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Chinese in Vancouver 2002 - 2006


mamster
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nondual1 - I want to give myself as many excuses to eat, and testing the 'authenticity' stuff is as good as any!

As for - "bing tang dun hua jiao" (rehydrated fish-bubble in a crystal-sugar soup) - I think that this should be served at the next egullet function.

The Alinea Project makes much stranger sounding food and it's supposed to be so cutting edge - so, why not a little fish-bubble for dessert?

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IMO, it all boils down to one thing: butter (or lack thereof).  :raz:

:shock: That's right...! Yes!

But then, doesn't the liberal use of lard (not the frozen re-constituted type sold in supermarkets, but the "real" thing) make up for that? Guess what supposedly make your "crystal-steamed sweet glutinous balls, Chiu Chow style" taste so good??

Of course, nowadays, nobody even uses lard anymore...! :sad:

Speaking of which, where the heck is there any authentic Chiu-Chow restaurants around? The only one I knew of (that's long gone) was Cariana in Richmond.

VIP's Kitchen (1487 Marine Drive, West Vancouver. 604-925-1811), although non-descript in decor, comes very close to being authentic Chiu-Chow, the only constraint being the availability of authentic ingredients. The menu is pretty small, since the chef wants to offer only those that he makes really well, but include many of the popular dishes one finds in a Chiu-Chow restaurant. In terms of skills, the chef is at par with any Chiu-Chow chefs in Hongkong or Chiu-Chow.

Make sure you call ahead of time to make a reservation, since there are only 4 or 5 tables, and request dishes that require preparation (such as cold crab, fish-rice, shark's fin soup and so on). No, unfortunately he has no time to make crystal-rice-ball, although he could make taro-paste ("yu ni") and even "clear-heart pills" or "qing xing yuan" if you really really really beg.

Enjoy!

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Went to Golden Szechwan (Broadway - just east of Burrard) for dinner tonight and had the following

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Cold poached free range chicken in spicy sauce

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Boiled beef in spicy sauce

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Dan Dan Noodles

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Chocolate Torte... OK it is a Red Bean Pancake.

The food was very good. The cold poached chicken is served on the bone and is dressed (rather than cooked in) a spicy sauce. There was a nice contrast between the cool chicken and the spicy dressing. The peanuts are very important in the dish - crisp and fresh, kinda like good Virginia Peanuts.

The boiled beef is actually a stewed beef in spicy chili oil. It did not have the citrusy flavour of sichuan peppercorn that I remember when I had this dish in Chengdu (China) - still it was very good - rich and peppery, but with good clean flavors.

The Dan Dan noodles where probably the best thing. Seemingly simple - but rich, meaty, and spicy - with only a touch of peanut. This dish can be over dressed - but this version had the right amount of sauce - much like a proper ai olieo pasta.

Overall the dishes all had good flavor and a slow heat that snuck up on you. Nothing too challenging. The host is from HK - he actually referred to himself as MIHK (made in HK) vs his staff who are mostly MIC (made in China). He was very friendly and helpful in puttting together a meal for people who were not very experienced with Sichuan food. He said for us to try the spicy crab next time.

The final dish was dessert - red bean pancake - I would even try to convince you... either you like it or you don't. We polished this guy off - not too sweet and a nice eggy pastry (freshly made).

Dinner with a beer and sour plum tea (to offset some of the spice) was $57 before tip.

Chinese food is better with pictures no?

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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Went to Golden Szechwan (Broadway - just east of Burrard) for dinner tonight and had the following

The food was very good.  The cold poached chicken is served on the bone and is dressed (rather than cooked in) a spicy sauce.  There was a nice contrast between the cool chicken and the spicy dressing.  The peanuts are very important in the dish - crisp and fresh, kinda like good Virginia Peanuts.

The boiled beef is actually a stewed beef in spicy chili oil.  It did not have the citrusy flavour of sichuan peppercorn that I remember when I had this dish in Chengdu (China) - still it was very good - rich and peppery, but with good clean flavors.

