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Category: noodles Page 1 of 5

Harvest Community Foods

We were looking for food in the area, and after weighing our options along Union street, we came back to “Harvest Community Foods”. One, it had the most diners within for lunch, and two they had a nice table right outdoors to take in this sunnier winter’s day. And then there is the noodles, I am always down for noodles and there is nothing like a warm bowl on a cold day. But sadly, the latter was not as expected.

The restaurant is more like corner store with shelves of preserves, grains, and organic cleaners. And at the counter, healthy snack bars and fresh fruit to grab and go.

The menu was ink on bleach wood. You squinted at it from across the room, shielding your eyes from the streams of sunlight hindering your vision. The daily specials are a little easier to read, dry erase marker on a white board, at the till. Each, with the option to add in some house made kimchi or change your regular noodles out for the zucchini variety.

We decided to keep it safe, and asked the clerk what she recommend. She was fairly unfriendly, and seemed annoyed with our indecisiveness. This attitude would stay pretty consistent with all subsequent interactions; to the point of us bussing our own table before we sat down, then again after we had finished eating; handing in our dish ware to her, as she stool behind the counter.

As for the food itself, it came out fast. I had their vegetarian “ramen” with a squash and miso broth, nori, scallion, radish, and sesame. I liked the flavour and the consistency of the broth thanks to the purée squash, although when I read “ramen” I expected a better noodle, something of the buckwheat variety. But what was before me was neon yellow and from a pack of instant. Here, quality noodles would have made a difference, and added some much needed flavour to this serving. The daikon and greens gave you little to maw on. I would have liked more toppings to help change the tone, more to customize each bite with. For example, some tofu, mushroom, or egg would have done wonders. Instead, I felt like this was lacking.

My guest got the vegan “rice noodle”. These were saucy noodles coated in an almond, hazelnut, and charred chilli mix, all sitting over braising greens. It was dry and sticky, an unusual texture, having to chew through the coating of nuts. Although it was very light and with the greens it acted more like a spicy salad.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
They are a solid opinion for those who are vegan or vegetarian, just not for me. If I want noodles I will go for something in a fatty pork broth. Don’t deny your cravings.

HARVEST
243 Union St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2Z7
(604) 682-8851
harvestunion.ca

Sip Bowl La Mian

It was a cold night, and after a few hours in the light rain we needed some thawing out, so headed indoors for some warming noodles in soup. This one has been on my guest’s list for a while now, since their opening, the first half of the year.

I was immediately impressed walking into this little shop. The decor took you away and spoke to the would-be authenticity of the restaurant. To your left a collection of blue and white plates, faced out for presentation value. To your right, a mural flowed down the length of the restaurant, depicting traditional city life, in China long ago. A scene with villagers gathering water from the river, neighbours visiting homes with bamboo shingles, and people carrying out their day to day lives in traditional garments. It spoke to the heritage of their cuisine.

We were seated on one of the heavy wooden benches branded with the restaurant’s name and logo. For those with bulky bags and coats, wicker baskets were placed at your feet to store such belongings in. We sat breathing in the scent of fragrant and spicy cumin, as we made sense of the menu. You begin by choosing the width, depth, and type of noodle. 7 options with diagrams and descriptions, and 7 ways you can have them in broth.

The thinnest noodle is “hair thin” at 1mm. It is described as having a “super thin texture”. The 2mm noodle is “soft and tasty”. But the most popular choice, and not coincidentally, the one recommend by the staff is the “normal” noodle at 4mm. But we would be extra with our noodle gage.

