Crystal Court Twofer – Huaxi Noodle Specialist & Favor Eat
When seeking out a nice, quick, soul-satisfying lunch for one, a trip to an Asian food court is a great choice. The culinary/foodie part of my brain starts to flicker at the sheer variety of tantalizing Far Eastern fare. Yes, the food can trend a bit towards mediocre; but with enough visits and a timely tip or two, you get to the better parts.
At the Crystal Mall food court in Burnaby, two shops stand out for some exceptional Beef Noodle Soup.
First off, Huaxi Noodle Specialist. They make their soup in the Guizhou style. As Guizhou province is straddled by Sichuan and Hunan, this cuisine has its fiery similarities. When it comes to their soup, Guizhou is known not only for its heat but also for its sourness. An old, local saying goes, “Without eating a sour dish for three days, people will stagger with weak legs”.
This is a bowl I’ve had a few times. Hot & Spicy Beef Noodle. Served extremely hot, the steam sends up nose-tingling wafts of chili, cilantro and garlic. There’s good-sized chunks of well-braised fatty brisket and lean flank with a good & chewy noodle. The broth is oily, deep and rich, teeming with a hidden layer of capsaicum.
When asked for a heat level, for some reason I become detached from my brain. I know I can jack it up myself with the condiments, but, weirdly, I always say “very spicy, please”.
Huaxi’s soup is packed with flavor but you can always take it up a notch with the good selection of condiments. Raw garlic, chili oil and black vinegar above. Cumin, chili powder and salt below.
Across the way is another stall with great soup.
Favor Eat offers a good variety of Taiwanese-style beef noodle soups.
My favorite part of this menu is in the lower left-hand corner. Four words that should be on every single menu printed…Free To Add Spicy!! Today’s choice was A1. Beef Noodles (Soup) with, of course, free spicy.
A good, deep and hearty stock, chewy noodles with big chunks of semi-fatty brisket and fresh, crunchy bok choy. Along with the free spicy, a big dollop of sambal and we’re good to go! Almost. Right next door to Favor Eat is Wang’s Shanghai Cuisine and their delicious made-to-order Xiǎolóngbāo…a near perfect accompaniment.
If you’re looking for a quick, spicy lunch fix, Huaxi Noodle Specialist and Favor Eat will consistently do the trick. For a small handful of change.