Kam Ho Restaurant on Alexandra Road at No 3 Road, Richmond

*** The Kam Ho Restaurant is the reincarnation of the original Ho Yuen Restaurant in Richmond! ***

About a month ago, we went to the Ho Yuen restaurant for dinner. It was supposed to be one of the ho-hum posts because we did not find it particularly interesting. We did not even plan to dine there.

What surprised us was that the Ho Yuen post generated 34 comments! The reason was because of the new owner behind Ho Yuen … a self-bestowed “Dr” Jaime Chan. If you don’t know who “Dr” Jaime Chan is, read the comments and you will know why he attracts such ire from people who know who he is.

Some readers lamented that they missed the old Ho Yuen. We learned that when “Dr” Jaime Chan took over Ho Yuen, it was not the same anymore.

Despair not … it is because the Ho Yuen is back!

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The original Ho Yuen had reincarnated as Kam Ho!

Huey wrote an email to us last week alerting us to this news (thanks Huey!) that Kam Ho is opening on last Saturday. So we changed our dinner plans and made our way to Kam Ho for dinner.

The new Kam Ho is located in Alexandra Road but it is not on the section of Alexandra road that you would automatically think of. Instead it is located on the No 3 Road section of Alexandra. You should get to Kam Ho via No 3 Road. Kam Ho is on the same strip mall as Celsius and Kelong.

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It had been a while since we saw a new Cantonese style restaurant opening. Almost all new restaurants in Richmond these days are mainland Chinese or Taiwanese restaurants, not so much Cantonese. So we are glad to see a new one opening here.

It was opening night. The waitresses are all eager and helpful. I guess not many people know of Kam Ho’s opening because there were not many customers. Half of the customers that night seems to be someone they know.

No pretty young waitress here. All of them are middle aged ladies. In Chinese we call them “ah sows” or aunties. Not that it’s a problem. I am just saying. When I mentioned this observation, both Arkensen and Nanzaro reacted saying that what I said is not nice.

Kam Ho is about half the size of Ho Yuen and seats about 50 people. They have a wide open kitchen that you could see all the going ons in it.

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Kam Ho is not a HK Style Cafe. It is more like a HK Style Diner. The have a big menu with sections of noodles, congee and such.

We decided to get a Dinner Combo. We opted for the $33.95 3-item combo from the menu above (click to read in bigger font). We thought it should be enough for the four of us as it usually is.

Besides the selection of dishes, the combo also includes soup, rice and sweet dessert.

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The Daily soup is some of the best we had ever had. In it was pork, chicken feet, snow fungus and Chinese herbs. I like the Cantonese word for this type of soup. “Lo For Tong” is translated as “old fire” soup and means soup that had been boiled for a long period of time.

The soup itself was really flavourful. It was a good start.

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At first we ordered a house hot pot but the lady insisted that we try their Hainanese Chicken. It did not take much convincing for us.

It looked very good. They don’t even pour any soya sauce on the chicken. It was just plain Hainanese chicken with parsley and fried peanuts.

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The chicken is boney and the first thing we observed is that the chicken is cold. This apparently is a style of Hainanese chicken where it is dipped in ice after cooking. This produces a gelatinous layer underneath the skin. The skin is springy and on all accounts very good.

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We upgraded the steamed rice to Hainanese Chicken Rice for 50 cents a bowl. The oily rice is mildly flavoured. We had tasted bolder tasting ones but this is just alright. However, their rice bowl is bigger than most other places. We like that.

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With Hainanese Chicken Rice, you normally would get the dip. We like the ginger and green onion more than the chili. The chili is kind of strange that it is quite “chunky”. We prefer garlic’d chili instead.

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The other item they recommended us is the Deep Fried Prawn with Pepper Salt. OMG, it was good.

It is topped with … (more…)

Continue ReadingKam Ho Restaurant on Alexandra Road at No 3 Road, Richmond

Nancy Wonton House on Victoria Drive and 37th Ave, Vancouver

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

Come to think of it, we had never quite cared about Wonton Noodles.

We love noodles as you can see. We had been blogging about noodles a lot of late. It is because we gravitate towards anything with hot soup during the colder seasons. We had our fair share of Japanese Ramen, Taiwanese Beef Noodles, Malaysian Laksa, Vietnamese Pho but we don’t go out of our way for a bowl of Wonton Noodles.

