Li’s China Grill on Kingsway, Vancouver

Li’s China Grill reminded me of the grilled fish that I had in Beijing.

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There are two similar restaurants on this stretch of Kingsway which serve similar cuisine. We picked Li’s China Grill as it looks nicer from the outside.

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I like the hardwood floor and the table lined with red table cloth.

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We ordered 4 skewers of grilled lamb while waiting for our main dish. The lamb skewer was good; 99 cents each. (more…)

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Perfect Taste Restaurant in Crystal Mall, Burnaby

Ben and I were in the Crystal Mall looking for lunch options.

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We decided to try the Perfect Taste Restaurant which located outside the mall.

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The Chinese name of the restaurant indicates that it is of northern eastern Chinese cuisine. The dishes come with free rice.

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The restaurant was empty when we were there on a Friday afternoon.

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We ordered a couple of dishes since it’s just the two of us. The first dish is a stir fried potatoes, egg plant and green pepper. When the dish arrived, we can smelled the fragrance of bean sauce. (more…)

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Revisit Fatty Hi Chinese Restaurant in Capstan Way, Richmond

I brought Ben to Fatty Hi Chinese Restaurant to try their Mala Xiang Guo. Ben was impressed by their menu.

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The Mala Xiang Guo is $18.95 and it’s for 2. Rice has to be ordered separately. The Mala Xiang Guo is prefix i.e. you do not get to choose the ingredients like what we had in Beijing. The only thing I did not like was there were too much luncheon meat in it. I would prefer more vegetarian ingredients like wood ear, bean curd stick, cabbage… (more…)

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Fatty Hi Chinese Restaurant in Capstan Way, Richmond

Nanzaro and I were out looking for a place to have lunch before my weekend groceries shopping. We ended up at Capstan Way and found out that Pho Tai Hoa‘s location had been taken over by a Chinese restaurant.

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After looking at the photographs posted on the glass wall outside the restaurant, Nanzaro agreed to give it a try. It’s the Sichuan food that enticed him.

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I wanted so much to try the Mala Xiang Guo but it’s for two and Nanzaro wanted to order his own dish. So, I’ll probably wait till Ben comes home to share with me.

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The above are their take out menu. You can click on the menu to have a larger view.

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There was just one other table other than us. Upon checking with server, I was told that this restaurant had opened since March 2012. Wow, it’s been that long that I did not visit this area.

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This Beijing/Sichuan restaurant has picture menu which make it easier to order, especially for people who are not familiar with Chinese cuisine.

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Nanzaro ordered his favourite Cumin Lamb with Rice from the lunch special. It is $7.95. The cumin lamb was not oily which is a good thing.

The Cumin Lamb with Rice came with a side dish of stir fried cabbage with dried chili and Sichuan pepper corns. A nice compliment and I was surprised that Nanzaro ate it. He usually shies away from vegetables. The cabbage was crunchy.

(more…)

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Northern Chinese Countryside Restaurant on 4200 No. 3 Road

Nanzaro and I went out for lunch and groceries shopping on a Saturday. We decided to try the fairly new Northern Chinese Countryside Restaurant on No. 3 Road and Browngate Road.

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The server/owner told me that this restaurant had opened for six months.

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The restaurant name in Chinese says that this is a noodle shop. It’s menu is more than just noodle but ranges from cold dishes, side dishes, hot pot, meat dishes, snacks and soup.

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You can click on the menu to have a larger view.

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I ordered one of their house special dishes, A Pot of Incense. It is $8.99. I asked the server if this comes with rice. He replied that it comes with corn cake and fried bread. The fried bread (thinner ones) was very crunchy while the corn cake was more doughy. (more…)

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Harbour Spirit Restaurant on No 3 Road, Richmond

Updated 9th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed.

The opening of the Harbour Spirit Restaurant was perhaps one of the most anticipated on over the last few months. One of the reasons is that they were taking an old location vacated by Sammy J Peppers which is a large space and highly visible along the No 3 Road.

They are so big that we were told by the restaurant that they will “specialize” on Cantonese AND Sichuan AND Northern AND Hot Pot when we went there (did not eat) on their opening day (see here). I can’t find that comment now but I distinctly remember someone saying that with trying be everything to everyone, they will either succeed big time or they will fail big time.

