Today we were at Dragon Bowl’s second location. Truthfully, I have never been to their first, (downtown Vancouver); so if I liked them after this visit it is nice to have this as a closer option, to my home in Burnaby.
The restaurant is pretty straight forward as a nice grab and go spot for bowls and drinks. Easy to order at the counter and enjoy at one of their dine-in tables.
It is also fun with a wall of neon and back lit script reading, “Unleash the dragon in every bowl, the taste that will make your taste buds roar”. This promise and flash certainly got me excited for the meal to come.
There is also an infinity wall welcoming guests to their new city and home.
You begin by choosing your protein from chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or a vegan option. Next it is your base with choices like white rice, brown rice, noodles, rice noodles, or salad. And finally the sauce between mild and spicy, or classic flavours and their signature takes.
When the base of your three picks are ready, you are invited to the counter to then select your sides. This is a collection of troths that includes shredded potato, bean sprouts, wood ear fungus, celery and carrot, and shredded bean curd. You can either choose what you want or have a little bit of each, like we did. In a sense, this process felt like the Chinese version of Subway Sandwiches.
I was pleasantly surprised by how well all the sides went with everything. Especially the distinct taste of celery. When was the last time you had celery in an equally pronounced curry? I did like how the cold sides mixed with the hot food. Offering a different taste, texture, and temperature in every bite.
I highly recommend the add-on of a braised egg to any order. They all come whole from a pre-made vat of light soy that they are resting in.
Each bowl comes with a side of soup. The chicken broth is so rich and warming. And the pieces of soften carrots and daikon gives you more to chew through.
We would try three different combinations to get a good idea of their variety. Out of the three my favourite was the Beef over white rice with their house-made dragon sauce, which is a sweeter soy-based dressing.
We were told that the Shrimp over noodles in the curry sauce is a popular combo. Slightly on the sweeter side thanks to both the curry sauce and the shrimp.
The Chicken with rice noodles in a black bean sauce is a safe bet. This features soft and slurp-able rice noodles. In contrast the chicken felt a little over cooked and tough. And I also could have use more sauce over it all.
For drinks they offer fruit and bubble teas. I went with the winter melon tea plus grass jelly, as I don’t often see winter melon on many drink menus. But sadly, we arrived when they just opened and their pearls weren’t ready yet, so grass jelly had to do.
My guest had the pineapple green tea with coconut jelly. Sweet and also bitter, with a pineapple forward start and bitter tea finish. The coconut jelly was a nice texture, but didn’t help to dull the sweetness. In hindsight the less sugar and the no ice option should have been exercised here.
In short we loved how homey and comforting everything was. It felt homemade and nostalgic.
Dragon Bowl New West
406 6th St, New Westminster, BC V3L 3B1