Hida Takayama Ramen
203 – 1610 Robson Street
Wow… How long it has been? Almost a month already since my last post of Vancouver! Anyway, after I came back, it was time to check with people from right here and food that makes Vancouver sort of well know. One of those is Japanese and, among the different options, is ramen. Given I work near Robson and Denman, I have easy access to the popular ones: From Santouka to Benkei to Sanpachi. And then there are Kintaro and Motomachi Shokudo. However, in a case of “me, too!”, some smaller places have opened and today’s post is one of them: Hida Takayama Ramen, located in, out of all strange places, in the food court at Robson Market.
7405 Edmonds Street
Blogging is a labour of love. We do it because we want to, even when people try to bash us for no reason other than probably because we disagree. At other times, it is draining – after all, there are only that many hours a day so there will be compromises. As a result of different reasons or circumstances, blogs come and go. While it will always remain popular, there is that eternal question of who will still be there five years or more down the road. So, to a certain extent, I was a bit perplexed when Karl of The Friday Lunch stopped blogging for a while. See, I believe that Karl to be a down-to-earth guy and, in a sea of Asian born/x-generation Asian descend bloggers, he (along with Jonathan of Food and Tell) stood out because, well, he is your average “white guy” (no offence!). But, fortunately, it seems he is back and has started writing about places here and there. One such place was Lost in the 50’s drive, previously blogged by shokutsu (of Foodosophy). It seems there was a renaissance of sorts and has (re?)opened, and while it had your basic burgers, it also had its share of “F” items (“F” as in fusion…). Alas, the day I went, they were not open yet so I had to turn around and look for *anything* to eat. And suddenly, right next to me was Kim Anh.
Xiang Yuan Qiao Bridge Rice Noodle
2128 – 4500 Kingsway
It is commonly agreed that Crystal Mall is one of the best places for Chinese cheap, quick eats, with some of them delivering dishes that are about par (probably giving them a bit too much credit here, though) with some sit down restaurants. Of course, given the price point at the food court, I am more willing to return there than the sit down ones! While I have written about a couple of places in Crystal Mall (like Delicious BBQ and Wang’s Shanghai), you have to admit that, for some gems to shine, you have to have something to compare against. In other words, in a sea where everything is “good”, there has to be one that sucks; otherwise, means that everything is average.
As for Crystal Mall, I have purposely avoided some of the stands probably because of some pre-conception or simply because I am not that enticed to try them. Which ones? If you see something on the lines of “2 or 3 items plus rice or noodles” or sushi, chances are I will see what’s in the next stand. (For the former, I would rather go to Kent’s Kitchen; for the later, too many in Metro Vancouver). One of the places I thought was below average in Crystal Mall was Beijing Restaurant, which I blogged previously here), and I wasn’t the only who thought was subpar. So, in a survival of the fittest type environment, it eventually closed down and now has been replaced by Xiang Yuan Qiao Bridge Rice Noodle. I was tempted to check the other stands first but after seeing such a long queue of people, I thought, what the hell, let’s give it a try…
Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle
2800-4151 Hazelbridge Way
I think it is somewhat commonly accepted by food bloggers in Vancouver that the larger the hype, the higher the standards by which you will be judged against. Of course, when I mean food bloggers, I am referring to those who actually go there, sit, order, eat and pay as would any customers and then write what he/she thought about it. Among my peers, I have been considered to be the biggest ba$7@rd when it comes to “criticizing”, despite I have mentioned a lot of times I don’t do reviews but, what I write, are merely experiences of my own. The funny part about this was that a dear friend told me that, lately, I have not been as bashful and harsh as in the past and have mellowed out a little bit. How true this is, I will leave it up to you; however, it might also be because I haven’t be to any of such “hyped” restaurants in a long while. Until the day I had to venture to that driving hell hole called Richmond to pick up my car, which gave me the opportunity to go to Aberdeen (which, fortunately, was somewhat empty that night) and go to one of the most hyped Chinese restaurants in a while: Chef Hung.
Tony’s Beef Noodle
5710 Cambie Street
Some people have considered me to be a bad influence. How so? Well, how about “convincing” them to start a blog??? That is in part what happened to RC. He had a domain parked for the longest and, after he found out I was food blogging, that was the spark needed for him to start using that domain – Yummy Review. And, while he has taken baby steps, that didn’t stop me from doing what a food blogger does best: check if he would be good to visit a restaurant! As usual, there was the question of where. To make thing “easy” for both of us, I chose a restaurant that would be somewhat equidistant for both. And that place ended up being Tony’s Beef Noodle.
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about my visit Huaxi Noodle in Crystal Mall. Being such a good eats place (or at least above average), I decided to visit yet another couple of stall in the same food court. Hey, not all food court are bad/below average! (Specially our concept of western food court).
The One Restaurant
On Tuesday’s “bonus” post, I showed some pictures of “interesting” dishes and hinted they will be for next week. I am sure some of you suspect what is coming but (and probably) overstating the obvious, yes, I was out of town. OK, let me rephrase that: I was out of the country/North America. But, as usual, there is that “last meal” concept, a place you might want to visit before leaving town. In my case, there was no particular reason for going out and getting something to eat (which, by now is not necessarily and excuse). Instead, I was too lazy to do dishes and throw the garbage afterwards… So, in this instance of laziness, I chose to visit one place that I suggested Anita the day we ended up going to Burgoo: The One Restaurant (TOR), which is a fork of a Burnaby favourite – Lao Shan Dong (LSD). The question is of course whether it lives up to its roots…