Liu’s Taiwanese Restaurant on Capstan Way, Richmond

Updated: 29th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed according Urbanspoon.com.

What a transformation.

I could not believe my eyes how Liu’s had upgraded their restaurant just recently. And the food this time made a much better impression on us that it did the first time.

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The first and last time we went to Liu’s was 2.5 years ago. Liu’s was tucked in a hidden corner in the Union Square in Richmond. Many people will not notice them because the entrance is partly obscured by big pillars and the huge sign of Richmond Sushi next door drew much of the attention away.

That fist visit to us was just so-so although quite a number of people were raving about them. I guess it was because we failed to order their signature dishes and got some of the not so good ones.

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But there are a few winners. The stewed pig intestines left a good impression that they are good in execution of Taiwanese food. The oyster omelette (they call this the oyster pancake) was moist with the eggs partly cooked the way it should be.

Also unique is their House Special Milk Tea. They use whipped cream to top them. Until today, I had not come across any other restaurants using whipped cream on milk tea like below.

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This time we are back because of this newspaper clipping. I had been hearing buzz of their re-opening for a little while already but I did not really paid much attention. With the Hated Sales Tax, the 10% discount with the ad came in handy.

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Looking at the newspaper ad, I was not expecting a lot of transformation. I thought it was quite weird to advertise that they have “3 new 46″ LCD TVs”. I mean, big deal right? Who actually will go to a restaurant to watch TV anyway?

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The above was how Liu looked like 2.5 years ago. They had been operating like this for 14 years already.

The below is how Liu looked like 2.5 years later … with the addition of three 46″ LCD TV.

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Our jaws dropped when we walked in. This is no longer the old Liu’s.

Besides the 3 TV, they should have also mentioned the chandelier, the plush new chairs and new tables. Actually, I think they would have made a larger impact if they had advertised how the insides looked like.

It is like Liu had thrown down the gauntlet to the big boys of Taiwanese Cuisine in Richmond. They actually look a lot like Pearl Castle with the fancy blue light thingy on one side of the wall.

It is definitely more modern. Gone are the family run hole in the wall look. We wonder what brought about the change. It is not easy to change so dramatically. With the “new menu” mentioned on the ad, we were wondering if the management is still the same. Anyone know?

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So this is their new menu. It also tells their hours. They are opened for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday with a break in service between 3:30PM and 5:30 PM.

The combos are still there. I felt the prices are higher but I don’t know. I thought they had always been on the cheaper side compared to other Taiwanese restaurants and now the prices are on par with them.

If you like Taiwanese food, it is worth checking out their menu as it is quite extensive. The last image on the right is where the Chef’s Special is. You may click on the images above to read it.

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Started off with an appetizer. Come to think of it, we had been ordering cucumber appetizer a lot lately.

This is called Taiwanese Style Cucumber ($4). We had mostly been having a lot of spicy cucumber appetizers in Sichuan restaurants. So we wanted to see what a Taiwanese style appetizer looked like.

If you like garlic (which we do) … and lots of it (like we do) … and I mean lots of it, you will love this dish. The garlicky spiciness and sweetness of this cucumber appy is what makes this different. It is served cold. The cucumber, while good, could have been better if it is a lot more fresher tasting.

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This is the dish that everyone was telling me I should have tried in Liu’s the last time I was there. They serve this with rice as a lunch special back then and it was popular because it was cheap and really tasty.

They do serve this with rice but we did not want to have rice that night. So we just ordered the chicken only version called … Deep Fried Chicken Legs (3 pieces) $5.25.

I now know what everyone mean when they said I should have tried this …

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I know the picture above is kind of hard to show you what I wanted to show you.

You see, the above is one of the chicken legs. They cut the chicken leg open and butterfly then. The meat is almost cut out from bone and just hanging on to the bone by the tendon.

Then they deep fry it. Very unique and definitely very easy to eat.

The skin is very crispy. In fact, the whole chicken leg is crispy makes you feel like you are not eating a whole drumstick. Rather, it is somewhat like eating chicken breast with skin … except that it is dark meat (which we prefer) and not white meat.

Yeah, we should have tried this the last time.

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Nanzaro decided that he wanted the Deep Fried Chicken Nuggets Meal ($9).

This meal came with rice with some minced pork on it. You know, the same type of braised pork on rice that I mention is the cheapest common rice dishes in Taiwanese restaurant. I thought it was a good idea because the deep fried chicken nugget is very dry. The minced pork gives the rice the necessary “jup” (he he he … I think the word “jup” is more accurate to describe this than sauce).