I ordered their “Sipbowl signature la main”. With my choice of beef shank or brisket, I went brisket and paired it with the thickest noodle that they offer. At 25mm this is essentially just a sheet of dough before you cut it down to strips, to make individual noodles strands. The novelty of them wore thin fast, after the photo. You work so hard to bite it down to manageable chunks that it almost feels like you are getting less noodle in your bowl. Not to mention an uneven noodle to soup ratio, and the sensation of working too hard for dinner. It is like biting off a piece of cooked lasagna noodle, then taking in a scoop of the tomato sauce and beef bite by bite. As for the broth, it was rich yet clear. It had a herbal flavour to it with the 5 spice, helped along with some freshness from the multitude of green onion sprinkled over top. It was still missing something though, so I added some of the garlic and chilli oil from the condiment containers on the table.

Although with barely any of either left, it didn’t look all that appealing. My guess is that this aren’t regularly restocked, or looked at between diners. Be warned, “Sip Bowl” does not make any of their noodles broths spicy, so if you want heat, you can only get it with the chilli oil here.

But at least when you pack it to go, (and you will because the noodles are so doughy and so much, that you will need to take a break from them), they won’t get soggy. In hind sight, I should have read the menu more thoroughly and ordered the triangular shaped noodles that is the hardest to make. Its special shape is said to lock in the soup and its flavour.

My guest had the “Beef and sauerkraut la main” choosing beef shank and the second thickest noodles, the “flat” ones at 15mm. I liked the broth of this one much more. It was well developed, with interest from the tanginess of the sauerkraut, and a deep beefy flavour. Eating either of the two bowls gave you the kind of warmth that makes your nose run. Having tried a couple of their rich clear broths, I think the scallion one would have been ideal; so if/when I return that is the one I will be ordering.

Worth noting is their take away packaging. For anything you can’t finish, you get a special plastic bowl that allows you to separate your noodles from its soup. This ensures that your noodles don’t get too soggy in the mix.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
A great place for some authentic noodle soup. And with all the variations on their house made noodles, you can mix and match to craft your perfect bowl. Don’t deny your cravings.

SIPBOWL
2255 W 41st Ave, Vancouver, BC V6M 4L3
(778) 737-3999
sipbowl.com

Meetrice Noodle, FEAST: Asian Dining Festival

“Feast” is the 2nd annual Asian dining festival that encourages guests to travel around Richmond, trying out a collection of restaurants. From October 18th to November 18th, all those participating have created specialty menus that allow you to try their cuisine at a deal. With over 30 different restaurants to try there is something for everyone including tidbits from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Persian, and Indian cuisine.

And in order to get me to Richmond and around the island city, I had the use of the 2020 “Subaru Ascent” for the week. And although Richmond is convenient to get to via the Canada skytrain, nothing beats a comfortable ride in a well build vehicle.

Tonight I found myself at “Meetrice”, a restaurant chain originating from China that has made its way to Canada. They specialize in rice noodle soup served with some assembly required. But I will now remember them for their decor. It wasn’t what I expected from this cafe, but more the scene of a bakery or high tea salon. Plenty of pink with pink walls, pink and white paper flowers, and pink panther stuffies straddling clouds.

I was further impressed by what waited for each guest at their table. A paper menu to check off, branded napkins paper wrapped spoons and chopsticks, and paper cups with cartoon drawings for water. All these little details elevated the experience.

We were here specifically for the “Feast Asian Dining” menu, but it was no where to be seen. I had to ask for it, and watched our server dig for it behind the counter. I thought this was a miss, given the savings from off of the limited time only menu, and the likelihood of those like myself visiting just for it. The four items on the “Feast” menu is available normally off their regular menu, but until November 18th you save a couple of dollars on their most popular dishes. We enjoyed all four.

To start, we ordered a couple of drinks. My guest had the “white peach milk foam oolong tea”. A chilled beverage that grows on you. Best when you stir in the sweet foam that transforms the drink.

I ordered another peach drink, for its pink bottle with a pink witch on it. I figured it matched our setting. It was a dessert soda best enjoyed as a float, very sweet and almost artificial. It was not complimentary to the meal before, but fun nonetheless.

