Tasty Taiwanese Pork Paradise & Garlic Bombs at Corner 23 Bubble Tea

We quite like Taiwanese food but don’t really have a go-to place that we outright love yet. We used to like Red Persimmon in the Crystal Mall food court (closed and turned into something else), Lingering Flavour beside London Drugs on Kingsway near Joyce (which is now Bubble Waffle Cafe), and Kalvin’s Szechuan. We haven’t really explored Taiwanese food in Richmond except back in the 90s at places like Vogue. Good thing Instagram came through for us again when we found out about Corner 23 Bubble Tea on Cambie near King Edward Ave. Thanks to phancouver in particular for posting this photo.

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Corner 23 has a small, cramped parking lot in the back that holds about 8 cars, and it can take a bit of back-n-forth to get into the innermost spots. I recommend backing your ass in…or finding some legal street parking.

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King Edward skytrain station is just across the street. Some very nice takeout dinner possibilities for those on their way home after work!

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Easy-to-remember hours. 11:00am to midnight every damn day.

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Another important stipulation.

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That cut-out doily pattern on the menu is crazy. I dunno who “Uncle D” is though…

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This gave me a chuckle.

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They have that red fermented pork dish (A-02) that we love at Kalvin’s Szechuan. We’ll try this one to compare.

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The menu is huge, but a large chunk of it is rice combos. We got the A-10 Braised Pork Sauce with Egg on Rice plus some entrees/sides.

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A-26 Deep Fried Chicken Wings with Fermented Soybean Curd sounds like a fried chicken version of the red fermented pork except with non-red fermented soybean.

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There’s a lot to explore in the Classical Taiwanese Dish section. We got K-01 Wan Luan Pork Hock (small). We were unsure about how they cook and serve it, so I googled “wan luan pork hock” and we liked what we saw, so we ordered it!

Note to restaurants: how you liking all this free advertising that social media is giving you? Also, the ESL staff had the most difficult time describing this dish, so thanks to all the bloggers out there! 😛

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We just can’t get enough pork, so we also ordered K-25 Five Spice Stewed Pork Blood and Pork Intestine. So that makes FIVE meat dishes in total for our brunch (4 pork and 1 chicken). Not a vegetable dish in sight! Haha…

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While we were waiting for our food (which came out in a fairly timely manner), I remembered that this space used to be a semi-generic Chinese restaurant that we tried once in the late 90s or early 2000s. It was a late night meal. Can’t remember if this place had a different name back then…definitely had a different layout.

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A-10 Braised Pork Sauce with Egg on Rice ($5.95). Probably our favourite Taiwanese dish. Japanese short grain rice with chunks of meaty, fatty pork in a savoury and slightly sweet sauce. Marinated egg and those critical tangy pickled mustard greens (?) round it out.

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The bits of cilantro help counter the richness a bit.

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Soft, oozy yolks are great and all, but hard-boiled yolks have their own appeal, especially when eaten with that saucy rice! I could come here by myself and just eat this dish. Perfect meal-in-a-bowl. Pickles and cilantro count as a veg, right?

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K-01 Wan Luan Pork Hock (small for $10.50). Served cold with a thick, intensely garlicky sauce. If you’ve ever had sliced cold pork hock served with white vinegar & minced garlic for dipping, this is a sorta similar dish, except with more of a stewed/marinated flavour. The hock is cut into bite/mouth-sized chunks so it’s a different experience from eating thinly sliced hock. The skin and fat are firm-ish, with a great chew and bite to it. This isn’t a stewed-until-it’s-tender type dish. You have to LOVE rind and fat (and garlic) to enjoy this dish. It looks like a simple dish but it sent us over the moon.

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That sauce is intense! So zingy, almost spicy with the amount of garlic essence jammed into it. You’ll be feeling, tasting, and smelling that garlic for hours afterwards. We should’ve got a bubble tea to cleanse our palates :/

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K-25 Five Spice Stewed Pork Blood and Pork Intestine ($10.50). We loved this one too. Definitely for offal lovers. Pickled mustard greens in this dish too.

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The intestine was tender/chewy, as guts usually are. The seasonings in the soup helped cut the funkiness, but as you chew and swallow, there’s an unmistakable pork intestine aroma that you will sense through retronasal olfaction (smells wafting up your throat to the back of your nose). More about retronasal olfaction here.

The “five spice” component of this dish is either very subtle, or it might be a different kind of “five spice” that doesn’t smell or taste like the typical (usually overbearing) Chinese five-spice powder. In any case, we loved this dish and devoured it as leftovers that night.

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A-02 Pork with Red Fermented Sauce ($6.50). Much less consistent coating than at Kalvin’s Szechuan (see this post for photo). Visually it looks a lot like Chinese BBQ pork (charsiu) except sliced on the bias.

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Tastewise, there was plenty of nam yu flavour. Nam yu are fermented tofu cubes sorta like fuyu except nam yu uses additional red rice wine lees, and in this dish it creates a funky, perfumey sweetness that I really like. Flavour was good, pork was moist, but I like this dish with more crunchy batter on the outside (like at Kalvin’s Szechuan).

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A-26 Deep Fried Chicken Wings with Fermented Soybean Curd ($5.95). Apparently this dish contains fuyu (as mentioned above) but I couldn’t taste or smell that salty, funky, fermented tofu cube essence. Wicca could taste it a bit, but I longed for a stronger fuyu flavour. As it was, it just sorta gave a general savouriness to the wings.

If you’ve ever eaten Esrom washed rind cheese, the taste and smell of esrom totally reminds me of fuyu. It might even be similar bacteria that’s involved in creating both.

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The wings were juicy but the coating wasn’t crispy at all. The one disappointing dish of the meal. But it wasn’t terrible by any means, so the batting average for this meal was still great.

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We had enough food left over for dinner too!

Corner 23 is on our Taiwanese short-list now!

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6 thoughts on “Tasty Taiwanese Pork Paradise & Garlic Bombs at Corner 23 Bubble Tea”

  1. Kalvin’s has the best red fermented pork, IMO.

    Corner23 now has expanded to Richmond by way of Uncle Lu …. I’ve not been there so I’m curious how they’d compare to C23, which I know since they are in my ‘hood.

    I quite like the Bubble World chain for their rather consistent quality, but YMMV. I’m not as enamoured by Pearl Castle as some folks are.

    There’s also Beautiful Island, on Imperial @ Nelson, in Burnaby. Only been there once ….. it was ok but may require a revisit for me to gauge them better.

    I hear Sunway, Maji, Delicious Cuisine, Joy’s Kitchen and Kao’s, all in Richmond, are all quite good. Again, they’re on my to-do list !

  2. Nice to see you made it out to C23! That pork hock has been my go-to for years. The chicken nuggets aren’t bad either (but can be hit or miss…. sometimes really grisly).

  3. last Sunday, 8/23, we ate here. spicy eggplant with minced pork only there was no minced pork. wontons in spicy peanut sauce had no peanut flavor and no spice.no return for us.

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