You know, I so look forward to the long weekend this week. I guess many of you will be taking the Friday off work along with the Remembrance Day holiday this Thursday. I am.
I got a serious suggestion for you during the long weekend. I just went for dim sum and went away feeling very impressed with the food … and I recommend you consider trying this place.
Fmed and Keev had been talking soooo many times about the Good Choice Restaurant already. They were raving about the dinner they had there recently where they said every dish was a winner. Coming from people like fmed and Keev, I know this is one restaurant I must visit.
Instead of going for dinner, we went instead for dim sum. Good Choice is located on Fraser at 44th in Vancouver. I am pretty sure that everyone who drove along Fraser would have noticed that bright orange awning.
Good Choice was previously known as Super Happiness until there was a change of owner. However the chefs remained the same. Frankly, Super Happiness was never on my radar before and so with the same chefs I am puzzled why people are raving about Good Choice’s food with the same chef. I mean, with the same chef, the food will most likely the same right?
It is only since March this year that Good Choice had started serving dim sum and lunch. They had since discontinued late night suppers and instead concentrated on dinners too.
Good Choice is opened at 10 AM every morning for dim sum and lunch. We were the first customers there and for the next 30 minutes we were the only customers. At the peak until about 11:30 AM, the restaurant is only a third full. For a restaurant that we had so high expectations of, we thought it would have been packed. After all it was on a Saturday we were there.
From where we were seated we could see the Angel Cafe across the street. Angel Cafe was packed. It always is. The last time we were there was waaaaay back in April 2008 (post here).
Service was “excellente”. The waiter obviously knows how to deal with bloggers. He was chatty with us and really gave us a lot of tips of their food. I would not have know if he had not pointed somethings out to us. Yeah … he came by several times and asked if we had any questions — of course we had lots of questions.
Click on the menu above to show a larger image.
This is obviously not a $2.50 dim sum kind of restaurant. Most of their regular dim sum items are $3.25 or $3.75. Some of the special and lunch items are at $10 but it is larger servings … not dim sum size.
Their menu calls this the Pig Tripe & Bean Curd in Pepper ($6) but we knew this is not tripe. He he he … we are not totally Chinese illiterate. This is pork stomach. The Chinese name was correct while the English name was wrong.
You know, this soup is … so enjoyable. It has three main ingredients: the pig stomach, the sour mustard and the bean curd sheet. Not forgetting the soup … it was good and very peppery with lots of cracked peppers. This is a very good dish for cold winter weather.
Other than the pork stomach, the lightly salty fresh beancurd was great.
It is also a lot of food here. We enjoy this so much that we were eating this, piece by piece, until it was all gone and ignored the other dim sum items. We asked the waiter to hold all other dim sum items because we ordered seven items in all. We wanted to properly savour each and every item.
We don’t normally order congee. But then the weather was so cold that congee sounded so appealing. Oh gosh, don’t you just feel that what they say about this year’s winter is going to be nasty is true? I was looking out at the North Shore Mountains this morning. There were already lots of snow on it. Brrrrr.
They have seven types of congee on the menu. It took a while for us to decide which one because most of them sounded so good. How I wish they have a version called The Works. You know, a congee with fresh clams, sea cucumber, fish fillet, pork kidney, pork liver, chicken, minced beef, minced pork and preserved egg … with julienned ginger on the side … with lots of scallions. How come no one makes that? 🙂
We ended up with the Congee with Lean Pork & Preserved Egg. We got the small one ($5, large at $11) and it was more than enough for two persons.
Love it. The century egg is quite large and chunky and not broken up bits and pieces.
When they served the congee, I noticed they only brought the pepper shaker along, no soy sauce. We always expect soy sauce especially seeing how white the congee was. But no soy sauce was required. The congee was flavourful by itself.
We asked for a recommendation from the waiter. I was dismayed when he recommended the BBQ Pork Bun.
BBQ Pork Bun to me is boring. They are the same everywhere. I said “I don’t think so” … adding that I needed something more “tak peed” (special/unusual in Cantonese).
He went on to say that their BBQ Pork Bun is more “tak peed” than other places. Oh … he went on to describe how the skin is different, the dough is different and how juicy theirs is. I said alright … I wanted him to prove me wrong.
Oh yeah, when it was place on the table I could see the it is not one of those run of the mill BBQ Pork Bun. The skin glisten and yet it is soft.
$3.25 for a basket of three.
OMG … just tearing it apart I can see how this is done to perfection. There were no traces of steam/water. The bun is all fluffy and pillowy soft. It is simply amazing.
The BBQ Pork inside is unbelievably moist.
The waiter said that their sifu make it themselves — no frozen buns bought from outside and steam.
Guys, you NEED to try this.
