[CRA 2010 Signature Dish] Lamb & Hand-pulled Noodles in Soup 羊肉湯拉麵 from Legendary Noodles

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

On one hand, I wanted to like Legendary Noodles because it is supposed to be a well-established and well-respected restaurant. But truth be told, there are a lot of things that leaves much to be desired with Legendary Noodle — at least with the restaurant we went to. They do some things well, but it is what they failed in that makes us not wanted to go back again.

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There are two Legendary Noodle locations in Metro Vancouver. There is one on Main Street and another one on Denman.

There used to be one in Richmond but that closed some years ago. The Legendary Noodle in Richmond was one of the early posts on chowtimes. I remember that it was the first restaurant where we picked the courage to ask the chef to pull the noodles for us so that we can put an interesting angle to the post. He he he … asking them for permission to take pictures scared us then because we were such noobs then. Today, we have thicker skin.

The Legendary Noodle location we went to was the one located on Main Street at the intersection with King Edward.

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The decor in Legendary Noodle can be described as tacky … especially the beaded curtains and the wooden paper lantern. It is obvious that they are trying to portray themselves as Oriental in the eyes of the western world. It doesn’t really bother me but it is really in your face.

What really spoil our experience in Legendary Noodle is the service. Mind you, Suanne and I are not demanding customers. I must say that we interact with restaurant staff really well and we are respectful people. Well, the moment we sat down, the young waitress had the sour face like we had just offended her by coming into the restaurant. OK, we shrugged it off while we looked at the menu. When she came back, the same sour face came along. Suanne described her as being very “fu hei” (in Cantonese). We would have understood if the waitress did not smile but giving us that irritated look is what I could not have understood.

OK, to put things in proper perspective, there could be a reason behind this and might not be the same to other customers. But really, I was quite annoyed. No, we did not leave then and there. It is because we were not used to storming out to make a point.

Service aside, the tables are small. It is sized for bowls of noodles and nothing more. It is just that we had to keep the camera and notebook on our lap. We do realize that restaurants are not designed for bloggers. That is beside the point in case someone wants to rebut me on this point for thrashing Legendary Noodle for the rude service. 🙂 Bottom line, the tables were not big.

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You may click on the menu above to show a larger image. They use Mandarin names like Dao Xiao Mian, Gan Ban Mian, Tang Mian, etc. A lot of the items are vegetarian and they are clearly marked on the menu.

The menu is just a 1-pager. The prices were cheap with the noodles costing $7 – $8.

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Chinese Restaurant Award 2010 ♦ GOLD in the NORTHERN NOODLES Category ♦ Lamb & Hand-pulled Noodles in Soup 羊肉湯拉麵

The gold award winning dish is known as the Lamb Shanks Noodle Soup on their menu. It came in two sizes — small for $7 and just $1 more for the large one. We opted for the small bowl even though we were tempted to get more value with the bigger serving. No, we had been eating way too much already and decided that discipline is in order.

The serving is small. For us who just wanted to taste it, it is just right. If you are hungry, you’ll need the larger serving.

The broth is not bad actually. It is on the light side but sufficiently … (more…)

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ShaoLin Noodle House on Broadway and Cambie, Vancouver

Updated 18th Nov 2014; The restaurant had changed it’s name from Sha Lin to Shaolin according to Urbanspoon.com.

It was another one of those days when we had to send the boys to their Olympic Ceremony practices. We had given up trying to get any info from them. Our fear is that we will NOT be able to watch it on TV on the day of because we could end up having to wait to pick them up after the Olympic closes. We’ll see.

Oh talking about the Olympic Ceremony, the response to the Olympic Opening Ceremony Dress Rehearsal give away had been overwhelming. So far we have over 230 responses after 2 days. Just a reminder that we will cut off all entries at 12:01AM this Thursday.

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This time we went to Sha Lin Noodle House for a late lunch after the boys practices. Sha Lin is on Broadway near the intersection with Cambie. If you want to come here the next few weeks, you should know that Broadway is designated as an Olympic lane — and that means no more street parking. The best way is to take the SkyTrain and get off at the Broadway/City Hall station.

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Sha Lin Noodle House had always been a very popular eatery. The main draw is the good authentic Chinese food and the prices. They had been operating here for a long time already — at least 10 years old.

Many customers will stand and gawk at the poster at the entrance of their popular dishes before going in. We did. All of them looked delicious. Makes us want to get all of them.

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Don’t expect much from Sha Lin. The place is rather spartan and does shows its age. The place was full even when we were there after lunch hours at 2PM.

