T-Hut Cafe Chinese Restaurant on Fraser and 48th Ave, Vancouver

Update 02-Jan-2011: T-Hut is reported closed recently. Refer comments on this post below.

Wait! Don’t go! Continue reading.

I know … the name of this restaurant, T-Hut Cafe, is a very unimaginative name … BUT, let me tell you … for the food geeks and those who like savouring all kinds of cuisines this is one restaurant you will want to take note of.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-23

I know. One look at the restaurant, you would have brushed it aside as a hole-in-the-wall. They have the worse looking awning I had ever seen. For the casual passerby, they may even think that they are no longer in business.

From the name T-Hut Cafe, I actually thought that this is a Bubble Tea House. Would you not?

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-24

Even the red on yellow sign at the top of the door says “Taiwanese Snacks” and “Beef Noodles”. In the past life, T-Hut surely must have been a Bubble Tea House. They just did not bother to change the name … nor even the sign. It is misleading because they don’t serve Taiwanese Snacks or Beef Noodles here. No siree.

T-Hut Cafe, dear Friends of Chowtimes, is a Chiu Chow restaurant.

And a very authentic one at that too.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-20

Suanne and I stumbled upon this restaurant about a month ago as we were walking along Fraser after having iced desserts in PinPin. I almost walked into the sandwich board placed outside the restaurant. That was when Suanne said that the three words shabbily painted on the board says “Chiu Chow Choy”. In English that means Chiu Chow Cuisine.

I can’t believe how bad a job they did with the sign. They just hand painted the three words over the board without even bothering at least to paint the background. Such shabbiness.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-22

With what little Chinese Suanne knows, she managed to pick out some of the words on the hand written sign pasted outside the door of the restaurant. She saw words like:

  • Golden … award … Chiu Chow … oyster omelet
  • Famous … belly warming … pepper … sour mustard … pork stomach soup

Hmmm … those were the descriptions of a typical Chiu Chow cuisine.

We thought that was interesting but we did not even bothered to take down the address or even the name of the restaurant. We just knew it was on Fraser somewhere near PinPin with the intention of checking them out sometime in the distant future (given how long our to-try list is!).

A few weeks later, I casually mentioned this restaurant on the post on Cabin 5555 (see here). The next thing we know it, JS and Grayelf was already talking about checking this place out. Gosh, they are such dedicated foodies. So JS organized a chowdown in T-Hut and asked if Suanne and I wanted to go.

What kind of a question is that? LOL!

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-1

I made reservation for dinner. When I called, the lady who picked up the phone was clearly very proud of her own restaurant. Actually she was almost bordering on cockiness. She was talking to me like I already knew their specialty dishes and sounded a bit disappointed when I told her well, I don’t know what I wanted. I only wanted to make a reservation and was not prepared to order the dishes too. She was telling me I must pre-order the “Low Sui Ngap” (translated as old water duck). She went on rattling a few dishes which went swosh over my head. So yeah, because of her enthusiasm, I said sure … reserve a “Low Sui Ngap” for us and that we will order the other dishes when we get there.

So we met for dinner … the six of us. The inside of the restaurant is not much better than the way it looked outside.

The tables are small and cramp. And they can only accommodate two larger tables (seats 10 and 8) which were booked for the night already. The next bigger sized table is six which is oddly arranged with a couple of chairs jutting out to the corridor. Yeah, we were forced to take that odd table.

The lady was very chatty. And she has a very noticeable accent which I assume is Chiu Chow. She told us they are from Swatow and had actually been here for three years already … and all these while choses to operate under the radar. She also said that they do not want to advertise or promote their business because they cannot handle any more customer than they already have. He he he … lets see how this changes things after this post gets published on chowtimes.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-2T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-3T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-4

I asked her for the menu. She brushed me aside and said “no menu” … and at the same time pointed to the wall. That is their menu. You may click on the pictures above to show it in larger image.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-5

There are a lot of dishes but I know that the best of the best is the ones on the largest of posters.

The orange ones said something like … old water duck (again!) … American duck … special selection … small … Chiu Chow … sand … taro.

The red poster had words like … half deep fried … yellow flower fish … Chiu Chow … big … stir fry … vegetable … minced meat … fried rice.

