Cabin 5555 on West Boulevard, Vancouver

Updated: 3rd Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Oh, this must have been a couple of months ago when we visited Cabin 5555.

That was when Suanne and I invited a few Friends of Chowtimes for a fun coffee tasting event in the neighborhood. Since many of the people are coming all the way to West Vancouver, we thought we also organize a lunch there. This being just a side event, the turnout was great.

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Cabin 5555 is a Taiwanese style cafe very much the likes of Corner 23, The One and Chill, to name a few. Part of the name is derived from the street address of the restaurant — 5555 West Boulevard.

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The other part of the name (the “Cabin” part), I guess is derived from the low-ceiling feel in the restaurant. The dining area is like half a floor up from the street level and the low ceiling does have that claustrophobic feel. I felt like I was in an airplane cabin.

The place is clean which is accentuated by the all white decor. The restaurant is quite busy even though you don’t get that from the picture above. We were there early before the lunchtime crowd came in.

Cabin 5555 seems like a neighborhood restaurant. I don’t think there are many people who will drive all the way here just to eat in this restaurant. Anyway, I noticed that they have free wifi here. We don’t see many of those in Chinese restaurants but then Cabin 5555 is in an upscale part of the city.

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The menu is made of pretty standard Taiwanese favourites. You have bubble tea and all its derivatives at the back of the menu. Other than that, there are the usual appetizer, noodle, dim sum, hot pot, soup, fried rice, special meal, vegetarian and main dishes sections.

Big menu and peppered with lots of common dishes from Taiwan and in between there are some interesting ones. There were about eight of us for lunch that say. They left the ordering to me and Carol who lives in the neighborhood. Since some of them are not familiar with food in a Taiwanese cafe, we decided to pick a selection of simple Taiwanese food and some “adventure” food too. The dishes are meant for individual servings but we shared them.

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Yeah … “adventure food” such as the Thousand Egg with Tofu ($5) above.

For me the century egg is a delicacy, but I know this is strange food to Karen. 🙂  She was game enough to try just a teeny-weeny bit of the egg white (or should I call it the egg black). She did not want to risk her health by eating the disgusting looking blackened egg yolk.

Yeah, I understand. This is an acquired taste and the Chinese have really weird tastes. Firstly, black mushy egg yolks are supposed to be beyond rotten and not fit for consumption. Secondly, egg white is supposed to be white and they are not supposed to be transparent. The rest of the world’s wisdom says that you just “transparentize” the egg white with chemicals just so that it looked cool. And no … they don’t soak the eggs in horse urine to blacken the eggs … that is urban myth.

But it tasted good to me *shrug*. And I don’t think I am about to die anytime soon eating it. After all, this had been consumed for thousands of years already by the Chinese and is considered a delicacy. LOL!

The other unusual thing is that this is a cold dish. The tofu is topped with bonito flakes and green onions. Oh, when Suanne is lazy to make real dinner at home, that is what she does sometimes at home (sans the century egg).

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I thought that the Taiwanese Style Oyster Omelette ($6.75) was kind of weird looking. I was expecting a bit more eggs in it. After all, they did call it an omelette on the menu. Instead it is starchier than I expected. The sauce is sweetish.

Naw … not too good as far as I am concerned. I haven’t tried a lot of oyster omelette in Vancouver because they are all Taiwanese style. I guess not many people have tried the Malaysia style oh-chien which is more egg with a little bit of starch.

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When in a Taiwanese restaurant, you got to order beef noodle soup. I asked for it to be mild-spicy in consideration of those who could not stand it spicy.

This one above is called Beef and Tomato Noodle Soup ($7.50). Is tomato common in Taiwanese beef noodles? I thought it just doesn’t go with something like a TBN.

The beef noodle is just passable. Certainly not in the league of … Lao Shan Dong. I like the beef a lot … it was chunky and has marbled tendons too.

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Although the Noodle in Pork Sauce ($5.50) is less complicated than the TBN, it has a nice flavour with a hint of star anise.

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The Taiwanese Style Sausage ($5) was big and served with slices of raw garlic. It tasted sweetish and pretty good. I like the raw garlic pieces which I thought gives the sausage a bit of a different dimension to the taste.

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The Crispy Salty and Peppery Chicken ($5.75) is another common Taiwanese fare. They are thumb size and boneless. As much as this is called the crispy salt plus pepper chicken, another important ingredient is the fried basil — very important. All decent Crispy Salty and Peppery Chicken must have this. Agree?

