One of the things that I never quite figure out is why so many well known Cantonese-y restaurants are named after places. I think you can perhaps recognize some of the these names:
- Honolulu Cafe
- Michigan Noodles
- California Cafe
- Gloucester Cafe
- Boston Steak House
- Hollywood Steak House
- Pittsburg Cafe
And then there is also restaurants that share the same sort of names. In Richmond, there is Silver Tower which at one time was known as Golden Awards. In Vancouver there is a Golden Oscar. Coincidence? Or are they related? Anyone knows?
We came across Golden Oscar when we were at this area a couple of weeks ago when we went to Penang Delight for dinner with Ron and Nancy. Since we are in a HK Style Cafe mood these days, we took a drive here to check it out.
Golden Oscar is located in a small strip mall in the intersection of Rupert and 22nd in Vancouver. So apparently Chong Lee is located in the same mall. Even though there is quite a big parking lot in front of the strip mall, the parking here is at a premium. I just can’t imagine how these two business could take up so many lots.
Golden Oscar is an old school Hong Kong style cafe. The decor does show its age and in dire need of a facelift. I can see that this is very much a destination restaurant where many of the customers are local to the area. I really don’t think this is a destination restaurant where, unlike us, will drive all the way here just for the food.
Actually we were not very impressed coming in. The service while fast was wordless and “eyeless”. They brought the tea and the menu and dropped it on the table without me even realizing it. I was busy taking off my jacket, took out the camera and notebook and when I looked up, there it was. Yeah, service was pretty much like that the whole time we were there. It is not that it’s an issue with us but we sort of got the message that this is not exactly the kind of restaurant we could ask “So, what’s your specialty here?”
Hehehe … while we were here in this restaurant, apparently someone recognized us. Dee commented that he (she?) saw us. Gosh, are we recognizable to some of you now?
We were looking at the Set Lunch Menu which is available from 11 AM to 5 PM. There are 32 items in this but it is … nothing particularly exciting. By that I mean, I was trying to look for signature dishes. Instead it was pretty much the same old same old regular stuff as other HK Style Cafes.
You may click on the menu pages above to show it larger. The Set Lunches are at $8.50 to $10.00 each and the set includes soup of the day and a beverage. Price-wise I felt that they are a tad more expensive than some of those we have in Richmond. Not much … about 50 cents to a dollar at most.
For the soup, there is no choices unlike other restaurant. It was the “Lor Sung Tong” or Russian Borscht soup for the day. Although we know this is called “Lor Sung Tong” we don’t know what “Lor Sung” means. Can anyone tell us please?
This tomato base vegetable soup was decent in taste. I wish it was served a lot more warmer. Instead it was lukewarm, bordering on room temperature. Hehehe … I really wish they pop it into the microwave for me … just two minutes should do.
The milk tea is pretty good. I like that they serve the sugary syrup on the side. Not sure why I like it that way though because if it was mine, I would have poured all of it into the cup of milk tea. *shrug*
Nanzaro, if you have not noticed, is beginning to order Coke. No more iced milk tea anymore.
Arkensen ordered the Pan Fried Satay Beef with Rice Noodle ($9). He complained that it is oily and has big slices of onion. One thing for sure … the dishes in Golden Oscar is big. Arkesen could not finish it and had some leftover to go.
My personal preference with this type of fried noodles is to have this cooked with pork, not beef. Even chicken is better for me but it is usually beef.
Lest you think the dish above is just another picture of the same dish that Arkensen had, it is not. It does look very much the same, huh?
Nanzaro ordered this, the Pan Fried Rice Noodle and Pork Cheek with Belacan Sauce (also $9). So we tasted both dishes and the only difference is that this one has a sweetish belacan taste.
Suanne had the Lamb Brisket, Chinese Mushroom and Dried Bean Curd Bean on Rice (also $9). This dish is quite good. There was a lot of meat. The lamb was tender enough but more importantly it had fatty skin pieces too.
For me I had the Prawn in Swirl Egg in Rice Noodle ($10). I ordered this from the regular menu and not from the lunch set menu. So this one does not come with soup and drinks.
I like this. It has 10 big QQ prawns. The egg swirl sauce was enough to cover the rice noodles sufficiently but what I like best is the prawns.
I don’t think you will be surprised that this is cash only.
