We met up with Oliver who had been following chowtimes on the sidelines for a while. With close to 4000 unique visitors we get on chowtimes everyday, we find that only a small percentage of our readers is comfortable with commenting on the blog. There are many silent readers out there. Once in a while we get emails from readers who prefer to connect with us in a less public manner.
When I was beginning to write a bit more about our visits to HK Style Cafes, Oliver wrote to us about his current past time of trying these type of restaurants. And he had been around it seems. He took the time to write detailed accounts of his visits to some of the HK Style Cafes which we had never been before. Wow, that was awesome because this really helped us in finding new places and new dishes which would have been very difficult for us to do on our own. So, we tried Sun Yee based on Oliver’s recommendation.
Suanne and I met up with Oliver for dinner to try one of the many HK Style Cafes we had never been to before. I think we have tried every HK Style Cafe already in Richmond. However, I was surprised to learn that there are a lot more out there in the larger Metro Vancouver we have never heard before, let alone tried it.
But we have heard about I Cafe before, just that we did not bother to drive over to Vancouver for HK Style Cafe. So this was just the perfect place to check out.
I Cafe is located on West Broadway with Heather, just a bit west from Cambie. Some people may not notice this restaurant as it is on the second floor of the building. Parking is a bit tricky. You could park on the street which is expensive ($5 for 2 hours) or you can park in I Cafe’s indoor parking in the building next to it. It is tricky because if you want to park there, you gotta run up to the restaurant and tell them and they will go across the street to open the indoor garage for you. It’s quite OK if you have someone with you but if you are driving alone, it is just not practical.
I Cafe has a funny past. You see, they had been forced to move the restaurant a couple of times before because the property they were in were torn down for redevelopment. I Cafe started off in the old Aberdeen Center in Richmond. They were forced to move 10 years ago, when Fairchild rebuilt the Aberdeen Center. So, I Cafe moved to Vancouver. They were doing well on Cambie just north of Broadway. You know where the new big boxes buildings are today? That was where they were before those swanky new buildings were built a few years ago.
So here they are today, on Broadway and Heather. I wonder if they will be third time luck. LOL!
Sorry for the reflection from the windows in the picture above. This is perhaps one of the rare HK Style Cafes that has a view. Yeah, most of the tables are by the window. If you squint hard enough, you can get a glimpse of the lights from Yaletown and the North Shore Mountains. 🙂
I was just thinking that with all the windows all round, it could be uncomfortable eating here when you have bright sunlight hitting the place.
Anyway, can you think of any other HK Style Cafe with a view? I can think of one. The 7th heaven in Aberdeen.
It was sort of clean inside but I thought that the furnitures are showing their age. It sure is bright in here though. The tables are mostly booth seating. It wasn’t really fancy. I had been to prettier HK Style Cafes than this. To me, Bauhinia in Richmond is the prettiest of them all, which of course also means that they are pricier.
Yup. Same old style of menus you see in all HKSC. There are lots of menus and it’s kind of confusing sometimes not knowing where to start. When in doubt, look for the smaller ones that has the word “specials” or “combos”. They are the all inclusive ones (meal plus drink plus soup) for a better deal.
We did not bother to check the main menu thoroughly. We went straight for the dinner specials and I already have an idea what we wanted. LotusRapper was telling me about their Curry Pork Chop. That was what I wanted and it is on the dinner special. It is on the menu on the left. Click on it to show it larger. That menu is the western style specials and is $10 which comes with a soup, bun, beverage and a choice of rice or spaghetti.
On the other side is the noodle soup specials for those who wants a lighter meal. There are a few choices of ramen and fish broth for $8 which comes with a beverage. Oliver said that their fish broth noodles is good and so we got that too.
So this is Suanne’s order. Delightfully looking, isn’t it? This is the Bean Curd Fish Paste Sausage with … Vermicelli in Fish Broth. Oliver said that he always order this for lunch.