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The Deep Fried Fish Cake ($5) looked a lot like fried yams at a glance. The outside has a nice crisp to it. Good finger food.

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I wanted to show the attendees a hot pot dish. So I ordered the Chicken with Sesame Oil and Wine Vermicelli ($11).

This is an individual serving and not really meant for sharing. But we shared nonetheless. It is served with pickles, tofu, rice and mango jello on the side.

Suanne was telling everyone that this is the kind of dish that is usually eaten by woman during confinement because of the warming effect from the soup. Does anyone of you believe in that stuff? I don’t know I am skeptical but when Suanne was expecting she religiously follows these traditional Chinese advice.

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The Sweet and Sour Fish on Sizzling Hot Plate ($9) was a disappointment. I wanted an “action dish” but it came without sizzling. They can’t do that! It is disgusting if it did not sizzle. So, I hardly touched it.

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$63 for eight people wasn’t too bad. We did not order coffee after the meal for a reason. With that lunch over, we scurried over to the Vivo Gelato a short distance away for the fun coffee tasting where we get to try a cat-poop coffee, an Italian coffee and a coffee that Japan loved so much that they cornered the world’s market for it. More about it in the next post.

BTW, Cabin 5555 is cash only.

Cabin 5555 on Urbanspoon

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  1. Gloria

    I haven’t been to Cabin 555 but there’s always commercials on it on channel 180.
    The Thousand Egg and Tofu dish looks very authentic as it even has the bonito flakes which many Taiwanese places here do not use.
    As for the TBN, there are many versions including the usual TBN and a tomato and beef based one (many places here cannot pull this one off very well) LSD makes a much better TBN, you can just tell by the color of the soup
    The noodle with pork sauce does seem like it’s missing some soy sauce since typically it is dark brown.

    Great review once again and I’ll be sure to try this out very soon!

  2. Falconizer

    that cat-poop coffee was recently a subject of debate in Indonesia, actually. Mainly because certain religion’s priests believes its not allowed to eat poop, according to their holy books…

    kinda glad that happened, since the student senate in my university arranged an event with some coffee houses to give away some fresh cups of it for free! or else I would never able to taste it. they tried to prove that the coffee tastes good, because that is all matters when judging food, no? how its taste?

    well for me it is ^^ no matter how you produce it, as long as the final product is tasty!

  3. LotusRapper

    Ben – the omelette tag isn’t the best translation (not so much an eggy omelette) but it is what it is. Were there real oysters in the omelette ? BTW, it is supposed to be kind of starchy (IIRC in Taiwan they mix the batter with some root starch, like potato or sweet potato starch). And the sauce should be ketchup-y but more sweet and less tomato-ey than the ketchup we’re used to. And there should also be some chopped greens (shieh-li-hohn, or snow cabbage) inside the omelette too.

    I fondly remember these cheap street food as “Orh Ah Jian”, or oyster panfried in the Fujian dialect 😀

    “Action dish” ….. LOL

  4. grayelf

    Hey Ben — I hear raves about the oyster omelette at Phnom Penh. I haven’t tried it (not an oyster fan) but it seems to be on every table, along with the wings and squid of course) when we go. And it is not Taiwanese :-). Have you tried it?

    1. Ben

      Oooo … no, I have not tried the oyster omelette at Phnom Penh before. The moment you mentioned it, I went to Urbanspoon and check if anyone had it and hoping to see a picture. I wanted to see if it is egg-y (the way I like it) or starchy (the way Taiwanese makes it). None of the 50 pictures in this link http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/photo_list/181389 has a picture of the oyster omelette. Shoot! Now, I got to put this on my to-try list. Ben

      1. Ben, there’s an oyster omelette on the menu of Jubilant Restaurant. It’s advertised as a Chiu Chow-style oyster omelette, which I think is different from the Taiwanese-style. I’m speculating that the Phnom Penh would be also be in a similar style, Chiu Chow, as most Cambodian/Vietnamese ethnic Chinese are from Chiu Chow. Anyways, I hope you give them a try and blog about it! 🙂 I’m partial to the oyster omelettes I grew up with (Hokkien-style), which is also eggy and not starchy.

