[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Ginger, Onion and Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲 from Lu Lu Cafe

Updated 5th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

It is not a surprise that over 50% of the award winning restaurants of the Chinese Restaurant Award Critic’s Choice are in Richmond. Despite that, it is good to know that the CRA awards covers a wide geographical area. To me, this is one aspect that lends credence to the award.

There are two restaurants in Coquitlam that won the CRA Critic’s Choice Award. The first was Lucky Gate which won Silver in the Northern Noodles category with their hand sliced noodles. The other one is the Lu Lu Cafe.


The Lu Lu Cafe is located on North Road on the intersection with Austin Avenue. This restaurant is located on a small strip mall, away from the cluster of popular restaurants further south. When I first saw the restaurant at this location, I was kind of surprised that the CRA even took notice of this restaurant.

The signboard outside is orange-y … quite eye catching. I thought this might be one of the more progressive Chinese restaurants because they have their own website URL printed on the signboard. The URL is www.lulucafegroup.com. Go on, click on it and see where that takes you. LOL!


Like the outside, the inside is also orange-y. It was quite pleasant and is neat and definitely clean.

We were there at about 4PM. I know, who eats at this hour of the day. It’s a long story and I’ll spare you the details. So, the restaurant was empty. The only customers they had the whole time was just us and another table.

The sign outside the restaurant says that they serve Shanghai and Sichuan food and also bubble tea too. So I wouldn’t classify this as a HK Style Cafe despite the cafe name.


First thing we did when we were handed their menu was to point to the award right above our head and said we wanted that. Our waitress laughed. And then I can see her eyebrows raised when we started fishing out the camera and notebook.

After she took our order, the first thing she did was to talk to the gentleman in the picture above and pointing to us. I think that gentleman must be the owner or something. He shyly came over and tried to talk to us.

“Gai toong ngap gong”.

In English, that means a chicken having a conversation with a duck. We couldn’t quite know how to respond to him when he asked us if we are reporters. How do we say “bloggger” or “blog” in Mandarin? I don’t think he understands what we were saying and so we just say, “yes, we are reporters”.  He left us alone after that because obviously we can’t understand each other.

Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ GOLD in the BEEF Category ♦ Ginger and Onion Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲
Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ GOLD in the BEEF Category ♦ Ginger and Onion Beef Hotpot 薑蔥牛肉煲

The dish above won the Gold award in the Beef category and costs $10.95. However, their take out menu says that this is $9.50. I am not sure why the difference.

The Beef with Ginger and Onion Hot Pot was served … steaming and sizzling hot. We can smell the pleasing fragrance of this dish although we saw that it was rather oily at the same time.


The fragrance came from the green onion and onion. I appreciate that they did not over cook the onions until it is caramelized.

It was also distinctively ginger-y. We can taste it easily but can’t find any slices of it. It was later that we found the ginger were chopped up. Suanne and I thought that if they had julienned ginger, it would have been better.


The sauce was really nice — it is smooth. It goes very well with steamed rice.

Although this is a very common Chinese dish, I must say that Lu Lu Cafe cooks this very well. The only thing is that the oiliness will turn off some people to this dish.

Not us. LOL!


See what I mean? We then ordered their Braised Pork Hock ($16).

OMG, this is the prettiest looking pork hock I had ever seen … don’t you agree?

And look at the size of it too.

And it even wobbles with the slightest shake of the table.

The sauce is sweet and sticky.

That is how good it is.

I was actually more excited over this than the “Gold” dish.

What do you think? Is this something you will eat?


The best thing is that the fatty part which totally melts in the mouth.

Hey, the western thinking is that this will clog your arteries but the eastern thinking is that the collagen from the fatty skin is good for your complexion.

As much as I tried to get Suanne to eat the fatty part, she was only willing to eat a small piece — just enough to get me off her back. She said she doesn’t like texture of the fat. She just doesn’t know how to appreciate good food like I do.


The leaner meat is absolutely heavenly — look at it. Cooked to perfection and it just falls apart with the slightest pull.

I have this thing with dishes like this. It is that you must slowly pull the meat and fat apart in a clean manner. If you simply pull them apart, it will be an awful, messy, unappetizing blob of meat. I told Suanne to leave it to me to properly take this apart.


The pork hock was simply too much for us to finish. The above was what we had left to take home.

See? It was still looking quite OK isn’t it?


Not bad. We like both dishes. Their prices is bit high but it does make up for it for the quality.


Lu Lu Cafe on Urbanspoon

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  1. Eric

    This place is awesome! My family comes here all the time, but they never have many customers. I suspect it’s their location right next to California Sushi, lack of parking, and a bit over-priced for this part of Burnaby.

    They have many great dishes and I really wish they could get more customers. It’s the quality that matters, people! Thank you very much for featuring this restaurant. I really hope you can help them attract more business.

  2. Crispy Lechon

    I checked their menu and its not really that expensive. Very few dishes are over 10 dollars.

    1. Ben

      Hi Crispy Lechon:
      That is the thing. The take menu prices looks like its cheap but what we paid for is different from what is printed on the take out menu.

  3. Pinoy Gourmet

    The Braised Pork Hock looks really good,Its similiar to a Filipino Chinese dish called Pata Tim.I will defenitely try this.

  4. biki

    “The dish above won the Gold award in the Beef category and costs $10.95. However, their take out menu says that this is $9.50. I am not sure why the difference.”

    The hot pot is the difference, because of the extra gas, time and effort to prepare it. We do the same in our restaurant for hot plates and hot pots. It’s kind of like how korean restaurants charge more for bi bim bap if its in a stone bowl vs. a regular bowl.

    (sorry for the long explanation lol)

    1. Ben

      Hi Biki:
      Which restaurant are you with?

      1. biki

        I actually moved to Vancouver recently, but my parents own a restaurant in Calgary and I’ve worked there for a long time (I did some of the cooking too ^^). It’s called the Jubilee Restaurant, but it’s in Deer Run so unless you are from the area or used to be from the area it’s relatively unknown. We serve Western Chinese food but my dad also knows how to cook more traditional dishes that we serve as a special request.

        If you ever visit Calgary, you should try it out.

        *sighs* now I miss my dad’s cooking ><

  5. Daniel

    to biki,

    i don’t think i understand. would this mean that restaurants usually cook take out foods in a different way? you did say because of the extra gas, time and effort. all this time i thought restaurants cook take out food the same way as the dishes they serve in their restaurant. given your explanation, it does not seem to be the case.

    1. biki

      lol~ the extra gas, time and effort goes into heating the hot pot or the hot plate – the food that’s placed in it is the same – sorry for the confusion. But that being said, the hot pot/hot plate usually gives the food an extra crispyness/flavor/aesthetic appeal.

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