Accord Food House on Kingsway-Metrotown, Burnaby

Updated 23rd Oct 2014: This restaurant is closed.

Don’t judge a book by its cover. That’s what we often hear.

At my place of work near Metrotown, there are quite a lot of nice places where I could go for lunch. And they are inexpensive and good too. Often when I go out for lunch, I don’t really have to decide what I want to eat. I’ll just take a mid-day walk and stop by a restaurant I fancy.

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But there is one place I never stop at until recently. I did not even realize that it’s restaurant at all until I take a second look. And I had been working in this area some years now and I walk past this place three or four times a week too.

Nestled between a payday loan store and a sex shop (what a name, Male and Female Harmony Store) is a small lot. It is oddly smaller than the rest in the row of shops. That small lot has the words “Music School” in the weather-worn awning. Obviously this is not a music school but it wasn’t obvious too that this is a restaurant.

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I would have never paid much attention to this place. Not many people would. Even the cracks on the windows were just crudely taped up. There were metal bars on the windows and the doors.

Not many people would have paid much attention to this place. Not when there are a lot of other restaurants around too.

So much for the cover.

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A few weeks ago, I peeked in through the curtains and I thought it was sort of neat. I decided to chance it and have lunch here. Pushing open the door, I had a very pleasant surprise. Very very much unlike the outside, the inside was much better. It was very homey.

It was very clean, very tidy. It is also very small. They only have seats for 20 people max. They played soft classical music which I enjoyed a lot. Lunch time is not just a sustenance time for me. It is often a decompression time too. It is a time where I get myself cocooned in my little world with something to read in my hands and just enjoy the food. I like times like that and this was just what I like.

The other popular restaurants around this area was just too busy and too bustling. Some of you will know what I am talking about … Sushi Garden, Green Basil, Lao Shan Dong, S&W Pepper House and the Crystal Mall Food Court … some of my usual lunch places.

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This nameless restaurant is apparently called the Accord Food House. I only got to know the name after I saw it on the receipt.

While this place is small it is homey but also basic. They make it as homey as possible and takes the effort to make it like you are dining in their home.

I asked for permission to take pictures of the restaurant. They said OK but asked that I don’t take the picture of their kitchen. It is an open kitchen and I am very impressed with the setup. One just don’t see a lot of that in a Chinese restaurant where everything is so neat with a place for everything. The ingredient containers were very clean and arranged very nicely. Everything is in its place and there is a place for everything. You just gotta see it to know what I mean. The best “viewing point” is the two counter seats. Go for that seat and observe them work.

Service was very good. They are nice humble people who seems contended with what they are doing. From what I see, it is suggested to me that they care a lot of doing things right than doing it big.

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You may click on the menu above to enlarge it.

It is a very simple 1-pager menu. When I asked them if I could take pictures of it, they were quite hesitant because they said it is so simple. They also added that they had some special dishes that they introduce once in a while and it is all written on the board in the dining area (see the third picture from the top).

One-pager menus is not a problem with me. I had eaten here several times already before I took my camera along last week. Their food is good and that is what matters. So far I had tried two dishes and both of them were excellent.

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The beef noodle seems like their specialty. It is the item on top of the menu. This small restaurant is also filled with the aroma of beef noodle soup. And most tables had their beef noodles too. So yeah, this has to be their specialty.

On the menu, they listed “Beef Noodle $7.50” and “Beef Tendon Noodle $7.50”. No mention of beef flank. All TBN has a beef flank option. They told me they have been flank too, just that the “Beef Noodle” is meant to refer to both flanks and tendon.

But you know what? What scores for me is their … tendon.

The beef noodle is served in a medium size bowl, not like Lao Shan Dong’s gigantic portion.

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Just look at the tendon. It is soft and the marinades permeates into the tendon. Very flavorful and I enjoyed this a lot. They sliced it into chunks instead of a long big piece. Their tendon has got to rank as one of the better ones I had tasted.

The brisket on the other hand was OK but tendon is good.

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They serve this with soft shredded cabbage. No sour mustard here.

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The long slippery noodles were well made and holds the soup very well. I always get stains on my short eating Taiwanese Beef Noodles.

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And their soup is “clear”, not “busy” if you know what I mean.

I categorize Lao Shan Dong’s and No 1 Beef Noodle soup as “busy”. They had lots of bits and pieces floating in the soup. The soup is also thicker and stickier.