Service here is bad — really bad. Most of the waiters and waitresses have really bad attitude and walk/talk so listlessly. Youngsters! It is like they hate their job, their life or something. If not for the great service of that lone tall slim waiter who tried his best to placate us, we would have left.

This is the kind of place that had success gone to their heads. They have so many customers that they can’t handle, they seem to think that they don’t mind losing customers. This is sad because their food is pretty good. I hate to say this but we like the food for the most part.

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For starters we ordered the Sliced Rolls (fried). This is just $2.95. I recommend you order this.

The fried rolls is served with condensed milk as a dip. So it is a very sweet dish. The deep fried bread dough was just perfect — crispy outside, soft inside.

We know that our boys will like it but they will always instinctively reject anything we order for them. Especially Nanzaro, who will put up an act when we asked him to try other food. He will put both his hands over his mouth and make it look like he is going to throw up. He is very convincing in doing this but not to us. He had been doing this ever since he is a toddler and is now a habit.

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We normally let them be but this time we were extra assertive that they must try a piece. Guess what? They loved it.

Arkensen said it tasted like donuts. I never thought of it that way before but he is right. And Nanzaro? He flashed me a thumbs up and said “You rock, Dad”.

See? Dad knows best when it comes to food. Nanzaro knows that but he just doesn’t want to give his dad the credit he deserved.

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We also ordered 2 sticks of Kabob to share. They were cumin flavoured and were very spicy — we asked for the hottest they can make it.

The meat was a bit dry and tough but it was OK. It took a bit of chewing to down them but it was the whole point because you really can taste the full flavour of the kabob.

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Sha Lin is well know for their hand made noodles. They classify them as dragging, cutting, rolling and pushing noodles.

Arkensen ordered the most common type, the dragging noodles. The one he had came with beef and bean sprout in soup which is $7.

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Served on the side is a plate of … (more…)

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Peaceful Restaurant on West Broadway at Cambie, Vancouver

In Vancouver, there are Chinese restaurants and there are Chinese restaurants.

There are Chinese restaurants where you will only see Chinese customers. The sight of a Caucasian customer is rare. The real menu of these restaurants are in Chinese. They will have a token English menu which is a small subset of their real menu. Their waitresses can hardly speak English but they can really speak Mandarin in very heavy accent. They serve traditional and authentic Chinese food.

Then there are the other Chinese Restaurant which are more user-friendly to the western customers. You see quite a number of Caucasian customers. They have items like sweet and sour pork and chow mein on their menu. They give out fortune cookies with the check. The Chinese foodie crowd does not pay attention to these type of restaurants. They say these restaurants is not real Chinese restaurants.

You know what I am saying?

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But there is one restaurant that has managed to serve authentic Chinese food and yet draw customers who are non-Chinese.

We went to the Peaceful Restaurant before we drop the boys off for one of their many top secret rehearsals. So we went to a restaurant nearby. Peaceful Restaurant is located on Broadway.

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The Peaceful Restaurant is a small restaurant. It is long and narrow with a row of tables lining one side of the wall and a glass enclosed open kitchen on the other side. There is a couple of larger round tables for larger parties.

Round tables … hmmm. I am thinking hard here as I type. In all good Chinese restaurants, the dining tables are round and will seat 10 people a table. This is because Chinese food are meant to be shared and are served communal style. Also, round tables allows everyone to be able to talk to each other better.

I can’t think of any other cultures that predominantly uses round tables. Can you help me think of one that does?

Anyway, the Peaceful Restaurant is a Northern Chinese restaurant. The speaks Mandarin with a heavy northern Chinese accent.

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We ordered the Sichuan Dan Dan Noodles (hmmm … Sichuan is western, not northern China!) because we heard that they pull the noodles in house.

It came in a bowl nicely arranged with the ingredients and before I could lift my camera to take a picture of it, the waitress dug in a pair of scissors and went ahead to cut it up. She then mixes it up front of us.

Aw too bad. I wanted to see how long these noodles are. Seeing how these noodles are made I am not surprise if this entire bowl is made up a single strand of noodles, all hand made.

So, with my usual itchy mouth, I asked the waitress how long it is. She brushed me aside and said “very long” like she was quite annoyed with my question. Ah … very authentic Chinese restaurant service. LOL!

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The main thing about Dan Dan Noodle is only the noodles and the sauce. Very simple dish but yet complex to make it perfect.

The peanut based creamy sauce is spicy and tangy and had a little minced meat and spinach. I tasted a bowl of that. It was good and had a lot of flavour. The noodles tasted great too. Personally I find that the sauce is too thick for my liking.

This is $7. Dan Dan Noodles are cheap to make and so $7 is a little bit on the high side.

