Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Chinese in Vancouver 2002 - 2006


mamster
 Share

Recommended Posts

In today's Georgia Strait they blew the lid off our local secret: VIP's Kitchen, on Marine drive near 17th in my 'hood of West Vancouver. Super cheap, and if you avoid the dishes that are on the menu for the blue-rinse set (most of whom go to the terrible Ambleside Chinese on Belleville) you can get really off-beat and great stuff. Can attest to the egg and oyster pancake and the duck.

If only it were licensed...

And by the way, we love chicken feet even though we're of northern European descent. I think one of the great tests of whether or not new friends get to be culinary friends is whether or not they'll try the "red claw." I had a bunch of new colleagues out for dim sum in the fall and quickly rated them by how they reacted to the chicken feet.

Edited by Paul B (log)

Paul B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I walked by VIP - it looked like such a mish mash of stuff - well - this means I need to try it out.  Good Chinese - in West Van?  Maybe the world is coming to end..

Yeah, try it out. I've been afraid they'll go under for the longest time. The article in the GS should give them a boost, but it would be good if West Van residents rallied behind them. I mean, the only other Chinese in WV is Ambleside (yuk) and the place in Dundarave. For the good stuff we've always had to go to North Van. VIP's is great, if eccentric, and should be supported. Plus the people who run it are nice.

Paul B

Link to comment
Share on other sites

In today's Georgia Strait they blew the lid off our local secret: VIP's Kitchen, on Marine drive near 17th in my 'hood of West Vancouver.  Super cheap, and if you avoid the dishes that are on the menu for the blue-rinse set (most of whom go to the terrible Ambleside Chinese on Belleville) you can get really off-beat and great stuff.  Can attest to the egg and oyster pancake and the duck. 

Having mentioned VIP briefly in eG just a couple of weeks ago, I might as well go into a bit more details, now that it's been "outed" by the food-writers -- well, actually, it seems it had been written up before already, but whatever...

Most of the on-menu items are in fact Vietnamese and choy-suey style Chinese. So, as Paul said, to get the "great stuff," you have to stay away from those. What VIP offers is not just run-of-the-mill Chinese, but a fairly specialized regional cuisine of the Chiu-Chow area. Chiu-Chow, despite its being a part of Guangdong (AKA Canton Province), is vastly different from the rest of Guangdong in terms of its food. Let me highlight a few to get you started; the chef/owner is quite fluent in English and can take care of you if you show interest. Some of these might have made it into the GStraight article, but I wouldn't know, since I don't read it anymore:

1. Soy-marinated items: Well, actually, they are somewhat a cross between braised and poached, using a soy-based liquid that contains secret spices. Foremost is the duck, which you can from a quarter to a whole. This is a must-try, for you will not find more tender and more flavourful duck anywhere. Period. Please consider rounding it out with tofu, eggs, and octopus; or if you are a little more adventurous, pig's ear.

2. The oyster omlette is perhaps the best I've had. It's crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with oysters that seemingly melt in your mouth.

3. Gai lan stir-fried with anchovies. If you like gai lan with oyster sauce, then this is ten times better. Somehow the flavour of the sea that the anchovies give out just frames the freshness of the gai lan perfectly.

4. The octopus balls, either in soup-noodle, or as a soup by itself. The texture is awesome and the soup is so soothing for a summer day.

5. Chilled whole crab. This is, needless to say, seasonal. But when it is available, you must have this; once you have had it, you will never go back to Joe Fortes, Bluewater, or one of those seafood restaurants to have crab. Who can even fathom a whole crab simply steamed and chilled can be so sweet and rich?

6. Conch: grilled or poached. We've all had conch, the rubbery thingy, right? Not here -- the chef uses his excellent knife-skill to slice the conch really thin. This is one of the sweetest and most tender conch you can have.

The off-menu is really not that extensive, as the chef serves only what he's best at and he is doing everything by himself. Besides the above, do try the pomfrey pan-fried and then simmered, the fried oyster, and, if you are in the mood to splurge a little, shark's fin soup, Chiu-Chow style. A couple of sweet dishes are also available, but I don't think we're gonna have room for them...

Authentic Chiu-chow cuisine is very very hard to come by in this part of the world, so please try it while you could.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We ate at Golden Szechuan tonight for the first time and had very good food: very sweet, very fresh steamed butterflied Alaskan shrimp (candy striped pink and white) with garlic and scallions over rice noodles. Mapo dofu with beef, strangely, but very custardy and perfectly sauteed-steamed pea shoots with garlic. All very well prepared.