If you are visiting for the first time the “No.1 selling rice noodle” (it’s actual name) is definitely the one to get. Regularly $11.95, it is now $9.95 and well worth the price. You get enough food for two, and its interactive component adds a little fun to the meal. Everything is served separately. The tomato flavoured broth with thin slices of beef came bubbling in a heated bowl. Be warned it is hot, and without a verbal warning, you will probably get burnt by it; my guest and I both did. The rice noodles came in their own bowl, much like each ingredient in its own separate sauce dish. Altogether the latter was presented in a wooden box, serving as one of the most memorable presentations I have seen. Quail egg, persevere vegetable, spam, and wood ear mushroom amongst others. You can dump everything in all at once and mix it all together, or did what I did and craft your ideal bowl, following the instructions craved on to the wooden box. Clumsy for some, but fun for a foodie like me. It suggests starting with the vegetables and moving your way to the noodles at the end. The order taking consideration the cook times for each item.

I fully enjoyed the delicious tomato broth, well developed with real slices of tomato. I would be happy drinking a bowl of it as is. And just as well because the noodle doesn’t really soak up any of the flavour of the broth. It acted more like a filler, with the topping adding a collection of textures to chew through.

The rest of the items were $1 less during the event. The “Deep fried chicken nuggets” were Taiwanese style popcorn chicken, seasoned in 5 spice and a hint of cinnamon, for a very distinct flavour. It was tasty enough to keep you going back for more, but the chalky texture of the corn starch breading distracted. Our remedy was to dip each nugget into some sauce, to add much needed moisture to it. We found the drippings from the chicken below ideal.

“Mouth-watering chicken” with chilli oil sauce and peanuts was exactly as my guest remembered the dish to be, when he last visited Asia. A chilled chicken, much like Hainanese chicken, but topped with plenty of garlic and chilli. I suggest scraping some of the latter off, before puckering from all that salt in your mouth. I wanted some rice with this, or at least some shredded nappa cabbage on the side to mix in with the overpowering sauce. It wasn’t too spicy, nor did it offer me the sensation of mouth watering.

And the last discounted menu item was the “Beef and chopped chilli on rice”. Comfort food to a tee. Fatty and stringy tender beef, served with firm rice, and plenty of sweet soy sauce and sesame to flavour it all. Simply delicious.

Overall a great restaurant that I would like to come back and try more of. And if it weren’t for The “Feast Asian Dining” festival I would have never known it existed. But be warned, they only accept cash or debit here. For all the other participating restaurants and how you can take advantage of the festival specials, visit the link below.
https://asianfeast.ca/

MEETRICE
1080 – 8580 Alexandra Rd, Richmond, BC V6X 4B3
(604) 370-0981
mengziyuan.com

#asianfeast #subaru #subaruBC #richmondbc
@feast_asian, @docksteadersubaru, @subarucanada, @wolfesubaru @wolfesubaruonboundary @richmondsubaru_bc, @jpsubarunorthshore, @jpsubarucoquitlam, @jpsubarusouth

Old XiAn’s food 老西安

A group of foodies and myself were hungry, looking for a later dinner downtown, one of us suggested the very Instagram popular “biang biang” noodles. These are essentially rice noodles served in the full sheets that they are prepared as, instead of being cut into strips for easier consumption. Naturally, majority of us choose this option over the other thinner and rounder noodles, as this one is more exclusive to them.

The cafe is one of those spots that you need to know about, to know to go. The name and the exterior doesn’t speak to what’s within. And the all glass exterior showing very little seats being sat doesn’t speak to the food. It isn’t necessary one of those places to travel to for an occasion, but instead a great place for some quick and comforting Chinese food.

There isn’t much in terms of decor, labelled tables and a single server standing at the ready by the counter/register. She was a little intense to start. She spoke abruptly and spat out questions for how we wanted the food directly. “How hot do you want it?” was repeated several times when my guest didn’t know how to explain that he wanted it spicy… eventually she did warm up to us, offering up her brand of jokes and even helping us stage some of our noodle pulls.

