I can’t remember who now now but someone told us that there is a stall in the Pacific Plaza Food Court that serves good laksa … one that would give Bo’s Laksa the run for the money. That is an interesting comment because Bo’s Laksa to us is currently the king of laksa. To dethrone him would not be easy … but yeah, I am hoping that someday someone will serve laksa better than his … with cockles.
With RAW cockles!
I was away on work last week. It was a grueling three days of workshop that I had to facilitate and by the end of it I was just totally exhausted. I mean, I ate well but I can tell you that Atlanta is a culinary wasteland. I had lots of steaks. I had lots of fried chicken and collard greens. But at the end of it, I really crave Asian food. So, at the Atlanta airport, I was already discussing with Suanne over the phone where we are going out for food the moment I land at YVR.
There is no better place than to go to a food court. We decided to go to the Pacific Plaza to check out the laksa there hoping that maybe, just maybe the laksa there would be even better than Bo’s laksa.
The Pacific Plaza is a mall that many people know it’s there but not know what the name is. It is located on Cambie Road and Odlin Crescent. It is also the building where the very good Sushi Hachi is.
The Pacific Plaza is not exactly a shopping mall. There are many small businesses here catering undoubtedly to the Chinese community. There is a few odd religious operations here too. Suanne and I don’t normally have a reason to come here at all.
Most people will never know that there is a food court here. See the lady standing on the second floor? Well, that is the entrance to the food court. From afar you would think it is just another office.
Yeah … just one little sign.
The food court is not too big. It is definitely the quietest of all food courts we have seen in Richmond. Even the food court in the Empire Center is busier. The customers there seems to be people who works in the area. This is so slow here that everyone … customers and operators were all fixated on the Chinese serials showing on the TV. It was showing an old Canto TV series called “Chern Ching” (translated as Love Of The Family) … the only one series I had watched from start to finish eons ago.
Only five stalls were opened — all of which were pretty interesting. All the stalls that are opened have a large offering with lots of signs pasted on the stalls. We counted about 5 other empty stalls.
But we like it. Like the FC in the Empire Center, we like slow, quiet food courts like this. The food offering seems pretty good too as you will see later. You don’t really need a lot of stalls in a food court to be good. All you need is just a few good stalls.
Gee Taste Good is the name of the stall that we were coming for the laksa. They describe themselves as South East Asian Specialty.
This was more than expected. There are a lot of Malaysian food served here, not just laksa. And they are in pictures too. It seems like this stall had been featured several times in the print media before which they proudly show.
As much as we wanted to try other dishes too, we decided to stay the course and go for the laksa.
This is it … the laksa that is supposed to as good as Bo’s laksa. You can order this either with chicken or with prawns. We asked for chicken as chicken is the most common meat served with laksa anyway in Malaysia.
We asked that this be made extra spicy. Depending on the ingredient ordered, it is between $5.50 and $6.00 a bowl.
So, how was it?
Let’s just compare with the looks department. The above two pix is from Bo’s Laksa.
The most important component is the laksa broth. Bo’s laksa is super creamy and rich.
Gee taste Good’s laksa broth is certainly not as creamy. It’s the coconut milk, buddy … they are missing this.
So this does not look particularly exciting. It has the shredded chicken which tasted like it’s overcooked (harder) and it also has the tofu puff. Other than that it’s nothing much more.
The laksa broth, I must say, is not bad. It is spicy and has a kick to it. It is certainly one of the better ones we had tried. Unfortunately, this is no where near Bo’s.
They use vermicelli as the noodles (like Bo’s). We noticed that their vermicelli is thicker than normal.
We enjoy the laksa here but … sorry … Bo’s laksa still reigns supreme.
The above is the menu from Gee Good Taste (click image to enlarge). We will definitely want to come back someday to try their other dishes.
For the sake of variety, Suanne chose the stall next to Gee Taste Good called Swan Good Eats.
She ordered the Hainanese Chicken Rice ($5.50) which came with soup and steamed vegetables. In the looks department, it looked great. Don’t you agree? To think it is just $5.50.
This is everything I love about Hainanese Chicken. It is topped with lots and lots of minced ginger and green onions.
The skin is soft and the meat is cooked just right.
The other thing I like is the “jup”. LOL! This is not the sauce. What is this called?
This is excellent with the steamed rice. So we pour this over the rice. Admittedly, it is also a tad salty so we need to have the “jup” with rice.
We also went to another stall called Taikoo Yummy Food and get a little something else to try.
The menu in the stall is entirely Chinese and so I just verbally ask them for recommendation. I wanted something light and asked what is their best selling light food.
The said we should try their Fried Chicken Wings ($3.75).
We get 3 whole wings … all superbly crispy and not heavy in batter.
This one I thought was very good. There is hardly any batter, just pure chicken. And yet, the skin is so crispy.
The above is the Taikoo stall. The man you see manning the stall above … well, he came over to talk to us when he saw our camera and note taking.
Very interesting fellow and he is not a bit shy at all. So we took the opportunity to get more info about him and his food. He said that he had been operating here for 12 years already. I said that I am curious how he can last so long here when he could have moved to a busier food court.
He said he is happy here and he said he wants to do something that is different from the other food court. What he said next was interesting … and something we would not have noticed if he did not say it. He said that he does not precook his food unlike the busier food courts. He cooks the food only when the customer orders it. It is like going to a full service restaurant except that it is in a food court. That is the only way he can make a difference and some of his customers appreciate it. I never thought of it that way.
I asked him what is the one dish he is most proud of. His empress chicken he said and then promptly asked us to go into his kitchen to show us.
He was saying that we should have tried his chicken rather than the one we had from the other stall.
He specializes in Empress Chicken and showed us that he ordered the best and most expensive chicken available. He even showed us the individually wrapped chicken with brand on it just to prove a point. We had no idea if it is truly what he said it is but the wrapping looked like it is branded chicken.
He said his chicken is definitely smaller than the other stall, adding that it is young chicken and in the perfect size. I asked how can one tell. He said we should look at the size of the “kwan”… the head/crown thingy or whatever you call it. Too big, no good.
And the skin is naturally yellow for this chicken, which is very important. [but, but, I like chicken with white skin!]
The chicken is cooked in chicken broth, and then plunged in cold water for 30 minutes. The last step is to marinated in ‘white marinated sauce’.
This “white marinated sauce”!
This sauce had been with him for 12 years already and it is his most precious stock. He said he will die if he loses this and had to start from scratch again. LOL!
Wow … the first time I see old stock like this.
Since we were full, he gave us some sample to take home.
It was good.
The above is Taikoo’s specialties. Can someone help me translate it?
The chef said that he was a chef in some big name restaurant in Hongkong before he migrated here. I can sense that he is missing his glory days and in this humble food court, he is just eking a small living and serving less sophisticated customers, like us.
Hey … the Pacific Plaza FC is worth a check out too. The food is cheap so you have nothing to lose.
There is one other stall we wanted to check out. It is called “Uncle Lim’s Everyday is Chinese New Year House”. They specialize in Shanghai Dumpling and the stall is impressive.
We will come back for sure.