On the other hand, the TBN soup in places like Chef Hung’s and Taiwan Beef Noodle King on Oak are “clear” soup.

Both are nice in their own way. I have a personal preference for “clear” soup. So, yeah … I lap the whole bowl clean.

I had also tried another dish of their called “My Grandpa Chinese-Style Pasta”. It is pretty good and it’s worth a try and I think you will like it too. I was curious about this dish because I had never heard of such dish in a Taiwanese place before. The owner told me that it is actually his own grandpa’s pasta! He said when he was a little boy his grandfather often makes this homestyle dish that he loves so much that he decided to put this into the menu. Since there is no better name for this dish, he just called it “My Granpa Chinese-Style Pasta”.

You gotta love the humble young owner.

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One thing I did not quite like about this place is that it place a tip of 10% automatically on the receipt. It wasn’t the amount that I am concerned about because I do tip more than 10%. it is that people (mostly men!) don’t read receipt and might pay tips on the total amount.

To their credit they did call this out to me as they gave me the receipt. It is just that it is not common practice.

I like this restaurant and had been going back several times already. They seems happy doing what they do. I am curious because I felt they have potential to expand. The owner laughed and just say it takes money. It seems to me they are contended as they way it is.

They have short hours unlike other restaurants around. They open only at noon and then serve only tea from 2:30PM before starting dinner hours from 6PM. See their hours below which they told me they follow quite strictly:

  • Lunch: 12pm – 2:30pm
  • Tea Time: 3pm – 6pm
  • Dinner: 6pm – 8pm
  • Tea Time: 8pm – 10pm

If you are in the area, check them out. Ignore what is on the outside and go in and see for yourself. You might just go away feeling impressed as I did. I had been going back to this place several times already.

Accord Food House on Urbanspoon

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  1. OMG!!! I walked into this place sometime last week but they were sold out of their noodles for lunch…since then, I did not get a chance to try it yet…my high school Taiwanese friends have suggested to me many times!!! Thanks for sharing Ben!

  2. I love mom & pops like this. Some of the best food comes out of tiny, tasty shops.

    +1 for exploration!

  3. Looks like a great find. Its really good to know that they are very clean and organized. Too bad for me they’re not in Richmond. 🙁

  4. It’s hilarious how they put “Q: What’s in there?” for the noodle salad!

    So what is My Grandpa Chinese-Style Pasta?

  5. Someone let them know that if they charge a mandatory grat that the HST applies to grat as well.

    1. Hi Buddha Boy: I just calculated the taxes. It seems like Accord calculated the 12% HST on the price of the food. They did not calculate the 12% HST with the tips. Yeah, the way it is shown on the receipt makes one thinks that the HST covers also the tips. Ben

      1. Should there be HST charged on tips or is it only applicable to mandatory tips?

        1. Hi Crispy:

          HST should not be charged on tips … and Accord did not charge HST on top of tips at all. Here is what it works out as:
          Food: $7.50
          HST on the food at 12%: $.90
          Total: $8.40
          Tips of 10% of food: $.75
          Total: $9.15
          Get what I mean?

          Ben

          1. Yah thats what I thought too. There is no HST on tips. With the advent of HST, I’ve been calculating the tip based on the total food cost and not on the invoice total like I used to do before HST. I guess this results in less tips to the servers.

          2. I’ve never tipped on post-tax totals, ever. I always put in a 10-20% tip on pre-tax subtotals.

          3. I do so too…15% before taxes and discounts.

          4. Servers and bartenders have to tip out the house on their sales after tax… Just so you know.

        2. no HST on tips…however, if the establishment charges “mandatory” tips, then tax must be applied to the “mandatory” tips…

          1. oops…didn’t get to finish…

            above was according to my CRA connection…Buddha Boy…hahahaha!

          2. Hi Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl: Gosh you guys are right! HST is indeed charged if tips are included in the bill. Not many people knew about it. Thanks for calling this out. 🙂 Ben

  6. I had a dental appointment at Metrotown and thought goody, beef noodles for lunch. So, walking in today’s yucky weather (no umbrella) I managed to find this place BUT it’s CLOSED!! It’s closed on Monday and {another day, can’t remember which}

    Aargh… with a hungry tummy, wet shoes and jeans I walked back to Metrotown and got myself a free coffee from McD.