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The name Nancy Wonton House had popped up in two separate occasions the past two weeks. That triggered that thought why we rarely go eat wonton. Although wontons are very much Chinese, perhaps it is because I subconsciously associate wontons with faux Chinese fare.

Since Suanne and I was around the neighborhood of Victoria Drive and 37th Ave, we decided to go check it out. Frankly, we were not hungry at all but we went nevertheless … before this place recess to the back of our distant memory again.

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Nancy Wonton House is an old school Cantonese restaurant from umpteen years ago — God knows how long. You don’t find many of these type of restaurants opening anymore. Cantonese restaurants sprouted in Vancouver prior to the days of 1997 before Hongkong was returned to China. The wave of of Cantonese speaking HK immigrants brought along with them a lot of Cantonese restaurants.

As the fears of a Communist China administered HK dissipated over the years, a lot of HK immigrants returned. In the past few years, Chinese immigrants are dominated by those from Mainland China. This new wave of immigrants brought along another genre of Chinese cuisine, mainly influenced by the cuisine from Shanghai and Beijing.

So Nancy Wonton does show its age. The decor is so much like it was when it first opened a decade or two ago. Some things never changes.

The dining area is large. Accentuated by the mirrors on one side of the restaurant, it even looked larger than it actually is. The table sizes are larger with booths along the side that can seat six and round tables that can easily fit ten. It is very much a neighborhood restaurant where extended family with kids and grand parents comes over for dinner.

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We did not even spend much time scanning their menu. The menu is huge. The dishes are numbered and at a glance we can see that they have almost 300 different items on it. We already know what we wanted — wonton noodles.

The food in Nancy Wonton is known for its cheap prices. The noodles above is less than … (more…)

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East Fusion Food in International Village, Chinatown Vancouver

Updated 19th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

It is very hard not to get excited about this place.

Like everyone else, we get excited over food that is good. The excitement doubles when it is cheap too. Actually, the excitement triples when it is also unexpectedly and ridiculously cheap.

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LotusRapper emailed us alerting us to this place called the East Fusion Food with a link to Cheap Appetite where Tana had a bowl of wonton noodles for just $2.99. That was about 6 months ago. When we saw that, we immediately dropped our weekend lunch plans and head to this place.

East Fusion Food is located on the ground floor of the International Village or better known as Tinseltown for the cinemas it has. The shopping mall at the edge of Chinatown is rather dead and has low occupancy. It took us a while to locate East Fusion Food because we thought it would be on the second floor where the restaurants and food courts are.

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Let not the East Fusion Food name fool you because I cannot see where the fusion is on their offerings. It is as Chinese as it gets.

The place is very busy but the turn around is quick. We were there last Saturday at 12:30PM which is right about the peak lunch time and we had to wait for about 5 minutes for a table.

The place is not very big. They are setup for small parties of 2-4 people normally. So you don’t expect big tables for an extended family dine out. With just about seatings for 40, 50 people max, this is very much a place for a quick meal.

It is very busy. The service is rushed — not rude but they have little patience. Not easy for many people I know, but look past that you are OK. The moment we sat down we already had the drinks and menu landing right in front of our face.

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It is not a big menu.

In our usual slow pace, we read every single item on the menu. Within a minute, the waitress was already at our table asking if we are ready to order. We said we are still looking at the menu and before I even finished my sentence she was already turning away headed to the next table. To some this is rude but it was not a problem with us. I wanted to let you know so that you don’t go to this place on the account of this posting and felt slighted by this sort of things. LOL!

Our waitress was like a super women or something. She did not even write down what we wanted and remembered everything we said. We ordered six items in total and some of them were in noodle type/soup type/meat type combination. We were so afraid she will mess up our order but she repeated it back to us 100% correct. Amazing.

The one thing we wanted to check out was the $2.99 wonton noodles.

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Well, the wonton noodles is no longer $2.99. The price had since risen to $3.88. I thought it is still cheap even the price had risen 30% since Tana had it 6 months ago.

It came in a big bowl with five pieces of shrimp wontons. The shrimp wonton are quite big. While I had much better shrimp wontons, this is really good considering the price.

