Friendly Banners Restaurant in Broadmoor, Richmond

We don’t usually go for breakfast on the weekend, having preferred to go for dinner or lunch instead.

I guess it is because breakfasts are so unexciting to us. We can think of either dim sum or western breakfasts or HK Style Cafes … and we felt that all of them serves pretty much the same thing.

So, without any idea where to go to, we decided to let Arkensen and Nanzaro decide the place for a change. They did not care but told us that they will be OK as long as:

  • we don’t drive across any bridges
  • we don’t go to another Asian restaurant
  • we don’t go near a place where mum could do grocery shoppping

Yeah, mum would always pop into a nearby grocery store conveniently when we are out eating and make us go shopping with her. Firstly, she doesn’t decide what to buy to cook at home because all of the boys at home are fussy eaters. She is smart … I know she observes us walking along the aisle and see what catches our eyes and buys that. Secondly, she will ALWAYS buy something heavy … like a bag of rice, or a bag of flour, or drinks. She takes advantage of the timing when we are there so that we can carry the heavy stuff for her.

The boys hate that. That is because I make them carry it. I had done my fair share of carrying their stuff when they are babies and toddlers. It is pay back time … like it or not. LOL!

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So, the boys said we’ll go to the strip mall near home. It is so near, they can walk home on their own the moment mum ever suggest that “we got to pick up groceries for next week”.

We had been to the Friendly Banners Restaurant before. That was many, many years ago … those were the days before chowtimes and eating out was a simple affair. It was good to go back and check out our old family favourite.

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After all these years, the restaurant hasn’t changed much at all except that it does show its age. It is still the same decor like it is a family restaurant from the 80’s … faux flowers and all.

We were surprised that despite the size of the restaurant, it was absolutely packed on that Saturday morning. Most of the customers are Caucasians. I guess with so many Asian restaurants in Richmond, this is one of the few places remaining which still serves good old hearty western breakfasts.

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You may click on the pictures above to show a larger version.

They are all pretty much the same with different combinations of eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, toast, hashbrowns, pancakes and cheese. So it was kind of hard to decide what combination we wanted really.

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Nanzaro, my youngest boy, is in a rush to grow up. He wants to outdo his Ko-Ko (that’s how he addresses his big brother) … and that irritates the heck out of Arkensen.

Well, in a traditional Chinese family, the first born BOY (girl doesn’t count) is supposed to be the #1 son … you know, the one who gets to inherit everything the father has, that sort of things. So, it kind of rub off Arkensen that he is the #1 son and he is the privilege one. When Arkensen was much taller than Nanzaro, he gets new clothes and Nanzaro gets the hand me downs. LOL!

Now, Nanzaro is slightly taller than his Ko-Ko (his doctor officially told him so) and he is mighty pleased with it.

So at the breakfast, the waitress came and of course start off by asking us what we wanted to drink. For Suanne and I, it is coffee.

When she asked Nanzaro “what will you have, honey?”, Nanzaro turned to his mum and dad and said “Coffee … can I?”

Epic fail. While he wants to be grown up, he still thinks he need to ask permission to drink coffee. Rather embarrassed by his question, I … just said “sure”.

I could see the waitress asking with a look in her eyes that says “are you sure?”. I am not surprised. Nanzaro looks cute and younger for his age (it’s in the genes, LOL!). I know to the waitress, all Asians look younger and to her Nanzaro probably looks like he is twelve.

The coffee is $2.25 and with free refills too. Nanzaro asked for refills … his Ko-Ko was doubly annoyed.

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I know Suanne and I can see the flutter in her eyes when the waitress put down the stuff above. I was teasing her not to take a couple of the jam spread home for tomorrow’s breakfast. It is an Asian thing, I think.

That is why you see Asian restaurants are really stingy with these sort of things … be it ketchup packets, jam spread, plastic cutleries … you name it. I can’t quite explain it but that’s what Asians do. If it is free, take it even though you don’t need it at the very moment.

Alright, I am gonna get some tongue lashing from all of you for saying that.

And … to protect the good name of Suanne, I better clarify that she did not take the extra jam spread. Am just saying only, OK?

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I know Arkensen. Every time we are at such breakfast, he will go for the big items. He got the Banner Skillet which is $12.