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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not sure if anyone has seen the Feb 2005 issue of sunset magazine( american magazine). They have an entire article on Richmond's chinese food scene.

Their top choices are

Bamboo Grove

Fisherman's terrace seafood rest.

Garden City Hot pot

Hoi Tong Chinese seafood

Jade Seafood.

Kirin

Mckim wonton mein saga

Oriental Delight

Shanghai river restaurant

Sun Sui Wah Seafood

Zen Fine chinese cuisine

Edited by CaliPoutine (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

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."

Thanks for this recommendation. Just grabbed lunch there today. The "official" name of the restaurant is "Vancouver 1st Hu Nan Chinese Restaurant" at 8166 Main St. I had the sliced pork and cabbage with chili and garlic, which was served with thinly sliced tofu in the mix. The dish was excellent, with just the right amount of heat which was counterbalanced nicely by the radish and pork soup that was served on the side. I will certainly return. Thank you!

Cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After the marathon eating on Saturday - I was still obligated to have Dim Sum with older relatives and the ungodly hour of 10:30 am in Richmond. Which meant I had to drive across three bridges to fulfill the duties of a good Chinese nephew. Don't ever ditch your older Chinese relatives - the payback is brutal. My mother still refers to one of my cousins - who happens to be an attractive female - as a "bad bad girl" - which is code for 'slut'. All because she is not dutiful enough for my mother's liking.

We met at Yu Restaurant on Alexandra Road. It's an ala carte joint - so no carts to point at and then pointing at your mouths to indicate something you want to eat. They have english menus with some pictures - but the english is brutal. It makes those old Godzilla movie subtitles read like Shakespeare (which I can't understand either). Oh thee well.

Sticky rice - which was thankfully not underglass as usual. It was very nice - sticky in that sushi rice kind of way - but not too rich. Flecked with chinese sausage that was almost like bacon. This was my favorite dish because I don't have this very often and it was very well done (also it seemed to soak up some of the toxins from overeating the day before).

gallery_25348_1373_1136.jpg

Rice noodles with Shrimp and BBQ Pork. You could have two kinds of dim sum on one plate - what a concept! It's radical thinking like this that got the Chinese explorers to America hundereds of years before Columbus.

gallery_25348_1373_4523.jpg

Again two kinds of things on one plate - this place is crazy. Forget the Fa Long Gong - the PRC Secret Police are going to shut this place down. Eating here makes you a counter-revolutionary. The usual shrimp dumplings - two with a slice of scallop and tobiko. Well steamed - nice skin and fresh tasting shrimp.

gallery_25348_1373_3311.jpg

This is always called "fried donut in rice noodle" - its a terrible name. Really - it is deep fried bread wrapped in a rice noodle. It was very good and fresh - the fried bread stick was crispy and yeasty and the rice noodle thin and delicate. You got to dip it in a sauce of hoisin and light peanut butter. Second favorite.

gallery_25348_1373_11095.jpg

Baked BBQ Pork Buns - there were four but my uncle ate one before I could take a picture. Again fresh and yeasty (kind of like many members of egullet) - very good - but there was a really sweet glaze on the bread. Okay though.

gallery_25348_1373_10471.jpg

Dessert no. 1 - Steamed Sponge Cake. Never a big fan of this - like sweet insulation. However - the restaurant gave us the corner piece - the worst piece in a batch. A BIG sign of disrepect to our table. Uncle is unhappy. I am thankful for the smaller portion.

gallery_25348_1373_3055.jpg

Dessert no. 2. Called "thousand layer cake" - it is a steamed conconction of sweet white cake layered with a kind of custard. The custard is spiked with mashed salted egg yolks. Sounds yummy eh? It IS good - the salted egg yolks give the custard a nice sandy texture and cuts the sweetness. This is a very good example of this type of dessert and they are generous with the salted egg yolks. There is also what looks like shreds of pig fat - but I am told it is winter melon added to mimic pig fat and keeps the cake lighter. I am again thankful.

gallery_25348_1373_3468.jpg

Now - all this food comes to the grand total of $25! If you get there and order before 11am - you get 20% off your bill. Now I understand the ungodly hour. I can't really say if this was a great dim sum joint because I could not sample more food - but it strikes me as the kind of place that good middle class HK families frequent. The room is very comfortable - nice high ceilings and hyper efficient staff. Definitely a place to check out if you are in the neighbourhood.

