I've heard a few things about this place, most noticeably, Mia Stainsby article for The Vancouver Sun. From other blogs, it looks as though service is inconsistent, but the food is good, well-priced with portions leaning on the big side. One quirk about this restaurant is that the rice is free...self-serve and free!
The first dish we ordered was the Shredded Tripe with Soy Sauce. Loaded with chillies, peanuts and preserved veggies, this was a great starter. It really stirs up your appetite. There are a lot of dried chillies and but they aren't really that spicy...it's the seeds that truly packs a punch!
Now I know that this dish looks insanely spicy, but amazingly, it's not really that not. It's their signature dish...Boiled fish slices with chilli oil. Again with a generous portion of chillies, the heat is enhanced with more peppercorns. Would you believe this is AFTER they came by with a ladle to scoop out some of the chilies and peppercorn. The fish is really tender, soft and juicy. And yes, huge portion. This fed four of us easily.
One dish on many people's "Must Try" list was their Deep Fried Lotus Root with minced meat, This was reminiscent of Hapa Izakaya's Renkon Gyoza (my post). It's a dumpling of minced meat sandwiched between thin slices of lotus root, the whole package is then battered and deep-fried. The lotus root skin keeps the minced meat moist, but the meat filling was a little bland for my taste.
They also have a lot of skewers, ranging from chicken, eggplant, squid and even lamb tripe. We got their Lamb Kababs and Bean Curd Skewers, I think they were all a dollar each. The lamb is really good, loaded with spices such as cumin and chilli powder. We really liked the bean curd too, very soft and tender on the inside with a light coating of barbecue sauce. This is one of the least spicy dishes on the menu.
I've never tried Steam Buns on a skewer, but it's such a natural, since my favourite burgers are the ones that are made with slightly grilled buns. I found these buns overly spiced with cumin. If you brush off some of the spices, (the same way you'd "de-salt" an overly salted pretzel, then these are good to go.
Needing a bit more seafood to round out the feast, we also tried their Spicy Saucy Shrimp, also available with Crayfish, but that was $20 per order and the shrimp were a bit cheaper. I really like shrimp with the shell on, and these were done very nicely. The flesh still had a bit of of a bite to it, but I found it just a tad too oily.
Because we were with a toddler, we had to get something not spicy, so we went for the Pork Wonton Soup. These were okay, but again, as with the lotus root dumplings, I found the meat a bit lacking in flavour. But then again, I had been dining on the fish in chilli oil, as well as the overly spiced grilled buns, so take my comments with a grain of salt...
And there you have it, our table at a glance. This was enough food for 4.5 people. One interesting thing I did notice...most pictures of the Lotus Root dumpling were in portions of 3. However, we got 4 with our order. Could the order taker really notice that and added another one just for us? Probably not, but I'd like to think so! Oh, and note that they are cash only.