The slow proliferation of Japanese-run ramen places has reached the Metrotown area in Burnaby. Yaguchiya Ramen is currently in soft-opening phase but the shoyu ramen I tried already tasted like it hit the mark right out of the gate. It’s a tiny place that seats ~16 people but I can already tell they’re gonna be busy once word gets out. Glad to see real Japanese ramen this far out of downtown.
The newest Angus An venture, Sen Pad Thai, opened up a couple weeks ago (early May 2017) in the Net Loft building across from the Granville Island Public Market. (It’s the same building that houses Paper-Ya.) The whole Angus An group of restaurants has had a busy season. Only two weeks previous, Freebird Chicken Shack reopened in a larger space at River Market (New West) with a revamped menu. I’ve written about this group of restaurants before:
- “First Look: Juicy, Delicately-Seasoned Rotisserie Chicken at Freebird Chicken Shack in New West”
- “Fat Meh Noodles: An Early Review of Fat Mao Noodles”
- “Longtail Kitchen – New Fall Menu” (2013)
- “Longtable Dinner at Longtail Kitchen: Authentic Malaysian Cuisine by Alex Chen” (2014)
- “Getting My Tail Kicked at Longtail Kitchen” (2014)
- “Steel & Oak x Longtail Kitchen: You Got Red Pilsner in My Green Curry! You got Green Curry in my Red Pilsner!” (2014)
- “I Choo Choo Choose You at Longtail Kitchen” (2015)
- “What its like being a small part of a food TV show: You Gotta Eat Here (Longtail Kitchen Episode)” (2015)
I’ve also been to Maenam a couple times (before I started this blog), so I think I have a bit of a tough love kind of relationship with the whole group. I hold them to high standards (if you flaunt Michelin-star experience, then I must watch for attention to detail, technique, consistency, and above all, taste — actually, those are my criteria all the time). If those high standards aren’t met, it kills me inside as a fan and as a customer.
So does Sen Pad Thai fall into the homerun category (Longtail Kitchen), underappreciated but mildly inconsistent category (Freebird), or the not-good-enough-out-of-the-gate-wouldn’t-go-back category (Fat Mao)? Read on…
The Kingsway and Joyce area has been a hotbed for Chinese food, with a few notable Northern Chinese restaurants (including some blow-your-head-off spicy Hunan food at Luckynoodle). I don’t have a lot of experience with Northern Chinese food, but I’m growing to like it, even tolerating the oiliness of some of the dishes. We had a really good first experience at Joojak and would definitely come again, and perhaps explore other Xian restaurants to see how they compare. We’re kinda spoiled for regional Chinese food in Vancouver/Richmond/etc and I’ve taken it for granted.
Side note about this area: There’s a new Peaceful Restaurant going in across the street from Joojak, right beside Goldtrain. Also, the new location of Hida Takayama Ramen (the ghetto superstar of Robson Public Market) is where Vanya used to be beside Royal Bank. Plus, I like the xiao long bao (soup dumplings) at Wang’s beside London Drugs. It’s a very foodie-worthy area.
The cult favourite Nine Dishes is back! Their former location on Kingsway in Vancouver closed down in February 2015 (I think) and was a favourite among those with an adventurous attitude towards dining. I went to the new location with a group of longtime Chowhound members to see if the magic was still there. Will it be a case of “Nein Dishes” at Nine Dishes? Will it hit the mark or will it be chabuduo (close enough)?
The place with the poetic name, Flower & Horse in Spring, opened up in the old Spaghetèi space in November 2016. (Before Spaghetèi, this space was the original Benkei Ramen.) With less than six months under its belt, Flower & Horse in Spring has already won a Chinese Restaurant Awards award — one of five “Social Media Choice Awards” given out in 2017. Read the judge’s own thoughts on why he chose this place here.
A couple food-obsessed types and I went to check it out.
Basically ignore every post or review of Joe Pizza you’ve read before late February, cuz after their initial soft-opening phase using Annabelle Choi’s sourdough, they’ve completely reworked their dough recipe on their own, now use commercial yeast, and have lowered prices to the $5-6 range instead of original ~$8; so it’s pretty much a new place as of late February. I went on a Thursday night and while I like it and admire it for what it is, I don’t love it.
The downtown location of Yah Yah Ya Ramen on Robson St. (same block as Korean supermarket H-Mart) opened up late November 2016. I tried it today and was pleasantly surprised at how good my bowl was. The gyoza, however, was not so good.
To the point: good bun bo hue (might be the best available in Vancouver), ok everything else.
Britannia Brewing Company has been open a bit more than a month as of this writing. Aside from Hog Shack and Gudrun, there aren’t many other serious craft beer places in historic, slightly touristy Steveston. Britannia fills a niche that I think will work for them.
There’s a popular salad bar near my work that I’ve ignored for years. But then people in the office said they liked it, so I tried it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