I stumbled on The Bao Place cuz of Instagram. Good thing about Instagram is that it’s good for discovering places that other people like. Bad thing is that it’s impossible to remember who mentions what because it’s like Twitter — it’s a deluge of data that’s unrelenting…like a firehose. There’s only one lukewarm review on Zornado of this place, but since I was in the area, I thought I’d check it out for a quick lunch.
Ah, the good ol’ Chowhound BC forum…we’ve been beaten down with heavy-handed moderation and ugly site redesigns, yet we still go back like dogs to vomit.
I’ve only met a couple Chowhound people in person. You know “tweetups”? Well, sometimes there are “chowdowns” where we meet up in real life to take photos of our food and eat food while talking about other food. A few of us Chowhound members met up at Double Double in Richmond recently and it was a night of firsts. I had never been to a chowdown (nor eGullet meet-up) before, and I had never been to Double Double before. I’d do both again.
TLDR: This dinner goes to show that most restaurants aren’t all good or all bad. It’s usually a matter of finding the best dishes that suit your taste. I hope this post helps you with that!
The restaurant space next door to London Drugs on Kingsway near Joyce has been a restaurant black hole over the past 20+ years. In the 90s the space used to be a Taiwanese restaurant called “Lingering Flavour” which was really quite good. After Lingering Flavour closed down, the space turned into a few different restaurants before becoming a Bubble Waffle Cafe location last summer (review here). But then that closed down and became something else (possibly dim sum-related?), but NOW for the past month it’s been a Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine. I really hope they stick around because their xiao long bao (XLB) are great.
Instagram has been great in finding new restaurants and seeing what places are new, hot, popular, or strange. Wicca wanted congee (Chinese rice porridge) but didn’t want some cheap ‘n dirty Cantonese place. She found an Instagram post about this new place in Richmond called Kongee Dinesty. A) Fucked-up spelling, and B) as far as I know, not related to the other Dinesty. We went for a little lunch and were very pleased.
It was a day for family-type stuff and hanging back. We got some much-needed rest in our hotel room in the evening but still had some pretty good eats.
- Ocean Star Restaurant (Monterey Park)
- Qingming Festival at some cemetery
- Saigon Flavor (San Gabriel)
- Boba Ave 8090 (San Gabriel)
- George’s Liquor (San Gabriel)
After learning how to navigate the city with a combination of Google Maps, transit, and Uber/Lyft, we decided to head to Chinatown and take a train towards the southeast.
- Philippe The Original (Chinatown)
- Buu Dien Banh Mi (Chinatown)
- The Bruery (Placentia)
- Garden Cafe (Alhambra)
Bit too much beer the night before, so we started out a bit lighter on this day then ramped it up 😉
- Yung Ho (San Gabriel)
- Bhan Kanom Thai (Thaitown)
- Father’s Office (Santa Monica)
I learned some hard truths:
- Food isn’t the only determining factor in the success or popularity of a restaurant.
- Tuesday nights after a long weekend are brutal for a restaurant just a mere block away from all the action — a block away in the wrong direction, unfortunately. So, location does matter.
- Vancouver is still a small city with grand, lofty goals but not enough density to support such goals.
- Social media is prone to faddism, hype and can generate big restaurant launches. But to sustain the momentum in the long run, well…it’s up to you (the “you” is left purposefully vague here).
- Four “foodies” sitting at a table can easily burn four hours just talking about food.
Bao Bei has been open for 5 years and we’ve never tried it until Wicca’s friend came to town recently and gave us an excuse to eat somewhere nice on a weeknight 😀 We decided on an “Asian with a twist” theme that night, with other possibilities including Pidgin or Bambudda. Luckily, we were able to get into Bao Bei without too much trouble. In a nutshell, our food experience here ranged from ok, to good, to awesome. We were surprised and enlightened by their take on “modern Chinese”.
I don’t go to Hong Kong-style cafes that often, but when I do it really brings me to that special place…it’s like Asian comfort food. Cheap, big portions, can be a touch greasy, but with satisfying Cantonese flavours you know and love. Silver Tower Cafe Restaurant is a great example of HK-cafe style food that does the job and does it well.