The following are the bowls we had. One of my guests got his favourite the “Xian cold noodles”, and agreed to a medium amount of spiciness, (this was after the above back and forth with our server). It was a slippery bowl that he easily and quickly slurped up. And even though his bowl came first and there was a wait to take photos, because it was served cold he had it as it was intended.

My other guest with gestational diabetes had to skip the carbs, so ordered “Stewed lamb soup with vegetable”. It was a fulsome brew with an herbaceous after note.

Two others ordered the “Spicy oil noodle with soy sauce pork, tomato, and fried eggs”. This was dry noodles served sauced up and well seasoned. Rich and meaty, with a good layer of grit around the “sheets”. Both agreed that it need more spice though, and they remedied it with a side of spicy chilli oil to share and dip into.

I went with what I knew and ordered the “Braised beef noodle in soup”, they also had a broth-less version, but I wanted something warm for this colder night. The chunks of beef were sparse and a little dry. I wished for a richer soup, so that the noodles cold absorb their flavour more. Good, but I wanted a richer broth to match the luxury noodle feel. But in the end I kept going back for more and finished my serving clean because of how much I enjoyed biting down and chewing through the texture of the noodle sheets.

One of my guests also got their “Stewed pork burger”. Soggy pulled pork served in a white dough bun. He asked for cilantro so that he could have some greens and their freshness in his handheld, but was warned that he would be charged extra for the herbs. I found this odd, but he agreed to it willingly. As for taste it was a little soggy, given our wait to eat.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I can definitely see myself craving this again, and thanks to two other locations, I need not travel all that far to quell them. They are definitely taking noodles to a whole new level here. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

OLD XIAN FOODS
1517 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1C3
236-455-7080

Guy Fieri at Peaceful Restaurant

“Food Network” celebrity, Guy Fieri was in Vancouver shooting for his latest television series. In it he revisits his favourite stops along his travels, while looking for the best “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives”. And I just so happened to be at the original “Peaceful Restaurant”, when he popped in. No words needed to be spoken, you could tell something was happening in the restaurant tonight. The camera crew, the large spot lights, and the cherry red convertible rolling up with a “FLVRTWN” license plate. Not to mention all the well dressed staff on shift today and the owner and his entire family present and ready to serve customers and prepare food. And it is not surprising that tonight I have had some of the best service, and the best meal from them to date.

For those unfamiliar with “Peaceful” they are the well known and beloved Sichuan restaurant that is delicious and approachable. A friendly spot that anyone unfamiliar with Chinese food, or is too intimidated to visit a restaurant with its name only written in Chinese characters; can come to and order exactly what they want and how they want it. Cut and paste Chinese food with an easy to read menu and plenty of photos. The restaurant takes into consideration their customers taste. More spice, less chilli, or additional salt. It is no wonder this winning recipe has earned them international recognition and additional locations all across the Lower Mainland.

The cafe on Broadway by Cambie is their first location, the original one that Guy first visited and helped launch all those years ago. With his endorsement he was able to help propel this family run business into the multi chain organization that they are today. And it was nice to be within the restaurant when the two parties (Guy and Charlie the chef and owner) reminisced about it all.

The filming was done in the kitchen, where Chef Charlie offered up newer dishes and sought Guy’s opinion on them. There was tasting and talking before the shaking of hands. The Guy was gone, just as quick as he came. But not before posing for a few photos and tagging the wall, just like he did 6 years ago.

When it came time for me to have my meal, we took our time and stayed much longer. The staff were friendly, and very hospitable. I heard servers ask about preferences when talking orders , and returning a couple more times to check on dinner and if they can be of further assistance.