The Dan Dan noodles where probably the best thing.  Seemingly simple - but rich, meaty, and spicy - with only a touch of peanut.  This dish can be over dressed - but this version had the right amount of sauce - much like a proper ai olieo pasta.

Overall the dishes all had good flavor and a slow heat that snuck up on you.  Nothing too challenging. 

Chinese food is better with pictures no?

Urgh... and you didn't save some for me...? :angry:

I am so glad you like the food. And you took some amazingly appetizing pictures! You are gooood!

Golden Sichuan has the best dan dan noodle in town, its only room for improvement is to use fried soy bean instead of the peanuts that it is using. This and the Zhong's Dumpling are the two that I order everytime I'm there. The same two served up at the Szechwan Restaurant on Saba Road, for example, are far inferior.

On the other hand, Szechwan Restaurant's "boiled beef/pork" or "shui zhu rou" is better than Golden Sichuan's. Both of them, however, best other so-called Sichuan restaurants in the "slow-heat" department: not so hot that scares one away, only just enough to seduce one to take yet another bite to prolong that tingling feeling, and, before long, one's sweat glands are driven into high-gear until one is immersed in an esctatic serenity of spice paradise. And then one lets out that moaning... :wub:

Very different from, say, Hunan (for which, incidentally, Vancouver is blessed with 3 very "authentic" restaurants) and the Southeast Asian heat.

Honestly, you have only scratched the surface of the very good Sichuan food at Golden Sichuan. Try some of their non-spicy dishes, like shrimp with guo-ba (rice-crispies) and "twice-cooked pork," next time; and if you like to down a couple of beers, peppercorn chicken, which is almost the only "authentically" done version here in town. Please also give some of the cold side dishes a try if you have room.

I think someone should organize one of these egullet events (to which, incidentally, how come I have never received an invite, huh?) at Golden Sichuan, which has a private room tucked away perfect for it. :smile:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, thanks canucklehead and nondual1 for giving us a new great place to eat; Golden Szechuan was under our noses this whole time, only about 4 blocks away! I am so sad we haven't been eating here for the last few years.

The boiled beef was great, nice and spicy, good slow burn as you've both mentioned, and so delicious that I've been wanting more all week. Also a tremendous deal, I think you could feed four with that bowl alone. The twice-cooked pork was also pretty tasty, although compared to the boiled beef...

Next time peppercorn chicken and cucumber with garlic and chili! Totally delicious, my new favorite restaurant (until Dan reopens that is).

Anyway, I wouldn't pull this back to the top again, but I, too, would like to know the identity of the 3 Hunan restaurants, if you could oblige rm_blizzard and I.

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Golden Szechuan... Totally delicious, my new favorite restaurant (until Dan reopens that is).

Anyway, I wouldn't pull this back to the top again, but I, too, would like to know the identity of the 3 Hunan restaurants, if you could oblige rm_blizzard and I.

I too look forward to Dan's re-opening; it must be tough for a young couple like them to go through a mis-fortune like this.

Hunan places -- well, folks, I am afraid we are now down to 2...

1. The first one is at the foot of Main Street, where it crosses Marine Drive (8166 Main Street, Vancouver: 604-323-8093). I have eaten there a couple of times, with very good impression. The last time I ate there I drove home drenched in sweat and in a chili-induced daze -- do they give out DUI tickets for that, one wonders? They have a way of pickling the chili to make them almost white, and very fiery hot. "Chicken with white chili" is good, as well as the "fish head with chopped chili."

2. There is one on No. 3 Road (and Cambie, on the south-east corner, #150 - 4160 No. 3 Road). It 's relatively new and I have not eaten there.

3. There is -- and perhaps used to be -- one on Kingsway called Crystal Hunan, directly across the street from Metrotown. I drove by last week and, I might just have driven too fast or something, I didn't catch it. It would be quite a shame if it's no longer around, for native Hunanese like the food there. In case one of you want to give it a try -- 4539 Kingsway, Burnaby: 604-437-0828. Try their braised pork, Mao style.

