Chili Pepper House

There was a time, many years ago, when going out for Chinese food meant choosing between Combo A, B or C. Or, if you were lucky, your folks would take you to the Rickshaw in Surrey for the Saturday night smorgasbord. All the different and new flavors and textures…the garlic, the ginger, the won tons, deep-fried pork and prawns. But that was the 70’s, and it was all we had. Now our choices include Szechuan and Shanghainese, Punjabi and Sri Lankan, xiǎlóngbāo and sui mai, dosas and paneer. For a lover of Asian cuisine, it’s all wonderfully mind-boggling.

One of the best parts of the culinary “Asian invasion” are the restaurants that serve up the food from where the cultures mixed. In particular Hakka and Desi cuisine. All of those favorite Chinese standards are re-imagined with Indian spices.

The Vegetarian Spring Rolls were fairly standard. The best part was the tart & vinegary slaw served alongside. Pickled cabbage and carrot with a spice I just could not put a finger on. Whatever it was, it worked perfectly.

Chicken Dumpling with Spicy & Garlic Sauce. Really tender pockets of ground chicken, garlic and chili with enough sauce for four servings.

Beef with Satay Sauce. Despite the appearance, this dish was delicious. Nicely tenderized beef, crunchy chunks of pepper and onion in a slightly currified satay sauce.

The Chicken Chow Mein was the highlight of the meal. Growing up, this was always one of my favorites. Later on, I was always looking for ways to jack it up with different flavors. It seems a bunch of food-loving Chinese folk immigrated to India and did exactly that.

At $6 for a lunch serving (with pop) this is good value. Every dish was packed with flavor and was well portioned.

Chili Pepper House (Vancouver) on Urbanspoon


6 responses

  1. I love Chili Pepper House. I haven’t been to this location; but have tried the Surrey one. Agreed on the “packed with flavours” comment. It’s like a flavour explosion in my mouth. Too bad there are not many more of these types of restaurants. Other than Asian Spice, Green Lettuce, Hakka Masti and S&W Pepper House, not a whole lot.

    December 22, 2009 at 4:54 am

  2. Karl

    Too true…but I’ve a good feeling that more are coming. Any idea why this is Desi, not Hakka?

    December 22, 2009 at 5:51 am

  3. Honestly Karl, I have no idea. All I know is that these places have food that I like. Enough with that bland, boring Cantonese food. In terms of the origin of this type of food, I only know that Hakka Chinese have been around, particularly Calcutta where I would only assume the 2 cuisines meshed. But the Desi portion, I’m not clear. Maybe Kim knows?

    December 22, 2009 at 6:16 am

  4. Sorry, I am not familiar with Desi/Indian Chinese cuisine. I do know about Hakka, though, as my grandmother is Hakka (which, I guess, automatically makes me Hakka as well?). Looking at the pictures of the food does not give me good vibes: It does not look Hakka at all – and this is considering I don’t particularly love Hakka cuisine. My grandmother Hakka’s cuisine takes some bits and pieces from Cantonese while still keeping Hakka characteristics, like the usage of preserved ingredients (mustard, et al), fatty cuts or uses cooking methods like braising.

    Of course, since Hakka people has no physical boundaries, it is technically possible that there are Hakka variations and I am aware of only one of them.

    December 22, 2009 at 8:05 am

  5. Brian

    That’s too funny about our parents taking us to the Rickshaw in Surrey.
    Oh the memories!

    December 23, 2009 at 6:02 pm

  6. Karl

    Hey Brian! Loved the Rickshaw! Looks like their standards may have slipped a notch or two since 1977.

    December 23, 2009 at 6:47 pm

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