This one has bacon, pork sausage, ham, European sausage, seasoned hash browns with scrambled eggs, topped with cheese and …

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… served with a toast or 2 pancakes.

Nothing fancy really. The “skillet” they used is more like a mini wok to us. Lest you expect it, they did not cook the breakfast in the skillet. It is just served on a skillet.

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I had the Banners Breakfast ($11). This is almost similar to Arkensen’s except that it is served on a plate, not a skillet.

I like the sunny side up eggs and there are THREE of them. I enjoy breaking up the yolk and eat it as a sort of a dip with the other meat items.

You know what sort of sauce is best with sunny side up eggs? It is soya sauce. I was pushing Suanne to ask the waitress for soya sauce (not sure if they do have it) but she refuse to do it for me. She’s chicken.

Other than the eggs, there are 2 strips of bacon, 2 breakfast sausages, one slice of ham and a choice of toast and hash browns or pancakes.

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I had toasts because I know mummy love toasts.

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The above is Nanzaro’s order. He tries to be fancy and asked for the Smoked European sausage and eggs (scrambled) which is $9.

The European sausage is mildly spiced and smoked. The eggs, Nanzaro asked for it to be scrambled.

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Mum does not order one for herself but instead chooses to eat the items that we did not want. What a mum, huh?

Anyway, she is not really crazy about this kind of breakfast as it is too meaty for her.

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The bill came to $43 before tips. I do find that western breakfasts are not cheap. It costs only slightly cheaper than dinner servings. That is my impression.

The boys were in a chatty mood that day and we all enjoyed the breakfast. We stayed back quite a bit even after we had finished the food and talked a while. It is rare that the boys did not say “let’s go” immediately after the food is gone.

We talked about what it means to “go to Harvard”. We all asked Nanzaro why he always look at himself in the mirror before he walks out the door at home. Nanzaro rubbed it in by repeating his doctor words that he is taller than Arkensen.

The boys reminded us that the legal adult age for a Canadian is 18 and that they can buy beer on their own. LOL! They also pointed out to us that in the US, the legal beer drinking age is 21. So we are one up on the Yanks. I wonder where they got these info from and why they knew these sort of things.

Oh yeah … both boys declared that they are not Chinese. They made it very clear that they are Canadians, not Chinese. I said what about the fact that they have a Chinese face and a Chinese name? They didn’t care. They are Canadians, period.

Sigh … there goes our Chinese heritage.

Yeah, we enjoyed the breakfast. I can’t help to think that they will grow up in a few short years and Suanne and I will miss such moments. At least we get to document this on this blog. Someday we can show this post to our grandchildren and let them know how Nanzaro and Arkensen was. I think it will be priceless.

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  1. Broadmoor! My old stomping grounds. I grew up and went to school in that area.

    1. Hi fmed: There is nothing in Broadmoor at all when it comes to food. So, I guess you grew up having Screamers from Danny’s Market? My boys used to love that. Ben

      1. Screamers came way after I moved from the area. My parents still live near Danny’s and I take my daughters for Screamers whenever we visit.

        Yeah – nothing in termes of food at all….unless you count the KFC and the pub. Richmond was a food desert when I lived there.

        1. there was a mcdonalds at broadmoor. i’m sure fmed ate a lot of mcds =)

          you know ben, thinkning about how you sons say that they are canadians and not chinese…I remember when I was very very little my friend told me that I was not chinese, I was malaysian….even though my great grandparents were from china..and i’m an asian malaysian type….but yes it’s all very political…and confusing

          1. Hi Li Lian: Yeah, I remember Broadmoor used to have a McDonalds. They closed it and turned it into a Starbucks. My boys are picky McD eaters. Every time they wanted a McD, they will call me just before I leave office to pick up … “Big Mac Meal. Large Fries. Medium Coke. No Ice”. Same order all the time. And they wanted me to buy it from the McD on No 3 and Granville … and NOT from Ironwood. They said that the one on No 3 and Granville is closer to home and it will stay warm more. Believe it or not. Sometimes I buy them from Ironwood and they will complain to their mum (not me) … “Dad bought it from Ironwood, didn’t he?” LOL! I am just amazed how they know. So mum always remind me to go to No 3 Rd because they boys know. If only the Broadmoor McD is still there … Ben

  2. Isnt Banners close to Safeway? That broke the 3rd rule, no resto close to a grocery store. LOL.

    1. Hi Crispy: That’s OK because we don’t go shopping for groceries in Safeway much. They are too expensive for us. We only go if there is a discount coupon. So, no … we did not break the 3rd rule. Ben

  3. Banners was a fairly sizable local chain in the ’90s. I believe they still have one at 12th/Commercial, and another in Horseshoe Bay.