I initially thought that there are very little noodles in it. I could not see to the bottom because of the cloudy broth …

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… but it has more noodles than we expected. We thought the thin wire’ly egg noodles were done very well.

I am quite certain a number of people will like the wonton noodles at East Fusion Food and then will get excited and tell the world that it is just $3.88 — like us.

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We actually thought that the servings in East Fusion Food will be small considering their prices. So, I went ahead to order two additional side dishes which they call “Starters and Appetizers”. All their Appetizers costs $6. Check the menu above … there are 24 types. All $6. I like that simplicity.

The boiled Gai Lan (Chinese Brocolli) was excellent. The thick stem and the leafy part were cut and arranged in a nice manner. I simply like the way it is cut to short, uniform and manageable sizes that you could easily pick up with chopsticks. I was asking Suanne why we could not get the ones we prepare at home to this level of texture — she doesn’t know.

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The Deep Fried Oyster is also $6. There are four large pieces. The size took us by surprise … (more…)

Continue ReadingEast Fusion Food in International Village, Chinatown Vancouver

Au Wing Kee Restaurant on Kingsway and Royal Oak, Burnaby

Eons ago, before we started blogging, we used to go for lunch at Au Wing Kee several times a month.  Back then our network of friends were mainly in and around Burnaby.  It had been a while since we visited this place.

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I look at Au Wing Kee as one of the old timer Chinese restaurants.  Today, we hear of new restaurants sprouting up every week that often we forgot about the old favourites like Au Wing Kee.  As far as Chinese and Asian restaurants goes, gone are the days of the wave of new Cantonese restaurants.  What we see a lot of these days are restaurants the likes of Izakayas, Shanghainese, Korean, and Thai.  We are spoilt for choices.

For so many years, Au Wing Kee had not only survived but thrived on a quiet stretch of Kingways that is not known for many good restaurant.

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The place is exactly the same I remember it.  It is not overly clean … but not dirty though, mind you.  The place shows the age with some modest renos around lightings.

Service is also exactly the same I remember it.  It is very typical old school Chinese style where the waitresses are serious, do not greet you, do not make eye contact, and no smiles.  They are there only to clean your tables, take your orders, deliver your food … they are not there to socialize with you.  I won’t say they are grumpy.  If you want anything, you gotta get their attention and ask.

Despite these shortcomings, Au Wing Kee is a really popular restaurant.  After all these years, they still pull in a big crowd.

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We decided on getting a few dishes to share between the four of us in the family, instead of individual dishes which the boys wanted.  The boys have never said why but they always seem to prefer having individual servings rather than the communal shared dishes that Suanne and I prefer.  Anyway, dad is paying and he gets to make the call.

We like hot pot soup.  So, we ordered the Chinese Herb and Special Chicken Hot Pot.  I know, the name sounded funny and … (more…)

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Top Gun J&C on McKim Way, Richmond

Christina and ET of Doesn’t Tazte Like Chicken tried to organize a picnic a few weeks ago but it did not turn out because the weather forecast reported rain for the weekend.  So instead of cancelling the meetup among blogger friends, we decided to gather instead for dim sum.  Long story short, the event was attended by TS and JS (Eating Club Vancouver) and us.

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It was Christina and ET’s suggestion that we meet at the Top Gun J&C.  Top Gun J&C is part of the Top Gun Group which included the following restaurants that we had been to before:

I think Top Gun J&C is the original restaurant of the group simply because I see that they showcase Top Gun J&C first over all their other restaurants.  BTW, J&C stands for Japanese and Chinese.

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Suanne and I did not pay much attention to the menu.  Instead we left all the ordering to Christina.  All of us conveniently declared that we can’t read Chinese.  Christina had no choice.  He he he … I don’t relish the burden of ordering dim sum on everyone’s behalf.  I think you know the feeling!

The special menu have quite interesting items (see above).  I can see that they are not one of those that serves just common dim sums like siu mai, har gow and the likes.

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Like the tea we had at Garden City Hot Pot, here they also serves individual tea selection.  ET recommended that we have the Dragon Well (Loong Jang in Cantonese).  Dragon Well is not common in most restaurants and is considered premium Chinese Tea.  ET knows that Garden City Hot Pot and this restaurant has it.  I was quite intrigued by this tea although frankly I can never tell most tea from another.

