A week or so ago, Jefe reminded us that it’s Alaskan King Crab season. With a single text, several stomachs started to growl simultaneously. The only question was where. He suggested Congee Noodle King on Kingsway. Good choice considering they’re open late and were offering it up at $13.88 a pound. With the entire kitchen staff in tow, we sped off for a major midnight feast.
One night, a few months back, I told my chef and sous chef about this place that serves up meat skewers for a buck and Chinese beer for two bucks. I knew they’d be hungry and thirsty after toiling in the kitchen for eight hours, so I dragged their tired butts to Nine Dishes for a load of cheap beer and very spicy food.
I’d arrived just past 11. While waiting on the boys, I started taking shots of the exterior. Within a minute, or so, a tall, lanky, bald fellow comes out to clear off the sidewalk tables. Right away I knew that was If, the owner.
I first learned of this spot from Dylan at Jiaoqu. His very well-written post not only intrigued a load of foodies, it told the tale of a man who really, seriously wants to bring authentic Chinese fare to the working man.
If presides over an ultra-casual and partially do-it-yourself room. You’re handed the menus and an order pad.
The rice is free. It’s on a table over in the corner. Help yourself.
A couple of years ago, there was a restaurant in North Burnaby called China Express. When the food fair at Brentwood Mall was being renovated, they relocated their stall to an actual restaurant on Hastings. Along with table service, they had three large steam tables brimming with almost mediocre Chinese food. You could get a huge, three item take-out serving for about five bucks. The only problem was, you got what you paid for…about two pounds of Chinese mall food. Then one day, when I was about to get a panino from Cioffi’s, I noticed a bright yellow awning just down the street. China Express had turned into the brand new and uniquely named Triple Coconut Tree Vietnamese Restaurant! Oh, joy!!
Not having much time left on my lunch break, I grabbed a Grilled Lemongrass Beef Bánh Mì to go. It was OK…a bit lacking in beef but full of flavour. I also grabbed a take-out menu and saw there was a whole lot of other great Vietnamese fare to check out. Here’s the dine-in menu:
Between that first visit and the ones for this post, I must of had thirty or forty meals here. Most of them varieties of Phở as well as some darn good Bò Kho. For my last few visits I’ve tried to check out the other parts of the menu. One item that stood out was Bún Nem Nướng, Chạo Tôm, Chả Giò (Grilled Minced Pork on vermicelli, Prawn Supreme and a spring roll).