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Suanne was on a mission for one of our readers. Michelle was asking where she could find Shaobing. Suanne remembered reading about there is Shaobing in this restaurant and it was the primary reason why we chose to eat here. So Michelle, here you go.

The word “bing” on Shaobing refers to biscuits or cookie in Chinese. I am sort of making this up but I think it is rather accurate. I need readers to help me confirm if I am correct or wrong. You see … this is the closest to a cookie in Chinese. The Chinese do not use ovens for their cooking and as such you end up with biscuits pan fried like this. There is no oven baked cookies like the ones you know of in Chinese cuisine. Correct? Yes? No? Yes?

There are actually several variations of Shaobing but the main distinctly is there is a version that is sweet and another that is savory. The sweet ones are usually made round while the savory ones are made in oblong shape like the picture above.

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The Peaceful Restaurant calls this the Sesame Flat Bread on their menu. This is $6.

Shaobing is a partially leavened bread and covered with sesame seed which is toasted (pan fried?) to a crunch. The sesame seed gave it the fragrance that you could “taste” even before you bite into it.

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Since this is a Northern Chinese restaurant, we ordered the Xiao Long Bao. This is $6.50. We were surprised it came with 8 pieces, normally it is 6-7.

Don’t get this. No good.

See how wet the bottom is? And how flat the edges of the buns lies? Well, … (more…)

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Point Zero Four Fusion Restaurant on Alexandra Road, Richmond

Suanne and I never learn. We know that we almost always end up regretting having AYCE (All You Can Eat) and yet we go back again and again.

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We had always passed by this place with the bright yellow signboards each time we go to Alexandra Road. They have the brightest signboard along Alexandra for sure. The name too — I can’t quite figure out what it really means. It is called Point Zero Four Fusion … it could mean to read as Point Zero, Four Fusion or .04 Fusion. Whatever it is, the tagline says that they serve Beijing Style Cuisine.

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The place is large and takes up the space of three normal shop lots. The decor is tacky as expected. The tables were raised a few inches off the ground because of the gas pipings to each table. See the legs of the chairs … they even had to have the legs extended. Pipings or not, I think they did not maintain them because some of the built in stoves did not work. Ours didn’t work and they used a portable burner instead.

Service is rude. Should I say service is rude by western standards. Not everyone can stand for this but Suanne and I learned to look away from this. They are rude as in not making eye contact, giving mono-syllabic answers, grabbing utensils in a haste … you know. I believe they think they are projecting a professional and efficient image but buddy, that it rude here in this part of the world. Smile … please … because that translates to tips, dum-dum.

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You got to ask for the 2-page order form in English. By default they hand you one in Chinese.

The Hot Pot AYCE is $18 per person. What is not stated is the “extras” … the soup base is an extra charge. The soup base ranges from the no frills $5 pork soup to $15 drunken chicken. There is quite a variety to choose from. The Dips and Sauces are free for the first order. They will charge 50 cents for the second order.

You can upgrade the AYCE Hot Pot to include BBQ Skewers (another of their specialty) for an extra $6. We thought it is a bit too much having Hot Pot AND BBQ Skewers.

Looking at their faces, they are of no help to us in deciding our order. We ended up ordering almost one of every item.

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The “suen moi tong” drinks are a deal. The above is just $1 per person with unlimited refills. Cynical as we are, we thought the reason it is so cheap is because they wanted us to fill up with water instead of the more expensive meat items.

I made a mistake asking question about exactly what this is made of. The waitress just blurted, while turning her back to me and walk away, “for drinking”. Oh please … I know that. There goes your tips, baby.

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The soup base we selected was the Szechuan. They were spicy hot. I got to hand it to them … they smell absolutely marvelous and fragrant. There are a lot of spices in the soup base … especially with the lips numbing peppercorns. Nice.

They were MSG laden too as we confirmed after the meal. We were thirsty.

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Round one was the meats. We ticked every single meat item except for the pork blood. I am not sure how they decided how much to give us but it was a lot of meat.

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At least it was all thinly sliced and does shrink a lot once it is cooked.

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Round two was the seafood. The same strategy applies … we ticked every single item. We did not opt for the Geoduck because it was $12 extra … per dish!

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Actually they smell very fishy. I can picked up a waft of it when it was brought to the table. It was not stale or rotten or anything like that. It had a smell of a fish market.

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But once cooked, it should be OK.

