Friday, March 12, 2010


This tiny Taiwanese restaurant by a bus stop on Victoria Street is undeniably the best Taiwanese restaurant in Vancouver. (They should really pay me to write reviews for them). I have been eating at this restaurant since my family immigrated 13 years ago. The restaurant is small with only 6-7 tables. It is often so crowded during the weekends that customers have to share tables with strangers.Half of the menus are on the wall, in Chinese only, and some dishes have to be ordered in advance due to the prep time. The English menu is terrible and the best dishes actually sounds disgusting.

If you are not familiar with this type of restaurant, please read my Taiwanese Cuisine 101.

Food: 4.75/5
There was an elderly couple who sat beside us. They spent a good 20 minutes looking through the English menu, and judging from what they have ordered, I had a feeling that they were not enjoying themselves, so I guess you can order the "wrong dishes" here. Menus are the walls would the surest bet to delicious food, so get out of your comfort zone and order it blind. The following are dishes that I have really enjoyed in the past:

京醬肉絲 (Shredded pork with plum sauce): what an uninspiring translation, but sweet and tangy. Even my friend from small town Alberta liked this dish. It's also the safest dish for those with very defined comfort zone.
宮保雞丁 (Chicken/lamb/fish/squid/meat with kong bao sauce): Chicken is the best.

魚香肉絲 (Chicken/pork/squid/meat with chili sauce): another terrible translation It's quite spicy, but the aroma is to die for.

客家小炒 (Dry squid with green onion): This is actually a Hakka dish and my mother's favourite. It is dry, smoky, and full of subtle flavours.

蛤礪湯 (Clam soup with ginger and Taiwanese basil): It's especially great on a cold winter night. It is broth based. They have a lot of amazing soups.
五更腸旺 (Spicy fondu pork and organ stew): The Chinese name of this dish is rather poetic. I think Chinese do what the French does, don't bother with translation and you can fool your customers into eating snails and duck liver fat. This dish is really out there, intestine and blood tofu, but really delicious.

Ask for satay vegetable with lamb, drunken chicken, thousand year old eggs (not literally). They also have a selection of drinks important from Taiwan. Gourde juice with honey, guava juice, Taiwanese root beer, Taiwanese apple cider, and so forth. A frozen section with dumpling, wonton, dragon buns, etc.

Service (1.5/5):
At peak hours, they have 2 waitress. Don't expect them to keep your reservation, if you are more than 10 minutes late. Don't expect them to come and take your order, serve your food, refill your tea in timely order. Be aggressive, wave them down, and ask for the bill. Check your plates and bowls for dirts and smudges. Bring cash, because they don't take cards. Be patient. The service is better than Dinesty, but not by much. But the food is worth it.

Ambiance (2/5):
The place is brightly lid, cute, clean, with Taiwanese pop music from the 1980s. Very crowded.

Overall Experience: (4/5)
They got the spiciness of my mother's dish wrong. They immediately replaced it without argument. The chef came out and greeted his regular customers and sat down with some of them for conversation. The wife, who one of the waiter, talk comfortably about prenatal care with another young couple. I love the mom and pop feeling of the place.

Total: 14.25
Go for the food, it's worth it (if you dare).

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