There are also some stir fried cabbage, carrot and broccoli to make this a balanced meal.

The deep fried chicken nuggets are crispy and mildly peppery. It tasted very good. Frankly, I thought that if this is cheaper than $9, it would have been much better.  It is just me … I thought that the deep fried chicken nugget are mostly appetizers and should be in the appy price range.

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The last time I was in Liu’s I did not like the Beef Noodle Soup. I was complaining that the soup was clear and was not like Lao Shan Dong’s whose soup is “busier”.

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Of late, I came to appreciate the clearer, less busy soup a lot more. So, today I am enjoying beef noodle from Taiwan Beef Noodle King on Oak Street.

So, I appreciate this now.

The soup was quite strong in herbs and is clearly detectable. Maybe non-Chinese might not like it but I do.

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This is called the Stewed Beef with Noodles in Beef Broth on their menu. I thought that at $6.75, it was a good price and definitely on the lower price range compared to most other places.

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They are cash only. So be aware.

See? Even the receipt is more modern. They used to handwrite them previously. See this:

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Yeah … what a transformation.

Liu's Taiwanese Restaurant 台灣美食 on Urbanspoon

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  1. buddhaboy

    Buddhagirl, being taiwanese, and myself will have to go to Liu’s. Buddhagirl likes this place, while i just find it okay. A ‘secret’ that i heard from Buddhagirl’s auntie in TW is that when you deep fry chicken, keeping the bone on will keep the chicken tender. I am a TW chicken nugget (yin su ji) aficionado, since i’ve had it at probably 15 places in vancouver and at least 30 different places in TW. The best ones, also more fancy ones fry with a good handful of basil and slices of raw garlic. The secret is good seasoning.

    The ones Nanzaro had looked pretty plain, but i do give credit to Liu’s that their fried items look like they use good oil that is changed regularly.

    1. Buddha Girl

      Yes hun, we do have to try to this place…we should invite some people over and try your deluxe version of popcorn chicken…lol!

      1. Ben

        Hi Buddha Girl: Whew! For a moment I thought you were calling me your hun … until I realized that you were talking to Buddha Boy. He he he. I think this is the first time husband/wife or girlfriend/boyfriend used chowtimes as a medium of conversation. In my days, people used telephones or Instant Messenger. Ben

        1. BuddhaBoy

          Ben: LOL! Glad to be the first to use Chowtimes as a medium…lol…soon you can start a Chowtimes Dating Service…slogan will be “Meet & Greet & Love Through Food! LOL!

          1. Buddha Girl

            Sorry…forgot to change the name when posting…above was from me.

    2. Ben

      Hi BuddhaBoy: How did you figure out that they use good oil and that they change it frequently? Do you know the owner who told you so or is there a way to tell from the food? Ben

      1. BuddhaBoy

        I used to do a fair share of deep frying, and i do it at home when Buddhagirl allows.

        When you eat deep fried foods, a few things to look for is the colour, smell, taste and texture. At Liu’s, the chicken is still quite ‘white’ after frying. The oil has not burnt much to have the oil darken that causes the food to be dark as well. If you see my pic of the chicken from Zephyr, you’ll notice how dark this is.

        Darkness can also be caused by overcooking. You can also smell the coating, really bad oil has a nasty residual smell from other foods cooked previously in the oil. You may also taste other flavours in your food that you shouldn’t be tasting.

        If the item soaks a lot of oil, this can also mean old oil. I notice that sometimes when older oil is used, it doesn’t drain as well off the food, i think this may be because the older oil has flour incorporated in the oil already and will stick to new items being deep fried, giving a more powdery texture.

        1. Buddha Boy

          Darkness can also caused by frying temperature being too high. However, unless it’s an strong commercial fryer used in larger restaurants, this is usually not considered a factor.

  2. Joan

    The interior looks great but I wonder if they cleaned up the sidewalk.

    Many times I passed by and I saw that the sidewalk of Richmond sushi and Liu was dirty with some bird droppings. I hope it’s clean now.

  3. Elaine

    Wow I thought it was a karoake place when I first saw the picture of the new place! Impressive o_O I am thinking the reason for renovation is because they want to attract a younger customer-base like Pearl Castle.

    And the cucumbers Suanne can probably make very quite without hassle! My mom makes it all the time! Even I know how to make it… But I think her version is marinated in like the darker kind of vinegar or something…

    1. Buddha Girl

      Agree. I thought this was a karaoke place when I first saw the pic…with fancy interiors and neon lights…hey mind you…a number of karaoke places do have yummy Taiwanese snacks!!!

