It had been a while.
After 5 years of blogging we find that the local Asian restaurant scene had changed a lot. Suanne and I don’t normally go back to restaurants we had blogged about before. Instead we wanted to try new places and seek new dishes.
However, we realized that a lot of our earlier blog posts are already dated. Some of which are no longer relevant. So we thought it might be a good idea to make visits back to some of them that we remember as very good ones.
So what better place to go to but The Place. In Chinese, this restaurant is called 老地方 which mean the old place — a place you go back to for old time sake.
We were here and blogged about The Place in this post three years ago. The Place is located on Granville Street in the south end of Vancouver.
Yeah, the above was what we had three years ago. We particularly like the Family Hot Pot (center) which had a nice name in Chinese. It is called Chien Gar Fook which means …
the Entire Family is Prosperous. Something like that.
We did not quite know how to categorize the cuisine served here. So we call this a Sichuan and Shanghai restaurant.
The Place looked a lot-lot better than when we last visited them. It is a bit more classier but really it is still deep down a small family restaurant. They now have seat covers and the walls sports a new a coat of bright orange paint.
So it did look brighter and better with the new paint job. What is the same is the that they still have the glass table top which underneath it is their menu.
Their menu is quite sizeable and their prices are quite reasonable.
Their most expensive item is $14.00. Actually there is one dish that is more than $14.00 and it is the $16.00 Duck Blood with Chili Sauce. I am sure this appeals to the hoards of Taiwanese foodies out there. LOL!
Noodle dishes are less than $6.00 (except for a dish or two). I think you will enjoy looking at their menu.
The above are their lunch specials for those of you who likes a simple Soong-on-Rice kind of dishes.
This is always considered as an appetizer but we had never considered it that way. We always treated this like a main dish because well, of the jhup. This is best eaten with steamed rice.
Just out of curiosity, how many of you eat this by itself and how many of you eat this with rice?
This is called the Chongqing Spicy Chicken ($5.50).
Oh … it was very spicy. We can stand spicy but this one really pushes it to the limit for us. It is also partly because of the ground peppercorn too.
This is served cold, just so you know. The jhup is more of a sesame flavour. Am saying this to contrast it with the more commonly known version of the Szechuan Saliva Chicken which is more sourish. We quite like this.
Arkensen always tells us that he is white-washed (“like it or not, dad”). He still finds it gross watching mum and dad eat chicken and then spit out the bones on the plates. He prefers boneless chicken and more often than not he will only pick the boneless ones and leave the rest to us.
Yeah, Chinese (not sure if it covers all Asians though) loves chicken with bones and skin. Dark meat is best. I remember my mum always tells the chicken rice people she “mm ooi gai hoong yook”. She just can’t stand chicken breast which she says is rougher.
LemonDroplet wrote about The Place just a week ago in the post here. She ordered our favourite Family Hot Pot dish. In all our previous visits we also ordered that same Family Hot Pot because it was such comfort food for us.
However, this time we decided to order something else. The Place has seven types of such hot pot dishes. They are:
- Family Hot Pot ($14)
- Sour Vegetable and Fish ($14)
- Sour Vegetable and Lamb ($14)
- Sour Vegetable and Pork ($14)
- Pork and Tofu ($12)
- Ham and Pork ($14)
- Vegetable ($12)
It was between one of the sour vegetable and meat soup. The lamb sounded interesting, the pork sounded ho-hum. So we ended up on the fish version as it was “ching” (clear soup).
As expected from our experience with the Family Hot Pot, this is also a very large pot. It was more than enough to make a family of four happy.
Very “Hoi Wai” is how I would describe this. Translated literally, that word means the opening of the stomach. In English it means, it was appetizing.
It just make you want to take bowls after bowls of this. It was the nice sourness of the vegetable to makes my stomach open. Ahh … I can eat this type of food everyday. If Suanne makes just this one soup at home, I don’t need anything else really. I don’t need “yat yook, yat tong, yat choy”. Yeah, Suanne always asked me what I want for dinner and I always answer the same “yat yook, yat tong, yat choy”. She doesn’t like the answer.
The Sauteed Lamb with Green Onions ($12) was darn good. It was moist, it was soft, delicious … oh … also quite oily. The oil is at the bottom of the plate which qualifies as great jhup to me.
I thought it did not taste so much like lamb but more like pork. LOL! Maybe it was because I expected it to be gamey but nope.
There were a lot of it too. We thought it would be great as filing for some “ten thousand heads” (man tao). But we had too much food. Maybe it would be a snack for a future visit.
Nanzaro loves the lamb the most. He practically took the entire plate for himself. Yeah, he picked every single tiny piece off the plate but did not touch the green colored stuff. He said he is allergic to them.
The above is called the Szechuan Spicy Noodle Soup which is just $5.50. It is the Sichuan version of the familiar TBN a lot of us love so much.
I like it but the rest of the family thought the soup has a funny taste. You see, there is a strong hint of Sichuan peppercorn in it. Yeah, it was “ma-la” (numbing-spicy).
Even though I like it, between the TBN style soup and this, I prefer the TBN. But this is an interesting change.
The noodles were good. It was chewy and thick and carries the soup well.
This place is cash only.
Yeah, we enjoy this meal as we always did. This is no frills, the food is simple and delicious. They are not very busy. At least it was not the weekend night we were there. The restaurant was only half full.
You see the timestamp on the receipt? That is that much catch-up post I need to write! I had been taken the lazy way out doing iPhone posts which is a lot less time-consuming.
Enjoy everyone. Try doing something nice for someone today.