Sorry those were some of the smattering of words we know. LOL!

I told the lady boss I can’t read Chinese and she told me don’t worry, she will decide for us! Frankly, that works for us because she seems like she sounded so confident she knows what we wanted.

Actually, we were at her mercy.

T-Hut-Cafe-Chinese-Restaurant-Vancouver-6

The first dish that came is the one I pre-ordered the day before. This is called the “Low Sui Ngap” … the old water duck which is a very traditional Chiu Chow dish.

The “old water” refers to the … (more…)

Continue Reading

Red House Restaurant on Alexandra Road and Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

I was wondering if the Chinese speaking community has a nickname for Alexandra Road in Richmond. As you know, Alexandra Road is known as the road in Richmond that has the highest concentration of restaurants. So, I thought it might be cool to give it a  nickname if there is not one already … like calling it Wai Sek Gai (Glutton Street). LOL!

No seriously. The city of Richmond should make better effort in recognizing that the biggest asset of the city is the multitude of Asian restaurants. Let’s face it, there are not many exciting things to do in Richmond. People from outside of Richmond mostly make the trip to the city only to eat and to shop for Asian groceries. I always thought that if there is any city in Metro Vancouver who could lead the way in promoting a rich food legacy, it is Richmond. Alexandra Road could well be the epicenter of it all.

Red-House-Restaurant-Richmond-14

Right in the entrance to Alexandra Road is a newish restaurant called the Red House Restaurant. This location used to be the old Boston Steakhouse (see old blog here). When we blogged about the Boston Steakhouse and their cheap steaks last year, I distinctly remember that post was immensely popular with record 24hr pageviews. So, I am very surprised that the Boston Steakhouse closed a few months after.

Red-House-Restaurant-Richmond-1

A friend of ours told us about this restaurant and that it is worthwhile checking it out. We were told that their club sandwich is pretty good.

The very first thing we notice about the place is how similar it looked to the Boston Steakhouse. The most apparent similarity is the plastic table cloth — it is exactly the same distinct ones. Very jau-mm-lat (cannot escape).

Service was serious. It is the no nonsense kind … you know … no eye contact and all. The waiters and waitresses are dressed smartly in uniforms which is better than most other restaurants like them. The Red House is a Hongkong Style Cafe.

Red-House-Restaurant-Richmond-2Red-House-Restaurant-Richmond-3

They have a Special Menu where the order of food comes with a drink equivalent to $2.50. This Special Menu is available only from 11:00 AM to 5:30 PM and from 9:00PM to close. Most of the items in this section is $7 or $8 with a few of them at $9. So it is quite cheap considering it included a beverage. Click on the pictures above to show a larger image.

Outside of the Special Menu, the other menu is a bit pricier. It is about a dollar or two more than other HK Style Cafe. Otherwise, the menu are nothing particularly exciting. It is basically the same stuff you find elsewhere.

Red-House-Restaurant-Richmond-9

As always, we try to order items from a good cross section of their menu. We had the Rack of Lamb Provancale which is the most expensive item at $17.

Hey … let me know what your thoughts are. When the waiter took our order, he asked us how we want the lamb done. For a moment I was unsure. It was because I can’t recall if anyone had ever asked me how I wanted the lamb done. Beef yeah but lamb never before. It took me a while before I blurted out … (more…)

Continue Reading

[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Tofu Skin & Bamboo Shoot Soup 醃篤鮮 from Long’s Noodle House with Friends of Chowtimes

I am glad it turned out alright. Not only it turned out alright, the number of attendees was just perfect. If we had just one more person, I would have a problem at hand.

A few weeks ago, I made a call out to Friends of Chowtimes if anyone would like to join Suanne and I to check out yet another CRA (Chinese Restaurant Awards) award dishes in Long’s Noodle House. Thinking we might just muster 6-8 people, I went to Long’s a couple of days before the dinner to scout out the restaurant as I recall it was quite small. I also wanted to take a closer look at the menu because I also remembered that they have a few dishes that requires pre-ordering. Not only that I wanted to try their latest CRA award winning dishes, I wanted to also try the dishes that required pre-ordering.