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The initial reports from this place were mostly unfavourable. I was not surprised because with such a big operations there are a lot more kinks to sort out. As much as Suanne and I would like to go check them out, we decided that against it. We sort of knew what the experience would be like — no different from all the early reports.

We finally went after they were opened for 1.5 months. That should be enough time to have things to settle down and well past the dry run periods.

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It does seems like the Harbour Spirit have deep pockets. They want to open up with a bang to awe people. On the surface they did quite a good job. The chandeliers and the heavy set chairs were highly visible. But on a second glance, they are still very rough around the edges. It is in the details that they fell short.

OK things like this bother me especially when they try to be classy but ignore the details. The white table cloth above, I find them distractingly nonuniform. That was not just it. The materials are cheap and too light that it shifts when you move the plates or teapot around.  And they are wrinkled.

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They must have spend some … (more…)

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Traditional Beijing Cuisine on Kingsway, Vancouver

Updated: 4th July 2012; This restaurant had closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

You are not gonna believe it when I tell you when we went to the Traditional Beijing Cuisine.

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The Traditional Beijing Cuisine had just newly opened. It must be at most three months, most likely less than that. It is new and it has one of the most eye catching restaurant front for sure — especially at night when the LED lights on the window is turned on.

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The Traditional Beijing Cuisine is located on Kingsway. Actually it is located just next door to the Luckynoodle Chinese Restaurant which I blogged about yesterday.

Believe it or not, some of us went to the Traditional Beijing Cuisine RIGHT AFTER the 13 course dinner we had in Luckynoodle. He he he … after the feast, some of us just walked over next door for more food. In the picture above, the entrance on the left is Luckynoodle and the one on the right is the Traditional Beijing Cuisine.

About 10 of the 21 who attended the dinner at Lucknoodle stayed. Don’t look at me funny, OK? I am just a follower … albeit a very willing follower.

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The restaurant is kind of quiet.

Unlike Luckynoodles which was packed, this is quiet. Sorry to say this up front but the first thing that came to my mind when I walked in was the words “restaurant graveyard”.

As opposed to what we see outside the restaurant with all the LED lights and all, the inside is completely different.

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Suanne and I was just hanging around the die-hard foodies. So we left all the ordering to them.

If the print above is too small for you, you may click on the image to show a larger version.

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If you can recognize the two set of hands, they are the ring leaders. I had eaten out with them many times before and let me warn you they are huge eaters.

How huge? Well, one of them went to Romer’s Burger Bar two hours before coming to the Luckynoodle feast of 13 dishes … and after that we are here for more food. LOL!

And despite all the eating they are not at all fat. I really wonder how they do it.

In the picture above, they were complaining how hard it is to take pictures of skewers. They love skewers … and don’t they work well as a team?

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Actually I was kind of shocked how much food they ordered again.

TWELVE different dishes! OMG!

Luckily, Traditional Beijing Cuisine serves popular Beijing street food … so their servings is a TAD smaller.

The Fried Shredded Meat with Garlic Shoots above is $9. The garlic shoot tasted sweet.

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The picture of this dish they have outside the restaurant looked a million times better. The one they served looked different. This is simply called the Flavour Pork Skin Jelly. I did not like it — too salty … or maybe I should say too flavorful. In it are tofu, carrot and beans.

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Of course we got a number of skewers. We had the lamb ($1.20, chewy, salty) but the one that takes the prize is the one above.

Know what that is?

It is … (more…)

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Beijing Cuisine on Cambie and Sexsmith, Richmond

Updated: 27th Oct 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

May I have your permission to get excited again … please? LOL!

Let me cut to the chase … this is a restaurant that:

  • serves good food
  • portions are big
  • waitresses speaks English and very friendly, and
  • most importantly, very reasonable prices.

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We just chanced onto the Beijing Cuisine last weekend while driving around deciding where to eat next. That’s what we do sometimes when we don’t know where to go to and we don’t want what’s on the to-try list. In Richmond, there are plenty of places to eat. Every now and then, you see new restaurants opening.

The Beijing Cuisine is located in the Continental Center which is on Cambie and Sexsmith in Richmond. This exact location can be considered another “restaurant graveyard”. Before Beijing Cuisine, this was called Taiwanese Cuisine (blogged in June 2009) … and even before it was Taiwanese Cuisine, it was Vogue Chinese Cuisine (blogged in April 2008).

