Updated 07 Sep 2011: This restaurant is closed.
As you know, Suanne and I get emails recommending that we try out restaurants. Many of them are from people we do not know. So we are also sometimes quite careful about this because we do not know if the recommendation came from people related to the restaurants or not.
Regardless, please keep the recommendations coming. The recommendations are valuable to us as there is only so much we know about what’s new and good out there. I want to say also that it is OK if the recommendations came from people related to the restaurant. What I would like is if everyone is open about it so that not only Suanne and I know what we are into but also I think chowtimes readers will appreciate knowing too. Thanks for taking the time to write a personal to us about your favourite dishes and restaurants.
It was David who emailed us the recommendation to check out Bowl of Stars. I like his recommendation because he was very specific about what he liked. He told us that we should check out their Cilantro Fish Soup with Vermicelli. Yeah, the way David wrote the email, it did not sound like he is related to the restaurant. Whatever right?
The Bowl of Stars is located on Kingsway. It is just a little west of Boundary into the Vancouver side. I have passed by this restaurant before but I had no plans to check this place out given my already long list of restaurants to try.
One of the other reasons why I did not think much about this place is the words “WIFI” on the signboard. When I see the words “WIFI”, I think of restaurants where people spend their time for hours here surfing the internet … and definitely not for their food. If a restaurant has good food, they will not want to give people the chance to hang around surfing the internet. Agreed?
But I went nevertheless. It was one of those days that I needed to get out of the office to take my mind off work. The Bowl of Stars is near the office and yet far enough from the office. LOL! I think I am confusing you but I hope you know what I mean.
I don’t know why the name Bowl of Stars. For some reason, I think the Chinese name could be something more meaningful. Can someone please translate the Chinese name for me?
Parking is easy here. There are a lot of spaces (free too!) on Kingsway right in front of the restaurant or on the side streets. There are not many restaurants here and so yeah, it is not busy.
I was there early. It was just past 11:00 AM. It was quite empty when I got there and took the picture above. At noon, every table was taken up and it was bustling with customers. Most of them looks like they are from the nearby office on a lunch break. I bet half of these people must be from the Telus HQ across the street. LOL!
The restaurant is spanking clean and looked polished. It was a nice atmosphere … and quite when I got there. They play Cantonese music here.
Service was very good. The waitress even asked me if I am here for the first time and when I told her yes, she proceeded to walk through the menu for me. That was even before I fish out my camera. You don’t see many restaurants doing it, granted it was not their busy hour at that time.
I don’t know how to categorize this restaurant. Should I call this a HK Style Cafe or is this more like a Taiwanese style restaurant. For those of you in the know, help me with this nagging question I have in my mind.
You see, Bowl of Stars is like Cattle Cafe and Spicy Stage Cafe. These restaurants have the mix-and-match, make-your-own-noodles concept. This is where you select the broth, the noodles and the toppings giving you virtually limitless possibilities. Is these concept from Taiwan? Is it from Hong Kong? Or what?
I want to categorize this better. I can’t call Bowl of Stars a HK Style Cafe because it does not have Milk Tea and the normal offering up front and center. I can’t call this a Cantonese restaurant too because well, it is not at least like Lucky Tao or Hou Lok.
I was pleased to know that the combo noodles that David suggested is just $6.00. I mean that is really cheap. As a comparison, Cattle Cafe’s combo noodles are $7.25. The noodles combo is on the top row, middle picture. Click on it to show larger.
On the top row, left is the Appetizer section while on the right is the dry noodle version of the noodles combo. The larger horizontal picture above is the menu for those of you who don’t want to deal with making decisions on what combo to choose. These are $7 which gives you an option to choose 2 dishes from the appetizer and a pop for $3 more. Choices, choices!
My mind was set on what to get. I am going to get what David recommended and that is:
- Soup Base: Cilantro Fish Soup
- Noodles: Vermicelli
- Topping: Pork Intestines and Beef Tendon
Strange thing is I was told by the waitress that they don’t have … vermicelli as an option. She suggested that I get the rice noodles instead which is the closest. That was fine with me but I can imagine that vermicelli would have been a better choice.
Aargh! What I personally did not like is beansprouts in my noodle soup. They dilute the taste of the soup. If I knew they have beansprouts in it I would have asked them to not include it.
I find the soup was flavorful and milky. Yeah, I slurped the soup dry. There wasn’t much MSG (am sure there is) because I did not detect the thirst after.
Beef tendon – my kind of meat. Not many people like this but I just love the texture and when marinated well enough, the taste too. This one is good. They nicely cut it clean which I like so that I can see the layers of meat.
The pork intestines is my other favourite kind of meat. It is “fragrant” to me. I know it is NOT to others. I know to a lot of people the thought of what passes through it puts them off eating it. Yeah, tell me about it … “That’s gross!”. 🙂
Yup, it does smell like pork intestines. Yummy! For $6, they did not go stingy on the meat toppings.
I wanted something with bolder stronger flavour. So I got the Spicy Garlic Cucumber which was $3.50 on their Appetizer section. It was cold and refreshing and yet hot. Confuse you again? 🙂
I like the addition of sesame seeds which I thought gives this a slightly different dimension to it.
Yeah, I think I’ll come back again.
This place is a relaxing place for a quiet lunch if you come at 11:00 AM or so. With high glass windows extending all around the restaurant it is very bright and gives you a view of the street outside. Good if you want to contemplate life and its meaning here.
It is cheap for sure and the food is pretty good.
Great recommendation, David … and thanks a lot!
This is a “thinking restaurant”. Most restaurants don’t even give you small snacks or candies. Here they give me this mochi like thingy. Small things like these does show how much the restaurant want to do thing well.