All in all, the prices in Golden Oscar is slightly higher and the food was just so-so. Frankly, there are a lot more HK Style Cafes that are much better and gives better value than Golden Oscar.
Hey … errr … I would like to ask you readers a question. OK, two questions.
If there is ONE HK Style Cafe you like the most, which one is it? And what is the ONE dish you enjoy the most?
If you ask me, it is the Pineapple Bun from Lido Cafe. Coming a close second, it is the African Chicken from Amigo Cafe.
This Post Has 36 Comments
Yes, you are right! Golden Awards was indeed under the same owner as Golden Oscar. In fact, they also had a third restaurant which slips my mind at the moment.
As for your HK Cafe question, I personally like the Hainanese Chicken Rice at Mui Garden (:
Oh wow. I had always thought that we had blogged about Mui Garden before but I guess not. I searched high and low for it on chowtimes … can’t find it. We had been there many times already. Yeah, we’ll put it on the list to go one of these days and this time we’ll blog about it. Yes sir … the Hainanese Chicken Rice is good.
I agree with Renee their Hainanese Chicken with the rice is so far my favorite. We always ask for half the chicken with rice on the side rather than their combo with rice because it comes out much fresher.
I used to like Alleluia a lot, not like there was one particularly good dish everything was just good enough, but refillable drinks puts it ahead!
Amigo in terms of general quality is pretty solid. Thanks to Chowtimes I always find myself ordering the African chicken recently, never knew about it even after eating there for years.
My favorite HK cafe is Honolulu Cafe-Vancouver Main St location. The value for what you get is good. Big portions and inexpensive! Oh and their cold milk tea is really good. I like their baked pork chop fried rice or any of their baked dishe and malaysian vermicelli. The good thing is they are generous with the meat.
Before the renovation to the Honolulu on Kingsway St, I would go there after snowboarding or for late night eats.
One night after coming down the mountain, whle eating.. I saw something that put me off so much. A server was packing up a dish for a table, and while spooning the rice from the plate into the styrofoam container, picked up a spoonful and ate it, then continued scooping the rest of the rice. She then bagged it up and dropped it off for the table..
I was in shock cause I watched the whole thing happen..and I finished all my food…no way I’m going to have it packed up after seeing that!
That was errr 2 + years ago, just before their renovation I believe.
Funny thing is, I will still go to Honolulu on Main though.
Alleluia would probably be one of the most consistent and solid HK cafes around, and E-Canteen is decent as well.
I never been to the Honolulu on Kingsway but I also heard that the Kingsway and Richmond locations are really bad. It’s unfortunate because I wanted to try the Richmond one but they have closed down now. The service at their Main St location is ok in the afternoons but at night time it is quite good only because I think the owner ( lady with the glasses) works there at night so all the servers try to behave themselves.
The then Golden Awards was owned by the same owners of Golden Oscar.
Lor Sung = 羅宋 = Russian, translated known as Chinese Pidgin English…therefore, Lor Sung Tong = 羅宋湯 = Russian Soup (or Russian Borcht).
My favorite is Gold Stone in Chinatown, and my favorite item is a very simple Port Cutlet with Noodle in Soup.
Sorry I mean Pork Cutlet with Noodle in Soup
LOL! So Lor Sung is Russian in Cantonese huh? Shows how much Cantonese I know! Thanks Buddha Girl.
There’s a brand new HK-style cafe on Kingsway at St. Catherines St. (about 5 doors west of Nine Dishes). I forget the name of it, it’s fairly small and occupies the space where Sun Fat Cafe used to be. Pretty standard fare, prices are in line with other cafes like Honolulu. I’ve there twice now.
HI LotusRapper: I think I know which one you are talking about. It is BT Cafe isn’t it? What dishes did you like there? Ben
That’s right, BT Cafe.
First time was by myself, I had the late-nite combo of minced beef on rice + ice coffee. Second time was with family and we had a variety of dishes that I don’t remember now, but they were ok.
The place is small, but new and modern (in the same generic modern-ness that many new Chinese restos seem to be doing these days).
One funny happened at the last time I was there, we were standing inside the front door waiting for a table, when suddenly the lights for the entire room went out. At first we all thought it was a power outage. Then a few seconds later I realized I was leaning against the light switch (for the entire restaurant) and I accidentally pushed it to “Off”. LOL 😀
LOL Lotus. Real smooth.
