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