The Bean Curd Fish Paste Sausage was quite good and there are also fish cakes. The broth is milky white but not really as good as the ones we had in Jubilant which was the best by far.
This is a filling bowl of noodles with lots of vermicelli. This is the thicker kind of vermicelli and has good texture. OK, it is QQ. 🙂 There, I used that word again.
Between us, we all ordered different types of drinks that came with the food. Can you recognize them? First person who can tell me gets a pat on the back from me. Oh, and you get to gloat that you know your drinks. LOL!
Holy smokes. You are right LotusRapper. The Curry Pork Chop was really good as you said. This is $10 from the dinner special menu.
The curry was marvelous, especially with steamed rice. It is rich and flavourful. Not many HK Style Cafe does great curry and that is why I normally stay away from them. But this one I enjoyed a lot.
The potatoes were separately fried before they serve this with the curry and so that is another plus of this dish.
The pork chop too … am just surprised to find not one, but two large pieces of pork chop one on top of the other.
You know how this would have been better for me? Personally, I would love to have the curry, pork chop and potatoes served separately.
You see, the pork chops were drowned in curry sauce, therefore loose their crispiness. I can just imagine how great it would have been to just dunk the crispy pork chop in the curry just before you eat it. Hear, hear, I Cafe … serve it like that and you will own the curry pork chop market in Vancouver. Something like that.
Here is the rice that came with the curry pork chop. Not very pretty. Just plain rice on plate, sans garnishing.
Ugly. They have to just throw in a parsley or something like that.
Oh yeah, the meals came with buns. Nice looking and enticing too. The soft buns with shiny top even tasted pretty good.
It is the same choices for soup as in most HK Style Cafes — Borscht Soup or Cream Corn Soup. We had the Borscht. It was not bad and it even has chunks of meat in it which came piping hot.
Oliver ate healthy. He had the Pan Roasted Sole Fillet from the regular menu for $16. Kind of expensive but it looked dry. I did not ask him how it was. Perhaps Oliver you can chime in and describe your dish?
This came with hot drink and bun and choice of spaghetti or salad.
I thought that the lemon wedge with came with a squeezer was kind of neat. Oliver said he went around looking for this and guess where he eventually found it.
In a dollar store.
We had a great time chatting with Oliver. Besides HK Style Cafe, Oliver is big time into philosophical discussions. I am not kidding. He has a group going into heavy discussions. It was interesting for me to hear his views on some of the recent seemingly mundane topics his group had been into. Like the topic on “Honesty”. If only I have the time, I would love to join his discussion group.
Here, check out some of the topics that he facilitates:
- What is the dividing line between bravery and foolishness?
- What constitutes a miracle? is it a logical inconsistency?
- Why do we worry? And what is the opposite of worry?
- What differentiates right from wrong?
- Manners and etiquette: Social lubricant or acceptable dishonesty?
- What does it mean to be fashionable?
Pretty cool topics, huh? Out from our meeting, Oliver created a blog so that he can capture the points brought up in his group. Go check it out The Ideas Cafe here. No, the name Ideas CAFE has nothing to do with his interest in Hong Kong Style CAFE. LOL!
For dessert, we had this really fun item which is called the Crisp Cubic Toast ($5).
OMG. This is crazy. Look at all the condensed milk and the slab of butter on top of it! You can get a choice of topping of either butter & honey or like this one, butter and condensed milk.
This takes 15 minutes to bake and so it was quite a wait because we ordered this at the end.
Cubic toast … I had never had a cube shaped toast before. This is like half a loaf of bread.
The outer crust was very crispy. Yeah, that was great. And the inner bread is very soft. And yeah, that was great too.
But it was way too sweet for me. Suanne loved it. It is quite impossible to eat with knife and fork because if you tried to cut it, you end up squishing it down. This is best enjoyed with the fingers … and be prepared for sticky fingers.
Unlike most HK Style Cafe, I Cafe accepts credit cards.
So thanks for taking the time to meet up, Oliver. Where else should we go to next?
Anyway, here is their take out menu. Enjoy!