We thought we try their fried rice too. The name Spicy Sampan Style Fried Rice with Chinese Sausages is not something we see a lot on menus.
This is $10. I like it (and of course so do our boys!). They have lots of “crispy bits” and particularly the addition of fried shallots. It also has that right level of dryness … I hate moist fried rice.
Yup … nice.
OK. Take a look between the two Chan Chuen Fun above. Which do you think is the better one?
I had my first taste of the Chan Chuen Fun (translated as Chan’s Village Noodles) in Kam Wah Loong not too long ago. I totally enjoyed this less than common noodles.
When the waiter recommended we also try their Chan Chuen Fun, I also said it is not “tak peed” enough. I told him I had tried it in Kam Wah Loong before. While it is nice, it was not “tak peed” for me.
In his usual style, he went on to say that theirs is “tak peed” and they do it the right way and everything from scratch and by hand by the sifu. OK, we relented and said fine.
When I saw the Chan Chuen Fun delivered to our table (the plainer picture of the two above, top), I was kind of dismayed too. It did not looked flavourful as I remember it was in Kam Wah Loong. In fact it looked so flavourless in comparison.
The Chan Chuen Fun is known as the Steamed Spareribs & Rice Noodles in Black Bean Sauce and it is only $5.
Despite the plainer look, I can certainly taste the difference. The noodles is a little thicker and does a subtle absorption of the gravy. The waiter said that the rice noodle is house made with rice flour and steamed like “cheong fun”.
They have a very generous amount of spareribs. The waiter told us that they do not drench the Chan Chuen Fun with sauce. Instead the reason why theirs did not look saucy is because they steam the rice noodles with the spareribs for a long time and let the juice from the spareribs flavour the rice noodles.
Yup, I like this.
Here is yet another recommendation which I thought was not “tak peed” enough.
Come on … “loh mai kai” is nothing special. EVERY dim sum place serves this. I gotta say I like the waiter because he again was convincing that their is unlike others.
This is called the Steamed Sticky Rice with Dry Scallop ($4).
As I peeled the lotus leaf and took the first glimpse of the rice, I knew this is it.
The steam released had a strong lotus leaf smell.
Just look at the rice. The sticky rice is very fragrant with the lotus leaf aroma. It is also very soft, very sticky and very gooey.
It doesn’t clump together but sticks to the leaf that we had to scrap it off the leaf.
There was quite a bit of dried scallop too.
You know, this place tells me that they are serious about their food and that they don’t take short cuts. I like the execution of each dish and enjoyed every one of them although they were not “tak peed” kind of dim sum.
I just can’t wait to go back and try their dinner menu.
They had just started dim sum in March this year. From Monday to Friday, their dim sum has a 10% discount. Yeah, they gave us 10% discount even though we did not ask for it nor expect it. They think we are “journalist” and asked us what publication we are with. I said chowtimes and the waiter asked “Hah? Chow meh yeh?”
The waiter even brought me their dinner menu and asked me to go ahead and take pictures of it. Smart guy … this guy has a future, I say. Many other Chinese restaurants look at us with suspicion when we ask for permission to take pictures of their menu.
So yeah … I think you will like this place as much as we did. Go during the long weekend and let me know what you think.
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LMAO I like the one at Kam Wah Loong better (look-wise). I prefer mine drenched in sauce and full of flavour >w<
If you do get to go there for dinner, you have to try their salt baked chicken!
Hi Ben, sounds like a good place for fans of Chowtimes get together dinner. 🙂
Hi Crispy: Hmmmm … this sounds like something that Crispy AND Elaine will plan? How about it guys? You guys plan and I help rally people together? 🙂 Ben
I’d definitely be interesed in this…:-). I remember going to this place several years ago as it’s close to my work. I used to go here for lunch with my mum even before it was Super Happiness. I can’t remember why I stopped going….
My heart wants to organize one but my body … oh … I had been so busy at work these days that about the only thing I do day in day out is sleep, eat, work and blog. So yeah, I just can’t do it but am willing to help if someone could take the lead. Crispy looked down on the floor the moment I hinted to him to organize it. LOL! 🙂
I’m sorry Ben. I don’t think I can do it. Actually, I’m not even sure if I can go even if someone else organized it. I’m sorry for suggesting it. I think greyelf expressed interests in that restaurant based on her comment in Vanchow. That was even before your post came up. There could be something setup in Vanchow.
Hi Crispy: Hah! Passing the buck, huh? And all these while you WERE paying attention. 🙂 Ben
Sorry Ben! From now til mid-December I will be nerding my head out! If I can do it it would probably be like 2011 lmao…
If there is enough interest…something may just happen.
I’d be happy to organize something….I’m only confused about what date to pick as I know between Vanchow dinners and Christmas coming up, things might be getting hectic for everyone. How about maybe November 26 or November 27? Or, I’d be happy to organize something in the New Year also if that’s better.