If you are not familiar with Hunanese food, it is usually very fiery-hot, and not the "slow-heat" hot, but very direct and punchy. Sichuan is quite cerebral and subtle, with many layers of flavour; Hunan is more rustic and in your face, with a simpler flavour profile. Not surprising at that -- Sichuan is home to Taoism and many poets and artists; Hunan's favorite son is one Chairman Mao, not to mention the site of many battles throughout history.

Try them out; you just might like Hunanese food. But then, having found Golden Szechuan, you mean you still have quota left for other Chinese food?

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I went to Shanghai Wind for the first time a couple weeks ago, & really liked it. We had 2 kinds of xiao long bao - the regular pork kind (nice thin wrapping (although I've had better in Hong Kong & Taiwan), flavourful filling, good soup), & the crab xiao long bao. I was a bit disappointed with the crab kind - while there was more soup, it didn't have enough crab flavour - there wasn't a huge difference in flavour with this one & the regular kind, except that it was saltier. There were only slivers of crab meat mixed in with the pork filling, & the sweetness of the crab meat didn't come through.

The vegetarian steamed dumplings were quite good, really stuffed with diced firm tofu, chopped Chinese mushrooms, I think spinach (or bok choy, can't remember), carrot, & other things. Thick wrapping, but that's how it's supposed to be.

A huge highlight was the "8 treasure duck". It's not normally a dish that's eaten for lunch, as it's a heavier dish. I think it's kinda like the Chinese equivalent of a roast turkey, in that it's stuffed (it's deboned though). There are usually at least 8 things that the duck is stuffed with (hence the "8 treasure" part of the name). This particular one was stuffed with sticky rice, lotus seed, Chinese mushrooms, Chinese preserved meat, Chinese sausage, bamboo shoots, red beans, soy beans, & some other stuff (it was more than 8 things). The duck meat itself was quite good, nicely infused with the flavours of the ingredients stuffed inside, and soft & juicy enough that it melted in your mouth while still retaining the strands in the meat. I've only had this once before, at Koon Bo, but Shanghai Wind's 8 treasure duck is much better - with 8 treasure duck, the stuffing can get greasy & the meat can get too soft (such was the case at Koon Bo). While Koon Bo's has more lotus seed (too much, IMO), Shanghai Wind's has more sticky rice. The meat was also really thick - 2 inches thick at the breast part.

We also got the pea shoots in soup stock (is that what it's called?). The pea shoots were nice & tender, not stringy & overcooked. The broth wasn't too salty, nice & subtle.

We got a bunch of other things, but I don't really remember them.

For dessert, we got the gao li dou sa, which is kinda like a cross between a French cruller & a cream puff (deep-fried, eggy & moist like a cruller, shaped like a cream puff), which was reeeally delicious! :wub: They were bigger than any I've seen, & came straight from the fryer, so were piping hot & crispy, & filled with red bean paste.

I tried "8 treasure rice" for the first time, & while I don't normally like rice in desserts, this was surprisingly yummy. I think it's sticky rice filled with 8 things (red bean & I don't know what else, nobody knew). There was a syrup that it was drenched in, & I bracing myself for the sugar rush, but I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out that it wasn't really that sweet - I'm guessing the syrupiness of it resulted from the sticky rice.

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A duck? Stuffed with sausage? And ham?

See, this is exactly why I'm so pissed off with all of you. Who here knew about this supposed bird? I'm not 100% convinced that chocomoo isn't having us on, winding us up as it were. You know the old chestnut about something sounding too good to be true.

For the record, if anyone else stumbles across anything else as seemingly delicious as the mythical 8 treasure bird, I'd like to know about it.

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For the record, if anyone else stumbles across anything else as seemingly delicious as the mythical 8 treasure bird, I'd like to know about it.

Also at Shanghai Wind, available usually by advance order (a day or so), beggar's chicken.