Long’s told me that I can have the only big table in the restaurant and that it seats 9 people. Out of curiosity, I asked how many maximum can that table seat and she told me that they had managed to squeeze in13 people before on that table. It turned out that we have 13 people attending. Just perfect. I only want a single table because it would have been quite meaningless to have people split up to two tables.

longsnoodlehouse-1

I had written about Long’s Noodle House twice before (here and here). It is one of the most interesting restaurants in Vancouver and is one I often recommended Shanghainese restaurants.

Located on Main Street and the 33rd Ave, it is perhaps the smallest and nondescript Shanghainese restaurants in Metro Vancouver. The name Long’s Noodle House belies what the restaurant offers. I had never had noodles here before. But within this small restaurant, they had managed to snag CRA awards two years on a row.

20100717-Longs-Noodle-House-With-FoC-3

That is Sandy above. Anyone who had dined in Long’s before would remember her. She is somewhat pushy but yet at the same time you don’t fault her because she handles people pretty well. This is especially considering how busy the whole place is all the time. Hmmm … Erica was saying that Sandy looks like a Korean movie star. She does have the features of a Korean movie star doesn’t she? LOL! Anyone know who she looks like?

The picture above is her serving the very item that I mentioned above that requires pre-ordering. It is simply called the Chicken Hot Pot Wonton … and expensive too at $25.

I solicited the comments from all who attended and gotten back some really good input. So, for this post, I am gonna sit back and let you read the reviews from Darlene, Paul, Grayelf and Michelle.

Paul: Grreat meeting u and Suanne for the first time. The choice of dinner was great. I certainly had passed it a couple time since passing thro Au Petite Cafe but since its a Hole in the Wall type diner, l tend to skip it until now.
Grayelf: It was super fun and a great opportunity to try a lot of dishes at Long’s — J and I always seem to end up going alone and can’t do the menu justice :-). Also awesome to meet some other loyal Chowtimes readers and talk food. I didn’t feel too rushed during the meal, but it would have been fun to have time to do a post-mortem together afterward.
Michelle: Thanks so much for organizing the dinner.   Arvind and I really enjoyed meeting everyone and trying the restaurant for the first time.   We also didn’t feel rushed with the dinner.   Small restaurants such as this do rely on high turnover to survive so I don’t mind at all making room for the next party.   It was clear there were a lot of people outside waiting to come in. As for the food, I was sufficiently impressed to make this a regular go-to place for me.   While the preordered hotpot dish was good,  I’m not sure if I would go to the effort of pre-ordering it again.   I did like the other soup better also.

20100717-Longs-Noodle-House-With-FoC-1

Chicken in Wine – $7

Darlene: I enjoyed the texture of the chicken and the slightly stronger wine taste, altthough the pieces were very bony with some sharp shards.  Is it supposed to be this way or do other places use meatier pieces?
Grayelf: I thought the wine chicken had a nice flavour and the texture was less squidgy than others I’ve had, but I’m not a fan of steamed or boiled chicken (totally don’t get Hainanese chicken, for example) so I’m not a good judge. I like the presentation in the little urn very much.

20100717-Longs-Noodle-House-With-FoC-2

Xiao Long Bao – $5.40 for a basket of 7

Darlene: was good with nice thin skin and lots of broth.  Liked this, but am getting XLB’d out.
Grayelf: Long’s XLB (called steamed mini pork buns here) are high on the list of places I’ve tried. I like that the broth isn’t super gingery or greasy, but I could also see that some might feel it isn’t robust enough. So much a matter of personal taste, what? I thought the skin was nice and thin and the meat was the right texture for me, not too firm and not grainy.
Michelle: The xlb were also very good.   I like that the skin was very thin and the broth wasn’t heavy.

20100717-Longs-Noodle-House-With-FoC-4

The Chicken and Wonton Soup. The very dish that require pre-ordering. This is a very big pot and was enough for a big table of diners. This pot is $25.

Darlene: The broth was delicious and the wt’s were nice and tender with a nice filling.
Grayelf: I had read that the wontons could be overdone in the chicken and wonton hotpot so I greedily grabbed …  (more…)

Continue Reading
Close Menu