Hi Michelle: November 26th or 27th is definitely perfect with me. You decide which date and let me know how you want to do this. Ben
I looked at your post and thought this would be a place I’d really like to try. Then I see the menu…why can’t they print it in Cantonese AND English? I find this really off-putting. We don’t go into an Italian restaurant and find parts of the menu written only in Italian. What’s the deal?
Hi Sandi: Oh … I forgot to add that the restaurant gave me two sets of menu. There is the regular one which is bi-lingual and there is another one of their special dishes, which unfortunately was all in Chinese. As you know we can’t read Chinese and as such felt as left out like you. I tried to take pictures of both menus and post it up but the regular menu is so big (too many pages) that I decided to take the ones of the special menu only. I forgot that the menu was all Chinese and when Suanne and I processed the pictures we forgot about the fact it’s all in Chinese. So the processing of the pictures and loading were done automatically and when I wrote the post, I immediately shrunk the menu and again did not notice it was all Chinese. Yeah … it is annoying to see Chinese only menu. I think the reason is some restaurants have only Chinese on some menu was more because of their lack of knowledge of the English language. Some restaurateurs are not highly educated and they go to some expense to get their menu translated. I think there is no malice on the restaurant part to exclude non-Chinese at all. I am not defending this restaurant and do agree with you that they should have taken the effort to translate everything too. My two-cents … Ben
Ben, another well written blog. You make me want to just fly to Vancouver and taste the food.. especially with the pics. I have been telling friends and despite the fact we don’t even live in CA, we still enjoyed reading your blogs, funny, detailed, very descriptive and you do know your food for sure!! Keep on blogging!!
What’s funny about Angel Cafe is that their Chinese name is exactly the same as my given Chinese name !
….. minus the “bakery & restaurant” part of course ……
Been to this restaurant many times for dimsum. One has to go early, otherwise it will be packed full after 12:00pm (my experience)with the limited amount of tables. I find most their dimsum done to perfection except that they never have egg tarts tho’ this is on the menu. Come to think of it, they may not have a pastry sifu for this…haha….When I eat there every time, I notice nearly every table would order their Chan Chun Fun which I find is less drenched in oil and it’s very good. Have not tried their Ssmpan fried rice before. Afterall, it’s just fried rice, but looking at your pictures, it seems very appealing, therefore must try next time!
The menu looks good. A bit on the pricey side but there are some interesting “old school cantonese” dishes on the menu.
I’ve been there when it was Super Happiness, they’ve got yummy Mui-Choy Pork!!!
Same chef, but different management.
OH …… Mui Choy Cau Yook, one of my ATF dishes. Is it still good now at Good Choice ?
Thank you for taking the time to give me your perspective. I never really thought about the fact that the owners may not speak English….but personally, I find it implausable that they wouldn’t know someone who does. I know you struggle with those menu’s too. I just don’t see why a restaurant owner wouldn’t seem more receptive to attracting more patrons.
Our experience eating at Chinese places in Richmond (often as the only white ppl in the restaurant) is that mostly waiters/restaurant owners are delighted when we order the “non-white-people” dishes. They usually want to tell us more after they see that we enjoy these dishes. For example, last night we ordered a hot pot where they brought raw chicken to the table and they were clearly worried when we ordered it — “do you know what that is?” So my sense is that part of it is a language barrier, AND there is a big element of “you won’t like this or understand it.” I don’t take offense to it, because almost always the reception is warm if you express interest.
I agree that in my experience there is a huge element of “you won’t like this or understand it, so we just won’t tell you about it”. I find it very frustrating, because a number of restauranteurs in Vancouver [esp. chinese] try to “protect” their customers from dishes they believe the customers will not like, but often they *totally* miss the mark on who will like what.
My best guess is that maybe sometimes they want to save the effort of dealing with unsatisfied customers who ordered something they didn’t like. But I would much prefer if they just went ahead and translated the whole menu. Put the unusual dishes in a “strange exotic dishes you might not like” section, if necessary. Or make sure to mention whatever is deemed “scary” about the dish in the description.
That being said, this does hinge on a thoughtful translation. I mean, if someone orders “stinky tofu” or “duck blood soup” or “pig offal with pepper”, then, well, they should really have the strength to take some responsibility when they learn that maybe they don’t like stinky tofu or duck blood or pig guts. While if they ordered “fragrant tofu” or “duck soup” or “pork in pepper”, then, well, it’s more understandable if they act surprised.
So. I can imagine if some restauranteurs are worried about dealing with the fallout from weak translations on their menu. But at the same time, it gets exhausting sometimes being “protected” against my will! 😉
It is true that restaurant menu translation in this town is seriously in need of help.