They used to be called Sun Fat Cafe, http://www.yelp.ca/biz/sun-fat-cafe-vancouver.
I like it there, the prices are cheap, the food is solid, the menu offers mini-set meals all day (incl drink). Most other HK Cafes only offer it during certain times.
A plus is that it’s close by my neighbourhood, and also close to 9 Dishes as well. $2 yanjing anyone?!
Hi Kevin: Is Sun Fat Cafe and BT Cafe related? Do you know by any chance? Ben
No idea, you should go ask. 🙂
BT Cafe has no relations with the old Sun Fat. It’s owned by a young couple trying their hand at owning a small business. The husband’s in the kitchen and the wife runs the front of the house 🙂
I like BT. It’s small and kinda cozy (booth seating). And poor service is not possible, because you just have to put up your hand and the servers can’t help but to see you.
Now knowing that the owners are new and young, I feel more compelled to give them my business. The restaurant industry is too tough in this town and hardworking, earnest people who toil behind the scenes need all the breaks they can get.
That is the very same reason I would like to go check out a restaurant. For me it is not always about the restaurant. It is about the food and also very much about the people behind them. Ben
Surprisingly it would have to be Golden Oscars for their baked seafood.
My parents use to take me here all the time as a kid, so going there now is like going back in time. Clearly, Golden Oscars has been around for a long time.
Great review! I must agree the prawn with swirl egg in rice has some massive prawns!
I don’t go much. But I’ve been introduced to the breakfast special at Alleluia and it really is a pretty good deal.
Golden Oscar Cafe also has shrimp toast, which is the ONE THING I’ve been trying to find all over Vancouver. Does anyone know which place has great shrimp toast? My dad says that there are really good ones in HK cafes.
Dai Ban on Main for HK tea. May Sum on Keefer for the Portuguese Baked Pork Chop. New Town for the daily specials, for the (very strong) HK tea and for most menu items.
When winter weather hits & New Town does the braised Lamb & Beancurd Sticks daily special that’s something not to be missed. For a bakery café, they do a very good job with this dish.
There’s also many of the bakeries that are cafes too (some already mentioned above). Another HK cafe on Main is Kam’s Bakery on Main btwn 8th and Broadway.
i say 7th heaven in aberdeen for there sizzling steel plates Flo for there drinks honlilulu on main for there breakfast combo
I think those Cantonese restaurants you listed at the beginning weren’t deliberately “named after places”. Instead, places like Honolulu Cafe, Gloucester Cafe, and Boston Steak House were named after famous cafes / restaurants in Hong Kong (for example, Honolulu Cafe in Hong Kong is famous for its egg tarts and drinks). Just like the Maxim Bakery here has nothing to do with the Maxim Bakery in Hong Kong, these names just a way to stir up feelings of nostalgia among new immigrants in order to increase business.
As for “Michigan Noodles”, it’s named Michigan cos’ it sounds similar to the Cantonese pronunciation of the restaurant’s Chinese name: Mak Ji Gan.
I like your explanation, Cici. Thanks.
Interesting, CiCi ! I really thought the naming of these places were to invoke a sort of American/Western sophistication and style. Even if not, I mean, I’m not expecting to see a “Tulsa Cafe” or “Ozarks Steak House” anytime soon, LOL !
Interesting….I thought the Maxim in Vancouver is still somewhat related to the Maxim in HK?
Copa for their Japanese chicken cutlet rice with sunny egg.
i-Cafe for their Japanese pork (or chicken) cutlet with curry sauce set meal. The cutlet (katsu-retsu) is HUGE and the sauce (on the side) very curry-ish.
Hey LotusRapper: And i-Cafe is where I am going for dinner tomorrow with Oliver! 🙂 I will check out the Pork Cutlet with curry. This came just in the nick of time. Ben
Just remember they are now at the corner of Broadway and Heather (upstairs), and not at their old location on 8th & Cambie.
They also have new set menus. I was there about 3 weeks ago and had an ok Chinese beef steak combo (with a drink, “lor-sung” soup, dinner roll+butter and entree) all for $10 !
Here’s their online menu (actual one in restaurant is more extensive):
i cafe is overated and expensive they used to be good but they have moved to many to time and finally setteled on this location within the last 5 years
I think i-cafe first opened in the old aberdeen centre…where the old rhino was…