My relatives are curious about why I am taking pictures - and I explain egullet and the fantastic C Lunch I went to. I show them pictures from C - and I am told that I am eating too richly and need a cleanse. My aunt will brew me a tea that will really 'clean me out'. In fact - the brew is sooo powerful that she cannot leave the house for two days when she has it because she is not certain when it will kick in. And when it kicks in - it is brutally effective. I sit - nodding and thanking her in advance for the tea. Clearly - the tea won't be cleaning anything except the insides of my kitchen drain.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Lee, thank you for the pics, food descriptions, and the laughs about the cleanse. It will be easier to order when I pull out the printed copy of your pics and just point and say, I want all of this! Oishisoooo, as the Japanese say. (Looks Delicious!)

"One chocolate truffle is more satisfying than a dozen artificially flavored dessert cakes." Darra Goldstein, Gastronomica Journal, Spring 2005 Edition

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love those rice noodle things with the meat inside...what are they in Chinese, Lee? I don't see them go by on the cart. Friends of mine knew what they were, once, but I can't remember and haven't had them in a while.

I need to go for some Chinese soon, I will lose my chopstick skills.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love those rice noodle things with the meat inside...what are they in Chinese, Lee? I don't see them go by on the cart. Friends of mine knew what they were, once, but I can't remember and haven't had them in a while.

I need to go for some Chinese soon, I will lose my chopstick skills.

In Cantonese, it is called "cheung fun" and is usually served on an oblong dish under a stainless steel lid (thus hiding from view).

Lee, the sticky rice does look great in the bamboo steamer (without glass). I have only ever seen it served under glass at dim sum, which (I'd presumed) was to keep it moist. I do love the idea of mix and match steamers too. Vive la revolution.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love those rice noodle things with the meat inside...what are they in Chinese, Lee? I don't see them go by on the cart. Friends of mine knew what they were, once, but I can't remember and haven't had them in a while.

In Cantonese, it is called "cheung fun" and is usually served on an oblong dish under a stainless steel lid (thus hiding from view).

xie xie!

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went and checked Double Double Congee house on Kingway and Victoria. Always good to have an alternative to Congee House on Main and Broadway.

For those of you expecting some sort of Tim Horton Congee experience - you will be disappointed. It is a solid congee house and serves good basic chinese food with rapid fire HK wit and speed. The proprieteress - and these places seemed to be always run by the same women - kinda bossy in that auntie kind of way - and a little on the masculine side.

Sliced Fish Congee w/ Watercress

gallery_25348_1373_8316.jpg

Minced Beef Congee

gallery_25348_1373_4657.jpg

Now I am not usually a big fan of congee as I find the texture varies between watery and gummy - but these were excellent. They were almost creamy. The ingredients are cooked in the congee base and come to the table bubbling hot (as opposed to being precooked and then getting dumped into the congee for heating through). The watercress is an excellent addtion - adding a fresh green element to what can be a heavy porridge. I am actually baffled by how creamy the congee is - and I suspect some sort of cooking trickery. Still - it was very good.

Had the prerequisite deep fried bread with the congee. These were fresh, well risen and not greasy at all. The round bread is a sweet version of the bread and usually I loathe it - but this one was only lightly sweet and was actually the fluffier of the two. They look vaguely naughty no?

gallery_25348_1373_2580.jpg

We were told that these were the best daikon cakes in the city. They were very homestyle - soft and creamy - not too much binder. Really quite good.

gallery_25348_1373_8020.jpg

Also had a soya sauced chow mein that had lots of bean sprouts and is standard accompniment with congee. All that for $20 tax and tip included.

I think this place also specialises in the rice noodles discussed up thread (or cheung fun) and are made fresh on the spot. These are all breakfast items in HK - so it is kind of like an diner that you can get breakfast any time. They try to push some dinner items - but I am not sure how good those are.

They also have a ginger custard that is very light (chong ngai or 'bumped' milk) - I think that there is no yolk in the custard so it is very light and refreshing. Did not sample it though. Will be back again.