I wanted what Guy got to try so ordered the two below. “Sichuan thousand chilli chicken”. Crispy chicken stir fried with dried peppers, peppercorns, garlic, ginger, green onion, green beans, and crispy potatoes (which is a new twist they are taking on this dish). It looks a lot more spicy and intimating than it really was. If you avoid the red chillies, you avoided the heat. Therefore the dish took work to eat, can’t just scoop and plop a spoonful into your mouth. Being caught off guard by a peppercorn or two, isn’t all that fun. But the menu gave you fair warning. They called this dish “tongue tingling” and that it was. I did like the rest of the ingredients. The ratio of batter to chicken was great, enough for crunch, without hiding the actual flavour of chicken. The beans were firm and the flavour complimentary to the nuggets of meats and the slivers of garlic. As my guest put it, this was a well balance meal with meat, vegetable, and starch; you just needed dairy.

“Xian steamed cold noodle” was the other dish we tried cause Guy did. I love a good thick and chewy noodle, so was excited to try some of “Peaceful’s” house made version today. When ordering it, our hostess spoke to how the dough for this is prepared. It is washed before it is cut into strips. And is then boiled and a thorough dressing with a garlic vinaigrette that includes sesame oil and tahini. The result, a chilled tart and tangy dish, with a warming chilli spice. Our hostess was also quick to boast that their freshly made chilli oil is what makes all the difference in this, and she was right. Great as a summer plate or a appetizer to kickstart your appetite.

And what put them on the map during Guy’s last visit, and the dish he helped familiarized: the “Peaceful beef roll”. Slices of beef and strips of chives roll together with a sweet and tangy sauce in a chewy green onion pancake. Altogether a great combination. It is worth nothing that everything in this, and everything else on the menu is made in house, except the rice cakes.

My favourite dish of the night was the “Peaceful house stir fried noodles”. Seared noodles, fish, shrimp, squid, pork, and vegetables; all coated in a chilli garlic sauce. It has a really great flavour that fully coats each slurp-able noodle strand. I liked the texture of the squishy squid with it, but found the BBQ pork a little much, whereas the fish was hard to notice all together.

And when it is handmade in house and on the menu, you have to get the classic “Xiao long bao”. These steamed pork and chive filled dumplings were deliciously moist, one bite morsels filled with warm soup. They were so soft that they almost melt under your tongue.

It turns out the owner’s daughter was working front of house tonight, and she was actually the one tending to us. Upon learning this fact, I took the opportunity to chat her up some. We discussed the universality of their Sichuan cuisine. And the fact that they are the Chinese food chain that is welcoming for everyone. She seemed proud, as her dad and brother dawned their chef’s uniforms, and her mother sat in the dining area taking it all in. What a cool experience and a great day to play the fly on the wall.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Same assessment as the last time I visited. A solid choice for quick and easy Chinese, made all the more special tonight. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PEACEFUL RESTAURANT
532 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
604-879-9878
peacefulrestaurant.com

Mr. Red Cafe

“Mr. Red Cafe” is a well known Vietnamese restaurant that specializes in North Vietnamese cuisine. They have been a long standing staple, therefore it is surprising that I am only just now visiting them. And lucky me, I was here with the best tour guide, acclaimed foodie and blogger extraordinaire “@foodologyca”.

She took the helm when it came to ordering, as I took in the decor. This cafe was transformed into a tropical rain forest with plenty of live greenery. Against a red brick wall a straw thatched roof was erected with wooden masks and straw lanterns hanging above. Whicker, wood, and bamboo really helped to complete the island vibe. They matched the straw and banana leaves that a few of our dishes were served on.

Like the “Vong village’s deep fry young rice cake with ground shrimp and pork”. They were essentially irregular, hand shaped meat patties. They had a gummy quality to them, similar to that of dim sum; but with the classic Vietnamese tangy fish sauce to dip them into.

The “Grilled beef wrapped in la lot leaves” was a handsome platter served with vermicelli noodle, fresh herbs, crushed peanuts, and fried shallots. Accompanied by the same light fish sauce again. I liked the meatiness of the sausage filling, but not the bitterness of the leaves that engulfed them. To help balance it out, I sought out more fish sauce and citrus, with the peanut for crunch. I would have also liked some vegetable and/or pickle within the leaves to give depth to the one toned meat log.