A dressed whole chicken stuffed with all sorts of goodies and then wrapped in lotus leaves. The whole thing is then encased with wet clay (or, perhaps it's just a flour dough, since the right type of clay is hard to find here) and baked. The bird is cooked in its individual clay pot! Think lu'au, only with chicken. Extremely tender, aromatic and flavourful -- you get a sniff of the fragrance three tables away as soon as it is broken open and dug into.

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Not that many restaurants in town are willing to take the time and effort to prepare this dish -- order it while you can! (Photos simulation only -- exact product at Shanghai Wind may vary).

On to Shanghai Wind we go!

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I'm sorry but Shanghai Wind is the best restaurant in the city. Now I wish everyone would forget what I just posted because it's too busy already. Hell on Friday night I saw another caucasian couple getting takeout. Takeout! At Shangahai wind! Caucasians!

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I love Shanghai Wind. I think their juicy pork dumplings are much better than the ones at Bao Gu Bu Yi. The dumpling wrapping at BGBY is very, very thin and delicate (some prefer this) while the ones at Shanghai Wind are more substantial. The broth at the latter restaurant has this viscosity and depth that I find lacking from the dumplings at BGBY, and the minced pork at BGBY is "loose" and does not hold its shape like the filling at Shanghai Wind. I also like the hot and sour soup at Shanghai Wind much more--generous amounts of Chinese fungi :raz: , hearty broth, good balance of sour/hot. I find the hot and sour soup at BGBY not sour enough...I ended up adding black vinegar to my bowl.

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It's on Number Three Road betwen Park and Cook, across the street from the Sears at Richmond Centre, in a strip mall called "Times Square". But don't tell anyone else. And I'd personally appreciate it if after your eat you posted here how "bad" it was, and how you'll never return and how we're untrustworthy. Thanks.

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Does anyone know of any good halal/muslim chinese places in Vancouver? I keep hearing that they exist but I haven't been able to find one and since I don't get down to LA very often anymore I am really craving. There are none to be found in Seattle.

Rocky

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It's on Number Three Road betwen Park and Cook, across the street from the Sears at Richmond Centre, in a strip mall called "Times Square". But don't tell anyone else. And I'd personally appreciate it if after your eat you posted here how "bad" it was, and how you'll never return and how we're untrustworthy.

Geez, there goes any hope of getting a table at Shanghai Wind for the rest of us...! It's as difficult as it is! :angry:

So, no way am I going to let it out that they are closed on Tuesdays and their number is (604) 276-1780. I take so much joy at seeing one hopeful party after another being turned away while I nibble away at my pan-fried little buns (no, not *my* little buns... :rolleyes: ). Who told them to not call ahead (at least 1 hour prior) for a table!!!

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Does anyone know of any good halal/muslim chinese places in Vancouver?  I keep hearing that they exist but I haven't been able to find one and since I don't get down to LA very often anymore I am really craving.  There are none to be found in Seattle.

Sorry, but as far as I can tell, the only one in Vancouver -- Ma's Kitchen on Main and about 20th -- has closed since a couple of months ago.

May I recommend a close (-enough) replacement called Kedah? It's Malaysian and very much halal/muslim. One of the best and authentic Malaysian restaurants in town. And the prices are *INCREDIBLE*!

5750 Fraser Street: 604 325-9771

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I like Golden Szechuan as well, but the last few times I was there it wasn't up to par, hence the reason that I'll now drive to Richmond.

I've been meaning to organize a Szechuan night just haven't gotten it together with all the other events, also wanted to do some off menu tasting before this. Also somehow this seems like a good winter event, I'm leaning towards Oct. or Nov. unless someone else beats me to it, I'm happy to do this at either Golden Szechuan or Ba Guo Bu Yi, don't think I can afford the new place ...

If anyone is trying the Hainanese place at the foot of Main, let me know - I can bop down there for a lunch or meet up with a willing crowd for dinner.

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There's a Halal Muslim place at the Richmond Public Market in the food court. I've not tried it, looks authentic. I'm not 100% certain of the appeal of lamb dusted with tons of cumin and not much else. Who knows, it wouldn't be the fisrt thing I don't understand. I refuse to try Halal Chinese until I can get sauteed camal pad. Or would that not be halal?

