When it gets really cold I always crave a hot bowl of pho. Last night was no exception. But somehow we ended up at Mr. Ho Wonton House. How did that happen?? Well blame me and my trait of easily distractedness. As Hitman and I were going along Kingsway I got distracted by the neon signs of the local Korean restaurants, so I then suggested we do Korean instead. Then I made a joke and suggested we could try On On’s Wonton House, to which Hitman in all seriousness suggested we try Mr. Ho’s, since it was voted best Chinese food in Burnaby.
I cringed my nose and suggested that the votes may not have been cast by Chinese people… However, I am always in search of a good wonton house within reach, so I agreed. Why not? So off to Mr. Ho’s we went.
Upon entering my suspicions were somewhat confirmed: there weren’t any Asian patrons in the house, and there was sweet and sour pork and wonton soup everywhere. However I found a bit (a little bit) of comfort in the fact that all the servers there were Cantonese, much like the servers at Hon’s Wun Ton House or other similar establishments in Richmond.
I felt like having a big plate of chow mein though. “Comfort food”, I told Hitman. So I ordered the Shredded Pork and Bean Sprouts Chow Mein ($8.95). Hitman decided on the Pan fried Rice Noodle with Beef and XO Sauce ($7.95) plus a personal order of Wonton Soup and Egg Roll (+$1.50 each).
The small items came first obviously. Which is actually different from other Asian establishments as usually they don’t seem to really put much effort in to making sure that appies come before the mains! The egg roll was your standard fair. Nicely crisp, fresh tasting, and the oil didn’t seem old (old overused oil would make the roll dark in color and you would definitely taste it). I could even see some strands of meat in it.
The wontons were better than expected. Nice, big morsels of shrimp mixed in with pork. Hitman asked if it was the standard chicken soup it’s nestled in. I told him that usually wonton soup is made from boiling a type of fish and it’s distinctly for wonton soup. A quick wiki search gave this description: “The soup is made from boiling shrimp shells, pork bones and dried flounder to give it a distinct taste.” All that’s missing from the broth though are the Chinese yellow chives.
The next comforting factor came when the server asked me if I wanted the crispy version of the chow mein when I ordered. I said yes even though it wasn’t my favorite. But I was looking for any signs of authenticity here.
The dish looks and tastes exactly as I remembered. Saucy and the bean sprouts still retaining their crispiness. Not much more I can say and there’s nothing to complain about. The crispy portions of noodle softened nicely after mixing the dish in with the sauce.
Hitman’s Pan fried Rice Noodle with Beef and XO Sauce was quite a bit lighter than the version I’ve had in Richmond. It did still have the spicy kick from the XO sauce though. But the beef weren’t as tender as I’m used to. Hitman thought it was too greasy so he wasn’t too happy with his choice or with the restaurant in general, especially with the demeanor of the servers.
What happened was when he asked for a couple glasses of water from a server who was cleaning up another table, she replied with a rather blunt and loud “YES.” We both thought it was funny but Hitman also thought it was rude even though he wasn’t particularly offended by it. I just found it typical, and I don’t believe she was trying to be rude either.
The other incident occurred when a different server was bringing him his dish. She was trying to fit in the whole English name of the dish between the time of placing it down and walking away. She wasn’t very successful which ended up with her walking away while still talking. Now I sympathize with her as I wouldn’t have known the English name either and it was much too long. Hitman however found it to be rude.
All in all it’s safe to say that I actually didn’t mind the experience here, and if I feel like this type of cuisine it’s nice to know there’s a place close by. Hitman on the other hand probably won’t be coming back.