Last visited: Sept. 19, 09
Area: Richmond, BC
#1111-3779 Sexsmith Road
Price Range: $10-20
1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!
- Fresh, healthy and simple dishes
- Homestyle healthy dishes, made hot & fresh upon order
- Creative dishes
- Huge portions, meant for sharing
- Extensive menu made of Eastern and Western dishes
- The menu offers Western dishes like Spaghetti and meatless tomato sauce etc.
- Popular for their dishes as well as desserts and drinks (surprisingly)
- Set meals available for lunch or dinner
** Recommendation: Quinoa Pilaf, desserts like Tiramisu are apparently a hit, but I didn't try - I will next time
I came here with my friend who's a vegetarian - I'm not, but I like vegetarian food. I suggested this restaurant because I've always noticed it, but have never gotten the opportunity to try it (usually I'm with meat eaters). This restaurant looks like nothing special and it's busy but not super busy or anything so I never had any expectations for it. When I looked at the extensive menu I had my doubts for sure - when I see Western dishes at a traditional Chinese restaurant I tend to roll my eyes because it feels like they're trying to please everyone and there's no focus. I saw a couple dishes come out and everything looked fresh, but also very mediocre and basic. That being said, my expectations were exceeded as I am pleased to say that I was impressed with what we ordered and will return. My friend isn't a fan of imitation meats, so we stayed away from these dishes although I heard they are amazing and taste like the real deal. I can't wait to go back and try them. Surprisingly the desserts are supposed to be good too - I will try their tiramisu next time I am there. Very simple homestyle dishes made with few ingredients, that are flavourful and made upon order.
On the table:
- **Quinoa Pilaf 6/6
- This is almost like a healthy fried rice, but made with quinoa instead of rice.
- Quinoa is commonly known as a grain, but it's actually a relative of the leafy greens. It's actually a seed - almost like eating cous cous, but way better in my opinion.
- I LOVED THIS DISH! It's the best quinoa I've tried yet. It was nice and fluffy (it has to be fluffy to be good), soft and slightly crunch at the same time, they cooked it perfectly. It's so flavourful, however I think they boiled it in Knorr's chicken bouillon and seasonings. I didn't care though, it's so good. When cooked it gives off this nice delicate nutty flavour - this dish was nutty, savoury, and slightly sweet from the yellow peppers.
- They lightly sautee it (not even fried, it's not greasy) with nicely diced veggies such as zucchini, carrots, yellow peppers and celery. The veggies are sauteed just until they start to release their sugars, but they're not overcooked at all. They're nice and tender and the size is cut perfectly to match the quinoa. It's a rather large bowl for $8.50. I could eat the whole bowl myself - soooo good! It's enough for about 5 of those Chinese bowls - you don't need to order it with any other dish, it's good on it's own. I was very impressed. I talked to the waitress and she said that people don't really order it because most Chinese people don't know what it is - but she said it's one of their specialties and she wished people knew how good it was - and it is!
- Taro wrapped with Bean Curd 4.5/6
- This dish is more of an appetizer. It's mashed up taro root (looks like purple mashed potatoes and tastes like a course/drier sweet potato) wrapped up in layers of rehydrated dried bean curd. They deep fry the whole thing and served it with sweet and sour sauce.
- Taro root itself doesn't have much flavour - similar to a boiled potato. However, it's really good and has a courser texture than a potato. They used it in a very creative and inventive way. You need the sauce though because it's quite bland considering neither taro root or bean curd carries much flavour on it's own.
- They use a Panko batter which makes this roll extra crispy! It is very crispy and deep fried in fresh oil so it has a nice golden brown colour. It's actually not greasy and I just loved the texture of this. Crispy exterior, then flaky layers, the a soft inner layer of bean curd. Then you're suddenly hit with this soft and creamy mashed up taro root inside. A bit more expensive ($11.95) because it's homemade and takes time to make and prepare. It's very nicely done and worth a try.
- Mixed Mushrooms with Chestnuts & Baby Bok Choy 2/6
- A popular and traditional vegetarian Chinese dish.
- This was somewhat fresh - made upon order, but using prepackaged ingredients mixed with some fresh ingredients. It is a big portion so it is meant to be shared and would be very boring on its own. I know exactly how they made it though and have tried this dish in many variations - so it was hard for me to appreciate it, because the recipe is too basic and how you would make it at home if you were needed a go-to under 15min. meal.
- The mixed mushrooms were those crappy canned button mushrooms and Shiitake mushrooms. I think they should have included some Enoki mushrooms - the dish was all too basic to serve at a restaurant. This dish was saucy, but not greasy. You can tell the sauce had starch as a thickener, but it was more water based than oil based. Not too salty, you feel healthy eating it. More of a dinner dish.
- The chestnuts were preshelled and prepackaged - these are still really good though. You can buy mini packs of them at T&T or any other Asian grocery store. They make for great snacks.
- For this type of restaurant and dish it is a bit more expensive, especially for the level of simplicity and ingredients used ($13.95) - probably wouldn't order it again.