So I did some research and found that it indeed is the most important of all Chinese tea.  This type of tea is close to be considered the national tea of China where it is the type of tea among 700 different types of tea in China that is served as official tea to foreign dignitaries.

This tea became famous when a Chinese Emperor liked this tea and bestowed imperial status on the bushes from where his tea was made.  Story has it that today these bushes is still in existence and the tea from these bushes fetches high prices.

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The tea making setup here is quite similar to what we had in Top Gun but a little bit more simpler. They have lesser number of plates and bowls.

He he he … I had finally mastered the art of pouring brewed tea from the Gaiwan (lidded bowl) to the cup.  Just to show that it was no fluke, I repeated the demonstration with flying colors.

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Here is the order form … see what I mean?  It is all in Chinese.  They are not even numbered so that we can match it against some English description or a price list.  Suanne and I would be totally lost ordering this way.

It seems like they computerize the order taking by feeding this to some reader or something.  That’s efficient … for them, not for the customer.

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Christina ordered their specialty … the stuffed chicken wings.  This is stuffed with glutinous rice.  The waitress came back and told us that they are all gone.  They are that popular.

And then later on, we saw them bringing this to the table.  I thought they said they ran out of these wings.  It turns out that Christina had earlier ordered this to go.  She had quietly asked the restaurant to serve this to us instead.  She is so thoughtful!   (more…)

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Dim Sum at Dai Tung Chinese Restaurant on Kingsway by Inverness, Vancouver

Alright … this will be the last post before I start on the Spain series.  If all things go OK, I’ll start on it tomorrow.  I had been getting emails, instant messages, and what nots asking when I am going to start writing about it.  All this pressure!

Angie and her family invited us to go for Dim Sum over a weekend about a month ago.  Angie left the suggestion to me.  I hate this.  People seems to think that because we have a food blog, that we know of the best places.  Frankly, we don’t — Suanne and I are NOT professional foodies.

Anyway, I just selected one safe place to go to … Dai Tung.

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Dai Tung is located on Kingsway near the intersection with Windsor (see this map for the location).

Come to think of it, the last time we were here was EIGHT years ago with a family friend who just came to Vancouver.  I still remember when we had to endure almost an hour wait for a table and how it was so embarassing for us because everyone was hungry.  That wait was what put us off from visiting Dai Tung ever since.

The lines are still there but this time the wait was much more bearable — 15 minutes.  One bad thing is still the same … parking.  There are hardly any parking spots in this strip mall.  Even if there is one, it will only fit smaller cars.  So visiting Dai Tung requires patience!

However, from the long lines one need no convincing that Dai Tung serves some of the best dim sums in Vancouver.

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I don’t know how much the meal costs because Angie’s family paid for the meal.  However from the menu, it appears that their prices are pretty cheap.

They serve the dim sums through push carts.  Don’t everyone like that better?  That way you could actually see for yourself what you want.

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I picked the “Old Water” Duck Wings.  Wrong choice.

Not that it is not good.  It is great and I love it.  It’s just that NO ONE else wanted it at all.  So I ended up having to eat almost all of it myself.  Suanne was sweet enough to take a few bites but she doesn’t like it.  She said that there is no meat to it … it is just skin wrapping bones.  Hah!  They don’t know what they miss.

BTW, what is the English word for the “karn” you see above?  I love that too … love the chewy texture.   (more…)

Continue ReadingDim Sum at Dai Tung Chinese Restaurant on Kingsway by Inverness, Vancouver

Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine at Richmond Center on No. 3 Rd

The members of the Richmond Community Kitchens celebrated the end of the season by having dim sum at Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine at Richmond Center on No. 3 Rd.  If I recalled clearly, there are members from the South Arm Community Kitchen, Gilmore Park Church Community Kitchen and the Caring Place Community Kitchen.  The community kitchen will break for summer and resume in September.

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Shi-Art Chinese Cuisine is located at the front of Richmond Center facing No 3 Road, across Tim Hortons.  You will not miss this bold red front entrance.