This Post Has 26 Comments
Ahhh I remember Saabken. I wonder if he still drives a Saab. (Crispy smirks *rich Asian guy driving a European car* LOL)
I havent been back to the Place for a while too. I dont recall their chairs to be that fancy. They have the smallest washroom ever in a restaurant. I think I will revisit them too. Their XLB’s used to be good before. Need to check it again.
Yup, still SaabKen and still drives it. It only requires $ to keep it moving. Wait, make that $$. A reliable Toyota/Honda it ain’t !!
Mmm you had a great-looking meal there, Ben. Love the pic of Nanzaro cleaning off the plate 😀
“He prefers boneless chicken and more often than not he will only pick the boneless ones and leave the rest to us.”
Tragic indeed. The bony parts of the chicken are the most flavourful portions as most of the spices or jhup are stuck in the nook and crannies.
Yeah, tragic, Kenny. But I am confident he will grow out of it someday. Someday Arkensen will be enlightened. 🙂 The boys are just being rebellious. Every time we go out to eat they will protest to my suggestion. And then when the food lands on the table, I can see them enjoying it. Yet, when I ask them to say “You rock Dad” the refuse to say it. I know in their hearts they know Dad is good at picking dishes. 🙂 *giving myself a pat on the back* Ben
That’s quite funny. My BF ONLY ever eats meat with bones attached LMAO…
But where is the duck blood? You can’t make a shout out to all us Taiwanese and not do the duck blood. So sad…
Hi Chubbypanda: Thinking about it now, it seems like the majority of the passionate foodies I know are Taiwanese! Wow, there is a huge potential market for blood based food in Vancouver. Ben
i actually wanted to add this restaurant to my comment (in ur kalvin restaurant post) but didn’t want to go off topic hahahaha ! feel good food, skip the boiled fish pot (eck!)
Wow, seat covers! I haven’t been there for a couple months now, so I didn’t know of the renos 🙂 Maybe I can convince my significant other to go there more often now. I noticed you didn’t order the XLB. It’s actually not bad there, and worth an order consideration. Skin IS kinda thick, but there is really alot of flavorful juice in each bite…such that the dumpling sags greatly in your chopsticks (if you can picture that).
Their garlic chilli wontons is also one of the old favs my friends and I order. Breathe mints won’t save you, after the meal. The ‘jup’ goes great with rice or noodles, because of the garlic.
good choice on the sour fish and veggie soup… one of my faves.
i love this place… although i can’t stop wondering if they found bulk seat covers and discounted paint colours at a liquidation place…! looking at the seat covers just made my day. it’s like an ugly face wearing a pretty paper bag… still ugly but at least can cook a nice meal.
eric y, make sure u rembr to blog about ur next visit esp when u order 10 loongs of XLBs. 😉
LOL! “Ugly face wearing a pretty paper bag” — what a funny way to describe it. Am gonna borrow that line but gotta to extremely careful using it! Ben
Lol, seems like the numbers of XLB ‘longs’ I can consume has grown into a myth 🙂 For the record, it was 3, not 10! Lol. We better make our next visit soon then. Our common friend is already smacking his lips and dreaming of roti and chilli wontons.
Hi Eric Y: One long is already very filling for me. Not that it is big but it’s the richness of the soup that makes me full. I usually just take 1-2, pieces not loongs. Ben
Hi Eric Y: I’ll wait eagerly for your post about The Place. 🙂 Ben
Sure Ben, it will come. I gotta diverse a bit and get out of Yaletown lunches. 🙂
I think the xiao long bao are pretty darn good at The Place. Chongqing Spicy Chicken looks really good actually and I do like my spicy…have you tried the drunken chicken there?
Hi Teresa: No, we have never tried the drunken chicken in The Place before. But I can imagine it would be just as good. It is hard to go wrong ordering dishes like drunken chicken. Ben
You should try the dan-dan mian! It’s awesome there!!!!
Ben, you start this post by saying lot has changed in the local Asian restaurant scene the past 5 years. Has it changed for the better? Is the quality of the Asian food better or worse? I’m guessing as an outsider, there’s more diversity of different Asian cuisines. What about the quality of service at Asian restaurants now, compared to 5 years ago(maybe it’s worse now I’m guessing).
Hi WS: I find that the quality of Asian food had been better compared to the last 5 years. There are greater variety where we see a lot more non-Cantonese restaurants opening these days (eg. Shanghainese, Sichuan, etc). It goes for other non-Chinese ones too like Filipino restaurants are taking root too. Ben
And Japanese ramen & izakaya choices continue to expand.
I would venture to say even Korean cuisine has made big strides to become more “mainstream”.
Service wise, I would find it about the same. I guess it’s not a major area I pay attention to, given that I am used to poor service @ asian restos. Set the bar low enough, and you won’t be disappoint. 😉 Joking aside, selection and quality has gotten better generally for the local asian resto scene, over last 5 years.
My 2 cents.
the service from the Place is not 5 stars, but i appreciate that their staff (especially the short lady with the mullet that also makes the XLBs) busts their asses in the restaurant. Tell them what you want, and you will get it. No upsell, no ass kissing, just plain service. I appreciate plain service from a ‘rough around the edges’ wait staff a lot more than good-to-see-you-mrs-chan service from a smooth talking captain.
“In Chinese, this restaurant is called 老地方 which mean the old place — a place you go back to for old time sake.”
Actually, I believe the colloquial meaning of Old Place is more to do with a familiar and frequent place where old friends (paesanos, homies, what have you) hang out. Hence when one of them refers to the venue, he’d simply say “老地方” and everyone knows where he’s talking about.
i guess the closest term for 老地方 in english would be “the usual”…
Changed owner, not good anymore. Sigh. Where to eat yummy 水煮 stuff? Thanks!