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Anyway, the strong fragrant soup base overpowered any fishiness once the seafood is in the pot. Absolutely loved the soup base. It was really good during the meal. It was the after effect from the MSG that is not so good. As much as the soup base is important to the hot pot, equally as important is the …

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Beijing Noodle House on Buswell, Richmond

There were three of us who went out looking for lunch a week ago. Nanzaro was away with the playing host to a group of cadets from PEI. So we went to somewhere near home … just to grab a bite and then get home quickly to work on chowtimes.

I had been doing a lot of tweaking on the blog lately and I just wanted to plonk myself down getting it over with. The blog is getting too big and each time I make a change, it takes so long to do impact analysis and testing before I actually execute the change. This is beginning to feel like a full time job already! And am enjoying every minute of it.

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We went to the Beijing Noodle House which is located on Buswell (at the intersection of Cook) in Richmond. I feel that the Beijing Noodle House is not as well known as the many good Chinese restaurants in Richmond. It is because of it’s location behind the busier No 3 Road. There are no cluster of restaurants here and is surrounded mainly by apartments and business offices.

There is a plus point for this … parking is abundant here.

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We like this kind of restaurants … it is enclosed with glass walls throughout. We want to see how it is inside. The Beijing Noodle House serves authentic Northern Chinese dishes. The chef, who came up to greet the customers, speaks authentic Mandarin … you know, the unique melodious official sounding kind of Mandarin.

Their customers seems to be mainly Mainland Chinese customers which perhaps enforces the perception of the authenticity of this restaurant.

For a place this this, they had obviously put in effort in creating a nice hard cover menu — one that you only see in more established restaurants. Even the take out menu was printed in high quality glossy paper.

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Service was good and helpful. They helped us with the selection. Seeing that it was a wet and cold day, they suggested the Meatball, Vegetable Vermicelli in Soup. It was an excellent idea as we always love soup with rice. They had over a dozen choices of soup on their menu ranging from $5 to $12.

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Traditional Chinese BBQ House on Kingsway, Vancouver

I think we’re getting the hang of it.

Suanne and I are getting more comfortable going to a Chinese restaurant. I am not talking to just any restaurant but ones that has ghastly bright yellow and red signs with an equally unimaginative name to match. These are the type of restaurants that are almost always a mainland Chinese restaurant serving authentic Chinese food.

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Suanne and I chanced upon this lonely Chinese Restaurant while driving along Kingsway. The Traditional Chinese BBQ House is located on the Vancouver section of Kingsway, between Joyce and Rupert. Although we did not know anything about this place, we decided to just chance it.

We were pleasantly surprised.

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This is a really small place but was quite busy for a restaurant located at such a quiet stretch. As we suspected, their customers are basically of mainland Chinese origin from the unmistakable sing-song Mandarin accent.

When we got seated, we were handed their Chinese menu. We told them we don’t read Chinese and he snickered at us … well, in a friendly way but still a snicker. So he brought out the English menu which he told us (TWICE!) that it is just delivered and he is not familiar with it. We did not trust the menu with their odd description.

We thought we order by pointing to the neighboring tables. Know what he did next? He actually walked to the neighboring tables and point directly into their dishes (which the customers were still eating) and explain the dishes for us loudly across the restaurant. We were so embarrassed with his blatant intrusion into his customer’s meal. He’s a nice and extremely helpful guy but it’s just that he doesn’t realize it is rude to others.

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For starters, we had Steamed Bun Slice. It costs 75 cents each. It is basically man tao, just that it is sliced and grilled with some kind of sauce or spread which we could not identify. I recommend you try it … it is unique.

For those who does not speak chinese, “man tao” is translated as “ten thousand heads”. This is the staple food to the Chinese and is the kind of food that is used to feed the masses.

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The owner also recommended us their most popular BBQ item, the House Grilled Lamb. The restaurant actually smells of this item from the heavy use of cumin. It costs 75 cents each. It came served in metal skewers. The taste is rather strong … it is both very spicy and salty. The meat is tender and not gamey. But really, we prefer the Malaysian satay better than this.

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We also had the Chef Special Escargot ($8.95). The sauce is awesomely tasty and lightly sweet. The sauce went very well with steamed rice. (more…)

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Imperial Court Beijing and Szechuan Cuisine in Richmond

We went to the Imperial Court Restaurant for breakfast more than two months ago. Although we know of Imperial Court, we had never been inside simply because it looked expensive from the outside. To us, it is expensive when they have “captains” (chief waiters) in black vests, have tablecloth and expensive chairs.

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It sure does look like an above average Chinese restaurant, don’t you think? Well, it does to us. Because of our limited use of the Chinese language, we are somewhat intimidated and uneasy in these kind of places.

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As usual, the boys asked for water (they don’t like Chinese tea). Even then the water came in a nice looking glass. We like little touches like this.