And Shanghai Wind is like Vij's. Go before six or after nine.

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It's on Number Three Road betwen Park and Cook, across the street from the Sears at Richmond Centre, in a strip mall called "Times Square". But don't tell anyone else. And I'd personally appreciate it if after your eat you posted here how "bad" it was, and how you'll never return and how we're untrustworthy. Thanks.

Thanks for the reveal, Keith. You have no idea how many times I've unwittingly passed Wind whilst searching for 8 Treasure nirvana.

from the thinly veneered desk of:

Jamie Maw

Food Editor

Vancouver magazine

www.vancouvermagazine.com

Foodblog: In the Belly of the Feast - Eating BC

"Profumo profondo della mia carne"

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Canuckle, Peppyre, Moosh and I went for dim sum last week at Sun Sui Wah on Main. Not that anyone needs to be told to go to SSW, but there is one item there that made a particular impression, and it was a dessert no less.

Some dim sum places do a baked tapioca. The result, if you've never seen it, is a glass bowl full of yellow custardy goodness, speckled with tapioca bubbles, and covered with a pudding skin that George Costanza would kill for. Have I sold you yet?

The Sun Sui Wah version is actually covered with a pastry crust and features a small ball of :shock: red bean paste inside. However, despite the presence of my nemesis, I still think SSW's baked tapioca is really good. How's that for an endorsement? Anyway, go try it.

PS: Don Mee in Victoria does these treats, but theirs feature a ball of yolk inside, rather than the red bean. Also good - skin but no pastry crust - but it does eliminate RB.

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Does anyone know of any good halal/muslim chinese places in Vancouver?  I keep hearing that they exist but I haven't been able to find one and since I don't get down to LA very often anymore I am really craving.  There are none to be found in Seattle.

Sorry, but as far as I can tell, the only one in Vancouver -- Ma's Kitchen on Main and about 20th -- has closed since a couple of months ago.

May I recommend a close (-enough) replacement called Kedah? It's Malaysian and very much halal/muslim. One of the best and authentic Malaysian restaurants in town. And the prices are *INCREDIBLE*!

5750 Fraser Street: 604 325-9771

Mia Stainsby has a short write up on Kedah House in Today's Queue, sounds good.

Cheers,

Anne

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Mia Stansby also gave a thumbs up to Hoi Tong in Richmond (on no. three road). There a are number of very good dished that she did not order. They have a good chinese chicken salad - thin strips of chicken dressed lightly with shredded cantalope and honeydew melon, excellent roasted squab - bronzed and crispy on the outside - rich and juicy within, and rice in lotus leaves - fluffy rice with shreds of dried scallops and aromatic from the leaves.

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Went to Kirin for dim sum today - downtown location. I really prefer the ala carte method of ordering. I know it is a pain in the ass for non-chinese - and CBC's like myself - but the freshness and immediacy of the dim sum is so much better than the cart method.

I know that we have spoken about this before - but I can't understand why there can't be pictures in the menu. I mean for god sakes - with digital camera's it takes all of three seconds. I mean between Mooshmouse and myself - restaurants around the city are going to be able to cut and paste the pictures from egullet soon.

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I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is why we have jobs boys and girls - so we can eat in a civilized manner. Civilization.... aaahhh.

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Stirfried Ricecake - Shanghainese Style. Thick chewy disks of rice noodle stir fried with shredded pork and spinach.

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Wontons in a spicy sauce. Not a lot of heat - but rich and garlicky.

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Steamed pork ribs - these were super fresh and hot out of the steamer - not a popular dish among the non-regular dim sum crownd. Delicous today!

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And because there were only chinese people eating with us today - Chicken Feet! All hail the glorious Chicken Feet!! About the only people who are willing to put more chicken parts in their mouths are the French. And look at what great civilization they have (okay - no body odor cracks please.)

Lunch for two - about $30 tax and tip included. Ahhhh - to be a grown up is a good thing.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
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