Today I was invited down to visit Bamboo World Kitchen, a newer cafe that has opened up along the South Granville strip, within the last two months. Having worked in the area for many years on and off, I personally know the struggles of having to find a decent lunch in the vicinity. Something quick, easy, inexpensive, and hopefully healthy; and to be able to fit it all into a 30 minute break. And now that I have finally left the area, I have finally found a spot that hits all those marks.
The owners of Bamboo World Kitchen has put a lot of thought into their concept and space, and it shows. To start, their name isn’t just for show. The “bamboo” speaks on many levels, as reminded by their bamboo world map decor piece, that centres the room. This was in tribute to all the cuisine inspirations that they take from, from all around the world. Basically anywhere that bamboo grows, and apparently this is plentiful.
They have also partnered with local businesses that work with bamboo: Recycling used chopsticks in order to create shelves, table tops, and display solutions. And bamboo is also used in their entire line of serve ware including take out boxes and cutlery.
I was most impressed by the bamboo straw that came with my smoothie. Close up you could see the fibres, but not taste it. And it didn’t melt like paper straws do, offering a great solution to the disposable plastic problem.
As of the smoothie, out of the 3 options available I went for their PB&B smoothie because I love peanut butter. Peanut butter, banana, dates, vanilla extract, and your choice of almond or soy milk. I would recommend the former as I find soy milk a dominating taste in anything it is a part of. This tasted both healthy and delicious, a great meal replacement solution with all natural fruit and its sweetness courtesy of dates.
When I saw their showcase of dim sum, I had to try them all. Bamboo World Kitchen’s goal is to offer their day long dim sum in replacement of other processed sides like a bag of chips or a chocolate cookie. This was definitely something unique that differentiated them ,and had me gravitating towards them. But be warned, this is not your traditional Chinese variety of dim sum. Take and enjoy it for what it is here, not what it could or should be.
The Prawn dumplings were filled with prawn, bamboo shoots, salt, sugar, potato starch, sesame, white pepper, lard, wheat starch, tapioca starch, and canola oil. Served with their house made chilli lime sauce. I really appreciated how they listed every single ingredient for full disclosure, and to ensure they are delivering on their promise of all natural and healthy. These dumplings were a light take on a childhood classic for me. A slight tangent on the original, and I didn’t hate them for it. The sauce works and help to make it their own.
The Bamboo gyoza was their take on the traditional Japanese gyoza. A vegetarian offering with cabbage, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. In a wrapper of white pepper, five spice, black truffle oil, potato starch, sesame oil, flour, and canola oil. Served with their in house made citrus soy sauce. Another not traditional, but still satisfying take on something everyone is familiar with. Once again the sauce helped to set their interpretation apart.
The Bean curd roll was my favourite of the three all day dim sum snacks. I especially enjoyed its slightly crispy wrapper with its chewy texture of various fillings. Bamboo shoots, carrot, wood ear fungus, vermicelli, sesame, salt, white pepper, sugar, and wheat flour. Served with their signature Royal Bamboo sauce. This was a tangy sauce that reminds me of Italian marinara in its thickness and use of tomato, but with the addition of Korean sweet and spicy seasoning.
Here, I would like to point out how great all their sauces are and how you can use them interchangeably. The menu items may be pretty straightforward and common, but it is their unique listing of sauces that set each dish and them apart. I even took the time to suggest to the owner of Bamboo World Kitchen that they should offer their sauces as an add on. To advertise that each menu item comes with their choice of sauce and the ability to mix and match any two, to any dish. I tested my sauce theory with the dim sum above and with the wrap and bowls below, and can confirm this to be true. Their sauce is boss and they need to feature it a lot more.
I wanted to try to their Pacific Northwest wrap, as you don’t often see salmon available in a wrap. BC smoked salmon, spiced potato, red onion, capers, heritage lettuce blend, grape tomato, their own maple dill cream cheese, and their own house-made lemon vinaigrette. The wrap as a whole had a great flavour. You couldn’t necessarily make out each individual element, like the salmon was lost, but as a whole it was cohesive and worked. Each bite was different and my favourite mouth moments included an interesting spicy pickle that popped in and out. But as good as this was as it, a dab in one of the dips above took it to the next level.
The Signature bamboo bowl includes brown rice, edamame, humus, bamboo shoots, hemp furikake, pickled carrot, Nori seaweed, cucumber, beansprouts, red cabbage, and the option of an egg. All coated in the Royal Bamboo sauce that we had with dim sum earlier. The freshness of all their ingredients made a difference. This was a good mix of textures and taste. I found it needed a protein so was happy that I added on the shrimp as its main. I also felt it needed more sauce, so added on a peanut butter based one to bring much needed flavour to the mix and to make it my own. This was a hearty serving that taught me that alfalfa and seaweed works well together.
The Bangkok bowl was a mix of marinated rice noodle, tomato, cucumber, pickled carrot, romaine lettuce, cilantro, scallions, a coconut curry sauce, and more of their Royal Bamboo sauce. I liked the change up of having rice noodles in replacement of rice as a base. But in comparison to the bowl before, this one lacked in ingredients. This left me feeling like I was just having a bowl of noodles and lettuce. And once again there was not enough sauce to inject flavour. But from what you can make out the curry and Royal blend of spicy and creamy works. Once again I was happy to have added on chicken as a protein for substance, and requested more peanut butter sauce for taste. In truth, I would recommend the wraps over the bowl, and definitely request a sauce for dipping it in to.
And for those who like to end their meal with a bit of sweetness, Bamboo World Kitchen also has healthy desserts. I had one of their Vegan peanut butter Nanaimo square. More peanut butter than chocolate, not too sweet but filling with shredded coconut for added texture.
In conclusion I like the restaurant’s vision, mission, and values. They are doing what they can to help the planet, while serving their community the much sought after healthy alternatives for lunch and snack. Steamed to cook, organic, locally sourced, ocean wise and made fresh to order. Come for their interchangeable and delicious sauces that take their regular wraps, bowls, and dim sums from common to one of a kind.
Bamboo World Kitchen
2690 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6H 3H2