    Sigh.

    1. Hi Lissa: That is the second time unlucky (the first was Royal D&D which I don’t know but I won’t be surprised they’re closed for good) for you. My post did say they are closed on Monday. 🙂 Ben

      1. I read your posting a couple of times now (even got my son to read it) and we can’t find where you stated they are closed on Monday. When I read this posting this morning there were only 1 or 2 comments. Anyway, will try again tomorrow. They are closed two days a week.

        1. Sorry to hear your bad luck, Lissa.

          Do you know about Lao Shan Dong at the corner of Nelson and Kingsway ? Definitely one of the better beef noodles around (but as Ben said, they are different in many ways, esp. the soup broth). But at least Lao Shan Dong is near Metrotown mall. The other option is LSD’s new sister establishment, The One, at the corner of Kingsway and Buller, about 5 mins drive east of Metrotown:

          http://theonerestaurant.ca/

          1. I’ve eaten at Lao Shan Dong a few times. Hence, I want to try Accord. I know where The One is. But today it was just pissing rain and I didn’t want to drive along Kingsway. I want to support more Mom & Pop stores than say restaurants like The One.

        2. Hehehe … my apologies Lissa. You are right. When I was writing the post, the words “don’t go today because they are closed on Monday” keeps ringing in my mind that I would put it down. I remembered that because I had planned to post it on a Monday. Guess I lost my train of thought on that point. My apologies. I’ll buy you lunch some day to make up. 🙂 Ben

          1. No worries but it will be fun to have lunch with you one day. I’ll let you when I’ll be in Burnaby. 🙂

            I’ve enjoyed your blog so much that I’ve gotten my friend/neighbour to eat out with me twice a month to try your recommendations. Yay!

            Btw, my birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks. A few moms & I always celebrate our birthdays with lunches. Which Mom & Pop restaurant (Burnaby or Richmond) would you recommend for us to go?

          2. Hi Lissa: Am away out of the country this week and next. December is a good bet. Drop me an email with a day notice and I’ll bring my camera long. I got a few new places I want to check out too. As for a place to celebrate birthdays, I think mom-and-pop might not be a good choice. If you want one, did you ever go to YY? It is small and cheap and good. We love it. In Burnaby, I like S&W Pepperhouse and Hot Luck — both very spicy cuisine. Ben

  7. If you want want to temporarily escape to Taiwan for some TW beef noodles.. Accord Food House is one of the best to go.

    Homey, simple, filled with love and care, it’s just what you should be getting!

    Love this place. I go often too 🙂

  8. So did you achieve Beef Noodle Soup Harmony, Ben ?

    1. Not quite by close, LotusRapper. 🙂 I love the tendon by far over all others. The noodles were just right. The soup is not thick and sticky — just a personal preference. Yeah, I like Accord. Maybe it’s because I like underdogs more. Ben

  9. Wow, you really dug deep here Ben! I also dipped into a real hole near there too, that I’ll post about one day…

  10. Ben, there’s a Korean Chinese restaurant called Tai Won nearby which you should try. The food is not bad.

    1. Lissa: Tried that before. It’s a really strange place. It is officially called Tai Won Chinese Restaurant but everything and everyone in there is Korean. Seems popular with Korean customers. Ben

  11. This is a secret little place where me and my colleagues go all the time. However it takes a long time to wait for the food as there is basically one chef and he cooked the food one by one. For best Taiwanese noodles around Burnaby this one and No. 1 Beef Noodle House at Willingdon and Moscop goes neck to neck.

  12. Ahhh…. Finally sitting inside Accord. Waiting for my beef tendon noodle.

    1. Ok, my verdict. The whole dish was pretty good. It’s a good portion vs Lao Shan Dong large bowl. I didn’t finish the soup because I ordered spicy and there was a lot of chilli oil floating in the soup. Cons: lots of noodles with 4 tendons and 2 brisket with some siew-choy. There must be some MSG because I still feel thirsty after 2 hours.

      But it’s a good place to eat. Next time will try the appy and pasta.

      1. Glad to know you like it, Lissa. Try Accord’s My Grandpa Noodles next time. Ben

  13. Whenever gratuities are mandatory, then it’s considered a service (charge), hence, the additional tax.

    In the past, a number of established eateries got assessed for GST because they did not charge on the mandatory grat. I don’t know the outcome if they had to pay or not.