I will echo the frustrations felt when confronted by the preconceptions of serving staff & management that I need to be protected from good food.
My (Icelandic) grandmother would cook ox-tongue, why wouldn’t I like ju dai cheung? Everyone should be exposed to at least one bowl of Hong Kong style sampan congee in their life. Both of these are easier to love (and cheaper!) than many of the finer raw-milk cheeses from France that I covet!
The solution? Eat with enthusiasm, order with confidence, demand that tripe! But I’m preaching to the converted….
That’s why I’m so impressed with Chow Times!
Oh yeah, but I agree that often if you cross this barrier and order the “special” item and actually like it, many of these same restauranteers that tried so hard to steer you away from it are indeed delighted. 🙂
Went today for dim sum. It’s a very back-to-basics menu, none of the thrills or hi-jinx that many of the other dim sum places offer.
I think I’ve told you once that I always order siu mai, being a childhood favourite. It might seem pedestrian, but being able to perfect a basic staple always seems like a good benchmark. The server was happy to point out that they don’t use any food processors in grinding the pork down, and that they make them in fresh batches daily.
What he didn’t tell us – and he didn’t have to – is that they are gargantuan. Much larger than a golf ball. And to a point of diminishing returns: it becomes a case of quantity over quality. So, avoid the siu mai.
Wah! How cool is that to find a place that can turn out excellent examples of the classics? With so many places just cooking up frozen food, it’s great to read about a restaurant where some things are once more being made in-house. 🙂
I find it cool how the waiter was able to back up all his “tak peed” statements and you did get something special in return! Definitely not just selling their products to sell them. 🙂
First time I’ve seen pork stomach coupled with bean curd. Probably tasty anyway!
Who is Tak and where did he pee ?!? LOL
Ben – perhaps “duk beet” is closer to “special” in Cantonese [grin]
LOL! Yeah … “duk beet” sound closer, not to mention better, than “tak peed”.
OH! That is much better.
I have only been here for dinner, but I have a sense that dims sum (despite how good it is) isn’t really their forte. Worth a little mini-chowdown, IMO.
“Good Choice”, eh? Sounds like truth in advertising. Let’s go the next time I’m in town. 🙂
Great to see your comments again Chubbypanda. I also see that you had started posting again too on chubbypanda.com. Yeah, let us know when you are in town the next time.
Oh my goodness! You guys have so many people commenting now!
I’m surprised to learn that you guys went to KWL for the Chan Cheun Fun! I’ll admit that I was super busy in the summer and did not read your blogs at all… haha.
I’m exited that you found another place with the noodles! I really liked it at KWL besides the oiliness. But if you think this place is better… then I should try it out! Thanks!
I couldn’t reply under your last comment to me for some reason…..I’ll send you an email about organizing the dinner as I’m a bit of a newbie at this…:-).
Hi Michelle: It is because the comment reply had reached its maximum reply depth. Anyway, will await your email and thanks for offering to organize! Ben
good choice is rather small. i dont think they have problem filling the room out. seems like a reservation is highly recommended. it was prob not busy before noon as suggested.
they certainly are busy in the evenings. i was there around 8pm on a weeknight and was told it would be an hour wait for a table. by contrast ho yuen kee had a couple of tables and koon lok was completely empty except a table settling their bill.
agreed the salted baked chicken was the best i have tasted in the last decade.
went there today for dim sum at noon on a Sat, and the place was half empty. Ordered 5 dishes for 2 peps. Some dishes were good some were just alright. The lo mai gai was dry and not moist like the picture above. Prices are a tad high, which may explain why the place is half full on a Sat.
I have to chalk this one up as overrated.
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I went there once to try the duck that we heard SO much about. It was definitely good. I’ve had the Chiu Chow duck in over 6 countries and over 20 restaurants. This would be about #5, so fairly good. Not quite Chiu Chow authentic but close.
Planning on going there with the parental units tomorrow so thought I’d look for tips on what people like there for dinner. Can’t seem to find blogs on the dinner menu? Anyone? (IF so, please email me at Adobeson@live.ca).
A few comments….
1. For those of you who like quality, I’ve discovered a few amazing places that has all their food made from scratch….
*** Fuse PanAsian Express (Yaletown – Asian Fusion, all under $10)
*** Flying Pig (Yaletown – Continental, in the $20 range).
2. I actually LIVED in (several) Asian countries, and IMHO, ‘tak peed’ confused me as it sounds nothing like that. “Duk beet” is closer, but I think the anglo phonetic pronouncement should be “Dudt Beet”.
3. I agree. It drives me crazzzzzzy when I can’t read the ‘special’ menu. Especially since the owner told our group that their house specialities were on that Chinese page….doesn’t matter, we’re going to randomly point to items on that page tomorrow!! LOL
Happy Eating Trails, all!