Edited by canucklehead (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Went to Vogue in Richmond (Cambie and Sexsmith). It is a very popular restaurant with the Tawainese. I find that the Tawainese food to be all about making things rustic - which means alot of strong flavors. The Tawainese are big snackers too - and I like their appetizers and dim sum items the best.

The restaurant is very non-chinese friendly. The waitresses speak very good english and look like they are the asian cast of "Earl's - the Waitrons". The menu translations are not bad and they have marked out their top 20 most popular dishes.

We had Beef Rolls in Pancake, Pig's Ears, Handmade fried noodles, Special Tender Beef, and Spicy Wonton's. As expected - the Beef Roll and Pig's Ears where the best items. The handmade noodles were think and doughy (chinese Anton's!) and the Tender Beef was beef brisket in bubbling brown sauce - not bad but - meh.

gallery_25348_1373_4353.jpggallery_25348_1373_7545.jpg

The beef rolls - where like giant peking duck wraps. Onion pancake rolled around and five spice beef and hoisin sauce. Good. The pig's ears are thinly sliced - uh pig's ears dressed in a spicy sesame oil dressing. Meaty and Crunchy! Everybody was ordering them (so be like the popular kids and get some too). So Vogue is good for the small plates and friendly and actually helpful (for a change) Asian waitstaff.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^OoOohh...haven't had that in a month or two. I love my rice drowning in the coconut-y sauce. How was the brisket? I like it with a medium amount of fat. The last time I had it, it was quite lean (Richmond location).

Nice and fatty with a little gristle too - good good. I think that the waitresses mistake you for one of those girls that worry about everything that they eat. Little do they know that you are the Unrelenting Merciless Eating Machine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^Oh man. The beef rolls in the pan-fried pancakes at Vogue are the best that I've found in Richmond. The ones I've had recently at Ba Guo Bu Yi just didn't compare at all (pancake was still doughy-white, not enough beef, virtually no sauce).

I don't like getting just lumps of fat in my beef curry, but fat is flavour so a reasonable amount is very tasty! Brisket is a fattier cut of meat...feed me the fat (and gristle...I love gristle.) :laugh:

Edited by Ling (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Vogue was our local until our local re-education commitee suggested we spend some time on a workfarm in the country and readjust our western imperialist attitudes and now are happier in the less bourgoise environs of Shanghai wind. Agreed about the Earls calibre waitresses, they're friendly and helpful, and speak better english than me.

Taiwanese seem to enjoy things that are both sweet and spicy. Being a Japaleno jelly exporter to Taipei would probably be quite lucrative.

I've said it before, I'll say it again; There's not a bad meal to be had in that mall. Ellie two doors over is my favourite Malaysian spot in town. Not the best Laksa, but everything else is superb. The Japanese noodle shop across from Vogue is excellent, as it the Shabu Shabu place next door.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^OoOohh...haven't had that in a month or two. I love my rice drowning in the coconut-y sauce. How was the brisket? I like it with a medium amount of fat. The last time I had it, it was quite lean (Richmond location).

We prefer the regular curry beef instead of the brisket at Mui's. A little less heavy as the pieces are less fatty. The sweet and sour pork at Mui's is also first class, if you haven't tried it..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^OoOohh...haven't had that in a month or two. I love my rice drowning in the coconut-y sauce. How was the brisket? I like it with a medium amount of fat. The last time I had it, it was quite lean (Richmond location).

We prefer the regular curry beef instead of the brisket at Mui's. A little less heavy as the pieces are less fatty. The sweet and sour pork at Mui's is also first class, if you haven't tried it..

The beef curry is very good, but we go there for the fish cakes, which are exceptional.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What are the fish cakes like? I don't think I've ordered fish cakes before at a restaurant...I'm just picturing that pureed fish paste stuff that my mom pan fries and then covers in sauce.

So...fish cakes and sweet and sour pork. Thanks for the recommendations--I admit I've never veered too much from the Hainan chicken and curried beef brisket. :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I corralled some fellow egulleters and based upon the good word from Nondual1 and Vancouver - decided to check out Hu Nan on South Main.

The storefront must have been one of the saddest I have been in a long time. Felt like one of those dusty roadside places that I have been to in China - which could be a good thing or a bad thing. The place has been around for 3 years now and so seems to be able to make a go at it.