The “Mr. Red cafe spicy beef noodle soup” was inspired by hue style noodle soups, serve with assorted beef and pork ham slices, topped with green onion, cilantro, basil, and bean spouts. It wasn’t too spicy, a hearty and deep broth that warmed you to the core. No complaints.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
With an extensive menu filled with so much more to try, I would love to return when craving Vietnamese cuisine. A collection of platters, set meals, sandwiches, omelettes, soups, and wraps to keep you coming back for more. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MR RED CAFE
2131 E Hastings Street, Vancouver BC, V5L 1V2
604-710-9515
mrredcafe.ca
Mr. Red Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Giant Vegan Pho Challenge at Dundas Pho

The restaurant that brought Vancouver its first big bowl pho challenge is back with another!

It has been a year since “Dundas Eat + Drink” gave us their 6lbs “Six-O-Pho” challenge. And with the colder weather upon us, they’ve reckoned its time to launch another. This is their 3lbs “Vegan Bún bò Huế” challenge. It is 100% plant based, meaning this opens the doors for a lot more competitors.

 

And once again, I am honoured to be able to be the first one to attempt this challenge, and to road test it for them. To check out how I faired, and to get an idea of what’s it like to take on an eating challenge, visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei.

 

Bún bò Huế is a popular Vietnamese soup containing rice vermicelli and beef. The dish is best known for its balance of spicy, sour, salty, and umami flavours. This version is as tasty as its reputation suggests; made with deep fried tofu, king oyster mushrooms, and vegan Vietnamese ham. All the above gives the bowl plenty of taste and texture; along with the rice noodle base, and the mix of raw green onions, red onions, and cilantro for topping. But truly the star of this dish is the spicy vegetable broth. Despite its red hue it is actually not that spicy, more of a medium-mild on the heat meter. Delicious and great for chugging, which is helpful considering the challenge requires finishing the entire bowl, including the broth, down to the very last drop.

So now that you know how delicious this serving is, how can you try it for yourself, and better yet beat it?

The challenge is running all through December, it started on the 1st and “Dundas Eat + Drink” continue to host customers until the 31st. Each competitor pays $25 to play, win of lose the price is set. If you finish the entire bowl in under 20 min, you will win an instant prize! Then the 5 fastest contestants will be invited back for round two. This is a winner’s table where all 5 will face off against one another, in the hopes of winning the grand prize, valued at $500!

As they did last year, the extra large bowl of noodles will continue to be available for order after December 2018, although the price will increase to $30. To reminisce over last’s year’s meat heavy pho challenge, click on the link to watch my attempt video.

 

DUNDAS EAT + DRINK
2077 Dundas Street, Vancouver BC, V5L 1J5
604-420-1200
eatdundas.com

Gon’s Izakaya

After a day out at Stanley Park, attending a music festival in the rain, I was more than ecstatic to end our night within the warmth of this fushion Asia Restaurant.

Given how much I liked the food, I was surprised to see it so empty on a Saturday night. But this is also how I felt about the last three restaurants that held this space. Maybe it’s the location? -A far walk from Robson’s main strip, but then again they are next to a popular dessert cafe that has only flourished with its tenure. None the less we had plenty of room to enjoy this Japanese inspired izakaya, sharing raw seafood, saucy noodles and deep-fried vegetables amongst three.

At the entrance was a lengthy share table centred with some decorative bamboo and stones. Around the corner were additional seats lined up against the wall, a row set parallel to chairs along the bar. We grabbed a corner at the former and began amassing food and drink, starting with a bottle of white wine.

The menu is easy to navigate with pictorials. Their “Spicy red nabe”, was declared a must try, highlighted on its own laminated sheet. This was their house special hot pot with Japanese nappa cabbage, bean sprouts, tofu, eggplant, chicken, and pork belly: cooked in a miso broth flavoured with red pepper and paprika. You had the option of choosing how spicy you wanted it from a scale of one to five, I went for a one to be able to enjoy the dish.

