I love my job and love what I do and I just want to say that Golden Great Wall Restaurant is offering discount to our customers on the website Groupon.com Buy $15.00 and get $35.00! You save $20.00 on your meal! The offer ends tonight at Midnight September 21, 2010

    P.S. I love Chowtimes!

    • And I want to thank you again, Doug for the support all these time too! Yeah, I saw the Groupon special this morning and throughout today there were A LOT of hits on this post of Golden Great Wall. Gosh … I see that you have almost 3000 coupons sold. LOL! Looks like it is going to be a very busy next six months for your restaurant. Ben

    • Hi Doug: I was looking at previous Groupon deals and it seems like Golden Great Wall’s coupons is one of the top in terms sold for restaurants. I am beginning to understand what 3000 means … it is gonna be very busy for your restaurant. Let’s do the math … 3000 spread EVENLY over six months is 500 a month … and is about 17 redemptions per day. I would figure that most of everyone who bought the tickets will likely go within the first month and the last month of the validity period. The numbers alone boggles my mind. I am sure this will bring lots of new customers to your restaurant. Make the most out of it and turn them into repeat customers! Ben

      • Hi, Ben. I’m shocked at how successful the Groupon Coupon has been. We’ve been getting phone calls all day, asking about the restrictions on the Groupons. We give no cash back so prepare to eat $35.00 or more food when you visit our restaurant. The Groupon is limit to one coupon per table and must be used on the dinner menu; that has over 300+ items to choose from. Any more information about the Groupons or anything about our restaurant visit our website GoldenGreatWall.ca or call us. Thank you Ben and everyone for your support!

  4. Great Wall used to be one of my favorite restaurants, but was greatly disappointed the other day to find the XBL’s now came with 6 instead of 10. And the price appears to have stayed the same.

  5. Pingback: Everything is Connected » Blog Archive » Dineout reviews: 2010 Q2
  6. I absolutely love this restaurant. I held an event that was originally supposed to be 150 people, but surprisingly 200 people showed up. The restaurant and the owners were able to accommodate all of the guests, and all with a smile! The presentation, look of the restaurant, and service is exceptional and I really recommend the restaurant to everyone. They even deliver and are very accommodating. I think this is a great place for dinner, lunch, or an event. Keep up the great work Douglas, Benny and Tony!

  7. Wow what a dessert platter! I’m glad you mentioned that they probably gave you better treatment than normal b/c from what I’ve seen/heard about that place, it’s not normally that fancy in terms of presentation! I gather it’s hard to keep that anonymous integrity and yet have as an enormous readership as you do but please keep up the good work b/c your posts are always honest and insightful!

  8. “Northern Eggplant Vegetable Stirfry” is probably Di San Xian (Earth’s three produces), which is a Dongbei specialty.

  9. I’ve been to this restaurant always for dinners and I must say the service is great. The food is pretty good too however I have noticed that the portions did get slightly smaller.
    The prices are mediocre, but I guess it’s reflective of the food presentation and location of the restaurant.

    Nevertheless definitely worth trying!

    Next time I got I’ll have to tell them I’m doing a review, and hopefully I’ll get that $10 meal

  10. Omg!!! This is my favourite restaurant, I held a fundraiser there once and the food was as beautiful as it was tasty, the owner gave us a really good price for the meals since it was a charity and they also went all out with the dry ice and fruit platters, they even rented a chocolate fountain is was pretty cool. I live kinda far so I havent been able to eat there too much but if I lived closer I totally would!!! My favourite is the General Tao chicken and the Szechwan beans and you havent tasted crab till you have the Black bean version that they make fresh.

    also Ben good job resisting taking that bite..I took a lick…its just salt.

  11. I dine at this restaurant probably everyday for lunch because I work at VGH and we don’t have much selection of food here… They are always busy for lunch rush hour and I love there Ginger beef and Shanghai steam dumpling. When we had a large dinner party and order there set menu. I think the price was $238.00 they had those same plate decoration and the waiter or manager told us the pink pagoda was made of salt, sugar, and I assume food coloring.

  12. Hi Ben!
    I have a few questions

    I was wondering approximately how much was the dinner if it wasn’t specially made for chowtimes? Is this restaurant reasonable in price or slightly above average…compared to similar restaurants? I’m guessing that the price is slightly above average due to the decoration?

    Lastly…I’m a bit disappointed in you………you totally should have taken a bite out of the pagoda =)..or at least poke at it with a fork. I’m super curious as to what it is made out of. It looks like a sponge. Was it made out of edible food….or maybe they reuse it…hmm..if I go I will for sure take a bite out of it and let you know.

