Bubble World

A couple of weeks back, on a rather lackluster Tuesday, The Gut asked, “What’s for lunch?”. After the usual suspects came to mind, I remembered checking out some posts on Bubble World the previous evening. Upon reading a bunch of mixed reviews and checking out their somewhat diverse menu, I figured it was worth a shot.

Bubble World is a chain of eight restaurants throughout the GVRD. The spot in Burnaby is a popular late-night hangout for Bubble Tea aficionados, obviously. I’ve never been a big fan of jelly globules in my beverages. Maybe its just the fact that I have to chew my drink. Much prefer ice…it serves a purpose!

The menu here is mainly Taiwanese with a smattering of dim sum and a bit of Japanese. It’s very much like No. 1 Beef Noodle House and The One, just to name a couple of local spots. Not sure why these places feel the need to widen their menus so far…there’s so much good Taiwanese fare already. It seems odd and a bit tricky, kitchen-wise. Unless you have a top-notch kitchen staff, the quality of the food will always suffer.

Enough with the opinionating! On to the food!

Always a popular choice, the Salty Peppery Chicken here was very good. Not a huge portion but big on quality and flavor. Large, tender morsels and not a bit of gristle in sight.

The Spicy Wontons were nicely presented with a big whack of cilantro. The sauce, however, was a bit odd. Not that is was bad, just kind of strange…not your usual sauce for this dish. It had a unique, I dunno, “roasted flavor”. Very different from what I’m accustomed to. It was also served alongside the Har Gow.

These shrimp dumplings were pretty much middle of the road. The moderate amount of prawn is surrounded with a bit too much wrap. As I’m not sitting in a high-end dim sum joint, I really shouldn’t complain. The weird-flavored dip didn’t help a whole lot. It makes another appearance in and along with the Beef & Scallion Roll.

I’m not 100% sure, but I think these were rolled in tortillas. Not good tortillas, either. Not even close to the real deal. These are far too thin without a hint of the flaky pastry that usually blankets them. Yes, they’re Beef Rolls…just not Taiwanese Beef Rolls.

After a round of so-so apps under our belts, we tried a couple mains. The Pork with Cabbage in Garlic & Chili Sauce was also underwhelming. When the dish has garlic and chili in its name one would expect those to be the predominant flavors. The main elements here were sweet soy, a bit of garlic and little chili. The slices of pork belly were sliced both lean and fatty…the cabbage gave it plenty of texture. This dish just needed some oomph.

The marinated tofu and seaweed dishes sides carried the same level of blandness.

After a series of average plates, the last two picked things up quite well.

The Kung Pao Chicken was a well-prepared plate of diverse textures and tastes. It had just the right heft of spice this dish requires. There’s a nice nuttiness, plenty of chili and just a bit of sweetness to liven up any palate.

With a couple of great dishes and several not-so-great, I had a hankering to try just one more item. I noticed they had Takoyaki on the menu. Since having a rather mediocre plate of them at Tomoya, I was determined to find a better version.

Takoyaki, at least this version, are puffy, Japanese dumplings stuffed with a chunk of octopus. These fried balls of goodness are strewn with mayo and ponzu then topped with Katsuobushi (shaved bonito) and seaweed. Aside from being served on a crappy, chipped platter, they were outstanding.

The odds of a return visit to Bubble World are about 50-50. With such a varied and wide-ranging menu, I’m pretty sure there are many worthy items left to be explored.

Bubble World (Burnaby) on Urbanspoon

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