Beef Rolls

Foodblogger Feast at Kalvin’s “Szechuen”

About a month ago, in the midst of a whole bunch of stupidity, Kevin from 604foodtography, suggested a big ol’ chowdown at Kalvin’s Restaurant. Within a day or so, thirteen of us responded with a resounding “Hell, yeah!“. From a rather depressing, unfortunate day, the focus was returned to where it should always be in the food blogging community…on the food! After all, that’s what we’re only here for…right?

Other bloggers at this night’s feast included:

Strange thing about Kalvin’s…the awning says “Kalvin’s Szechuen Restaurant” so I was all geared up for a fiery, chile-laden feast. Turns out they put up mostly Taiwanese fare. No problem…I’m game for anything! There were a few spicy dishes and some interesting Taiwanese I’d not yet tried.

This’d be one of those dishes I’d put in the “I’ll-try-it-one-time” category. The Fondue Spicy Pork with Organ Stew was actually quite tasty if you can get your head around the intestine part. It’s obviously a cultural thing that I’ve yet to adapt to. Texturally, it was fine. No excessive chewiness…not rubbery at all. For me, it’s all about the funky aroma. There’s a load of foods I love that give off strange, unique smells. It’s just that when the smell originates from that part of the animal, it can be difficult to adjust to.

The Pork & Ton Choy in BBQ Sauce also had a unique flavor to it. If you close your eyes, you’d swear you were eating a seafood dish. That was due, according to Kevin, to the use of a satay sauce or, as I later found out, it can be called “Shacha sauce“.  It’s a much different flavor to most satay sauces due to the addition of brill fish and dried shrimp. The ton choy itself was nicely cooked giving the dish a well needed fresh, crisp element.

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Long’s Noodle House

Long’s Noodle House has been on my “hit-list” for far too long. It’s a tiny, easy to miss spot on Main St. between 32nd and 33rd with a great reputation for their Shanghainese cuisine.

Don’t be too dismayed by the shoddy exterior. Long’s is another one of those places that puts emphasis on their food without much attention paid to aesthetics…my favorite kind of place!

We arrived during the noon-hour on a Monday. The restaurant was about half full. Before too long, it was packed. Our friendly server/owner, Sandy, was running the floor single-handedly. When I told her we were going to order about ten dishes, she didn’t bat an eye or even grab a pad of paper. As I reeled off our choices, she simply tapped a fingertip for each one. Amazing, really.

Our first dish is a must-order here. The Wine Chicken is served at room-temp in a beautiful ceramic crock. Chicken legs are poached in Shaoxing wine, broth, pepper, ginger and a bit of sugar. A great display of simplicity.

A sensational way to treat a chicken. Keep it simple and bring out the best of your product…works every time.

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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.

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Tasty Village

Tasty Village is yet another spot the crew has visited several times over the years. Although most of the fare is good enough to come back for, we’ve had a few “misses”. One big “miss” last time around was a batch of under-cooked Sui Mai (Pork and Mushroom dumplings). That put a bit of a scare into some of us. It’s been several months since that visit, so I figured it was time to give them another shot.

Tasty Village is located on the same little strip-mall as No. 1 Beef Noodle House. Alongside New Hibiki Sushi and Michaelangelo Pizza, this can be a bit of a parking nightmare. Luckily, we had our act together and showed up good and early. Seems most of the parking craziness is over on the No. 1 BNH side of the lot leaving a load of free parking for us!

Since our last visit, things seem to of improved some at the Tasty Village. Right away one could tell they’ve been spiffing things up a bit. The room seemed fresher, somehow. There’s a glossy, new plasma screen and the menus are of the bright & shiny variety that seem to be popping up all over town.

Their new Dim Sum menu has a bunch of the usual suspects but is missing some big-time favorites. There’s no sign of Sui Mai (interesting), Har Gow, Wu Gok (Deep-fried taro balls) or even Rice Rolls. Oh, well. At least there’s a good variety left to choose from.

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The One Restaurant

After reading Ben from Chowtimes post on The One Restaurant this past Wednesday, this week’s Friday lunch selection was a no-brainer.

The One is a spin-off of Lao Shan Dong. LSD is the king of Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup in Burnaby. There are other TBN shops, but as far as I know, they’re the only ones who make their own hand-cut noodles. Green Bamboo has recently started serving hand-cut noodles in their House Special Beef Noodle Soup. Stay tuned for a Green Bamboo updated post! Their noodles are fantastic, by the way!

Whereas Lao Shan Dong is situated in a small, non-descript room, The One is the polar opposite. After entering through automatic sliding doors, you are greeted with a sleek, very modern decor. It’s not exactly what one expects in this part of Burnaby.

More often than not, when I enter a room this visually stunning, I naturally worry that the food is an afterthought. Knowing that the kitchen here is a by-product of Lao Shan Dong, I was giddy with anticipation.

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No. 1 Beef Noodle House

No. 1 Beef Noodle House is one of the most popular Taiwanese restaurants in Burnaby. So much so, that even at 11:30 in the morning, cars are double and sometimes triple-parked. Throughout the meal you’ll see anxious car-owners turn into Meerkats, popping up to see if they have to move their car. The overflow stretches out into the side-streets, causing some consternation amongst the locals. From what I’ve heard…it’s best not to park in behind.

The upside is that No. 1 is worth the parking hassles. After a bunch of visits, it’s pretty much a guaranteed great feed. We’ve been visiting since they opened, about five years ago. They offer a good and varied menu. There’s never a lack of interesting items, from pig’s ears to peanut butter toast. This time though, with a large group, we stuck with some favorites.

The best part is being able to phone and pre-order and having a bunch of great food dropped off as soon as we sit down.

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New Age Chinese Cuisine

After many visits to No. 1 Beef Noodle House on Willingdon, we were pleasantly surprised to find their sister restaurant on Kingsway. New Age Chinese Cuisine is the older sister…the one without triple-parked cars and junior-high kids jostling for their bubble tea. It is also a place where the service staff takes time to recommend the better items to be had.

We were ready and set to go with the General Tso’s Chicken when our server recommended the House Special Chicken. Crunchy, deep-fried chunks of thigh meat are tossed in a quite spicy and sweet garlic sauce. The only downside to this dish was having to share.

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