    Oh btw what was “chowtimes” made out of”? jelly?

    Ps congrats. you guys deserve it!

    • Hi Li Lian:

      Maybe you could just read Canido’s comments regarding the prices in the Golden Great Wall. Canido mentioned that it is quick and cheap. I had just taken the time to scan in GGW’s take out menu and posted it on the bottom of this post. You can check for yourself the prices rather than hearing from me. I felt that there is a certain element of distrust on the intention of GWW mainly from the part that they gave Suanne and I special treatment. I think if you look at the independent reviews in dinehere.ca and urbanspoon.com (see links below), it will shed light on how good or bad they really are rather than taking my words for it. Here it is:

      http://dinehere.ca/vancouver/golden-great-wall-szechuan-restaurant
      http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180721/restaurant/Fairview/Golden-Great-Wall-Szechuan-Vancouver

      Let the facts speak for itself.

      He he he … as for the pagoda, I would have taken a bite of it if not for the people around the table. I did pick it up and knock it against the plate. It was quite hard but light.

      The chowtimes logo was made of candy … strawberry and grapes. Everyone had too much respect that they did not break it to eat it. But I did break a piece to eat (only me!) and it tastes exactly like candy.

      Ben

      • Thanks for the links and posting the menu up. I like looking at menus before I go out to eat since it takes me forever to choose something…especially when there are too many choice..then it takes me forever to narrow it down.

        “I felt that there is a certain element of distrust on the intention of GWW mainly from the part that they gave Suanne and I special treatment.” ='( for a lack a better word…that sucks. regardless I value the chowtimes opinion greatly………..your recommendation for kedah house was the best thing ever!!
        btw will be trying bo laksa later this week.

        also btw..since Nanzaro reads chowtimes everyday….

        comment directed to Nanzaro: I would love to read a post/ food review written by you =)

      • He he he … OK, I just spoke to Nanzaro and he agreed to do a post. He said he will be doing one called “Korean BBQ Burger”. I can’t wait myself. LOL!

        Lilian, when you go to Bo Laksa you can be very chatty with Tiffany (Bo’s wife). I think you will like them as a person.

        Ben

  13. Hi Ben and Suanne,
    I think what I appreciate most from both of you is that you recognize that maybe there was some preferential treatment given in this instance. But this is clearly stated in your blog. Your integrity is preserved in my opinion. You write in such a candid way that reading your articles make you want to come back and read more. I’m really happy the 8GTCC team is working hard and I hope I can still be part of the actual dinners when they take place.
    Michelle

  14. With the many restaurant blogs that I’ve read, this is one I thoroughly enjoy. The tone is friendly and honest while I find others can be honest and caustic. I don’t like snobbery in food writing and I believe this one captures even negative write-ups in a fair and humorous manner. This makes it for a very entertaining and enticing read. Even if the restaurant went over the top to make an impression, I rather enjoyed it. Beautful work!

  15. Congratulations! And thanks for writing so many delicious food reviews! I really enjoy reading your blog and will continue supporting!

  16. Congratulations! I love reading your blog, and I think it’s awesome that you’re getting more recognition for it! I know that things tend to change with fame, but you’ve worked so hard and so diligently and I think you deserve it!

  17. Wow, that dessert looks amazing. You know what, I was just there this past weekend, and my food was definitely less decorate than yours. I guess they are doing this in your owner, so congratulation on the success of your blog. I been hooked ever since 2 years ago 🙂

  18. wow – delicious looking food and the coolest dessert ever! crazy… i think you should embrace and enjoy the recognition because the majority of your reviews are completely anonymous. it’s okay to get free meals (even thought you paid this time) too and i think it’s going to happen quite a bit because your blog is so big now. have fun with it!

  19. I have been to this restaurant before, and let me tell you that their GINGER BEEF is awesome!! My ex-coworkers and I use to go to this restaurant several times a week when I was still working at broadway. Their lunch special is quick AND cheap!

  20. I’m glad that the restaurant treated you well. You deserve it with all the honest, informative blog posts you have made. Thank you.

    However, I, too, feel that the way the restaurant presented your meal was a bit over the top. Tried too hard to impress, if you ask me. It makes me wary a bit. (I’ve never been to that restaurant before even though I used to work nearby. I always wondered… But I’m not too eager to try now.)

    I’d like to stress it one more time, Ben, that I have nothing bad to say about you or this post. Thanks for writing it up.