The food was indeed exemplary - showing alot of finesse and care to ingredients. Was not as spicy was we were hoping/fearing and it turns out the owner dailed down the heat for us - even thought I specifically told him not too. Well a return visit is in order to test out how hot the blast furnace can go.

gallery_25348_1373_15033.jpggallery_25348_1373_9849.jpg

gallery_25348_1373_401.jpggallery_25348_1373_4179.jpg

The first dish was a house speciality and on the (Chinese only) special board - stirred fried cured pork belly with garlic chives - this was my favorite. They smoke and cure the meat themselves and it is hung to dry so the flavours can concentrate. It was like smokey spicy bacon that was perfectly matched with the crisp fresh greens.

The second dish was HuNan Beef - basically stirred fried beef with scallions, chilies, and black beans. We were told that these were the classic elements of Hu Nan food. Good and again showing alot of finesse - but could have really done with more heat.

The stirred fried pea shoots with garlic were outstanding. Not greasy or stewing in their own juices - this dish showed that the kitchen is interested in first class ingredients and treating them well. Sort of a litmus test - the way Jamie Maw describes how soups are a good guage of a Western restaurant - a simple stir fry of a seasonal vegetable will reveal how much care the kitchen is willing to put into the little things.

The steamed chicken with chili's and vinegar was a real balancing act of flavors. The vinegar and chili really worked together to heighten the heat but still refreshing the palatte. If they did not hold back - the owner told us that the entire dish would have been carpeted with chilies. Too bad - would have been really interesting to experience fully spiced. Be forewarned - this dish has ALOT of bones - when Sushicat found a strip of chicken breast - you would have thought we had raised the Titanic by our yelps of joy.

Still - good good good. This place also delivers for free for a 5km radius. A solid recommendation from Nondual1 and Vancouver.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So now you are leaving me wondering if I'm a wimp for spice, or if for some reason they thought I could handle it! :wink:

Glad you enjoyed it. And thanks really go to nondual for this tip!

Cheers!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Taking a hit for the team - I've continued to explore spicy chinese food and I must admit I am enjoying it. It is a real change from the cleaner Cantonese food that I usually have.

So went to Schezwan on Saba Road tonight with most favored Aunt (who did not pay).

gallery_25348_1373_5868.jpg

As Keith says - this is a beautifully decorated restaurant. We got a private room - which usually adds a 20% charge on the bill. But my Aunt had a VIP card - so no upcharge. The last time I saw lighting this nice was in a Johnny Wad movie.

gallery_25348_1373_6420.jpggallery_25348_1373_13566.jpg

gallery_25348_1373_5328.jpggallery_25348_1373_12538.jpg

gallery_25348_1373_7918.jpg

Cold poached Pork Belly with Spicy Sauce. Boiled Spicy Beef.

Stirred fried eel w/ garlic chives, lily bulb, and chilies. Dan Dan noodles.

Chicken soup with ginko nuts.

The food is very good - but it has been dialed down for the Cantonese people who overrun Richmond. I really liked the pork belly - sweet tender pork dipped in a nicely spicy sauce - ooh soo good. The boild spicy beef - was huge - spicy but not quite enough of the Sichuan peppercorn citrus-pine bite that I really love.

The stirred fried eel was very nice - clean bright flavors - but do they have eels in Sichuan? The eels had alot of whole Sichuan peppercorns - really nice and pungent. The Dan Dan noodles were a mixed bag - the noodles were perfectly tender and a nice chew - but the sauce was heavy handed. Lots of soy and full of fried soybean nuts - sounds like a good idea but the crunch is jarring - like you have bitten into a bone. The soup is the giveaway that they are serving a Cantonese market - it is a sweet clean broth and very welcome balance to the meal - but I this did'nt strike me as Sichuan. Still I am not complaining.

Pretty pricey meal - about $100 for two. There were alot of leftovers and I don't think you would have needed to order whole lot more even for maybe four diners.

I think that this is a nicely civilized way to enjoy Sichuan food. The servers are all PRC Chinese and the clientel was nice mix of all sorts of people. But I must agree that Sichuan Garden on Broadway seems more on the target of real Sichuan food - I mean you could tell it was a different kind of cuisine there. Schezwan in Richmond though very enjoyable - the food had alot of Cantonese 'notes' and was not an unadulterated experience.

I am told that the lunch is not so good - and dinner is their best service. I also drove by Bao Yu Guo and Shanghai Wind and asked my Aunt if they were good. All she could say was - 'Ech! So dirty!'

Edited by canucklehead (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...