Lao Shan Dong
There’s a small, somewhat humid spot on the corner of Kingsway and Nelson in Burnaby that puts out some fantastic food. For the past several years I’ve been visiting Lao Shan Dong Homemade Noodle House and have developed a major affection for their Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup.
Lao Shan Dong is an offshoot of a Taipei restaurant that originated in 1949. The way I figure it, if a place is going to go ahead and mention a 60-year-old history of beef-noodle-making, they’re probably going to make a pretty decent bowl.
They offer a compact menu of hand-cut noodle dishes, soups, dumplings as well as a variety of traditional cold appetizers. Although the appies on display look appetizing, on this day, we’re here for the noodles.
For today’s meal I’m joined by a co-worker whom I affectionately refer to as “The Gut”. It’s not that he sports a sizable belly, it’s just that he has a gut that, seemingly, can’t be satiated. More often than not, after a fairly decent lunch, he has a tendency to seek out a sandwich to snack on back at the office. Not, however, after this meal.
Before the soups, the house-made dumplings.
Ten hefty Pork and Vegetable Dumplings. These are well-sized pockets of ground pork, minced veg with little hits of ginger and garlic. Really tasty but in need of some chilification.
Lao Shan Dong’s fermented chili paste is the perfect flavor boost.
The pungent and garlicky sauce helps out immeasurably. How about a couple more tasty flavoring agents?
A little saucer with sesame oil drizzled with white vinegar and soy sauce make a happy little bath for the chili-laden dumplings. Joy.
As I’ve been here many times and usually opt for the TBN, today I decided on something a bit different.
Sour Mustard and Shredded Pork in Soup. The “sour mustard” is actually pickled mustard greens. These are delicious, crunchy vegetables swimming in a tart broth amongst tender slivers of pork and scallions. I asked for it spicy but was told I could make it hotter myself. Not a problem…that I can do. The noodles, expertly cut, were the perfect balance of soft and chewy.
The Gut, on the other hand, is a tried and true traditionalist. He’s here for the signature dish…
Braised Beef Flank in Spicy Soup. Of my many visits to LSD, there have been a couple of occasions where this bowl wasn’t up to standard. Once or twice the beef was a bit tough or the broth wasn’t deep enough. Today wasn’t one of those days. I managed to steal a sip of the broth…it was rich with star anise, dense with hours of slowly developing flavors. The Gut knows his noodles and he knows his soup. He usually cuts to the chase if there’s any problem whatsoever. On this day there was nothing more than a happy, contented smile. And no post-meal snack.
By the way, you can get their famous soups at The One, their much bigger and very modern offshoot.