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When I took the group photo at the end of the meal, some of the members had already left.  Next time, we’ll have the group photo taken first before we eat.

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There were an assortment of sauces that were given to us even before the dim sum arrives.  Fanny and Alice did most of the ordering as they are the experts in dim sum.  Both of them are from Hong Kong.  Fanny told us that Hongkies usually eat dim sum as brunch and they will take a long time to enjoy it.   Here are the items we had and they were ordered in multiples.

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The Deep Fried Shrimp Spring Rolls are crispy on the outside and has tender shrimp fillings.

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These Deep Fried Mango Milk Pudding are amazing.  At first, we thought they are some deep fried sweet potatoes but it’s too tender to the bite.  We like this a lot.  It’s categorized under the Chef’s Special.

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The Shredded Chicken with Sesame is another Chef’s Special.  It’s crunchy and served cold.

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Pan Fried Stuffed Eggpant is also the Chef’s Special.  I love the soft textured eggplant in some garlic bean sauce.

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Pan Fried Rice Roll in Soy Sauce is the last item we ordered from the Chef’s Special.  I love the caramelized part of the rice roll. (more…)

Continue ReadingShi-Art Chinese Cuisine at Richmond Center on No. 3 Rd

Koon Lock Seafood Restaurant on Fraser and 47th, Vancouver

Updated: 12th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Koon Lock and Koon Bo —  I had always heard of the names of these two restaurants before.  Depending on who I speak with, I hear different stories.  How these two restaurants were related and owned by brothers.  Someone told me that they were owned by two brothers, yet another told me they are feuding and rival restaurants with a same origin.

Does anyone know the story behind these two famous restaurants?

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Whatever the stories are, Koon Lock is one of the Chinese restaurants that appears to have a long history.    While still popular, it had seen better days having been surplanted with the new Chinese restaurants that sprouted throughout the Metro Vancouver.

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Koon Lock is located on Fraser and 47th.  We went just before lunch time when they had a lot of tables empty.  This quickly changed and by 12:30PM there were already a line waiting for tables.

We had wanted to come here for a meal of their more famous dishes like roasted squabs, honey garlic spareribs and crispy chicken skin.  Unfortunately, they do not serve those kind of items for lunch as they are only available for dinner.  What they have for lunch time is only the common Cantonese food items like congee, noodle and mixed rice dishes.  We were disappointed and half wishing to leave — and making our way back here for dinner some other time.  But we stayed.

We decided to order a dish from each section of the menu …

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The first one was the Beef Brisket with Vegetables.  This simple dish is surprisingly very well made.  It is served steaming hot on a bed of steamed fresh vegetables.  The meat was tender and has a noticeable fragrance of star anise.  Eating this with steamed rice is nice particularly with the juices from the dish.  This dish costs $7.25 which is cheaper than I expected. (more…)

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Wonton King on SE Marine Drive, Vancouver

Updated 28th Sep 2010: this restaurant had been replaced with Taste Good Wonton Seafood Restaurant.

ChubbyPanda and his wife came up to Vancouver during the Memorial Day holidays. We had known ChubbyPanda for a long time — in blog years it had been a long time.

Both Chowtimes and ChubbyPanda food blogs started at about the same time.  That was in early 2006.  I recall in those days, the most prolific food bloggers are those from California with just a handful of Vancouver area foodie bloggers holding the fort.

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ChubbyPanda contacted us saying that they wanted to meet up again for dinner.  The last time they were here almost two years ago, we met up at Tropika in Richmond because he wanted to try Malaysian cuisine.  This time, they left the choice of restaurant to us.

It was easy to decide where to meet.  I had at the top of my to-try list the Chinese restaurant who won the “Best Soup” award in Vancouver last year.  It was won by a restaurant which I felt had one of the unimaginative name … Wonton King.

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Wonton King is located on SE Marine Drive, near the intersection with Fraser St.  Wonton King is more an upscale modern Chinese Restaurant than you would imagine from a place with the name of Wonton King.

The service is immaculate.  I am pretty sure it is because of our kick-ass cameras which we both fished out even as we sat down — as it always had been.  LOL!  We were attended to by someone who I assumed to be the captain of the restaurant.  I say this because of the authoritative manner he was speaking and that he has a vest on.