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We went to the Imperial Court only because of the ad they put up in the Richmond area papers. They had special discounts then for dim sum between 8AM to 11AM. I don’t think they have the discounts now. So don’t just go there now and say that chowtimes said they are suppose to give 25% discounts for dim sum, OK?

Back then they have a Peking Duck special for just $10.80. Anyone have any idea how much would a whole duck normally cost? The last time we had Peking Duck was … oh … 12 years ago in HK!!

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The Imperial Court is located in the strip mall right across from Richmond Center on No 3 Road. Their address is #6-6360 on No 3.

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This is not a push cart dim sum place. You place your order on the order form. We prefer push cart types as we can see what it is we are ordering. It is hard for us trying to figure out the English descriptions. Most of the dim sums are below $3 which is inexpensive for a place like this. Their most expensive ones are those with shrimps which even that is below $5.

For this post, I would like to get the reactions from the non-Chinese readers of chowtimes. You see, I had often brought my non-Chinese friends to dim sum but more often than not, I get a lot of reactions to the food — mostly of uncertainty over the content of it. Here goes … my impressions of non-Chinese’s impression of Dim Sum.

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Siew Mai ($2.96), I find is the one that is a favourite among non-Chinese. (more…)

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9-Course Chinese Dinner in Richmond Mandarin Restaurant

Updated: 6th Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed.

Some of you know me very well as an organizer of events. It’s just me … it’s just who I am. I simply enjoy putting together ideas, make a plan and see to it the plans work. Nothing gives me greater joy than to see people enjoying themselves.

When I was in my early twenties, I remember vividly that one camp that I had been part of organizing. It was a national camp of over 800 participants and I had played a huge part of organizing a city tour … 20 buses in all. Logistically it was a nightmare but I had such a kick seeing everyone single boys and girls coming back to camp happy, tired and late … no one missing and everyone had a great 10 hours away. Ah … those were the days … I’ll talk about those some other time.

For the past few years, I had also enjoyed organizing gatherings among friends … the biggest of which was a picnic the past summer which was attended by a whopping 50 people in all. Just two weeks ago, I initiated another idea for a gathering of my “lah speaking” friends (mainly ex-Singaporeans and ex-Malaysians). Since it is colder and wetter these days, outdoor events are out of the question. So, I initiated a Chinese Dinner for the same group of friends. Well, I said I initiated it because I did not organize it this time … WB offered to do it and she did it so marvelously well. I think WB will make an excellent project manager! [No, seriously WB.]

After narrowing it down from three restaurants, WB finally settled down on the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant which is located in the same building as T&T on Cambie. WB, with the help from Polly, did a great job in haggling a 9-course menu for just $168 (for a table of 10). This is amazing considering that Richmond Mandarin has a “Menu A” which costs $928 and their cheapest “Menu D” which costs $298. Moreover, WB managed to get the use of their VIP Room … for free!

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We had a total of 30 people who came to the Richmond Mandarin Restaurant that night, about 20 adults and 10 kids. WB decided to create a separate cheaper menu for the kids while the adults go for the whole-shebang. Anyway, she figured that the kids would not care much for Peking Duck … the kids will actually be happier with fried rice and noodles … and the parent happier too because we don’t have to pay the full $168 for them.

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Let’s start with the kids’ menu … first off … Fried Rice Noodles with Beef.

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Then the kids had Deep Fried Chicken Wings. The kids started eating first … we wanted to make sure that the kids are all eaten and finished before we start our feast. But I was sooo hungry looking at the chicken wings. You see, I hardly had anything to eat that day in anticipation of this meal.

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And the kids’ favourites … Fried Rice!! They looked so good and smell so good. (more…)

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Legendary Noodles in Richmond

The Legendary Noodle restaurant in Richmond had closed.

We went to the Legendary Noodle restaurant in Richmond. It’s a small diner with only about 30 seats. What sets this place apart is that the chef pulls and cuts the noodles by hand. The chef is a very nice humble man who so graciously consented to have his pictures taken when we asked. He made it look so simple!

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He stretches the dough, brings two ends together, spins it, twists it and repeats the process over and over again until they all form thin strands of noodles. It must have been at least 100 yards of noodles by the time he finished.

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Nothing compares with a bowl of freshly made noodles. I swear that there’s a difference in Legendary’s noodles — not only in the look but also in the taste and texture. They are tender, yet chewy.

The strands are so long that the waitress actually cut the noodles with a pair of scissors just before they bring it to our table.

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Click on the link below for the review of dishes we ordered and more about the restaurant.

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