We were drawn by the simple bright red sign. With darkened windows, we thought this would be one of the higher end restaurants. We were wrong.

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The interior is exactly the same as we remember it when it was Taiwanese Cuisine. Even the furnitures and the lightings are the same.

Service was friendly and surprisingly all three waitresses speaks very good English. That helped a lot because we could chat with them and ask them all sort of questions.

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At a glance at the menu cover, I thought that looked very familiar and saw it somewhere before.

The name of this restaurant in Chinese is translated as “Old Beijing” or “Traditional Beijing”. But it was the red cover with the yellow fonts that I remember. When I flipped open the menu, the sections and selections also look awfully familiar.

It was after a few minutes when I ask the waitress “Are you by any chance related to the Beijing Noodle House on Buswell?”

“Yes” she said adding that they had only opened for 10 days. She even flashed all her 10 fingers to emphasize that. I think she was kind of proud that after just ten days operating they are running almost full house.

She told us that the owner of Beijing Noodle House (we blogged about them here before), had just sold that restaurant and opened this one instead. The Beijing Noodle House is still there, sporting the same name. If you go to that Beijing Noodle House blog entry and look at the menu on the table in the second picture, you will see the identical red menu.

See? I have good memory of good menus. 🙂

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I like menus like this. There were so many to go over that we took our sweet time. The waitresses came by twice asking if we are ready to order and on the third time, we told told her we will just order the appetizer first because we need more time.

If you want to check the menus above, let me tell you a little trick. Just right-click each image and select “Open in new window or tab”. That way you don’t have to flip to the menu, come back to this post and click the next one.

The appetizers are as cheap as $3.00 to $6.50. The Mouth Watering Chicken was supposed to be $7.95 but they scratch it out to say $12.95! Now that one is expensive.

Here are some of their other price ranges:

  • Main dishes are mostly $10 to $13
  • Soup are $6 to $12
  • Noodles are mostly $7 to $8
  • Beijing style snacks are $5.00 to $7.50
  • Dessert are $4 to $5

The prices are not too bad right?

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The above was the get-off-our-back-we-need-more-time-with-the menu order.

Actually it was recommended by the waitress … the Beijing Style Sauteed Pork with Green Onion in Bean Sauce and Pancake ($11).

Actually I didn’t want to … (more…)

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O’Tray Noodle in President Plaza Food Court, Richmond

Honestly, I never had the desire to visit the President Plaza food court.

We had been there several times before over the years. What I saw there did not impress me at all. It looked like a dead food court to me which to an extend is true. I have never seen this food court with crowds anywhere the likes of Yaohan Center or Crystal Mall. Each time I go to the President Plaza it is to go to T&T.

My indifference is there even though the local chowhounds had been raving about this stall called O’Tray.

But … oh boy … I realize now what I had been missing! This is one classical case where ONE stall made all the difference to the food court. I think if we take O’Tray away, the President Plaze FC will lose 1/2 of their customers overnight.
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O’Tray is located in the President Plaza food court. The anchor tenant of President Plaza is the very popular T&T Asian Supermarket which happens to be the only T&T in Richmond. That is if you do not include the Osaka Supermarket which is basically the same as T&T.

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The food court is located on the 2nd floor of President Plaza.

Let me get this out of the way first and foremost. The entire food court was just recently forced to close by the Vancouver Coastal Health. This happened on July 30th and the cause of this was pest infestation and unsanitary conditions. All of the stalls were asked to close for one week except for one stall, Always Good, which was forced to close for one whole month. This led me to think that the source of the infestation was from one stall but the collective inaction of the other stalls caused a huge damage to its reputation.

Frankly, that did not deter us from going there. If this thing does bother you, I suggest you stop reading.

The first thing we did when we were at the FC was to walk around the stalls. They were noticeable cleaner … very clean as a matter of fact. I kept peering into the kitchen, the floors, the corners, the areas under the table, they were clean. I guess the operators learned a huge lesson.

The Always Good stall remain closed. Everything is stripped clean. The fridge with the glass window is empty. No sight of food or boxes or anything like that. We were wondering if they are ever going to re-open since it is already past 1 month since the closure order.

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O’Tray Noodle is the stall at the furthest end of the food court. It is the one which is the brightest because of natural light from the foyer.

BTW, does anyone know where the Irish sounding name of O’Tray came from?