    You want cheap western breakfasts, Ben ? Go to Bon’s Off Broadway (I think you been already) or any Chinese-Canadian greasy spoon diners. I think Grayelf compiled such a list on CH 😀

    1. I’ve heard some horror stories about Chinese breakfast joints buying cheaper sub-standard eggs (sometimes with cracked shells). I wouldn’t order sunny side up eggs there for sure.

      1. And those sausages ….. how do we know they’re “really” pork ? Hehehe.

        1. LOL, LR, I know what you mean. But that’s just urban legend, I hope. LOL.

    2. Oh yeah? I can’t find the thread where Grayelf has the greasy spoon diners. I’ll ask her. Ben

  4. I think we think alike. Having been in the States 26 years, I dislike the breakfast. Eastern or western cos it is pretty much the same kind of food.

    Funny you mentioned about Asians taking the freebies. It is so like us, isn’t it? Even though I considered myself a minimalist, I had that bad Asian habit for the first few years living in the US. After a while, the crap just piled up and off they go. Now, I have totally got rid of that annoying habit.

    Your kids sounded just like mine. I remembered when my 6 years old son make me promise that I won’t tell anyone that he is Chinese. He look as Asian as any Asian can be!!! Ah well, heritage is pretty much history.

    Lastly but not least, after 25 years, I still eat my eggs with soy sauce!! Still love the running egg concoction where you put white pepper and soy sauce with the eggs and dunk the toasted bread in it. Yum!

    1. I recall being able to eat a whole bowl of plain rice with just a fried egg on top, drizzled with soy sauce (or better yet, Maggi !) 😀

    2. Always wondered about the Friendly Banners at 12th and Commercial — now I know. I love that you often post pix of the menus, Ben, so useful.

      Prices here are a bit high for me. As you saw from the CH post, I like the places that top out at $7 or $8.

      Brits do the dipping bread in a soft egg thing too — it is called toast soldiers. They just use HP sauce instead of soy :-).

        1. I should qualify …… it ain’t the food you’re there for.

          1. Not sure I like Brit fare, just have a lot of it in my background. Current fave for it is Three Lions, though I’ve only had their brekky.

            For some reason the Diner has never appealed, probably because I AM there for the food ;-).

          2. Hi Grayelf: When I visited London a couple of years back, I love Pub food there. I had a big piece of liver and it was surprisingly very good. I am sure there are similar places here in Vancouver and I bet you know of a few good ones too. Chowdown? Ben

        2. Hi LotusRapper and Grayelf:
          I just read the reviews on dinehere. Looks like a fun place. Maybe I should go there and experience true Brit hospitality … something nice to write about. Ben

      1. Hi Grayelf: I just wiki’d HP Sauce and was surprised how rich in history it has. I never used HP Sauce before except on BBQ. I’ll try that with eggs next time for sure. Oh … I have never heard of toast soldiers before but interesting way to eat toast with eggs. I wonder if there is any resto in Vancouver that serves toast soldiers. That is fun! Ben.

        1. Finch’s has ’em, calls ’em egg and soldiers.

          HP sauce is good with samosas too.

          You’ll have to talk to the SO about liver (I dislike it in all forms). He adores liver and onions, being British. In fact that is the first meal I ever cooked for him — the things we do for love :-).

          I have yet to find anything that even superficially resembles a proper English pub with the requisite pub staples here. I’m thinking Three Lions *might* do in a pinch, but it is nothing like any of the excellent pubs we went to on the South Coast.

          1. Hi Grayelf: No way! I cannot accept that … how can there be no proper English pub in a place called BRITISH Columbia. I am now determined to find one! There MUST be one around, No? Ben

          2. I LOVE liver & onions ….. with HP Sauce. Or Worcestershire (“wooster”). Mrs. LR is Scottish by heritage ……. says something about “they have desserts three meals a day” or something like that growing up, LOL.

