Don’t tell anyone I told you this. Let this be just between you and I, OK?
Does this store front look kind of familiar to some of you? Well, YY Village is the incarnation on an old-time Richmond favourite.
A few months ago we were quite shocked to find Tai Yau Yick closed. At first we thought that they might have just closed for a family vacation or something. After all, it was a small family restaurant and such restaurants are known close for a few weeks in a year for vacation. But it later dawned on us that they were closed for good when we saw a sign outside the restaurant saying so. It was sad to see them go because we like Tai Yau Yick.
While around that area a week ago, I came across a new signboard. Where it once said “Tai Yau Yick Shanghai Food”, the new sign outside says “YY Village Shanghai and Taiwan Food”. Strangely the Chinese name of YY remains exactly the same as the old one. What does the Chinese name mean? Suanne thinks that it means “Spring Once More” … something like that.
We did not know what to expect but Suanne and I went ahead anyway to check out the restaurant.
YY Village looked exactly the same as it was when it was Tai Yai Yick. The chairs are the same. The tables are the same. The wallpaper is also the same.
Why even it is manned by a single elderly man. It really felt like the same Tai Yau Yick.
It is a really small restaurant. It can seat 20 people max. The biggest table seats only four people, five is you squeeze. So in essence, this is a mom-and-pop restaurant.
It was full when we were there at noon on Saturday last week. There are no one waiting for a table but every table was taken nonetheless. So, we are thinking that once we write about this place, there might be even more people in the coming weeks. They do take reservations though so perhaps that would be a smart move to make a reservation or go at a time when they are not so busy.
Their menu looks very much the same as when it was Tai Yau Yick. Well, the system of ordering from a 1-page ordering sheet is the same. We were told that the change of ownership of the restaurant happened four months ago. The previous owner sold this and went back to Hong Kong.
The elderly man also told us that the menu is the same. Somehow the dishes that jumps out at us is not quite the same this time. Our mind was focused on other things … especially the very “heong” dish that EVERY table was having.
Service was good. The elderly man was genuinely friendly and chatty. It seems like he gets along well with every customer, chatting with people at one table and the rest of the tables listens in and chuckles at his wisecracks. Yeah, it is that cozy small restaurant feeling where people feel connected.
You know the strange thing about this restaurant is the language they used. While the signboard outside says that it serves Taiwanese and Shanghainese food (both Mandarin speaking areas), the elderly gentleman speaks Cantonese very fluently. Everyone speaks Cantonese to him.
However, the food came very slow. I think they only have one person in the kitchen working.
This is the dish EVERY table ordered. And I dare to say right now that YY Village makes the best of this dish I had ever tried.
Very “heong” (in Cantonese).
What is the English word for “heong” anyway? Whatever it is, it smells sooo good that each time they bring a plate out people look up. You can’t ignore it at all.
So we asked what that is and we wanted it too. On the menu, it is called … Pork Chop in Noodle Soup … and it is only $5.85. The elderly gentleman told us that it is their most popular dish. I am not surprised.
They thoughtfully slit the meat so that you could easily tear it apart. Lovely. I see people gnawing at the bones too. I gnawed at it. So did Suanne.
Trust me … order this and this pork chop will stick in your mind for a long time.
The pork chops were served on the side with some pickled vegetables.
The noodles were pretty decent. It is light in flavour and goes ying-yang well with the fragrant pork chops. It has cabbages, spinach and carrots.
Just $5.85 … can you believe that? Next time I’ll ask for two orders.
The Red Hot Wonton was $4.25. From a glance, I was quite disappointed because it looked anything but “Red Hot”. I wanted something really spicy and that’s why I chose this dish. Instead there were only a few dabs of yellowish (not red) sauce on it. The skin of the wonton does look very smooth and enticing.
However, it was actually very spicy! The sauce were all underneath the wonton. It tasted nicely vinegarish too. So yeah, this is a well made dish.
Looks are deceiving.
Two winners in a row!
We asked the elderly gentleman for a recommendation. He suggested we try their Slice Beef in Pancake which is $5.20. But yeah … beef in pancakes … we had it so many times before. It was nothing too particularly exciting but the elderly gentleman was convincing and said we should try it. So we did.
Hey, this is awesome!
Just look at it. It is slightly different from the ones we normally had. The pancake that wraps the slice beef is just one round of wrapping. Unlike the usual ones, it is not rolled.
The pancake here is a bit thicker but the outer layer is amazingly crisp and flakey. It crackles as we bite into it.
The beef slices were thick and chunky. The sauce does not overwhelm the flavours imparted by the beef and the pancake. So this is a beauty.
Three winners in a row.
We thought the Deep Fried Pig’s Intestine sounded kind of interesting. They have marinated intestines which are more common but deep fried ones are harder to come by. This is $5.80.
The elderly gentleman was pleased, flashing a thumbs us as we said we wanted it. He said we are adventurous and not many people will try this. He said it is good and is glad that we chose this.
They served the deep fried pig intestines with some marinated minced garlic and chili sauce on the side.
The intestine is filled with a green onion and it is marvelously crispy on the outside. Yet it is chewy inside and lightly salted.
Yeah … this is four winners in a row.
We were extremely impressed with the food. As I was paying the elderly gentleman asked us if they are up to par with Tai Yau Yick. He flashed a big grin on his face and his thumbs shot up again when I told him his food is BETTER than Tai Yau Yick.
I really do think it is better.
The total bill came to $23.63 before tips. Understandably such small restaurant accepts cash only. If you are thinking of checking them out today, don’t go. This is because they are closed on Mondays.
If you do check them out, let us know what you think.