A long long time ago, we used to go to Yaohan … a lot. Those were the days when we did not have a job and when we decide to dine out, it is to this food court. It was the cheapest and the mostest food that we could get. Yeah, those were the days way before chowtimes when food was not central in our lives — getting our money go a longer way was.
At some point we stopped going to Yaohan. The reason was parking. It is always full, especially around meal times. Getting a spot is close to impossible because there are a few cars idling on each parking lane waiting for someone to vacate a spot. It was THAT bad … and it still is.
So we often just go a couple of rounds around the car park and if we don’t find a spot, we give up. Sometimes I will drive over to President Plaza next door and park in the multi-level parking. But whatever you do, do NOT try to park in the parking lots in front of Rainflower or Canadian Tire. They are very efficient in towing away cars. Be warned!
The name Yaohan was very famous around Asia. It was one of the biggest if not the biggest supermarket chain in Asia. But over time it fell on bad times and went out of business. It was quite a shock when it happened but I guess retail and supermarket chains comes and go every now and then.
The Yaohan Center, located north of Cambie on the No 3 Road, still retains the logo and the name. It no longer has anything to do with the long gone Yaohan. The anchor tenant today is another supermarket called Osaka. Osaka is actually owned by T&T who in turn has recently bought over by Loblaw. Yes, the Osaka Supermarket is the culprit that causes that perpetual traffic jam at the Yaohan Center.
The other culprit for all the cars is the food court. This is a nice food court. It is bright and clean, unlike many other Asian food courts in Richmond. Other than the much newer Aberdeen Center, this is perhaps the best Asian food court there is.
I can see that it food court is well managed. The stalls are diverse enough with a lot of major Asian cuisines represented … and most of them are pretty good.
We used to come here for the rice/noodle combo meals. It was the cheapest rice/noodle combo meals we knew of and I think to this day it is still the cheapest.
The reason is because of these three stalls side by side. These three stalls serves pretty much the same thing and they compete neck to neck with one another. The three stalls are Chun Hing Cuisine, Golden Rice Bowl and Pak Tak. Everyone who comes here regularly has their own favourite, I guess. For us, it is the one on the furthest left, Chun Hing.
We like Chun Hing simply because their food looks the most delicious. I like the way they pile up their food very high in a mound. They have about 25 varieties to choose from, just like the other stalls.
The prices in all three stalls are the same actually. You can choose three items ($5.99) or two items ($5.50) together with steam rice, fried rice or fried noodles. Yeah, we always go with the 3 items. I wonder how many would want to go with the two items combo when it is just 50 cents for an additional choice.
But here is a tip … you want a great deal, you must go just before 6PM. Yeah, we deliberately went at 5:45PM that day just to stake out the stall for you all. LOL! Also, we had to get a strategic table so that we can provide you visual proof of the synchronized maneuver by each of the three stalls.
You see … everyday at 6:00PM sharp, this happens at the same time …
Yeah, they flip the sign over and that’s when everything goes a lot cheaper!
From 2 items for $5.50 or 3 items for $5.99, it suddenly becomes $5.50 for FOUR items. Yeah, in those days when money was tight, we dine out at Yaohan at 6PM … no reservation required.
Value for money … lookee, lookee! I am not sure but I think it is cheaper than the Richmond Public Market. In those good old days when the After-6PM-four-item-combo was even less than the current $5.50, we could feed the whole family for less than $10. Our boys were toddlers and they shared our food.
I remember those days. Life was a lot more simpler with lesser care in the world.
I loved the honey garlic pork (left) today as much I did then. The one on the right is deep fried chicken, another of my favourite choices.
These stalls makes excellent “choy” (a generic Cantonese term that refers to any food that goes with rice or noodles) and my theory is that it is because they make these everyday. Over the years and doing this repeatedly, they had perfected their rendition of these dishes.
So yeah … just go to Yaohan’s food court one of these days. Go just before 6PM and wait patiently at the table and see them change the sign board. Then get to the counter as fast as you can and order FOUR items before anyone else does. Yeah, behave like a kiasu Chinese and get a kick out of getting on top of everyone.
Look at the paper towels they gave us. It was pretty good ones, don’t you think? I think you have come across those ultra thin ones from the other Asian food courts that I hate so much. At some other food court stalls where they give you the ultra thin ones, they pull a face if you ask for another one. Some stalls are terribly stingy for something that costs them sub-cents.
So, yeah … I consider the Chun Hing stall generous.
The serving for the 4 item combo meal is really big. So big that Suanne and I shared the same plate.
Suanne also got something light. It was the Soy Pudding with Ginger Syrup from the Fook Po Thong stall. This is $4 and very gingery. Suanne loves this a lot … just not my kind of thing.
Hey … actually, the other stalls in this food court also does price switching at 6PM, not just the three rice/noodle combo stalls I mentioned here.
As a matter of fact, you should also go to the sushi section of the Osaka Supermarket at the same time. Yeah, at that time, a supermarket worker will be putting on lower price stickers on the sushi items. Many people know about this already and they will be hovering behind the back of the poor girl and grab the sushi once the new stickers gets tagged. It is generally about 50 cents cheaper at the Osaka Supermarket.
In those old days, the above was my “squab”. That is when I decided to give myself a treat, I would go for the Deep Fried Quail from Datang BBQ Express stall.
This is so cheap. Today it is still as cheap. It is just $6.50 for three. BTW how did you like their poses?
So each of this is just slightly over $2 when a squab is $16.
Can anyone tell me why the price difference?
The quail is good … very moist, slightly too greasy but it is what makes it good. The flesh is enjoyable.
The Curry House was another of our favourite stall. It is a pseudo-Malaysian stall. Not really authentic but at those older days, it was one of the best there was.
We often get the Fried Koay Teow from Curry House. Theirs is $7.28. This is passable for fried koay teow … at least for Vancouver, this is good enough. For Fried Koay Teow, my favourite is still the Malaysian stall in Crystal Mall.
We asked for extra spicy and yes, it’s spicy enough.
So … here you go … the Yaohan food court! Tell me if you have a favourite stall or favourite food from this food court.