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We did not even look at the menu when I told him what we wanted.  We were there to try the Wine Chicken Soup.  For a moment he was not sure what we were asking for.  I think it is because he could not associate the English name with the Chinese one.  This dish was not on the printed menu, so we learned.  If you want it, you had to ask for it.

When he realized what we wanted, he excused himself midway taking our orders and went to get the kitchen to get started on this.  He said they need at least 20 minutes to prep this.  I timed them … it came 35 minutes later.

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When it came, I asked for the steamed rice to be served.  You know what … the captain refused to serve us that.  Wow, the nerve of him!  I ALWAYS have rice with my soup.  (more…)

Continue ReadingWonton King on SE Marine Drive, Vancouver

King’s Chinese Cuisine on Main and 29th, Vancouver

It was one of those weekend mornings again. Suanne had a subtle way of hinting that she does not want to prepare breakfast but not wanting to say so. I don’t know how to describe it but I can pick up the vibes — unmistakably.

I did not know where to go and the boys keep asking me what’s for breakfast. When I don’t want to answer, I just tell them “it’s a secret”. It used to work because they like surprise … not any longer. They now follow up with another question … “where are we going?”. They hate it when I drive across the bridge because it meant a 30 minutes drive, at least.

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I did cross the Knight St Bridge and headed up Main Street in Vancouver. Then at East 29th, I saw a queue outside of the orangey restaurant. It is definitely a dim sum place … and a cheap one too. I can tell because many of the customers are seniors or with large families.

I thought we will not go wrong eating here since there was a queue even though the walls outside was all defaced with graffiti.

This place is called King’s Chinese Cuisine and is located on the intersection of 29th and Main.

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The wait was not too long, about 15 minutes. We had to walk right into the back of the restaurant to deposit our name for a table. It is a large place and so they are able to turn the tables very fast. It is also a mad house … the hustle and bustle here is very typical of a neighborhood Chinese Dim Sum place. It’s noisy and obviously very popular.

This is a place where they use plastic sheets for table cloth. With these, cleaning up a table for the next customer is just a matter of seconds. Pull up a layer, tie it up in a bundle with all the left over food and bowls and the table is all ready. Function over form is how I describe it.

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Even before we got seated, we were already asked what tea we wanted. I have no idea and I always kept my head down and pretend not to hear … I always left it to Suanne to decide. She had no idea herself too. So she always blurts out a name that comes to her mind. This time it was Tiet Guan Yin (Iron Goddess of Mercy). One of these days, we got to learn the finer points of Chinese tea.

They also passed us the order sheet. This is not just an order sheet but also double up as a receipt! The prices were printed at the top of the order sheet. So, for $2.30 to $4.75, they are cheap.

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I see a lot of tables ordering the Fried Rice Noodles. It must be their specialty and they looked good too. You can tell when you see parts of it charred … meaning that they have “wok hei” when they did this.

Kind of hard to explain what “wok hei” means — anyone wants to give that a try?

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The Fried Rice Noodle was good on it’s own. But the sweet sauce imparts a lot of flavour to it. Their sweet sauce is done perfectly … not too thick and not too light … just perfect. No wonder so many people ordered this. This is categorized as a “special” dish and costs $4.75.

They serve their Gai Lan kind of dry. Normally in other places it is drizzled with oyster sauce but here they serve the oyster sauce in a small saucer on the side. The stems are big and tastes a little bitter’ish. It was a lot of it. Since the boys did not want to have anything to do with green food, Suanne and I had a tough time finishing it all. $4.75.

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They serve their Gai Lan kind of dry. Normally in other places it is drizzled with oyster sauce but here they serve the oyster sauce in a small saucer on the side. The stems are big and tastes a little bitter’ish. It was a lot of it. Since the boys did not want to have anything to do with green food, Suanne and I had a tough time finishing it all. $4.75.

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We like this next one. It is simply called Jelly Fish. However, it is more than just jelly fish. It is topped with bean curd roll filled with mushroom, pickled daikon and carrot. You can imagine the variation of texture in this dish (soft jelly fish with crunchy daikon).

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The light vinegar was just the right dipping sauce for the cold, almost bland bean curd. We like this a lot and it is $4.75.

(more…)

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