It is cooked table side over a electric coil. It comes as a tower of raw ingredients in the aforementioned broth. Then as the brew boils and the steam seeps out, your server returns to peel back the layers of pork belly, and shift vegetables around to uncover a foundation of beansprouts. This opening is used to stir in a paste and a chilli sauce. Then the serving is allowed more time to boil and cook. The result is a wonderfully fragrant hot pot, one of the best in flavour with the fermented pickling providing a natural umami to the mix. This was definitely my favourite dish of the evening and one I would order again, should I return.

A close second for very different reasons was the “Tempura curry Udon”. I would order this one again too on my next visit. I was looking for something rich in sauciness with the proper carbs to soak it up. This sweet Japanese style curry with chewy fat udon noodles did not disappoint. The flavours and the textures of this are all ones I personally gravitate towards, if I am ordering for preference. I want another serving just writing and re-reading this.

The “Gon’s original kara-age” is Japanese style deep fried organic chicken. These were an easy win, tasty nuggets of juicy chicken you could easily pop into your mouth. Best with an beer to balance out its saltiness.

A little too similar was the gathering of deep fried vegetable and homemade fishballs. Tasty, but together with the chicken above this was too much deep fry and not enough pickled vegetable or creamy sauce to break things apart.

The “Seafood donburi” came as a set with miso soup, a side salad with vinaigrette, a steamed egg dish, seasoned bamboo, and a dish of tangy pickles. You felt you got your money’s worth with this one. Plenty to mix and match flavours with, and enough to leave you full. The raw fish over the sushi rice was a collection of sashimi that included red snapper, yellow tail, tuna, octopus, and sweet spot prawn. It was a seafood lover’s dream given how fresh it all tasted.

The “Takoyaki poutine” made good drunk food. Fries, gravy, and parmesan cheese topped with four balls of takoyaki, flavoured with its normal dressing of sweet mayo and bonito flakes. It tasted exactly as it sounds.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I really liked this place, as I naturally gravitate to asian fusion and smaller plates that allow you to order lots, try plenty, and sharing everything. If this was by my work I would be frequenting them more often. But sadly its not that close to make a trip out to, nor is parking easy by it. But if you are ever in the area and are ever given the option, I would definitely suggest snacking with them. Don’t deny your cravings

 

GON’S
854 Denman Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 2L8
604-559-6404
izakaya-gons.com/denman

Red Beef Noodle Kitchen

Today I visited a beef noodle place on West 4th, one that my guest has been meaning try. She has heard good things about the place and only recently have they completed their renovations. So here we were for an earlier dinner with no wait.

I haven’t visited before today, but I can confirm that the interior is lovely. It now has a very modern appeal with all black cushioned chairs, and booth seats facing white tables, stocked with a caddy of condiments. The featured wall appears to be papered in snippets from their menu, scrawled in cursive lettering. I was delighted that the hostess allowed us to occupy a large and spacious booth that could sit six, or eight if you tried, for just us two. This was the preferred seating for me, as the other group tables with chairs facing benches were taken; and I don’t particularly enjoy parking myself at one of those tables that is centred by an aisle on either side. This large booth felt more intimate, and it allowed us to relax more.

The menu was an easy read. High definition photos of each item. It didn’t do more to tell you what you would be getting, than offering a brief but precise description of the dish. But I was preoccupied with the smell of spicy broth that sat in the air. It had me salivating with familiar taste memories. This was a good sign of things to come, and enviable when they are known for laying meat and noodles in a bowl, then pouring their piping hot soup broth over it all: right at your table, right before your very eyes. The heat of the steaming broth helped to cook the serving we had below.