        1. Ben

          Hey BTW, JS … talking about Chiu Chow … Suanne and I found a Chiu Chow restaurant when we were walking along Fraser a few weeks ago. It is quite near PinPin. Since the Chiu Chow restaurant in Richmond closed, we have not come across any Chiu Chow restaurant until now. We will try it one day and blog about it — it’s up there on our to-try list. Ben

          1. Oh, that’s something I want to try. It’s been quite some time since I’ve been to a Chiu Chow restaurant (last time was when Jade was Carianna). I had planned to have one Chiu Chow meal last week when down in LA but didn’t get a chance for lack of stomach space and time. Thanks for letting me know about the place!

  5. HM

    Hey Grayelf, yep the Phnom Penh’s oyster omelette is very yummy…do give it a try. I’m lucky to have my Cambodian friend making the dish for me every now & then as well as other Cambodian delicacies!

  6. HM

    Hey Ben, thanks for the post on Cabin 5555, never knew there’s another Taiwanese cafe in the area! We nearly always frequent the one located on 2130 W. 40th Ave near Vivo Gelato when in the area. BTW, have you blogged about Secret Garden hign-tea before? Their lemon tart is superb!

    1. Ben

      Hi HM: No, I have not blogged about the Secret Garden high-tea before. Well, high-teas are not my cup of tea. Suanne likes it though. I think high-tea is a girl thing. You know, I am really put off by the $30+ price of the high-tea where all you get is some sandwiches, pastries and tea. Where’s the meat? Just me … not my cup of tea. Ben

      1. LOL. . .I agree about the high tea. Always seemed to me like highway robbery, but then I’m cheap. 😛

      2. HM

        Hehehe….of course the high-tea idea was meant for Suanne & for you, I would maybe recommend a succulent roast pork…LOL!! The Phnom Penh’s oyster omelettte is almost similar to the M’sian Teochiu one, crispy, eggy & not slimy like the Taiwanese type. Give it a try!

    2. Elaine

      Hahaha awww but it’s fun taking pictures and sipping tea as if you are in movies =P

      Just a suggestion Ben, is there any way of subscribing comments under my own comments rather then all of the comments under this post? I have seen that done in some blogs but I don’t know whether it’s feasible here. Cuz sometimes I end up getting 20 emails, not fun lmao…

      1. Ben

        Hi Elaine: I am not aware that you could subscribe to only responses to your own comments. Maybe if you remember which blog you come across this feature, I can check it out to see how it is done. Ben

  7. wyn

    Cabin 5555 (and Corner 23) were the Taiwanese places I went to before discovering No. 1 Beef Noodle, its sister restaurant Beefy Beef, and, I guess, the LSD restaurants. Too bad, in my opinion, the really west-side Taiwanese places just aren’t as good. I think Beefy Beef is really decent and at Main/King Eg.

    I don’t know if it’s common either, but the tomato beef noodle soup is my favourite noodle soup to order. I like the tanginess and the added vegetable content.

  8. BuddhaGirl604

    Our first and last time @ Cabin 5555 was not so pleasant…the service was questionable and the food were…no comment. Three out of four of us got food poisoning afterwords…so it’s on our NO-NO list!

    The oyster pancake @ Phnom Penh is so yummy. I always had the Taiwanese (or Fukien to be more exact) style oyster pancake growing up…but I love the Phnom Penh ones…less doughy!!! A must try…along with deep fried squid, deep fried chicken wings, and steam rolls!!!

  9. PinoyGourmet

    I have to agree that there are better Taiwanese restaurants in greater Vancouver,But in Kerrisdale????.Cabin 5555 was IMHO not too bad compared to your other options in Vancouver West Side.I found the food passable compared to What I have on Vancouver s North Shore

    1. Kerrisdale is a culinary wasteland. Cabin 5555 — they’re inconsistent and the food has gone downhill in the past couple of years so you have to watch what you order — is one of the serviceable restaurants in the area.

    2. pinotnoir

      Living in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood, we’ve tried most of the Taiwanese restaurants nearby. Cute pearl, cabin, and orange corner just to name a few. But there’s another place in the area we frequent called BBT Cafe. It’s also on West Blvd. but a couple of blocks south of 41st Ave. Their bubbletea is among the best we’ve had in Vancouver. Food is of decent quality as well, especially spicy dumplings and stir-fry chicken(usually called 3cup chicken at other places). Although staff is generally friendly, service is not so good when they are busy and understaffed.

  10. wata

    century egg is actually made with herbs and spices, not chemicals, well maybe the evil business people make it with harmful chemicals, but they are not suppose to.

  11. hougee

    i wonder if this is this the sister restaurant of Kalvin’s? on the top of the receipt (the chinese part).. it does say!

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