      Yes, my mom used to make those cold-marinated cucumber all the times too!!! Very simple and yummy. The vinegar used is black vinegar.

  4. Johny

    Was at Richmond Sushi yesterday, bird doo doo still on sidewalk. Strata should power wash this!

    1. Ben

      Hi Joan and Johnny: Preventing bird droppings on the sidewalk should be easy to do. Am just surprised why the strata management did nothing about this. Anyway, I had never noticed the bird droppings before. Ben

  5. whitespotfantoo

    i thought the chicken rice meal was $9? the bill says $6.95

    1. Ben

      Hi WhitespotFanToo: You are probably right and we were mistaken. For some reason we noted it was $9. We don’t normally check the items on the bill — bad habit I know. So this is cheap after all. Thanks for pointing that out.
      Ben

      1. whitespotfantoo

        strange, i just looked at their menu and it does say $9…

  6. jer

    The renovations made to Liu’s looks amazing. I can’t believe it went from a hole-in-the-wall to decor fit for a bubble-tea place.

    Your observation about prices increasing seems correct. I believe the price of the Deep Fried Chicken Nugget meal was something around $6 or $7 prior to the renovation and reopening if I remember correctly.

  7. LotusRapper

    Thanks for the review, Ben. Will keep this one in my back pocket for the (rare) occasion that I dine in Richmond !

    $6.95 for chicken nuggets & rice is good. Were you there for lunch or dinner ? Which newspaper featured the coupon ?

    1. Ben

      Hi LotusRapper: It was from one of the Richmond area papers … not sure which one though. Ben

      1. Suanne

        Hi LotusRapper, it’s from the Richmond Review.

  8. Ed Lau

    Wow, that looks way different from before.

    I stopped going to Liu’s regularly awhile ago. Prices have gone up dramatically in the last few years. The fried chicken legs on rice used to be a smoking deal. Now it’s just average. Still probably the best fried chicken in Richmond though.

  9. emmy

    Do you mean Taiwan Beef Noodle King on GRANVILLE ST (Not Oak St) ?

    1. Ben

      Hi Emmy: I meant the Taiwan Beef Noodle King on Oak Street. They were on Granville before but have moved to Oak. See this post http://bit.ly/9LiRNy Ben

      1. emmy

        Oooh thanks! I did drive by that place recently but I didn’t know that was the old Granville place. I’ll have to check it out! (=

        1. Ben

          Hi Emmy: Don’t be put off by the quietness at the new location of the Taiwanese Beef Noodle King on Oak Street. Instead, just focus on the beef noodle. And go talk to the husband-wife owners and ask them if they had moved from the old location and WHY also. It is interesting but I thought it was kind of a waste of good talent to be forced to operate in this new place. They are happy there. I’ll let you find out the story by yourself. They are very approachable although shy. Ben

  10. emmy

    BTW, Pearl Castle’s House Special Milk Tea uses whipped cream.

  11. HM

    Ben, despite the new look, they are still the same management. Wonder if your clothes still have that “restaurant smell” when you leave the premises coz it used to be like that. Anyways, another place for great basil chicken at the Union Sq. is Tapioca Express, next to Richmond Sushi.

    1. Ben

      Hi HM: Tell us more about your China trip, especially the more memorable food that you had. Strange that you mentioned Tapioca Express as we got that post drafted already. We’ll release it one of these days. Ben

      1. HM

        BTW, Tapioca Express also has an outlet on Fraser & 48th. My trip to China (specifically to Shanghai, Wuxi, Nanjing, Hangzhou & Suzhou) was a rewarding experience in terms of culinary arts. The food was either too salty or too sweet and I find the only best thing I had is the “tung-po” pork belly which was cooked to perfection. The famous Wuxi ribs and Shanghai XLB (after trying several different places) were disappointing. I find Rmd Suhang’s and HK’s Din Tai Fung’s XLB much better. Having said that, the Chiu Chow marinated duck, 8-treasure duck, roasted goose, wonton noodles, fish balls and fish congee, portuguse egg tarts, pork chop buns, shark fin soup in Hk and Macau were superb! Unfortunately, my son broke my camera after we arrived at our 2nd destination in China and I’m still trying to gather pics from fellow travellers’ cameras to post although most do not concentrate on food. I’ll try my best! Haha…..I’m still trying to catch up on my reading of Chowtimes before heading out for high-tea @ the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel!

  12. Bulakz

    We love their chix nuggets and fried chix…Havent been
    there for awhile bec of parking probs but will go there soon as the
    new look is very exciting ! Thanks for posting this

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