The restaurant prides themselves on the finest beef noodle soups, so naturally we had to get their “Premium red beef noodle soup” as our first taste. For twelve hours they slow boil beef bones with Chinese spices, resulting in a deeply flavourful soup that promises to be “complex and balanced” in taste. You have the option of enjoying said broth clear or spicy, I went for the former out of preference, and to be able to really taste the meatiness in the soup, as it was intended. This was one of the most full bodied, yet lightest broths I have ever enjoyed. It tasted healthy, but delicious; flavourful, but not salty.

The restaurant is called “Red Beef” because the beef from their signature noodle dish, (the one we enjoyed) comes raw. This is certified angus beef, it was tender, but lacked flavour when not enjoyed with mouthfuls of broth. The noodles are prepared tender to match, with a slightly firm and perfectly chewy mouthfeel in mind.

This was definitely the most refined beef noodle that I have ever had. It tasted premium, feeling like the almost $20 I spent on it was worth it. Especially as this was a large serving, there was a lot more noodles than we first thought. You couldn’t finish this serving alone based on size and the linger desire to have a change of taste after a few bites. The broth consumed and left you wanting something to freshened things up with. I don’t eat wilted greens due to a strong dislike of its texture, and there wasn’t enough corn kernels to go around. Though the corn’s presence was not missed as it injected its sweetness fully into the serving.

For their regular beef noodle soups they use beef shins and cook it in a wok, set over high temperatures, then dial it down to a lower temperature when it comes time to braise the meat. This ensures that the meat is delicately soft in texture. This was the beef noodle that I am familiar with, the one I would love to come back and try it.

To break up the heavy flavours of the soup, we shared a serving of “Wontons in chilli oil”. They were cooked to order, with the piping hot centres to prove it. The spiciness defined the dumplings, hiding any depth I would have gotten from its well seasoned centre. The textures were perfect: soften dough over chewy balls of meat.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This was good beef noodle and a good meal, but it is not a beef noodle soup that I would crave of. It wasn’t warming enough, or cozy like what I envision beef noodle to be, or like the servings from bubble tea houses that I am most familiar with. But still delicious, and worth returning to soon. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

RED BEEF
1947 W 4th Ave, Vancouver BC, V6J 1M7
604-558-1237
redbeef.ca

Long’s Noodle House

I have read somewhere that the way to define a good Chinese restaurant is a worn down exterior with matching interior, lots of Chinese people dining within, and a grumpy cashier. Well, this well known stop for noodles on Main Street has all three.

It is one of those cash only, hole in the wall Chinese restaurants. It is community fuelled, where regulars make them a part of their routines. And for good reason: the food comes fast, it is tasty, and affordable for day to day eating.

I found everything tasty and as I expected it to be. I grew up eating so much Chinese food, and with some many variations on my favourite dishes; I really can’t separate good from great. This was delicious, we ate it all down greedily, though at the same time, I wouldn’t need to drive all the way down for more, as there are other equally good Chinese restaurants, closer to my home. I did like how it was smaller and had a more casual feel though. You wouldn’t necessarily feel comfortable walking into one of those large dim sum in the morning, seafood restaurants at night, large enough to host a wedding reception at restaurants.

“Rice cake with preserve vegetable”. I love the chew of these slices and really eat it more for that then the flavour. In fact, I even avoid the slivers of green from the vegetable.

The “Tan tan with meat sauce” is one of my favourite noodle dishes. With a thick sauce and plenty of ground meat, the noodles walked away with plenty of flavour.

We rounded out our meal with even more carbs: the classic “Xiao long bao”. These were made in house, by a woman behind the front counter. They were plenty tasty, with a tangy dip in the vinegar. The meat was tender and the dough chewy, I just wish there was more soup within each bundle, enough to have the liquid gush and hit you in the back of your throat when you bit down.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It was good, we ate our fill and had no leftovers. I will crave such flavours again, but don’t necessarily need to satisfy them back here. Overall, I am neutral on this one. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LONG’S NOODLE HOUSE
4853 Main Street, Vancouver BC
604-879-7879
Long's Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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