          3. Well, I haven’t tried every “English-style” pub in BC, obviously, but so far, no winners. I think this would be a good quest for you Ben!

            LR, I’m sure Mrs LR said they had pudding three times a day :-).

  5. I loved this post – it generated such a warm and fuzzy feel! Thanks for sharing your family moments! Your boys reminded me of my children when they were in their teens – they too hated to eat out at places near grocery stores for the exact same reason! Fortunately, as they grow older, they now insist on carrying the heavier grocery loads and are quite happy to help out with housework at home.

  6. Well, they are Canadians first, Chinese descent second.

    My cousins were born in US and live there. They also feel that they are Americans first.

    If you were born (or came here at very young age) and raised in North America, you absolutely feel that this is home. Chinese descent is part of you but you are more familiar with Canada or US than any Asian country for sure.

    My cousins can function better in America than in Asia. When they traveled back to their parents’ home town, they just couldn’t get not used to a lot of things and seemed foreign, that’s when you know they are Americans.

    1. Agree…I came here when I was very young…at first I hated Canada! But now, I won’t want to live in Asia (visit ok…”live” no).

  7. Crispy speaking of Urban Legends remember Sio-Miaow and Aso-do in the Philippines.To none filipino speakers and pet lovers,its a pun involving Dimsum and Household pets Regarding My kids They think of themselves as Filipino-Canadians,They were born in Canada,But I have made sure that they spend time yearly in the Philippines to make sure they are firmly grounded in both their heritages.

  8. In our family…Buddha Boy is the “Suanne” where he will walk into a nearby grocery market and shop…and he walks down EVERY SINGLE AISLE!!! OMG!!! And I had to carry the bags (but not the heavy ones)…LOL!!!

    Sometimes I cannot blame those Chinese cafes for being stingy with their jams or honey or etc…I see a lot of people pocketing them…including my MIL (sometimes)!

    **Props to Suanne** for being a “mom”…always have to worry about what the three boys want and eat what they don’t eat…

    1. Hi Buddhagirl, Buddhaboy and I are the same. I just love grocery shopping and grocery browsing. I go to T&T 3 times a week or more just to check their specials and grocery shop.

      1. Lechon: You two would make great buddies!!! OMG!!! I do love grocery shopping…but not as much as Buddha Boy…also…other than grocery stores…he LOVES kitchen/cooking stores…you know…like gourmet warehouse…LOL!

  9. Soy sauce IS seriously great on eggs. I had it last year for the first time, following the lead of an exchange student. Western restaurants should set it out! It does not look pretty on the egg, but who cares. Very tasty!

    The discussion of the boys’ restaurant list was funny. Pretty soon they will be grown up and gone, so it’s good to have all the time together you can.

    1. Soy Sauce on eggs is great…especially kecap manis on nasi lemak with hardboiled eggs.

    2. Hi etranger: I enjoy reading description of the soy sauce from your perspective. In my whole life, I had taken for granted that the BLACK soya sauce is just soya sauce. Never occurred to me that it does not look “pretty” because its color and that the color is a put-off for people who are not familiar with it. Ben

  10. Hello Ben, just curious, how old are your boys?

    And I need to remind myself to stop reading your blog in the middle of the night. Now I’m hungry before bed!!!!!

    1. Hi Yellow: He he he … I’ll just leave it at that … that our boys are teenagers. Not about to give out details of their age on the web. LOL! Ben

  11. I grew up in the Broadmoor area and remember spending summer days browsing Archie comics at Safeway when I was a kid. The McD’s used to be the insurance company beside Starbucks! Do you recall when there was a butcher shop inside the strip mall? (Before they tore that down..) There was also a dollar store in place of Pharmasave, and Costcutters and an Asian video store near the old sushi shop (not the new one). Memories!!

    1. Hi May: It wasn’t too long ago when McDonalds was at Broadmoor. Yeah, they did spruce up that strip mall quite a bit. We don’t go there as much anymore except that our family doctor is there. Our dentist was there too but we switched because he always want to do more and more procedures and max out my dental plan — that really puts me off. So I said good bye. Ben

  12. The place is horrible now, new owner all the old staff including the night cook Herman have either quit or been fired, very thick air in there now, Cod is actually Bass and beef come from peru, bacon has changed, just not good anymore and losing business.

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