Have you come across any location that is known as a restaurant graveyard?
You know, like a certain address that the ownership kept on changing that you can’t even keep track of anymore. You just pass by them day after day and at times you will notice that the signboard had changed but you are not so sure. After a while you don’t even bother to check them out thinking they will not last … just like the restaurants before them.
But this one … maybe … just maybe … will outlast all of the rest before them.
This restaurant will appeal to a lot people if they just stop and see what they have to offer. They will appeal to the foodies who yearn for authentic Chinese food. They will appeal even more to the geeky types who wants to try exotic food with uncommon ingredients … ingredients that you will not find anywhere in Vancouver but has to be shipped in specifically from China. It gets more exciting when the ingredient is not even widely known in China.
What else will excite the food geek? How about a chef who hand make soya milk even though he can take the easy way out and serve store bought ones, even premix?
What do you think when everything costs just $8 maximum? With no corners cut — serving nothing but the best.
Not sure about you … this one excites me.
I was not even serious about going to this restaurant. It was a rough day at work and I was also hungry. Starting work at 5AM is no joke. Yeah, I had been keeping very early hours for some weeks now. I had to … especially when I am managing a project with EVERY team members located in either Europe or the American east coast. I had always been managing remote teams but I always had a part of the team with me in Vancouver. This one is different … for this project, none of the team members are here. So with starting work at 5AM without proper breakfast (too early to eat) and by 11AM it really felt like I had not eaten at 2PM for normal folks. I was famished … and I just needed to go away from the desk and decompress.
As usual when I wanted to get away, I get into the car and drive along Kingsway westward. I stopped by the section between Joyce and Tyne. It was quite a random choice really. I was only taken in by the banner outside the restaurant which says $2.95 – $7.95 lunch special. I was not pinning a lot of hope on a restaurant called Luckynoodle — a very unimaginative name.
The menu was very interesting (click on image to show readable version). I was definitely impressed with the selection and the price to match. There are 27 items in all and true enough there is a couple of $2.95 lunch specials too.
It was the $7 and $8 lunch specials that appeals to me. Just look at them … white chili, gizzard, lamb, cumin, bamboo shoots, chinese bacon, garlic roots … some of my favourite kind of ingredients.
During that visit, I ordered the Stir Fried Gizzard with White Chili and without me knowing, I was given the Stir Fried Pork with Green Peppers. There was a breakdown in communication and the waiter was telling me that the green peppers were white chili. I had always wanted to find out more about white chili ever since the 8GTCC Hunan in Alvin Garden. It was super hot … and here the green pepper was also super hot. Super awesome!
It was a revelation to me. This is a great restaurant because it is exactly the kind of food I dig. I did not have my camera that day because I wasn’t planning on blogging. I told myself that I will bring Suanne here the next time … and I did. Just two days later.
Luckynoodle is such an unfortunate name because it does not do justice to what they serve. It is as we learned later a Hunan cuisine restaurant … and they are in direct competition with Alvin Garden.
This time, we were there for lunch because I wanted to write about their lunch special. The waitress who attended to us this time spoke good English and was extremely helpful.
I had a great time pouring over their menu. I wanted to share the menu with you and so I asked for permission to take pictures of their menu. Normally if it is just a page or two, I’ll just steal a shot or I’ll get their takeout menu. Takeout menu are OK because they are more public. This one, I need to ask for permission.
Obviously, she asked us why and who we are. So I fished out our name card which has that red chili chowtimes logo on it. The moment she saw that logo, she said, “Oh I know you … Ben and Suanne?”. LOL!
She said she had been reading our blog and said she was hoping we would visit someday. She remembers very clearly us writing about the previous-previous owner of this location. Back 1 year ago it was the Hu’s Chinese Restaurant (blog post here). Hu’s closed and then another restaurant took over and that even closed shortly after.
Luckynoodle was opened just since April 2010. So they are new. That is why I started this blog post talking about this location as a restaurant graveyard. The restaurant next door was a new restaurant just about four short months ago. The 8GTCC team went there for dinner when it was newly opened (blog post here) and now, it is some other restaurant. Like I said, this is a restaurant graveyard.
And I hate to see this fine Lucknoodle restaurant going the same way too. I hope they will break that spell.
And there is a big chance they will.
Here is the introduction to the restaurant. I can’t read a word but I am hoping one of you would be kind enough to translate it for me.
Update: Here is the translation from DragonFire:
As I remember in my childhood, people in our village always love to have guests. Especially when there’s a celebrations or a wedding, people will gather and set up a food feast for everyone; as usual, there’s always a few large bowl of wine sitting on each table, guests will enjoy it with all the happiness while they are sweating because of spicy food.
Even time flies by years later, I can still remember clearly about everything of this feast.
Anyway, the man with the wok is called Raymond. The waitress introduced Raymond to us because we were beginning to ask several technical question which she can’t handle.
A bit of Raymond’s background as he told us … he is a chef from Jiangsu. He is formally trained in a Culinary school where he studied the eight great traditions of Chinese cuisine and he majors in Sichuan cuisine. Although he is a Sichuan trained, he decided to open a Hunan restaurant instead. This is because his si-fu is a Hunan specialist and he learned a lot from the master.
Fantastic menu. If you are a fan of Hunan food, you need to scour every page of the menu above.
While we wanted to try the larger servings, Suanne and I decided that we should just go with the Lunch Special because this is what we are here for. We intend to write about this … and bring a larger group of people to try their dinner menu. That is about the only proper way to do it. This has to be done in a larger setting … with a big selection of dishes!
Frankly, the dishes above is on the high side. I think the reason is because he has some unique ingredients which I will tell you later on.
Without hesitation, I ordered the Sitr Fried Chicken Gizzard with White Chili which is $6.95 in the lunch special.
Super marvelous. It is crispy and crunchy … it is moist and jup was just perfect. It is spicy but it wasn’t really hot.
Raymond said that this is their most … (more…)