    Either way, I try to avoid restaurants with the mandatory grat now because, with the HST, it gets really really expensive.

  14. you should try their tea’s next time! it’s very refreshing! like the rose tea etc.

    however when i visited last week and noticed the new decor and the absence of the usual husband and wife duo in the kitchen, me and my friend ordered the earl grey royal milk tea which ended up tasting pretty plain..

    but i had a few teas recommended before and made by the lady (boss) who runs the shop and it was AMAZING.

    1. Hi Joyce: I am not much of a tea person but I’ll go one day and try their tea for sure since they are so near my office. Ben

  15. Took hubby there for a quick lunch. We were the first customers. Some observations my husband made:

    1. Food took too long. (Agree) We were the first customers and it took over 20 mins for our order to arrive. Mine: beef tendon noodles Hubby: grandpa’s pasta (it’s pretty good).

    2. All four workers (lady boss, hubby, a younger woman and an older man) never smiled once and seemed like a miserable lot.

    3. Cantonese seems to be the bastardized language in that restaurant. While we were giving our orders to the younger woman, I ordered in English. My husband ordered in Cantonese while pointing to the item on the menu. She asked something in Mandarin, my husband said no mandarin and she asked again in Mandarin. (?) I then told her please speak in English. Now I know how Ben feels when he says we are like 2nd class citizens. 🙁 Hubby asked the older man to “mai tan” (in cantonese) and was shown a disgusted face.

    4. Hubby said he doesn’t want to go there again. Don’t blame him. But I’m there for the food. This time drank too much soup and my throat was MSG-thirst till past 4pm. 🙁

    1. I think that was a very accurate assessment of Accord, Lissa. The people who work there does not smile a lot … a very serious lot. About the food taking too long, I think it is perhaps related to the fact that they open only at 12noon. Many eating places will start opening at 11AM for lunch but Accord is perhaps the only place that opens at noon. I think this perhaps shows the lackadaisical attitude on their part in running the business, no?

      1. Went there tonight for dinner with my friend who loves the place. It’s packed when we arrived so we ordered first (just normal beef noodles) and were seated later. About 10 minutes after we were seated we were told that they had run out of beef and could only offer tendon. As we are not fans of tendon we asked for any alternatives and were told we could not switch for something like a “ji pai” (chicken steak). Friend ended up switching to “kuang rou” and I opted to just have soup noodles. A large table of about 6 that arrived at least 15 minutes after us got their food before us. Overall, it took over an hour 45 minutes for us to get seated and get our food. I have had a lot of beef noodles in the Lower Mainland, my house and in Taipei and the bowl I had at Accord is honestly the worst I’ve ever had. I realize that this kinda stuff is to each their own, but I won’t be returning for sure. Luckily for us, they “forgot” to bill us for one of the bowls. Lucky indeed.

        1. “over an hour 45 minutes for us to get seated and get our food”

          I hope you gave management/owner a piece of your mind. That is absolutely unacceptable under any circumstance !

    2. I’m half-Cantonese and a table beside us was speaking Cantonese quite animately (surprise eh?). I didn’t notice any prejudice towards them whatsoever. It’s not common for Taiwanese to look down upon the Cantonese, from my experiences anyways. They all seem to get along. Perhaps you are a tad paranoid.

    1. OMG, Sam. That is a great video of Accord Food House. Very well done. I also saw the “slurp” video on your channel. Do you know the owners of Accord Food House? I like their beef noodle a lot. BTW, what equipment do you use for the video? Ben

  16. Yes, I know the owners personally, and I love it there.

    I just mainly Canon DSLRs for the video. That video was one of my earliest works, so it’s nothing big. Hope to create a web series of food “commercial” (like “the slurp”) over the summer.

    1. Well, that was very good work there even for being your earliest work. Will subscribe to your channel. Good stuff! Ben

  17. ooops! Guess you have! Should’ve checked!

  18. hi ben and suanne. i went here yesterday night for some late night dessert. we had the creme brulee and chocolate pudding cake. mmm to die for! they’re super fresh and yummy! not super sweet. the owner’s daughter (i assume) makes all the cake. if only ppl knew about this place, there would be line-ups out the door (like sweet revenge). they also serve very good milk teas.

  19. btw, they are closed on odd days like sundays and mondays.

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