It is run seemingly by a couple who are very friendly and very helpful. You see, I ask silly questions sometimes. Learning that O’Tray is a Tianjin stall, I asked where Tianjin is and which province it belongs to. Yeah, to some of you this is so elementary but really I am just re-learning my Chinese heritage.

Well, Tianjin apparently is a city close to Beijing and it does not belong to any province at all. The city is one of the five municipal cities under the direct control of the federal government.

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In many respects, Tianjin cuisine is similar to Beijing. However, one big thing with Tianjin cuisine is their love for tofu.

I love their menu. Just look at the prices first.

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We did not bother to search the chowhound archives for recommendations. At least the lady at the counter was friendly. So we asked her for recommendations (she speaks good English).

Without hesitation she said #1. It is the Tianjin wrap. Not even knowing what it is, we went with her suggestion. We watched her making this and asked if we could take pictures … why, she even slowed down for me to take shots. Seems like she had done this before and many people had taken pictures of her in action.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTde5qKgFvk]

Like Sambamaster from Portland who incidentally sent me the video of the food courts he had visited recently. I was glad to see this video because it showed how the Tianjin Wrap was made.

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The lady told me that the Tian Jin Wrap is based on a recipe that is … (more…)

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Sunlock Garden Restaurant on Fraser and East 27th Ave, Vancouver

Have you ever heard of a Chinese restaurant on 51st and Main called Snow Garden?

I sure haven’t.

But I was sure taken in by the banner outside this restaurant that says “The Original Chefs of former Snow Garden restaurant (51st and Main)”.

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The banner was just under the awning of the Sunlock Garden Restaurant on Fraser and 27th.

Even though I did not know of any Snow Garden, I assumed that the chefs must have been really famous or something. I checked for any reviews on the internet. I can’t find anything substantial at all. Maybe I did not look hard enough but the only Snow Garden review I found was of a restaurant in downtown which is obviously not this one. Sunlock? Nyada.

Like going on a blind date, we went. We went over the bridge again and with that, the usual complains of “why do we have to drive so far?”.

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I am not a Chinese food snob. Or maybe I am but I am not admitting it.

We walked in and found that the restaurant was quite busy for a restaurant in a quiet section of Fraser. It was half full. We were the only Chinese customers that day. Not that it’s a problem but I found that quite strange because the customers were well represented by all the major ethnic groups of Metro Vancouver.

Am not kidding. There were two tables of Caucasian Canadians, a table of East Indians, a table of Filipinos and us, Chinese. LOL … almost in perfect proportions too!

It appears to us that Sunlock is a neighborhood restaurant. Everyone looked like they lived nearby.

The restaurant looked very dated with worn carpet, old tables … even the plates and bowls looked seasoned. I hate to point this out but I thought I can smell the dustiness of the carpet. It is of a fair size with seatings for 50-60 people. The whole area is spacious.

Despite the makeup of their customers, they have Chinese language menu pasted on the walls … which I thought was not any use to the customers they had that afternoon, including us.

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A quick look at the menu says that this is a Cantonese restaurant. One would have thought that they would serve cheaper food. For the most part, they have a lot of dishes at the $10-$12 price range but they also have pricier dishes. For instance, the duck dishes are about $30 and sea cucumber at $25.

What interests me was the dishes that had the words “order in advance” on them. Like:

  • Sun Lock Garden Special Cold Cut ($33)
  • Peking Duck ($30)
  • Eight Jewels Duck ($30)
  • Braised Duck with Green Onions ($29)
  • Beggar’s Chicken ($27)
  • Braised Pork Shoulder with Brown Sauce ($20)
  • Fried Banana with Honey ($10)
  • Fried Apple with Honey ($10)

There is also a complete section with 7 dishes on Crispy Rice too.

We thought rather than chancing it ourselves, we asked the waitress (she was the only one working the floor) for recommendations. Just because we spoke in English, she suggested some very chop-suey’ish dishes! You know things like Egg Foo Yung and Lemon Chicken. 🙂

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I decided to just order my own. I was curious about the dish called Buan Buan Chicken.

This is $10. This turned out to be a cold dish with shredded chicken on a bed of shredded cucumbers and slathered with a peanuty sauce. It was lightly spicy which we kind of like. Both Arkensen  and Nanzaro … (more…)

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