I’ve recently received a question from a Bellingham resident regarding Chinese cuisine. Just so it’s easier for her to see my reply, I will post it here.
Here’s her question:
“I am from Bellingham and would like to learn about real Chinese cuisine. The options that I have here are nothing like what you present. My biggest interest is noodles: how to order, what to look for, how to eat. Also, I am very intrigued by hot pots (which base do I order?) and dumplings. I am an adventurous eater, but I don’t think that duck tongue is on my wish list. Could you or any of your readers guide me through Richmond? I will be eating at Northern Delicacy today! Thank you!”
My disclaimer is, these are obviously just my humble views. She did ask for guidance from my readers too so feel free to post your advice in the comments section!
Hi Catherine thanks for visiting!
I’ll answer the hotpot question first. I have most experience in Hk-style hotpot. I find that the soup base really isn’t all the important in this style. In fact, there are time at home where we just boil plain water to use as a base. All that really matters is the quality ingredients and good dipping sauces. A place I do suggest is Garden City Hotpot on Garden City Road here. They are one of the few places that offer a variety of dipping sauce/condiments that you can pick and choose.
Now if you want the soup base to play a role in the taste of the meal, Mongolian and Japanese suki-yaki-style hotpots are good choices. The former can be found at Lansdowne Mall at a place called Chubby Lamb Mongolian Hotpot. They have quite a richly flavored (however at times salty) soupbase which comes in a spicy variety also.
The latter is found as Posh, which has a few locations over here. They also have a flavored soupbase. However, their ingredients list isn’t as extensive as others.
As for noodles, wow that’s a big topic. It really depends on which cuisine of noodles you like, and after you’ve chosen the cuisine, then you have to decide if you want noodles in soup or just noodles mixed with a sauce.
Cantonese cuisine has both types. Soup choices include the common Wonton Noodle, Beef Brisket Noodle, Squid Ball noodles, etc, or Mixed Noodles. If that’s what you like, the place I’ll recommend in Richmond is either Neptune Wonton Noodle or Tsim Chai Noodles. I really enjoy their offerings.
Taiwanese noodles I think are mostly just soup noodles. I’ve really only tried their beef noodle soup. I think the places to try would be Wang’s Beef Noodle House in Vancouver and Lao Shan Dong in Burnaby. If you don’t want to travel that far north there are some respectable places in Richmond. My recommendation is Tri-ty. Their Taiwanese Beef Noodle is hella good. But that’s a Bubble Tea restaurant and that just opens up a whole other pandora’s box of choices.
Now onto Shanghai and Szechuan cuisine, they both offer this noodle dish called Dan Dan/Tan Tan Noodle. Although they’re both sesame/peanut sauce based, they’re quite different from each other.
Shanghai version is more soupy, while the Szechuan version is dry, and usually spicy. I like both versions equally. If you are interested, Shanghai version can be found at Top Shanghai, and Northern Delicacy.
As for the Szechuan/Si Chuan version, the only place I’ve had it (and I highly recommend it) is Si Chuan First Restaurant. The place looks dingy but as we all know, that’s where the best authentic food is!
As for how to order, there really isn’t a special way to order I don’t think. I usually just order as they’re written on the menu. Don’t worry and be adventurous! Hope this helped!
To my other readers…kudos to you for making it to the end of a picture-less post!
Wow … that is exactly the same list I would put up. They are all excellent. LOL!
noodles are more extensive than you list. there’s also Legendary noodle house and Long’s. i think you missed out on more northern regions of china where you have noodles that are thicker, almost like udon, and noodles that are kind of like fettucine where it is cut, and also the not so common noodles where the chef holds a big piece of dough and uses a cleaver to quickly shave pieces into the hot water, then either stir fries the noodles or puts into a soup base. in TW, the most popular is beef noodle, but they have the usual fried rice noodles (with a vermicelli texture) and also fried noodles that are like the thicker type i mentioned.
You are absolutely correct on this one. As with most other cuisines, “Chinese” noodle cuisine is much more extensive than I can list here as there are so many regions that are considered Chinese, and much more just considered Asian. For example, some other noodles that are done really well here are the formidable Singaporean Laksa (I’ve found a good one at Cafe D’Lite @ Aberdeen Centre), Indonesian/Malaysian Mee Goreng, Si-An style hand-shaved and hand-pulled soup noodles (Richmond Public Market), to name a few, and who can ever forget the Vietnamese Pho, but the States do that one pretty well~
And like I said, it’s nearly impossible to list all here which is why I enlisted you all to add in your two cents!
Also helpful would be to visit the sites in my blogroll, they’ve been around longer than I have and so they would have reviewed much more cuisines/restaurants than I have.