  21. The only brownie points was the last dessert (CHOWTIMES fruit platter). Everything else we serve normally to our customers.

    I’ve read thousands of restaurant and blog reviews and wanted to show our appreciations to Ben and other food blogger. I knew it was over the top, that normal restaurant don’t do but has anyone ever done what we’ve done?

    If every restaurant does something over the top to make sure a customers have the best time possible and surprised them, then I’ve done my job.

    Sure… I could of left out that final dessert and this food post would of been the same thousand posted restaurant review. I just want people to know that we’re not the same restaurant as any other. We read Ben and other food blogger and fix our problems, we will surprised you when you least expect it.

    If you dine in my restaurant and make a reservation. You can expect me and my staff to do same thing as I’ve done with Ben experience. However, be expected to be embarrassed and have fun =D

    Hopefully, I’ve set up a higher standard for the next restaurant that read this blog! Restaurant should provide the best service and not too attentive, food is presented in the most beautiful and tasteful way, and surprised you when you least expect it, to show that we care about our customers!

    Waiter, Doug

  22. Wow, from the review above it looks like dinner was a great success! I’ve only known about your site a month ago and I’m definitely hooked on your reviews and recipes.
    You guys are doing great job, Ben and Suanne =)

    I am a bit turned off by the way this dinner was presented though. Although the purpose of the visit to the restaurant is not a review, it looks like the restaurant went above and beyond to ensure that your dishes during dinner would be ‘review’ quality.

    I think if the only purpose was to meet and discuss…would it be necessary to inform the restaurant who would be attending? It looks like the restaurant was trying to score brownie points or something…even though it’s unintentional.

    Unless on any given evening going to dine there, all of their dishes are presented with such intricate garnishes and entertaining shapes, it really gives the viewers a false sense of what to expect.

    Sorry if that offends anyone. That’s just the impression it left me.

  23. Thanks for that dinner Ben. It was great meeting up with like minds (or should I say…like tastebuds). It is indeed a great and varied team.

    I think I may have been the one who said that the H&S soup was “Cantonese.”…I think that the context was: Many regions seem to lay claim to inventing H&S soup and it probably should be rightly Sichuan in origin…but the unusual combination of flavours (for Sichuan cooking) – white pepper for heat and black vinegar for sour – has put some doubt in some food historians minds. (I’ll look for the reference…can’t seem to find it right now.)

    This particular type is definitely a Cantonese (or even Westernized-Chinese) rendition…(I bet that even in many restaurants in Sichuan province, you will see this type served.)

    A Sichuan hot and sour soup will often have other ingredients like dried sea cucumbers, pig’s trotters, pig’s blood, preserved vegetables, etc in it. I can see why Golden Great Wall has chosen not to add those ingredients. The food there needs to appeal to their target demographic after all.

    And yes…Ginger Beef is a great Calgary invention alright. I can see it’s roots in Sichuan cooking….it is sort of like a “twice-cooked” dish….but breaded and deep-fried and then slathered with syrup…very Canadian indeed. One of my favourite Canadian-Chinese dishes….make sure you have lots of steamed rice!

    • Very interesting tidbit about the ginger beef being a Canadian invention, since it’s served in a lot of Chinese restaurants. I work with Food.ee, a web app that allows you to discover new food and order food online, I’ll have to share that with our followers.

  24. Ben and Suanne let me be the first to say that all the recognitions you are getting are well deserved. For over 4 yrs you have delighted us with your blog posts peppered with witty remarks. I have been a loyal follower for a little over 3 yrs and to tell you honestly I have never come across a post that I didnt enjoy. Thank you for all your effort and sacrifices to maintain this blog. I know its not an easy task to keep up with the daily postings. Sometimes I wonder how you can go for your romantic Friday night dinners when you bring along a notepad and the big DSLR. It will kinda kill the mood for me. It becomes a chore. But you guys are doing a wonderful job at it.
    As for the changes you mentioned I havent really noticed any significant changes to your blog’s structure. I like the way you have your restaurant reviews, your community kitchen and at-home cooking posts and of course your travel stories. I like the fact that you had done a lot of Richmond restaurant reviews because as you know by now, I’m from Richmond too. I also enjoy reading your reviews for restaurants in other parts of the Lower Mainland. You have blogged not only on Chinese cuisine but you have also featured other cuisines. I appreciate your dedication to learning about the culture and the food of other nationalities living in the Vancouver area. Anyhow, thank you again and I wish you all the best and hopefully your blog continues on and become even more successful in the future.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s